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“question, declare our resolution, to “ reform, that is, not to abolish, Epis“ copacy.”
It cannot but be wished that he, who could speak in this manner, had been able to act with spirit and uniformity.
When the Commons began to set the royal authority at open defiance, Waller. is said to have withdrawn from the house, and to have returned with the king's permission; and, when the king set up his standard, he sent him a thousand broad-pieces. He continued, however, to fit in the rebellious conventicle; but “ spoke," says Clarendon, “ with great “ sharpness and freedom, which, now “ there was no danger of being out“ voted, was not restrained; and there
“ fore used as an argument against those “ who were gone upon pretence that " they were not suffered to deliver their 66 opinion freely in the house, which - could not be believed, when all men 56 knew what liberty Mr. Waller took, “ and spoke every day with impunity 56 against the sense and proceedings of " the house.”
Waller, as he continued to fit, was one of the commissioners nominated by the parliament to treat with the king at Oxford; and when they were presented, the king said to him, “ Though " you are the last, you are not the low“ est nor the least in my favour.” Whitlock, who, being another of the commissioners, was witness of this kindness, imputes it to the king's knowledge of the plot, in which Waller appeared afterwards to have been engaged against the parliament. Fenton, with equal probability, believes that his attempt to promote the royal cause arose from his fenfibility of the king's tenderness. Whitlock says nothing of his behaviour at Oxford: he was sent with several others to add pomp to the commission; but was not one of those to whom the trust of treating was imparted.
The engagement, known by the name of Waller’s plot, was soon afterwards discovered. Waller had a brother-inlaw, Tomkyns, who was clerk of the Queen's council, and at the same time had a very numerous acquaintance, and
great influence, in the city. Waller and he, conversing with great confidence, told both their own secrets and those of their friends; and, surveying the wide extent of their conversation, imagined that they found in the majority of all ranks great disapprobation of the violence of the Commons, and unwillingness to continue the war. They knew that many favoured the king, whose fear concealed their loyalty ; and many desired peace, though they durst not oppose the clamour for war; and they imagined that if those who had these good intentions could be informed of their own strength, and enabled by intelligence to act together, they might overpower the fury of sedition, by re
fusing fusing to comply with the ordinance for the twentieth part, and the other taxes levied for the support of the rebel army and by uniting great numbers in a peti: tion for peace.
Lord Conway joined in the design and, as Clarendon imagines, inciden dentally mingled, as he was a soldier, some martial hopes or projects, which however were only mentioned, the main design being to bring the loyal inhabitants to the knowledge of each other for which purpose there was to be appointed one in every district, to distinguish the friends of the king, the adherents to the parliament, and the neutrals. How far they proceeded does inot appear; the result of their enquiry,