« AnteriorContinuar »
THE 'HE King, when at Brussels, being desirous
and resolved to see his fifter the Princess of Orange, but withal under a necessity to make the journey with the utmost secrecy, did communicate his design to no person whatsoever. He ordered
Fleming, (a servant of the Earl of Wigton) who was in his service, and of whose fidelity he neither then nor ever after did doubt, secretly to provide a couple of good horses, and have them ready at a certain place and time of the next ensuing night, by his Majesty appointed: that Fleming, with these horses, should remain alone till he heard from the King.
At the time appointed, the King (having gone to bed, and afterwards dressed himself, and privately gone out of a back door, and leaving only a letter to some one of his fervants in whom he confided, with an account of his having gone from them for a few days, and with directions to keep his absence as secret as possible, under pretence of being indisposed) came to the place: there he found Fleming with the horses, as he had directed. He then acquainted Fleming of his design of going to the Hague; and not regarding the hazards he might be exposed to, away he went with his slender equipage and attendance, travelling through the moft secret bye-ways, and contriving it so, that he came to the Hague by fix in the morning, and alighted at a scrub inn in a remote part of the town, where he was confident none would know him under the disguise he was then in. He immediately sent Fleming to acquaint his fifter where he was, and to leave it to her to contrive the way and manner of his having access to her, so as not to be known.
Fleming having dispatched his commission in a very short time, (less than an hour) was no sooner returned to the King, (finding him in the room where he had left him, and where he had been ftill alone) than an unknown person came and asked of the landlord, if two Frenchmen had not alighted at his house that morning? The landlord replied, that indeed two men had come, but of what country he knew not. The stranger desired him to tell them he wanted to speak to them; which he having done, the King was much surprized, but withal inclined to see the person.Fleming opposed it; but the King being positive, the person was introduced, being an old reverendlike man, with a long beard and ordinary grey cloaths; who looking and speaking to the person of the King, told him he was the person he wanted to fpeak to, and that all alone, on matters of importance. The King believing it might perhaps be a return from his sister, or being curious to know the result of such an adventure, desired Fleming to withdraw; which he refused, till the King taking him afide, told him there could be no hazard from such an old man, for whom he was too much, and commanded him to retire.
They were no sooner alone, than the Aranger bolted the door, (which brought the King to think on what might or would happen) and at the same time falling upon his knees, pulled off his very nice and artificial mask, and discovered himself to be Mr. Downing, (afterwards well known by the name of Sir George, and Ambassador from the B 2
King to the States, after his restoration) then En. voy or Ambassador from Cromwell to the States, being the son of one Downing, an Independent Minister, who attended some of the Parliamentmen who were once sent to Scotland to treat with the Scots to join against the King, and who was a very active virulent enemy to the Royal Family, as appears from Lord Clarendon's History.
The King, you may easily imagine, was not a little surprized at the discovery: but Downing gave him no time for reflection, having immediately spoke to him in the following manner:That he humbly begged his Majesty's pardon for any share or part he had acted during the rebellion against his Royal interest; and affured him, that though he was just now in the service of the Usurper, he wished his Majesty as well as any of his subjeĉts; and would, when an occasion offered, venture all for his service; and was hopeful, what he was to say would convince his Majesty of his fincerity: but before he mentioned the cause of his coming to him, he must insist that his Majesty would folemnly promise to him not to mention what had happened, to Fleming, or any other perfon whatsoever, until it pleased God his Majesty was restored to his crowns, when he should not have reason to defire it to be concealed; though