Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/266

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them in gorgeous liveries, bought fine horses, lodged in Pall Mall, and showed his brazen forehead, overtopped by a wig worth fifty guineas, in the antechambers of the palace and in the stage box at the theatre. He even gave himself the airs of a favourite of royalty, and, as if he thought that William could not live without him, followed His Majesty first to Ireland, and then to the Congress of Princes at the Hague. Fuller afterwards boasted that, at the Hague, he appeared with a retinue fit for an ambassador, that he gave ten guineas a week for an apartment, and that the worst waistcoat which he condescended to wear was of silver stuff at forty shillings a yard. Such profusion, of course, brought him to poverty. Soon after his return to England he took refuge from the bailiffs in Axe Yard, a place lying within the verge of Whitehall. His fortunes were desperate; he owed great sums; on the government he had no claim; his past services had been overpaid; no future service was to be expected from him; having appeared in the witness box as evidence for the Crown, he could no longer be of any use as a spy on the Jacobites; and by all men of virtue and honour, to whatever party they might belong, he was abhorred and shunned.

Just at this time, when he was in the frame of mind in which men are open to the worst temptations, he fell in with the worst of tempters, in truth, with the Devil in human shape. Oates had obtained his liberty, his pardon, and a pension which made him a much richer man than nineteen twentieths of the members of that profession of which he was the disgrace. But he was still unsatisfied. He complained that he had now less than three hundred a year. In the golden days of the Plot he had been allowed three times as much, had been sumptuously lodged in the palace, had dined on plate and had been clothed in silk. He clamoured for an increase of his stipend. Nay, he was even impudent enough to aspire to ecclesiastical preferment, and thought it hard that, while so many mitres were distributed, he could not get a deanery, a prebend, or even a living. He missed no opportunity of urging his pretensions. He haunted the public offices and the lobbies of the Houses of Parliament. He