Diary of the times of Charles II/Volume 2/Mr. Godolphin to the Prince of Orange, June 28, 1681

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London, June 28th, 1681.

Mr. Sidney has told me that your Highness does me still the honour to preserve me in your good opinion, and that you are so just as to believe me as full of zeal for your service, and as much devoted to your interests as truly and sincerely from my heart I am, and I hope always shall continue to be, but I am not very good at compliments and great expressions, and, if I am not deceived, your Highness cares as little to be troubled with them. Mr. Sidney has told me further that your Highness has spoken to him of a thought you have lately had, that it might be of good use to you to come over into England at this time, and that you had given him leave to acquaint me with it, and to know my opinion of it. I confess I was very well pleased to hear him say it was your Highnesses own thought, and that you seemed to have an inclination for it; for my part I have wished for it a great while, and I think it more necessary now than ever, for I am satisfied there is nothing that can so infallibly restore that good understanding between the King and your Highness which is so necessary for you both, and which every day (to my great trouble) I see more and more likely to decline; and I am afraid will be quite lost at last, if your Highness will not please to make use of all your prudence and all your temper, (and perhaps some of your address too,) to prevent this misfortune: thus far Mr, Sidney and I were of a mind.

We agreed that it must needs be well for your Highness to come over at this time, but we differed a little upon the pretext you were to take for it; he seemed to think it would be best for your Highness to ask the King's leave that you might come over to wait upon him, as a visit of compliment only, without pretending any business at all, which at another time might perhaps be the best way: but, at this time, considering how things stand between the King and your Highness, the difficulties that have risen about Mr. Skelton's going into Holland, and Mr. Sidney's commanding the troops there, I was of opinion that it would look a great deal better, and I thought be more agreeable to your inclinations, to speak out plainly upon this occasion, and to write to the King that you found yourself so much troubled and concerned for the dissatisfaction which his Majesty seemed to have at your proceedings in the business of Mr. Skelton, and so apprehensive lest any other occasion might happen to increase it, that you could have no satisfaction in your own mind till you had begged his Majesty's leave to come and wait upon him, and endeavour to set yourself right in his good opinion; and if your Highness would please to add to this such assurances of your zeal for the King's service and his greatness as you shall think fit; of your desire to be acquainted with the measures he proposes to take, that you might be able to assist him to the utmost of your power; and of your desire to establish a good correspondence with those whom the King is pleased to trust and employ in his business: upon these advances to the King, I am sure your Highness might come over hither with great advantage; and the countenance and the kindness which the King will show you, finding you in this temper, joined to the love and esteem, and the natural inclination which people have for you here, would presently give your Highness such an influence upon every body, (even the ministers themselves,) that you would be able to give what turn you pleased to most of our affairs here that are of the greatest importance; at least, this is my opinion of the matter, which, if I have given too bluntly or imperfectly to your Highness, I do most humbly beg your pardon for it. I should not have presumed to do it at all, but that Mr. Sidney made me understand it was your Highness's express pleasure and command, which shall always be most readily observed by me with the greatest respect and duty imaginable.

  1. Published by Dalrymple, Mem. i. 70.