Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/144

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cause of offence and suspicion, and was again arrested, examined and sent to prison.[1] At length he was permitted to retire, pursued by the hisses and curses of both parties, to a lonely manor house in the North Riding of Yorkshire. There, at least, he had not to endure the scornful looks of old associates who had once thought him a man of dauntless courage and spotless honour, but who now pronounced that he was at best a meanspirited coward, and hinted their suspicions that he had been from the beginning a spy and a trepan.[2] He employed the short and sad remains of his life in turning the Consolation of Bœthius into English. The translation was published after the translator's death. It is remarkable chiefly on account of some very unsuccessful attempts to enrich our versification with new metres, and on account of the allusions with which the preface is filled. Under a thin veil of figurative language, Preston exhibited to the public compassion or contempt his own blighted fame and broken heart. He complained that the tribunal which had sentenced him to death had dealt with him more leniently than his former friends, and that many, who had never been tried by temptations like his, had very cheaply earned a reputation for courage by sneering at his poltroonery, and by bidding defiance at a distance to horrors which, when brought near, subdue even a constant spirit.

The spirit of the Jacobites, which had been quelled for a time by the detection of Preston's plot, was revived by the fall of Mons. The joy of the whole party was boundless. The nonjuring priests ran backwards and forwards between Sam's Coffee House and Westminster Hall, spreading the praises of Lewis, and laughing at the miserable issue of the deliberations of the great Congress. In the Park the malecontents wore their biggest looks, and talked sedition in their loudest tones. The most conspicuous

  1. Narcissus Luttrell's Diary, August 1691; Letter from Vernon to Wharton, Oct. 17, 1691, in the Bodleian.
  2. The opinion of the Jacobites appears from a letter which is among the archives of the French War Office. It was written in London on the 25th of June 1691.