Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/109

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who could be as entirely trusted as Bentinck or Zulestein. Caermarthen listened with a bitter smile. It was new, he afterwards said, to see a nobleman placed in the Secretary's office, as a footman was placed in a box at the theatre, merely in order to keep a seat till his betters came. But this jest was a cover for serious mortification and alarm. The situation of the prime minister was unpleasant and even perilous; and the duration of his power would probably have been short, had not fortune, just at this moment, put it in his power to confound his adversaries by rendering a great service to the state.[1]

The Jacobites had seemed in August to be completely crushed. The victory of the Boyne, and the irresistible explosion of patriotic feeling produced by the appearance of Tourville's fleet on the coast of Devonshire, had cowed the boldest champions of hereditary right. Most of the chief plotters passed some weeks in confinement or in concealment. But, widely as the ramifications of the conspiracy had extended, only one traitor suffered the punishment of his crime. This was a man named Godfrey Cross, who kept an inn on the beach near Rye, and who, when the French fleet was on the coast of Sussex, had given information to Tourville. When it appeared that this solitary example was thought sufficient, when the danger of invasion was over, when the popular enthusiasm excited by that danger had subsided, when the lenity of the government had permitted some conspirators to leave their prisons and had encouraged others to venture out of their hidingplaces, the faction which had been prostrated and stunned began to give signs of returning animation. The old traitors again mustered at the old haunts, exchanged significant looks and eager whispers, and drew from their pockets libels on the Court of Kensington, and letters in milk and lemon juice from the Court of Saint Germains. Preston, Dartmouth, Clarendon, Penn, were among the most busy. With them, was leagued the nonjuring Bishop of

  1. As to the designs of the Whigs against Caermarthen, see Burnet, ii. 68, 69, and a very significant protest in the Lords' journals, October 30, 1690. As to the relations between Caermarthen and Godolphin, see Godolphin's letter to William, dated March 20, 1691, in Dalrymple.