Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/145

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among these swaggerers was Sir John Fenwick, who had, in the late reign, been high in favour and in military command, and was now an indefatigable agitator and conspirator. In his exultation he forgot the courtesy which man owes to woman. He had more than once made himself conspicuous by his impertinence to the Queen. He now ostentatiously put himself in her way when she took her airing; and, while all around him uncovered and bowed low, gave her a rude stare and cocked his hat in her face. The affront was not only brutal, but cowardly. For the law had provided no punishment for mere impertinence, however gross; and the King was the only gentleman and soldier in the kingdom who could not protect his wife from contumely with his sword. All that the Queen could do was to order the parkkeepers not to admit Sir John again within the gates. But, long after her death, a day came when he had reason to wish that he had restrained his insolence. He found, by terrible proof, that of all the Jacobites, the most desperate assassins not excepted, he was the only one for whom William felt an intense personal aversion.[1]

A few days after this event the rage of the malecontents began to flame more fiercely than ever. The detection of the conspiracy of which Preston was the chief had brought on a crisis in ecclesiastical affairs. The nonjuring bishops had, during the year which followed their deprivation, continued to reside in the official mansions which had once been their own. Burnet had, at Mary's request, laboured to effect a compromise. His direct interference would probably have done more harm than good. He therefore judiciously employed the agency of Rochester, who stood higher in the estimation of the nonjurors than any statesman who was not a nonjuror, and of Trevor, who, worthless as he was, had considerable influence with the High Church party. Sancroft and his brethren were informed that, if they would consent to perform their spiritual duty, to ordain, to institute, to confirm, and to watch over the faith and the morality

  1. Welwood's Mercurius Reformatus, April 11, 24, 1691; Narcissus Luttrell's Diary, April 1691; L'Hermitage to the States General, June 19/29, 1696; Calamy's Life. The story of Fenwick's rudeness to Mary is told in different ways. I have followed what seems to me the most authentic, and what is certainly the least disgraceful, version.