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It would appear, that Jefferies was scarcely seated on the wool-sack, before his influence began to wane at court. “I am very confident,” says a letter-writer in the Ellis correspondence,“ that matters are brewing to break the neck of our wide-mouthed, high paced — , &c.; and as conjurors throw a dog or a cat to allay the devil with, so he may be thrown as a choosing morsel to the next parliament.” The
dog, however, was resolved to shun his fate, if he could, by another piece of villany. By the advice of his chancellor, James resorted to the infatuated step of establishing an ecclesiastical commission, in which Jefferies bore himself so arrogantly, and with such outrageous violation of the most ordinary principles of justice, that the whole kingdom was thrown into a flame. At last the prince of Orange landed, and James fled from London. Jefferies, aware that for him at least no hope of mercy remained, hastened to follow his master's example. The following narrative of his abortive attempt at escape is taken from “ The Lives of the Chancellors :'--" The chancellor, now without protection, having rendered himself obnoxious to most people, and being perfectly hated by the nation, on Monday, between three and four in the morning, withdrew, and having in disguise got down safe to Wapping, put himself on board a collier, which was pretended to be bound for Newcastle, but indeed was designed for Hamburgh; but some persons having notice thereof, by means of the mate, they went to a justice for a warrant to apprehend him ; but he thought fit to put them off, whereupon they applied themselves forthwith to the lords of the council, who granted them a warrant, and they went immediately to search the ship. But he, on Tuesday night, not thinking himself safe on board the collier in which he was to pass, lay in another ship hard by, so that those who came that day to search for him missed of him on board, but had information given them that he was hard by at a little peddling alehouse, where accordingly they found him, being the sign of the Red Cow, in Anchor and Hope Alley, near King Edward's Stairs, from whence they immediately hurried him in a coach, guarded with several blunderbusses, to the lord mayor's ; where the crowd was so great, and the rabble so numerous, all crying out together, Vengeance ! Justice ! Justice ! that the lord mayor was forced to come out into his balcony, with his hat in his hand, and to desire the people to go away and keep peace, and did promise them that he had already sent to the lords of the council about the matter, and that they should have justice done them, and that in the mean time their prisoner should be safely guarded. Whereupon the people withdrew, and soon after my lord, under a strong guard, was sent to the lords of the council, who committed him to the Tower, where he continued to the 18th of April
, 1689, when he was freed by death from his earthly confinement. He had for some years before been subject to terrible fits of the stone, which in all probability now accelerated his death, though others gave out be abandoned himself to excessive drinking, thinking to support his sinking spirits by it, and that that helped forward to put a period to his life. He was buried privately in the Tower the Sunday night following, by an order his relations got from King William.” Burnet adds to his account of the capture of Jefferies, that “the lord mayor was so struck with the terror of the rude populace, and with the disgrace of a man who had made all people tremble before him, that he fell into fits, of which he died soon after.”
It is indeed difficult, as Mr Roscoe observes, to form a cool and impartial opinion of the character of Jefferies. We cannot detect the real lineaments of the man through the blaze of villany in which he appears enveloped throughout the whole of his life. We shall not attempt to analyse his moral character, but rest satisfied with the conviction that moral principle never guided any single action of his life. As to his professional abilities, we are not quite so sure that these were a nonentity. He seems not to have been deficient in legal knowledge, and to have possessed some talents as a speaker. Of his personal character, Roger North has bequeathed us the following sketch :-“His friendship and conversation lay much amongst the good fellows and humorists, and his delights were accordingly drinking, laughing, singing, kissing, and all the extravagancies of the bottle. He had a set of banterers for the most part near him, as, in old times, great men kept fools to make them merry, and these fellows, abusing one another and their betters, were a regale to him ; and no friendship or dearness could be so great in private, which he could not use ill, and to an extravagant degree, in public. No one that had any expectations from him was safe from his public contempt and derision, which some of his minions at the bar bitterly felt. Those above, and that could hurt or benefit him, and none else, might depend on fair quarter at his hands. When he was in temper, and matters indifferent came before him, he became his seat of justice better than any other I ever saw in his place. He took a pleasure in mortifying fraudulent attorneys, and would deal forth his severities with a sort of majesty. He had extraordinary natural abili. ties, but little acquired, beyond what practice in affairs had supplied. He talked Auently and with spirit ; and his weakness was, that he could not reprehend without scolding, and in such Billingsgate language as should not come out of the mouth of any man. He called it 'giving a lick with the rough side of his tongue.' It was ordinary to hear him say, “Go, you are