AN ANSWER To a PAPER, Entituled, A Brief Account of the Designs of the PAPISTS against the Earl of Shaftsbury, occasioned by his Commit­ment, July 2. 1681.

I Will not pretend to enter into the matter of Fact, for which the Noble Peer stands Accused and Committed, but leave the merits of his Cause, and the disquisition of his Guilt or Innocence, together with the validity of the Evi­dence, to those Noble Persons who are to be his Judges; whose Honor, Wis­dom and Integrity without doubt will not fail to do both him, and themselves Justice upon his Trial: and I think it had been no more than becomes all good Subjects, pa­tiently to attend the issue of that affair; and not, as the Author of this Paper, who pretends a service and particular friendship to his Lordship, by Printing a lame Apolo­gy, to bring his Actions upon the stage, and expose them to a more curious Examina­tion, than possibly they would otherwise have fallen under.

Nor can I imagine, to what purpose the Vindicator should endeavour to render his Lordships Fame and Interest so popular, as if the safety of the Nation, our Laws, Li­berties and Religion, were to have the same fate and period with his Lordships breath; that he is to be esteemed the main pillar of the English Security; and that the happi­ness of the Nation is chained to his good or ill Destiny; unless he had a secret design to do his Lordship a mischief, by making him so infinitely popular, as thereby to become dangerous and suspected; since it has been an old observation, collected from the Hi­stories of all places and ages, That few Subjects who have courted Popularity have been Innocent, and fewer Fortunate: and which is above all dispute, the sacred story informs us, that when Absalom made his warm Applications to the People, and there­by stole their hearts, it was the Prologue to an unnatural Rebellion against his Royal Father, and drew upon him the hard destiny of an untimely death, and a monument of Infamy which will last to all Eternity.

And indeed, the Vindicator is fallen upon very unhappy mediums to effect his De­sign; for certainly any mans Reputation must be ill rescued from pretended injuries, where the reparation is to be carved out, by Letters of Reprisal against the Govern­ment: and sure he must be very much lost for Topicks to make any person appear inno­cent, who is obliged to make use of such, as render his Majesty and the Government Criminal. And had he been master of second thoughts or consequences, he would certainly never have attempted to make his Lordships Reputation look white, by blac­kening his Sovereign, and leaving the Honor of his Lordship upon this issue, That he cannot be esteemed Innocent but the King must appear ingrateful and unjust; and which, as the Affairs of the Nation now stand, his affirming that this commitment is an effect of the Designs which the Papists have had against the Earl of Shaftsbury, is neither better nor worse, but an arraignment of the King and Council, as accessories [Page 2]to the horrid Popish Plot; and by the most ridiculous contradiction, to bring the King and Government into a Conspiracy against themselves, that so the Earl of Shaftsbury may appear innocent.

Surely, If his Lordship be the person as he says, page 1. The whole tenor and universal conduct of whose life have spoken him, not only a person of the greatest Abilities and Wisdom, but of the highest Loyalty to his Majesty, and warmest Zeal for his Service that any these three Kingdoms have produced in this age, he will with great Indignation resent the Abuse put upon him by this forward Apologist, and his warm zeal for his Majesties Service can­not be so soon frozen, as to endure such warm reflections, to be, for his sake thrown up­on his Prince, as can proceed from none but such Subjects as have sued out a perpetual divorce between themselves, and their Loyalty, and even the common decencies of good Breeding, since nothing worse than Ingratitude can be charged upon the meanest Sub­ject, Ingratum si dixeris; and how much heavier is the scandal when 'tis levell'd at one of the greatest Monarchs in the Universe.

Nor is it with less advantage to his Lordship, that the unthinking Vindicator takes such pains to give the world an Inventory of his Lordships great Merits, and That there is not a Nobleman or Gentleman within the Kings Dominions, to whose influence his Majesty doth more owe his peaceable and happy Restauration. For besides, that by notoriety of Fact it is apparently false, and that no person can eclipse the glory of the Illustrious Duke of Albemarle, so unquestionably allowed the happy Instrument, under Providence, of that wondrous event. If the Vindicator had meant honestly and fairly to his Majesty, he ought to have acquainted the world, that no Nobleman or Gentleman within the Kings Dominions has drank larger draughts of Royal Bounty than his Lordship, that from an Estate of 3000 l. or thereabouts per ann. he is advanced to above treble the Annual Re­venue, besides ready money; that from the condition of a private Gentleman, he has, by his Majesty, been raised to the honor of an Earldom, and a Peer of the Realm of England; that he was loaded with the honors of Privy Counsellor and Lord Chancel­lor of England, a place next in Honor and Power to the Throne: and sure these were as high Rewards as a Subject of the greatest merit can pretend to, unless he would ask the Kingdom also. And the envious concealment of these uncommon Favours, and marks of Royal Bounty, looks as if the Vindicator had some very evil intentions to his Lordships Fame, and to make him suspected of Ingratitude towards his Prince, rather than that the King should have been ingrateful to him, which all the world knows to the contrary.

