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Hyde
Hyde
395

king of Poland (Diary and Corresp. i. 589-90, 590-624). After being received at Danzig by Queen Maria Casimira Louisa, he journeyed to the king's headquarters at Leopol, and there, after some hesitation, helped to bring about the compromise with the Turks, which was confirmed two years later in Constantinople (ib. pp. 633-6; cf. Zinkeisen, Geschichte des Osmanischen Reiches in Europa, v. 80-1). In accordance with the king's instructions, he made representations to the king of Poland on behalf of the protestants of the country (Diary and Correspondence, i. 14-15). His mission came to an end in October, when he proceeded to Vienna, in order to condole with the emperor, Leopold I, on the death of his second consort (Claudia Felicitas). Finding, however, that the emperor had already married again, he forthwith continued his journey to the Netherlands, where (January 1677) he found a commission awaiting him as one of the ambassador-mediators at the congress of Nimeguen. According to Temple ('Memoirs,' pt. iii., in Works, edit. 1750, i. 440), while by his advice Hyde accepted the offer, he modestly excused himself from ' entering into the management of any conferences or despatches ' (cf. Hyde's ' Diary ' in Diary and Correspondence, i. 624-32). In the September following he was, however, on Temple's recommendation, again sent to Nimeguen, with special instructions to urge the Prince of Orange to press on the peace before visiting England (ib. pp.637-41; cf. Temple, i. 450-1). After again visiting England Hyde returned to the Hague in August 1678, and promised the States General armed assistance. But they had concluded their particular treaty with France, and the promise came too late. Temple, who had not been consulted, describes Hyde as having the mortification to return to England in September, on the exchange of the notifications of the Nimeguen treaty, 'with the entire disappointment of the design upon which he came, and believed the court so passionately bent ' (ib. i. 474-5).

In the new parliament which met in March 1679 Hyde took his seat among the reduced court party as member for Wootton Bassett. The treasury having, after Danby's resignation, been put into commission, he was on 26 March named one of the lords (Burnet, ii. 202). During the following months he was much in the confidence of the absent Duke of York, whose renunciation of Catholicism he would, however, have gladly welcomed as a solution of the problem (Diary and Correspondence, i. 42-7). The dismissal of Shaftesbury and the resignation of Essex which followed amidst the agitations of the latter part of the year made it necessary, though Halifax remained in office, for the crown to depend on new men. The leading ministers were now Sunderland, Godolphin, and Hyde, who was on 19 Nov. appointed first lord of the treasury and a privy councillor. To the public the ' young statesmen ' were `the chits,' and the first tory administration that has eo nomine conducted English affairs seemed a 'jest' (cf. the epigram in Dryden, Works, ed. Scott, xv. 273-5). Hyde having continued staunch against exclusion (cf. Diary and Correspondence, i. 49), the House of Commons revenged itself upon him, his elder brother, and their relative, the Marquis of Worcester, by voting addresses against them as ' men inclined to popery ' (Reresby, p. 48, 4 Jan. 1681). Hyde vindicated himself with vehemence (according to Burnet, ii. 255, even with tears), and at the instance of his friend Sir William Jones, the words relating to popery were ultimately struck out of the address. On 23 April 1681 (cf. Reresby, pp.201, 211) he was raised to the peerage as Viscount Hyde of Kenilworth; and when, after the dissolution of the Oxford parliament, the full tide of the reaction had set in, he was glorified in Dryden's great legitimist satire as the manly Hushai, 'the friend of David in distress,' and extolled as sparing of the public while liberal of his own money (Absalom and Achitophel, pt. i. 888-897). The length which he was prepared to go in the service of his master was soon shown by the worst act of his political life, his negotiation with Barillon of the secret subsidy treaty with France of 1681. This was at the time when his correspondent, the Prince of Orange, was impressing upon him that `it is only by you in England that the Netherlands can be saved ' (Diary and Correspondence,i.56sqq.; cf.ib.pp.79,89). Against the opinion of Halifax, who had remained in office, he continued to deprecate the calling of parliament (Reresby, p. 235), and rose higher and higher in the goodwill of the king. In August, and again in September, Evelyn (ii. 398-9) speaks of Hyde as 'the great favourite.' On 29 Nov. he was created Earl of Rochester. Of the high tory reaction during the last years of Charles II he must be regarded as a principal instrument.

But though he was protected both by the Duke of York and by the Duchess of Portsmouth, Rochester's natural arrogance made him many enemies. Among these was Halifax, with whom he had co-operated as to the Exclusion Bill, but from whom he had differed as to the policy of convoking parliament. The quarrel doubtless owed its origin to Halifax's