a filthy, lousy, nitty rascal l' with much more of like elegance. Scarce a day passed that he did not chide some one or other of the bar, when he sate in the chancery, and it was commonly a lecture of a quarter of an hour long. And they used to say, * This is yours ; my turn will be to-morrow.' He seemed to lay nothing of his business to heart, nor care what he did, nor what he left undone, and spent in the chancery court what time he thought fit to spare. Many times on days of causes at his house, the company have waited five hours in a morning, and after eleven he hath come out inflamed, and staring like one distracted, and that visage he put on when he animadverted on such as he took offence at, which made him a terror to real offenders, whom also he terrified with his face and voice, as if the thunder of the day of judgment broke over their heads, and nothing ever made men tremble like his vocal inflictions. He loved to insult, and was bold without check, but that only was when his place was uppermost. To give an instance : A city attorney was petitioned against for some abuse, and affidavit was made that, when he was told of my lord-chancellor, · My lord-chancellor !' said he, “I made him!' meaning his being a means to bring him early into city business. When this affidavit was read, “Well,' said the lord-chancellor, then I will lay my maker by the heels, and with that conceit one of his best old friends went to jail. One of these intemperances was fatal to him. There was a scrivener of Wapping brought to hearing for relief against a bummery bond : the contingency of losing all being shown, the bill was going to be dismissed; but one of the plaintiff's counsel said that he was a strange fellow, and sometimes went to church, sometimes to conventicles, and none could tell what to make of him, and it was thought he was a trimmer. At that the chancellor fired : “A trimmer!' said he; 'I have heard much of that monster, but never saw one. Come forth, Mr Trimmer I turn you round, and let us see your shape !’ and at that rate talked so long, that the poor fellow was ready to drop under him ; but at last the bill was dismissed with costs, and he went his way. In the hall, one of his friends asked him how he came off.
Came off!' said he ; 'I am escaped from the terrors of that man's face, which I would scarcely undergo again to save my life ; and I shall certainly have the frightful impression of it as long as I live.' Afterwards, when the prince of Orange came, and all was in confusion, this lord-chancellor, being very obnoxious, disguised himself, in order to go beyond sea : he was in a seaman's garb, and drinking a pot in a cellar. This scrivener came into the cellar after some of his clients, and his eye caught that face, which made him start ; and the chancellor, seeing himself eyed, feigned a cough, and turned to the wall with his pot in his hand; but Mr Trimmer went out and gave notice that he was there, whereupon the mob flowed in, and he was in extreme hazard of his life ; but the lord-mayor saved him, and lost himself. For the chancellor being hurried, with such crowd and noise, before him, and appearing so dismally, not only disguised but disordered, and there having been an amity betwixt them, as also a veneration on the lord-mayor's part, he had not spirit to sustain the shock, but fell down in a swoon, and not many hours after died.”
If the reader think we have dealt somewhat hardly, in the present instance, with our man, we beg to recommend to his special consideration the following remarks of Mr Henry Roscoe, which we conceive to be not less just in sentiment than forcible and elegant in expression :—“The ease with which those who are conversant with courts of justice learn to disregard the sufferings of others, and the faculty, which too often follows, of turning those sufferings into ridicule, are but modifications of those brutal qualities which in Jefferies appeared in their full perfection. It may perhaps tend, in some degree, to prevent the growth of those callous and inhuman feelings, to observe them in the odiousness of their complete developement, and to remark the execration and abhorrence which they never fail to excite in every heart of common sensibility. It is a salutary lesson to see the memory of Jefferies descending to posterity darkened with the indignant reproaches of each succeeding age, and weighed down by an ever-increasing weight of infamy. To affix to his polluted name an additional stigma, to brand his dishonoured memory with a fresh mark of reprobation, is an office grateful to humanity."
But this appointinent being by no means pleasing to Cromwell, Ludlow was soon afterwards superseded by Fleetwood, who went over invested with the chief authority under the title of lieutenant-general. When Cromwell finally dissolved the long parliament, Ludlow without hesitation expressed disapprobation of his conduct ; and used his utmost efforts to oppose the protector's usurpation. He suceceded in preventing the proclamation of Cromwell in Dublin for a fortnight; but that measure being at last resolved upon by the council on the casting vote of a Mr Roberts, the auditor-general, he positively refused to sign the order, or to be present at the ceremony. From this time he refused to act any longer in his civil capacity of commissioner of the parliament, though he continued to exercise his military office; and he refused to countenance the proposal that Cromwell and his council should nominate the thirty Irish members, who were to sit in the parliament at Westminster in virtue of Cromwell's instrument of government; a proposal made under the apprehension, that with any thing like a free election, only enemies of the English interest would be returned.