But certainly the Apologist must be one of the most spiteful persons in the world to his Lordships Fame; for whoever pretends to vindicate the Reputation of any person, with what is evidently false, must be designing to defame it at the highest rate; for no­thing but a deficiency of Truth, can be supposed to tempt any person to flie to Falshood; nor would any person make use of it, but with an intention to be detected: and it was either very malicious, or improper, to tell the world, That the King can never forget the many great and memorable services which this Gentleman did him, when few had either Cou­rage, Loyalty, or Prudence to render them useful to his Interest. For besides the ingrateful re­flection of Cowards, Fools and Traitors thrown upon the indefinite number of his Ma­jesties Friends, what can this be, but to refresh the memories of the whole Nation with things much to the disadvantage of his Lordships Reputation, and he will have much to do to lay the Devil of Curiosity which he has hereby conjured up, or to persuade the world to believe, that when Sir Anthony Ashly Cooper was in the beginning of the late times in actual Hostility against the King, that during Olivers Usurpation, when his hand is to so many illegal and arbitrary Orders in the Council-Book, and the severest against the Royal Party, I say he will be a great Artist indeed, if he can persuade either the King, or his People to forget them, or to remember them as memorable Services: and no man can believe but when the Apologist tells us, the King can never forget them, but that it is a more gentile way of reminding his Majesty of them, who having forgiven these me­morable Services, might otherwise be ready to forget them too.

To the same effect we will suppose he takes another head of Reputation to recom­mend his Lordship to the world from his successful administration of his Majesties Affairs, for many years together. Just like the little Knave, who being chid at a Gentlemans Ta­ble for taking notice of a Stranger, who had a very extraordinary Nose, the next time he saw him he mended the matter, with saying, that Gentleman has no Nose at all. So [Page 3]our Apologist mentions the successful administration of Affairs, as if there had been no nose at all on the face of them; as who should say, I do not tell you who it was that advised the breaking of the Triple-League; I say nothing about the shutting up of the Exchequer; not a word of Delenda est Carthago, at any rate Delenda est Carthago, that out of pure zeal to the Protestant Interest, and Religion, Holland must, like Carthage, be utterly destroyed; for thus it will happen when men write Apologies: it does but whet the edge of Curiosity, to be prying into things, which they observe are so industriously covered and concealed. Et fugit ad salices, & se cupit ante videri.

And what Apology can be made for the fine story of his Lordships withdrawing him­self from the administration of Publick Affairs? since it is well known, that many of those great transactions which the world is now made believe were in order to the in­troducing Popery and subversion of the Protestant Interest at home and abroad, as the Dutch War, French League, shutting up the Exchequer, were acted while his Lordship sate at the Steerage, and did so successfully mannage his Majesties Affairs. And people will be apt to think the Apologist has done his Lordship no right, since it is obvious he must needs know what the general fame speak him; and Adviser of, and an Assistant to those Measures and Counsels, for which the Vindicator would have us believe his Lordship withdrew from the administration of Publick Affairs.

The Vindicator has been a great Traveller, and it may be derives an authority from thence by virtue of the Proverb, to impose upon us; or otherwise how comes he to know that the whole Posse of the Eccles [...]asticks was mustered up to defame him? and they must indeed, have a very implicit obedience who to sink and eclipse the Credit of this Peer, should make use of their Pulpits to that purpose, rather than to gain souls to God, or commend Je­sus Christ to the Consciences of men. Truly this is a heavy charge against the whole Order of Ecclesiasticks, that they should Preach Blasphemy against the Earl of Shaftsbury; but the Apologist should have remembred, that in the same breath, he says the Clergy have no Honor to lose; and then he needed not to have laid any stress upon their en­deavours: for what is the Moon the worse, for the barking of the Curs? And indeed it is very unfortunate for his Lordship, to have such a Champion for his Reputation, who has evidently forfeited all title to Credit or Esteem: he who values not his own Reputa­tion being an ill Advocate for that of another. For I dare appeal to his Lordship for the falshood of this scandal, who knows very well, that more Ecclesiasticks in this Age are persons of Honor and quality, and it may be men of as great Learning than any former Ages have known; and if ever the Clergy of England deserved the Character, Clerus Britannicus stupor mundi, I think, and so do better Judges than my self, that the present English Clergy may pretend to it.

It has not been my fortune, or any of my acquaintance that I have enquired of, to hear any of the Clergy take their Texts about the Lord Shaftsbury; only I have heard of one, who in my Lords own Country was very bold, but whether in the Pulpit or out of it I know not; and that my Lord, notwithstanding that, generously gave him a very good Benefice when it fell; whether true or false I do not aver: but if it be true, it seems my Lord and his Apologist differ in their sense, and that my Lord does not think speak­ing against him so unpardonable a sin as the Vindicator does.

