Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 29.djvu/349

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

the queen to bring the Prince of Wales from Jersey to Paris, and to persuade the king to sacrifice the church of England for the support of the Scots (ib. ii. 244–9, 268–75; Clarendon, Rebellion, x. 22, 57). The king told D'Avenant, Jermyn's envoy, ‘that the Lord Jermyn did not understand anything of the church.’ He did not understand anything of the navy either, but that did not prevent him from intriguing in 1648 to obtain the command of the fleet and aspiring to be made lord high admiral (ib. xi. 34; Nicholas Papers, i. 97). Jermyn's views on foreign and domestic politics brought him into opposition with Hyde, Nicholas, and all the constitutional royalists, whom he hoped by the queen's aid to exclude from the councils of Charles II. From 1649 to 1652 the correspondence of Hyde and Nicholas is full of complaints of his influence. Against their advice he persuaded the young king to accept the offers of Argyll and the Scots (ib. p. 156), and recommended Charles II to attend the Huguenot church at Charenton (Clarendon, Rebellion, xiii. 132). After 1652 his political influence decreased in face of Hyde's predominance. Jermyn was one of the instigators of Long's attack on Hyde (ib. xvi. 72). Hyde complains that Jermyn, who had the management of the queen's finances, contrived also to get large grants from the king's scanty allowance, and was able to keep his carriage and maintain an expensive table when the king's chief councillors were obliged to walk the streets on foot and board at one pistole a week (ib. xiii. 129; cf. Grammont Memoirs, ed. Bohn, p. 107). When Charles II left France for the Netherlands, Jermyn remained at Paris with the queen. At her desire he was created Earl of St. Albans (27 April 1660), and by her, at Mazarin's request, he was despatched in April 1660 to Breda to invite Charles II to return to France and treat with the parliament thence (Clarendon, Rebellion, xvi. 230; Guizot, Richard Cromwell, ed. 1856, i. 429; Clarendon State Papers, iii. 750).

At the Restoration Jermyn received many rewards and offices. He was appointed joint registrar of the court of chancery (6 Sept. 1660), keeper of Greenwich House and Park (24 April 1662), high steward of Kingston (15 May 1671), and lord chamberlain (13 May 1671 to 11 Sept. 1674). Pepys records with disgust the report that Jermyn was likely to be appointed lord treasurer (Diary, 17 Oct. 1662). His influence at court rested largely on his power with the queen-mother and his favour at the French court. Jermyn strongly supported a French marriage for Charles II, and also opposed the recognition of the Duke of York's marriage with Anne Hyde. In the end, however, he undertook the task of effecting a formal reconciliation between Clarendon and Henrietta Maria (Clarendon, Continuation of Life, iii. 63–74; Ranke, History of England, translation, iii. 347). At the beginning of the reign of Charles II he was English ambassador at Paris, and took part in negotiating the Portuguese alliance (Clarendon State Papers, iii. App. i–xxiv). In January 1667, towards the close of the Dutch war, he was sent to Paris to negotiate a separate treaty with France, which resulted in an agreement by which Charles II promised that for a year he would make no alliance hostile to the interests of Louis XIV (Ranke, History of England, iii. 441; Mignet, Négociations relatifs à la Succession d'Espagne, ii. 41; Arlington, Letters to Temple, 1701, pp. 117, 131, 144; Lister, Life of Clarendon, iii. 443). In 1669 he was again ambassador extraordinary to France, and prepared the way for the secret treaty of Dover (Mignet, iii. 83–8, 98). No man did more to further the close union between England and France, which made England the subservient tool of Louis XIV. Charles II used to say that he was ‘more a Frenchman than an Englishman’ (Clarendon, Continuation, p. 1037).

In domestic politics Jermyn took very little part, and devoted himself mostly to gambling and good living. Pepys often refers to his love of play (Diary, 7 Feb. 1661, 29 April 1667; cf. Grammont Memoirs, ed. Bohn, p. 106). Evelyn describes Jermyn's old age: ‘Dining at my Lord Chamberlain's, met my Lord of St. Albans, now grown so blind that he could not see to take his meat. He has lived a most easy life, in plenty even abroad, whilst his majesty was a sufferer; he has lost immense sums at play, which yet, at about 80 years old, he continues, having one that sits by him to name the spots on the cards. He ate and drank with extraordinary appetite. He is a prudent old courtier, and much enriched since his majesty's return’ (Diary, 18 Sept. 1683). Jermyn died in January 1683–4 at his house in St. James's Square (Luttrelll, Diary, i. 294), and was buried at Rushbrooke. A portrait is at Rushbrooke Park. His wealth passed to his nephew, Henry Jermyn, created Lord Dover [q. v.] in 1685, while Charles Beauclerk [q. v.], Charles II's son by Nell Gwynne, was made Duke of St. Albans 10 Jan. 1683–4. Jermyn, who had obtained in 1664 a grant of land in Pall Mall, planned St. James's Square, and built St. Albans (afterwards known as St. James's) Market, destroyed subsequently to make room for Waterloo Place