Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/135

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prisoner's confinement was not strict. He was allowed to entertain his friends at dinner. When at length his health began to suffer from restraint, he was permitted to go into the country under the care of a warder; the warder was soon removed; and Clarendon was informed that, while he led a quiet rural life, he should not be molested.[1]

The treason of Dartmouth was of no common dye. He was an English seaman; and he had laid a plan for betraying Portsmouth to the French, and had offered to take the command of a French squadron against his country. It was a serious aggravation of his guilt that he had been one of the very first persons who took the oaths to William and Mary. He was arrested and brought to the Council Chamber. A narrative of what passed there, written by himself, has been preserved. In that narrative he admits that he was treated with great courtesy and delicacy. He vehemently asserted his innocence. He declared that he had never corresponded with Saint Germains, that he was no favourite there, and that Mary of Modena in particular owed him a grudge. "My Lords," he said, "I am an Englishman. I always, when the interest of the House of Bourbon was strongest here, shunned the French, both men and women. I would lose the last drop of my blood rather than see Portsmouth in the power of foreigners. I am not such a fool as to think that King Lewis will conquer us merely for the benefit of King James. I am certain that nothing can be truly imputed to me beyond some foolish talk over a bottle." His protestations seem to have produced some effect; for he was at first permitted to remain in the gentle custody of the Black Rod. On further inquiry, however, it was determined to send him to the Tower. After a confinement of a few weeks he died of apoplexy; but he lived long enough to complete his disgrace by offering his sword to the new government, and by expressing in fervent language his hope that he might, by the goodness of God and of Their Majesties, have an opportunity of showing how much he hated the French.[2]

  1. See his Diary; Evelyn's Diary, Mar. 25, April 22, July 11, 1691; Burnet, ii. 71; Letters of Rochester to Burnet, March 21, and April 2, 1691.
  2. Life of James, ii. 443, 450; Legge Papers in the Mackintosh Collection.