I have nothing to say to his endeavouring to make his Lordship look white by bring­ing him out of Mrs. Celiers Meal-Tub; but I think the Apologist extremely to blame in vilifying the Evidence, and bestowing such language as would better become an Oyster­womans Vindication, than that of a Noble Peer. He positively affirms them to be su­borned Villains, meer mercenary Rascals, beggarly Fellows, and in a word Irish-men and Papists. Now either he knows them, or he does not; if he knows them, it is more than his Lordship does; for page 4. he tells us, It is with great amazement that we hear of a Peers being sent to the Tower for high Treason, without being allowed to have the Witnesses that swore against him, confronted with him, and examined ore tenus. And if he does not know them, as it is evident he does not, it is apparent that he shoots at Rovers, and that these persons whom by guess he does so liberally defame, may be persons both of Quality and Reputation; and truly to sober and considering men, it will not much advance his Lordships Innocence, to have it vindicated by a person who dare thus boldly calumniate at adventure; the Tongues or Pens of such daring men, being rarely esteemed any slan­der to the persons whom they design to blast, or any honor to the fame they endeavour to justifie.

But that which is most surprizing, is, that a person who would persuade us he is so great an enemy to Popery, and to the Hellish Popish Plot, and that my Lord Shaftsbury stands committed only for his zeal against the Papists, should yet attempt his Lordships Vindication by such a method, as must of necessity ruine the Reputation of the popish Plot: And sure if the Vindicator has such an abhorrence for the Popish Plot, he would have found out some better expedient than to establish his Lordships Reputation upon the ruine of it, for if the Plea for his Lordships innocence will hold good for him, That were his Lordship a person traiterously inclined, yet he is wiser than to communicate a Design of levying War for the Deposing or Destroying his Prince to such base and mercenary Rascals. Why should it not hold good for the Popish Lords, who have often for their Defence made use of the same argument and suggestion? Allow this, and what will become of the Popish Plot? and if you disallow it, what will become of the Vindicators Plea, or the advantage his Lordships Innocence will receive by this intemperate Argument, which has more heat than light, to create belief?

The truth is, the Wisdom of the Nation in Parliament, the Judges and Sages of the Law, have ever looked upon this Apology not only as frivolous, but disserviceable to those who have made use of it; and that for this reason, That no person can commit Treason without Accomplices; and that it is to be supposed, they who have such wicked intentions and designs, must make use of Instruments proportionable to them: And who can be supposed so fit to undertake infamous and desperate Designs, as infamous and desperate Men? And further, that some of those who are said to be Evidence a­gainst his Lordship, were within these few days in an Esteem so different from what the Vindicator represents them, that it is the general Discourse of the Town that his Lord­ship was a zealous Advocate to obtain a Pardon for at least one of his supposed Accusers; of which people are apt, according to the liberty of their inclinations, to make various conjectures and constructions, not much to the sense of the Vindicator. And by the fa­vour of the Vindicator, he cannot at this rate vilifie the Evidence of the Irish, as Irish; not only without a scandal upon a whole Nation of the Kings Subjects, but he must al­so endanger charging the guilt of Innocent Blood upon the whole English Nation; since so lately, Oliver Plunket the pretended Primate of Ireland, suffered the pains of death for high Treason, upon the Evidence of these, whom he is pleased to call Beggarly, Suborned, Mercenary Villains, Irish and Papists.

But the most ridiculous thing in the Vindication is his Postscript, dated from Whitehal, in a Letter to Mr. Gibbs, which plainly shews it to be a Forgery of the Apologist himself; for he tells Mr. Gibbs, That the Earl of Shaftsbury was just then committed to the Tower, and Sir Tho. Player under Examination before the King and Council, and several Warrants out, &c. Now if the Writer of this pretended Letter had been at Whitehal, he could have told Sir Tho. Player was not before the King and Council; and if he was not at Whitehal, as 'tis certain by this gross mistake, he was not, then the whole thing is a For­gery of his own, and I think that sort of practise will tend little to the Reputation of the Earl of Shaftsbury, or to the discrediting the belief of a Presbyterian Plot: and those little arts which he says are used to promote this Popish Intrigue, being found to be his own, will very much confirm even the wavering and incredulous in the belief that there may be other persons who design against the King and Government, as well as the Pa­pists.

If the sense of my Duty and these horrible Scandals of Subornation of Witnesses, In­gratitude, Injustice, and carrying on the Popish Plot, charged in this Vindication upon even the King himself, had not justly given the provocation, yet the injustice done to the Earl of Shaftsbury by this untoward Vindication, may in some measure justifie this Pa­per. All I have to add, is, if the Earl of Shaftsbury be Innocent, I hope he will receive a better Vindication at his Trial than this Apologist has made for him, or otherwise he is like to be in Misericordia Domini Regis: and if he be Guilty, he that is an Abettor, Com­forter, or Aider of a Traitor, makes himself one too. And for my particular, I joyn with the despised implicit obedient Ecclesiasticks in their Litany, From all Privy Conspiracy, Treason and Rebellion, whether of Papists or Presbyterians, Good Lord deliver us.

London: Printed for T. Davies, 1681.

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