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T

HE duke of York, who succeeded

A: D. his brother by the title of king

1685. James the second, had been bred a papift by his mother, and was strictly bigoted to his principles. It is the property of that religion al. most ever to contract the sphere of the understanding; and until people are in some measure difengaged from its prejudices, it is impossible to lay a just claim to extensive views, or consistency of delign. The intellects of this prince were nafurally weak; and the education he had received rendered thein itill more feeble. He therefore conceived the impracticable project of reigning in the arbitrary manner of his predecessor, and of changing the established religion of his country, at a time when his person was hated, and the established religion paflionately loved. The people, though they despised the administration of his predeceffor, yet loved the king. They were willing to bear with the faults of one, whose whole behaviour was a continued instance of aitability; but A 2

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they were by no means willing to grant the same indulgence to James, as they knew him to be gloomy, proud, bigoted, and cruel.

His reign began with acts of imprudence. All the customs and the greater part of the excise, that had been voted to the late king for his life only, were levied by James, without a new act for that purpose. He likewise went openly to mass with all the enfigns of his dignity; and even fent one Caryl as his agent to Rome to make submiffions to the pope, and to pave the way for the readmiffion of England into the bosom of the catholic church. These were but inauspicious symptoms in the very beginning of his reign; but the progress no way fell short of the commencement.

He had, long before the commencement of his reign, had an intrigue with one Mrs. Sedley, whom he afterwards created countess of Dorchester ; but being now told that as he was to convert his people the sanctity of his manners ought to correspond with his professions, Mrs. Sedley was discarded, and he resigned himself up to the advice of the queen, who was as much governed by priests as he. From the suggestions of these men, and particularly the jesuits, all measures were taken. One day, when the Spanilh ambassador ventured to advise his majesty against placing too much confidence in such kind of people, “Is it not the cuí“ tom in Spain, said James, for the king to con- fult with his confeffor?” “ Yes, aniwered the “ ambassador, and that is the reason our affairs · succeed so very ill."

But though his actions might serve to demonftrate his aims, yet his parliament, which was mostly composed of zealous Tories, were strongly biaffed io comply with all the measures of the

own. They voted unanimoully that they would cettk on the present king, during life, all the reve

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nue enjoyed by the late king, until the time of his decease. For this favour, James assured them of his resolution to secure them in the full enjoyment of their laws; but no answer could be extorted. from him with regard to religion, for that he was secretly resolved to alter.

To pave the way for his intended conversion of the kingdom, it was necessary to undeceive them with regard to the late rumour of a popish plot; and Oates, the contriver, was the first object of royal indignation. He was tried for perjury on two indictments. One, for swearing that he was present at a consultation of Jesuits in London the twenty-fourth of April 1679; and another, for swearing that father Ireland was in London on the beginning of September of the same year. He was convicted on the evidence of above two and cwenty persons on the first, and of twenty seven on the latter indictment. His sentence was to pay a fine of a thousand marks on each indictment, to be whipped on two different days from Aldgate to Newgate, and froin Newgate io Tyburn. Totie imprisoned during life, and to be pilloried five times every year. Oates, long accustomed to a life of infamy and struggle, supported himself under every punishment that justice could inflict. He ayowed his innocence, called heaven to witness to his veracity; and he knew that there was a large party that were willing to take liis word. Though the whipping was so cruel, that it appeared evidently the intention of the court io put him to death by that dreadful punishment, yet Dates survived it all, and lived to king William's reign, when he had a pension of four hundred pounds a year fettled upon him. Thus Vates remains as a stain upon the times in every part of his conduct. It is a stain upon them that he was first believed, it is a stain upon them that he was carellid, that he was tyran

pically

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they were by no means willing to grant the same indulgence to James, as they knew him to be gloomy, proud, bigoted, and cruel.

His reign began with acts of imprudence. All the customs and the greater part of the excise, that had been voted to the late king for his life only, were levied by James, without a new act for that purpose. He likewise went openly to mass with all the enfigns of his dignity; and even fent one Caryl as his agent to Rome to make submiffions to the pope, and to pave the way for the readmiffion of England into the bosom of the catholic church. There were but inauspicious fymptoms in the very beginning of his reign; but the progrefs no way fell short of the commencement.

He had, long before the commencement of his reign, had an intrigue with one Mrs. Sedley, whom he afterwards created countess of Dorchester ; but being now told that as he was to convert his peo. ple the fanctity of his manners ought to correspond with his professions, Mrs. Sedley was discarded, and he refigned himself up to the advice of the queen, who was as much governed by priests as he. From the suggestions of these men, and particularly the jesuits, all measures were taken. One day, when the Spanish ambassador ventured to advise his majefty against placing too much confidence in such kind of people, “Is it not the cus“ tom in Spain, said James, for the king to con" fult with his confeffor?” “ Yes, answered the " ambassador, and that is the reason our affairs " succeed so very ill.”

But though his actions might serve to demonAtrate his aims, yet his parliament, which was mostly composed of zealous Tories, were trongly biaffed io comply with all the measures of the own. They voted unanimously that they would settk on the pielent king, during life, all the reve

nuc

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