Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 04.djvu/291

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Bentinck
Bentinck
287

of Holland among the estates of the province, he was for a time hindered from doing so by a protest on the part of the city of Amsterdam, whose old jealousy of the stadtholder had revived. Thus it was attempted in his own country to place a stigma upon him as an English public servant and member of parliament, while in England his influence was already decried as that of an alien. The dispute, which was fomented by French intrigue, was amicably settled by March 1690 (Ranke; Van Kampen, Geschichte der Niederlande, ii. 321-2; Luttrell, ii. 19-20). About the same time Portland was engaged in further negotiations with Brandenburg, involving more assurances as to the Orange inheritance, and ending in the conclusion, by May, of what was in fact, though not in name, a subsidy-treaty (Droysen, iv. 1, 90-3; Klopp, v. 242-3). In these negotiations Portland had pointed out how much depended upon the success of the Irish campaign, on which he accompanied the king in June, taking the place in the royal travelling-carriage of which Prince George of Denmark was ambitious. While they were absent in Ireland Sir James Montgomery betrayed to the queen an abortive plot between the Jacobites and presbyterian zealots in Scotland, which, according to Burnet, had been formed to some extent in reliance upon the jealousies between Portland and some of the English whig leaders. In January 1691 the king and his faithful follower were on their way to Holland, whence they returned in October. On their way both to and fro they met with unpleasant adventures. The attempt of the king to land in Holland during a thick sea fog in an open boat involved him and his companions in serious danger (Macaulay; Luttrell, ii. 165; Klopp, v. 228 seqq., from the pilot's narrative, ap. Sylvius). On his return he had landed at Margate and was driving thence to Gravesend when the wretched conveyance broke down and the king had a rather precipitous fall, being thrown under Portland, but escaped with a slight injury to the arm (Newsletter in Lord Denbigh's MSS., Historical Manuscripts Commission, Seventh Report, 204a). The next year, 1692, was full of perils of a different nature for William III. When, in January, Marlborough was suddenly dismissed from his offices, his friends declared that he had fallen a victim to the machinations of Portland, whom he was known to dislike, and whom he had described as a wooden fellow (Macaulay). But the cause for William's anger or apprehension lay deeper. Rightly or wrongly, James II believed that a plot formed about this time to recall him by a parliamentary vote after dismissing all foreigners from council, army, and kingdom, was frustrated by the discovery of the scheme to Portland (Macpherson, Original Papers, i. 440; cf. Klopp, vi. 27). The king went to Holland in March, and early in May Portland and Essex arrived in England with a squadron of Dutch men-of-war. A cabinet council was immediately called to consider the situation and to take measures for meeting the threatened French invasion and for dealing with supposed treasonable designs at home. Portland's mission thus connects itself directly with the imprisonment of Marlborough, and with the victory of La Hogue. In 1693, though Portland as usual accompanied the king into the field, and was wounded ‘in several places but not mortal’ at the battle of Landen (19 July; see Luttrell, iii. 146), he was also much occupied with difficulties at home. We find him settling a delicate matter with the Spanish ambassador, who had opened a Roman catholic chapel in lodgings unexpectedly taken by him at Whitehall, and a personal difficulty about a claim of the Duchess of Grafton, which threatened to create a controversy between the two houses of parliament (Newsletter in Denbigh MSS., Hist. MSS. Rep. vii. 219, 220). It was natural enough that he should vote against the Place Bill, when in its first form it was just lost in the House of Lords in December 1692. The Triennial Bill having hereupon been brought in, Portland was sent to consult the oracle at Moor Park; but, notwithstanding Temple's decided advice to the contrary, the king refused his assent to the unwelcome act. After both measures had been reintroduced later in the year, and the Place Bill had been carried through both houses, the king's refusal, in January 1694, to assent to it, led to an all but unanimous resolution of the commons that those who had advised the crown on this occasion were public enemies. The representation addressed to the king, begging him not to pay heed to the secret speeches of private persons, was believed to point at Portland, for whom the House of Commons entertained a persistent dislike (Klopp, vi. 282-3, on the authority of the imperial resident Hoffmann). This dislike was manifested a second time, when it was hoped that among the disclosures as to illicit expenditure expected from Sir Thomas Cook, the chairman of the East India Company, to whom, in 1695, a conditional indemnity was granted for the purpose, would be found corrupt dealings with Portland. It only appeared, however, that 50,000l. had been offered to him by the company, and after being long pressed