« AnteriorContinuar »
THREE LETTERS writ by the E. of SHAFTESBURY whilst Prisoner in the Tower; one to K. Charles II, another to the D. of York, a third to a Noble Lord: found with Mr. LOCKE'S MEMOIRS relating to the Life of Anthony, First Earl of Shaftesbury..
To King CHARLES II.
THE Almighty God, the King of kings, permitted Job to dispute with him, and to order his cause before him; give me leave therefore, great sir, to lay my case before your majesty, and to plead not only my innocence but my merits towards your majesty; for " my integrity " will I hold fast, and will not let it go; my heart shall "not reproach me so long as I live.
I had the honour to have a principal hand in your restoration; neither did I act in it, but on a principle of piety and honour: I never betrayed (as your majesty knows) the party or councils I was of. I kept no correspondence with, nor I made no secret addresses to your majesty; neither did I endeavour to obtain any private terms or articles for myself, or reward for what I had or should do. In whatever I did toward the service of your majesty, I was solely acted by the sense of that duty I owed to God, the English nation, and your majesty's just right and title. I saw the hand of Providence that had led us through various forms of government, and had given power into the hands of several sorts of men, but he had given none of them a heart to use it as they should; they all fell to the prey, sought not the good or settlement of the nation, endeavoured only the enlargement and continuance of their own authority, and grasped at those very powers they had complained of so much, and for which so bloody and so fatal a war had been raised and continued in the bowels of the nation. I observed the leaders of the
great parties of religion, both laity and clergy, ready and forward to deliver up the rights and liberties of the people, and to introduce an absolute dominion; so that tyranny might be established in the hands of those that favoured their way, and with whom they might have hopes to divide the present spoil, having no eye to posterity, or thought of future things. One of the last scenes of this confusion was general Lambert's seizing of the government in a morning by force of arms, turning out the parliament and their council of state, and in their room erecting a committee of safety. The news of this gives a great surprize to general Monk, who commanded the army in Scotland. *
To the D. of YORK.
I HUMBLY confess I never thought my person or my principles acceptable to your royal highness; but at that juncture of time and occasion when I was committed, I had no reason to expect you should be my severe enemy. Reputation is the greatest concern of great dealers in the world; great princes are the greatest dealers; no reputation more their interest than to be thought merciful, relievers of the distressed, and maintainers of the ancient laws and rights of their country. This I ever wish may attend your royal highness, and that I may be one instance of it.
To the Lord
I HAD prepared this for your meeting in December; but that being adjourned to the Sd of April, an age to an old infirm man, especially shut up in a winter's prison; forgive me if I say you owe yourself and your
posterity, as well as me, the endeavouring to remove so severe a precedent on one of your members; such as I may truly say is the first of the kind, and I pray heartily may be the last. Your intercession to his majesty, if it be general, is not like to be refused; if you are single, yet you have done honourably, and what I should have done for you.