As might have been expected, Ludlow's conduct excited the protector's fears, which, in conjunction with the fact of his having circulated some copies of the army-petition to Cromwell, led to his being deprived of his command. He would not, however, deliver up his commission to any other authority than that of the parliament, and desired leave to return to England, which he could not obtain. After a good deal of negotiation, it was at last settled that he should be allowed to go, on giving his word to appear before Cromwell, and not to act against him in the meantime. But his departure was delayed by Fleetwood, under various pretences, till Henry Cromwell came over, when Ludlow, wearied out by the delay, and having the passport of Fleetwood, went on board the ship of war which had been ordered to convey him to England, and set sail neither with the permission, nor against the order of the new governor.
On reaching Beaumaris, however, he found one Captain Shaw, who had been despatched by Cromwell and the rest of the council, with an order to detain him there till the protector's pleasure should be known. He was detained, accordingly, for no less than six weeks, but was at last allowed to proceed to London, under an engagement to do nothing against the existing government before surrendering himself a prisoner at Whitehall. There he had an interview with the protector himself (Dec. 1655), but he could not be persuaded to grant an absolute engagement not to act against him. When Cromwell called his second parliament, he was again summoned before the council, with several other patriots, and another unsuccessful attempt was made to get from him such an obligation. Upon his refusal he was ordered into custody, but was allowed to remain in his own lodgings; and was afterwards permitted to go down to Essex with his wife, and father and mother-in-law, where he spent the summer. At the general election, however, notwithstanding the illegal interference of the major-general of the county, he was proposed as a candidate, and supported by a large body of the freeholders of Wiltshire. He was elected to the parliament called after the death of the protector, where he sat for some time without taking the oath required of every member not to contrive any thing against the authority of the new protector; but being at last perceived, and it being proposed that the oath should be put to him, a debate arose, though the question was evaded by the discovery of a person in the house who had not been elected at all, and against whom the indignation of the members was immediately directed. In this parliament, Ludlow continued a steady adherent of the commonwealth party, whose hopes had again been raised by the death of Oliver, and the dissensions which had arisen in the army between the Wallingfordhouse party and that of Richard Cromwell. Ludlow took an active share in the negotiations between the former faction and the republicans, which ended in the resignation of Richard Cromwell, and the restitution of the long parliament.
When the long parliament was revived, Ludlow took his seat as one of the members, elated by the aspect of public affairs, and the renovation of a body whose power had been too openly disregarded ever to be permanently restored. He was, at the same time, appointed to the command of a regiment, which he accepted, as he saw the necessity of the republicans having influence in the army, to control the Wallingfordhouse party, which, from the first, displayed symptoms of disaffection to the cause of the commonwealth. He was also appointed one of the 21 members of parliament chosen to compose the council of state ; and was named one of the commissioners for the nomination of officers to be approved of by the parliament. Meanwhile, the Wallingford-house party, dissatisfied with many of the proceedings adopted, drew up an address to the house embodying their wishes, some of which were very reasonable. By supporting some of the views contained in this address, Ludlow was unjustly accused of espousing the interests of the army against the parliament. Having been appointed commander of the forces in Ireland, he took the employment only under the condition that when he had restored that country to tranquillity, he should be at liberty to return to England. He remained, however, for some time in London, busily engaged in the schemes of that feverish time, but always acting an honest part, and supporting those proposals which were most likely to secure the establishment of a free and equal commonwealth, and exerting himself to remove the jealousies between the parliament and the army, as the only means of keeping down the common enemy. His conduct in Ireland was regulated by the same motive; he endeavoured to promote union, and, by new-modelling the army, to advance those who he thought had given the best proofs of their affection to the public interest. But affairs in England becoming every day more unsettled, he imagined that his services there might be of importance, and accordingly hastened his departure. On his arrival at Beaumaris, he found to his dismay, that the army had again controlled the parliament, and assumed the power into its own hands. And this account being confirmed on his arrival at Chester, he exhorted the troops to remain faithful to the parliament, and pursued his journey to London without delay.
On his arrival in London, Fleetwood endeavoured to persuade him to attend the meetings of the council of officers, but he desired to be excused from intermeddling in their consultations. He now began to think all the time lost that he had spent in endeavouring to unite so many broken and divided councils, but he consented to act for the officers in