Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/503

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the impious hypocrisy of counterfeiting the signs of conversion. Marlborough had not pretended to be convinced by the arguments of the Jesuits, to be touched by divine grace, to pine for union with the only true Church. Marlborough had not, when Popery was in the ascendant, crossed himself, shrived himself, done penance, taken the communion in one kind, and, as soon as a turn of fortune came, apostatized back again, and proclaimed to all the world that, when he knelt at the confessional and received the host, he was merely laughing at the King and the priests. The crime of Sunderland was one which could never be forgiven by James; and a crime which could never be forgiven by James was, in some sense, a recommendation to William. The Court, nay, the Council, was full of men who might hope to prosper if the banished King were restored. But Sunderland had left himself no retreat. He had broken down all the bridges behind him. He had been so false to one side that he must of necessity be true to the other. That he was in the main true to the government which now protected him there is no reason to doubt; and, being true, he could not but be useful. He was, in some respects, eminently qualified to be at that time an adviser of the Crown. He had exactly the talents and the knowledge which William wanted. The two together would have made up a consummate statesman. The master was capable of forming and executing large designs, but was negligent of those small arts in which the servant excelled. The master saw farther off than other men; but what was near no man saw so clearly as the servant. The master, though profoundly versed in the politics of the great community of nations, never thoroughly understood the politics of his own kingdom. The servant was perfectly well informed as to the temper and the organization of the English factions, and as to the strong and weak parts of the character of every Englishman of note.

Early in 1693, it was rumoured that Sunderland was consulted on all important questions relating to the internal administration of the realm; and the rumour became stronger when it was known that he had come up to London in the autumn before the meeting of Parliament