Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/111

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therefore do well to take without delay such measures as might indicate his resolution to protect the established religion. Unhappily every letter which arrived from France contained something tending to irritate feelings which it was most desirable to soothe. Stories were every where current of slights offered at Saint Germains to Protestants who had given the highest proof of loyalty by following into banishment a master zealous for a faith which was not their own. The edicts which had been issued against the Huguenots might perhaps have been justified by the anarchical opinions and practices of those sectaries; but it was the height of injustice and of inhospitality to put those edicts in force against men who had been driven from their country solely on account of their attachment to a Roman Catholic King. Surely sons of the Anglican Church, who had, in obedience to her teaching, sacrificed all that they most prized on earth to the royal cause, ought not to be any longer interdicted from assembling in some modest edifice to celebrate her rites and to receive her consolations. An announcement that Lewis had, at the request of James, permitted the English exiles to worship God according to their national forms would be the best prelude to the great attempt. That attempt ought to be made early in the spring. A French force must undoubtedly accompany His Majesty. But he must declare that he brought that force only for the defence of his person and for the protection of his loving subjects, and that, as soon as the foreign oppressors had been expelled, the foreign deliverers should be dismissed. He must also promise to govern according to law, and must refer all the points which had been in dispute between him and his people to the decision of a Parliament.

It was determined that Preston should carry to Saint Germains the resolutions and suggestions of the conspirators, John Ashton, a person who had been clerk of the closet to Mary of Modena when she was on the throne, and who was entirely devoted to the interests of the exiled family, undertook to procure the means of conveyance, and for this purpose engaged the cooperation of a hotheaded young Jacobite named Elliot, who only knew in general that a service of some hazard was to be rendered to the good cause.