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[433] movements of the property of the country, and, no
Chap XVII.}
longer struggling to control events, ranged itself generally, yet without enthusiasm, on the side of the more liberal and tolerant party of the aristocracy.

The ministry of Clarendon, the first after the resto-

1660 to 1667
ration, acknowledged the indefeasible sovereignty of the king, and sought in the prelates and high nobility the natural allies to the royal prerogative. Its policy, not destitute of honest nationality, nor wholly regardless of English liberties, yet renewed intolerance, and, while it respected a balance of powers, claimed the preponderance for the monarch. But twenty years of freedom had rendered the dominion of the Church of England impossible. England was dissatisfied; ceasing to desire a republic, she still demanded greater security for freedom. But as no general election for parliament was held, a change of ministry could be effected only by a faction within the palace. The royal council sustained Clarendon; the rakes about court, railing at his moroseness, echoed the popular clamor against him. His overthrow ‘was certainly designed in Lady Castlemaine's chamber;’ and, as he retired at noonday from the audience of dismission, she ran undressed from her bed into her aviary, to enjoy the spectacle of the fallen minister, and ‘bless herself, at the old man's going away.’ The
gallants of Whitehall crowded to ‘talk to her in her bird-cage.’—‘You,’ said they to her, as they glanced at the retiring chancellor, ‘you are the bird of passage.’

The administration of the king'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

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