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762
SHAFTESBURY, IST EARL OF


which met on the 4th of February 167 3. The writs were cancelled, and the principle was established that the issuing of writs rested with the House itself. It was at the opening of parliament that Shaftesbury made his celebrated “ delenda est Carthago” speech against Holland, in which he urged the Second Dutch War, on the ground of the necessity of destroying so formidable a commercial rival to England, excused the Stop of the Exchequer which he had opposed, and vindicated the Declaration of Indulgence. On the 8th of March he announced to parliament that the declaration had been cancelled, though he did his best to induce Charles to remain firm. For affixing the great seal to this declaration he was threatened with impeachment by the Commons. The Test Act was now brought forward, and Shaftesbury, who appears to have heard how he had been duped in 1670, supported it, with the object probably of thereby getting rid of Clifford. He now began to be regarded as the chief upholder of Protestantism in the ministry; he lost favour with Charles, and on Sunday, the 9th of September 1673, was dismissed from the chancellorship. Among the reasons for this dismissal is probably the fact that he opposed grants to the king's mistresses. He had been accused of vanity and ostentation in his office, but his reputation for ability and integrity as a judge was high even with his enemies.

Charles soon regretted the loss of Shaftesbury, and endeavoured, as did also Louis, to induce him to return, but in vain. He preferred now to become the great popular leader against all the measures of the court, and may be regarded as the intellectual chief of the opposition. At the meeting of parliament on the 8th of January 1674, he carried a motion for a proclamation banishing Catholics to a distance of ro m. from London. During the whole session he organized and directed the opposition in their attacks on the king's ministers. On the 19th of May he was dismissed the privy council and ordered to leave London. He retired to Wimborne and urged upon his parliamentary followers the necessity of securing a new parliament. He was in the House of Lords, however, in 1675, when Danby brought forward his famous Non-resisting Test Bill, and headed the opposition which was carried on for seventeen days, distinguishing himself, says Burnet, more in this session than ever before. The bill was shelved, a prorogation having taken place in consequence of a quarrel between the two Houses, supposed to have been purposely got up by Shaftesbury, in which he supported the right of the Lords to hear appeal cases, even where the defendant was a member of the Lower House. Parliament was prorogued for fifteen months until the 15th of February 1677, and it was determined by the opposition to attack its existence on the ground that a prorogation for more than a year was illegal. In this matter the opposition were in the wrong, and by attacking the parliament discredited themselves. The result was that Shaftesbury, Buckingham, Wharton and Salisbury were sent to the Tower. In June Shaftesbury applied for a writ of habeas corpus, but could get no release until the 26th of February 1678, after his letter andlthree petitions to the king. Being brought before the bar of the House of Lords he made submission as to his conduct in declaring parliament dissolved by the prorogation, and in violating the Lords' privileges by bringing a habeas corpus in the King's Bench. The breaking out of the Popish Terror in 1678 marks the worst part of Shaftesbury's career. That so clear-headed a man could have credited the' lies of Oates and the other perjurers is beyond belief; and the manner in which he excited baseless alarms, and encouraged fanatic cruelty, for nothing but party advantage, is without excuse. On the Qndof November he opened the great attack by proposing an address declaring the necessity for the king's dismissing James from his council. Under his advice the opposition now made an alliance with Louis whereby the French king promised to help them to ruin Danby on condition that they would compel Charles, by stopping the supplies, to make peace with France, doing thus a grave injury to Protestantism abroad for the sake of a temporary party advantage at home. Upon the refusal in November of the Lords to concur in the address of the Commons requesting the removal of the queen from court, he joined in a protest against the refusal, and was foremost in all the violent acts of the session. He urged on the bill by which Catholics were prohibited from sitting in either House of Parliament, and was bitter in his expressions of disappointment when the Commons passed a proviso excepting James, against whom the bill was especially aimed, from its operation. A new parliament met on the 6th of March 1679. Shaftesbury had meanwhile ineffectually warned the king that unless he followed his advice there would be no peace with the people. On the 2 5th of March he made a striking speech upon the state of the nation, especially upon the dangers to Protestantism and the misgovernment of Scotland and Ireland. He was suspected, too, of doing all in his power to bring about a revolt in Scotland. By the advice of Temple, Charles now tried the experiment of forming a new privy council in which the chief members of the opposition were included, and Shaftesbury was made president, with a salary of £4000, being also a member of the committee for foreign affairs. He did not, however, in any way change either his opinions or his action. He opposed the compelling of Protestant Nonconformists to take the oath required of Roman Catholics. That indeed, as Ranke says, which makes him memorable in English history is that he opposed the establishment of an Anglican and Royalist organization with success. The question of the succession was now again prominent, and Shaftesbury, in opposition to Halifax, committed the error, which really brought about his fall, of putting forward Monmouth as his nominee, thus alienating a large number of his supporters; he encouraged, too, the belief that this was agreeable to the king. He pressed on the Exclusion Bill with all his power, and, when that and the inquiry into the payments for secret service and the trial of the five peers, for which too he had been eager, were brought to an end by a sudden prorogation, he is reported to have declared aloud that he would have the heads of those who were the king's advisers to this course. Before the prorogation, however, he saw the invaluable Act of Habeas Corpus, which he had carried through parliament, receive the royal assent. In pursuance of his patronage of Monmouth, Shaftesbury now secured for him the command of the army sent to suppress the insurrection in Scotland, which he is supposed to have fomented. In October 1679, the circumstances which led Charles to desire to conciliate the opposition having ceased, Shaftesbury was dismissed from his presidency and from the privy council; when applied to by Sunderland to return to office he made as conditions the divorce of the queen and the exclusion of James. With nine other peers he presented a petition to the king in November, praying for the meeting of parliament, of which Charles took no notice. In April, upon the king's declaration that he was resolved to send for Tames from Scotland, Shaftesbury advised the popular leaders at once to leave the council, and they followed his advice. In March we find him unscrupulously eager in the prosecution of the alleged Irish Catholic plot. Upon .the king's illness in May he held frequent meetings of Monmouth's friends at his house to consider how best to act for the security of the Protestant religion. On the 26th of June, accompanied by fourteen others, he presented to the grand jury of Westminster an indictment of the duke of York as a Popish recusant. In the middle of September he was seriously ill. On the 1 5th of November the Exclusion Bill, having passed the Commons, was brought up to the Lords, and an historic debate took place, in which Halifax and Shaftesbury were the leaders on opposite sides. The bill was thrown out, and Shaftesbury signed the protest against its rejection. The next day he urged upon the House the divorce of the queen. On the 7th of December, to his lasting dishonour, he voted for the condemnation of Lord Stafford. On the 23rd he again spoke vehemently for exclusion, and his speech was immediately printed. All opposition was, however, checked by the dissolution on the 18th of January. A new parliament was called to meet at Oxford, to avoid the influences of the city of London, where Shaftesbury had taken the greatest pains to make himself popular., Shaftesbury, with fifteen other peers, petitioned the king that it might as usual be held in the capital.

He prepared instructions to be handed by constituencies to their