Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/529

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525
WILLIAM AND MARY.

want to see Spain."[1] These were mere pretences. Had Shrewsbury spoken the whole truth, he would have said that he had, in an evil hour, been false to the cause of that Revolution in which he had borne so great a part, that he had entered into engagements of which he repented, but from which he knew not how to extricate himself, and that, while he remained under those engagements, he was unwilling to enter into the service of the existing government. Marlborough, Godolphin and Russell, indeed, had no scruple about corresponding with one King while holding office under the other. But Shrewsbury had, what was wanting to Marlborough, Godolphin and Russell, a conscience, a conscience which indeed too often failed to restrain him from doing wrong, but which never failed to punish him.

In consequence of his refusal to accept the Seals, the ministerial arrangements which the King had planned were not carried into entire effect till the end of the session. Meanwhile the proceedings of the two Houses had been highly interesting and important.

Soon after the Parliament met, the attention of the Commons was again called to the state of the trade with India, and the charter which had just been granted to the Old Company was laid before them. They would probably have been disposed to sanction the new arrangement, which, in truth, differed little from that which they had themselves suggested not many months before, if the Directors had acted with prudence. But the Directors, from the day on which they had obtained their charter, had persecuted the interlopers without mercy, and had quite forgotten that it was one thing to persecute interlopers in the Eastern Seas, and another to persecute them in the port of London. Hitherto the war of the monopolists against the private trade had been generally carried on at the distance of fifteen thousand miles from England. If harsh things were done, the English public did not see them done, and did not hear of them till long after they had been done; nor was it by any means easy to ascertain at West-

  1. See the letters written at this time by Elizabeth Villiers, Wharton, Russell and Shrewsbury, in the Shrewsbury Correspondence.