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the condition of New England; and whether they were of such power as to be able to resist his majesty, and declare for themselves, as independent of the crown. Their strength was reported to be the cause which of late years made them refractory. Ibid. 346; see, also, 358 What need of many words? The king was taken up by the childish, simple, and babyface, of a new favorite; Ibid. 332. 355. and his traffic of the honor and independence of England to the king of France. The duke of Buckingham, now in mighty favor, was revelling with a luxurious and abandoned rout, having with him the impudent countess of Shrewsbury, and his band of fiddlers; and the discussions at the council about New England, were, for the present, as Chap XII} fruitless as the inquiries how nutmegs and cinnamon might be naturalized in Jamaica. Massachusetts prospered by the neglect. It is, said Sir Joshua Child, in his discourse on trade, the 1670 most prejudicial plantation of Great Britain; the frug
e was one of the despised, afflicted and forsaken Quakers; and repair- Penn, i. 125. ing to court with his hat on, he sought to engage the Chap XVI.} duke of Buckingham in favor of liberty of conscience, claimed from those in authority better quarters for dissenters than stocks, and whips, and dungeons, and banishments, and wassoul. Humane by nature and by suffering; familiar with the royal family; intimate with Sunderland and Sydney; acquainted with Russel, Halifax, Shaftesbury, and Buckingham; as a member of the Royal Society, the peer of Newton and the great scholars of his age,—he valued the promptings of a free mind more than the Chap XVI.} awar with affectionate interest, and yet with careful criticism. True criticism does not consist in absolute skepticism as to exalted worth. he had advocated, with Buckingham and Arlington, before the magistrates of Ireland, and English juries, in the tower, in Newgate, before the commons of England, in public discussions with Baxter
azarding heaven for an ugly mistress, and, to the great delight of abbots and nuns, winning it back again by pricking his flesh with sharp points of iron, and eating no meat on Saturdays. Of the two Life of James II 586. brothers, the duke of Buckingham said well, that Charles would not, and James could not see. James Burnet. put his whole character into his reply to Andros, which 1677. Jan. 1. is as follows:— I cannot but suspect assemblies would be of dangerous consequence; nothing beinng's cabal followed. 1668 to 1671 England had demanded a liberal ministry; it obtained a dissolute one: it had demanded a ministry not enslaved to prelacy; it obtained one indifferent to all religion, and careless of every thing but pleasure. Buckingham, the noble buffoon at its head, debauched other men's wives, fought duels, and kept about him a train of vo- Chap. XVII.} 1668 to 1671. luptuaries; but he was not, like Clarendon, a tory by system; far from building up the exclusive Church of