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who had been long his enemy upon a family quarrel, which he had carried so far, as, by his power in the house, to hinder him from sitting in the parliament, upon a fair election for that parliament. Upon this presumption he was summoned to the house; and being called in, was there asked, whether when he was at Oxford he knew not, or had not heard something concerning Mr. Hollis's secret transaction with the king at the treaty at Uxbridge. To this question he told them he could answer nothing at all; for though, possibly, what he had to say would be to the clearing of Mr. Hollis; yet he could not allow himself to say any thing in the case, since, whatever answer he made, it would be a confession that, if he had known any thing to the disadvantage of Mr. Hollis, he would have taken that dishonourable way of doing him a prejudice, and wreak his revenge on a man that was his enemy.
Those who had brought him there pressed him mightily to declare, but in vain, though threats were added of sending him to the Tower. He persisting obstinately silent, was bid to withdraw; and those who had depended upon his discovery being defeated, and consequently very much displeased, moved warmly for his commitment; of which he, waiting in the lobby, having notice, unmoved expected his doom, though several of his friends coming out, were earnest with him to satisfy the house; but he kept firm to his resolution, and found friends enough among the great men of the party that opposed Mr. Hollis to bring him off'; who very much applauded the generosity of his carriage, and showed that action so much to deserve the commendation, rather than the censure of that assembly, that the angry men were ashamed to insist farther on it, and so dropped the debate.
Some days after Mr. Hollis came to his lodging, and having, in terms of great acknowledgment and esteem, expressed his thanks for his late behaviour in the house, with respect to him; he replied, that he pretended not thereby to merit any thing of him, or to lay an obligation on him; that what he had done was not out of any consideration of him, but what was due to himself,
and he should equally have done, had any other man been concerned in it; and therefore he was perfectly as much at liberty as before to live with him as he pleased. But withal that he was not so ignorant of Mr. Hollis's worth, nor knew so little how to put a just value on his friendship, as not to receive it as a very great and sensible favour, if he thought him a person worthy on whom to bestow it. Mr. Hollis, not less taken with his discourse than what had occasioned it, gave him fresh and repeated assurances of his sincere and hearty friendship, which were received with suitable expressions. And thus an old quarrel between two men of high spirits and great estates, neighbours in the same county, ended in a sound and firm friendship, which lasted as long as they lived.
This passage brings to my mind what I remember to have often heard him say concerning a man's obligation to silence, in regard of discourse made to him or in his presence that it was not enough to keep close and uncommunicated what had been committed to him with that caution, but there was a general and tacit trust in conversation, whereby a man was obliged not to report again any thing that might be any way to the speaker's prejudice, though no intimation had been given of a desire not to have it spoken again.
He was wont to say, that wisdom lay in the heart, and not in the head; and that it was not the want of knowledge, but the perverseness of the will, that filled men's actions with folly, and their lives with disorder.
That there were in every one, two men, the wise and the foolish, and that each of them must be allowed his turn. If you would have the wise, the grave, and the serious, always to rule and have the sway, the fool would grow so peevish and troublesome, that he would put the wise man out of order, and make him fit for nothing he must have his times of being let loose to follow his fancies, and play his gambols, if you would have your business go on smoothly.
I have heard him also say, that he desired no more of any man but that he would talk: if he would but talk, said he, let him talk as he pleases. And indeed
I never knew any one penetrate so quick into men's breasts, and from a small opening survey that dark cabinet, as he would. He would understand men's true errand as soon as they had opened their mouths, and begun their story in appearance to another purpose.
Sir Richard Onslow and he were invited by sir J. D. to dine with him at Chelsea, and desired to come early, because he had an affair of concernment to communicate to them. They came at the time, and being sat, he told them he had made choice of them both for their known abilities, and particular friendship to him, for their advice in a matter of the greatest moment to him that could be. He had, he said, been a widower for many years, and began to want somebody that might ease him of the trouble of housekeeping, and take some care of him under the growing infirmities of old age; and to that purpose had pitched upon a woman very well known to him by the experience of many years, in fine, his housekeeper. These gentlemen, who were not strangers to his family, and knew the woman very well, and were besides very great friends to his son and daughter, grown up, and both fit for marriage, to whom they thought this would be a very prejudicial match, were both in their minds opposite to it; and to that purpose sir Richard Onslow began the discourse; wherein, when he came to that part, he was entering upon the description of the woman, and going to set her out in her own colours, which were such as could not have pleased any man in his wife: sir Anthony, seeing whither he was going, to prevent any mischief, begged leave to interrupt him, by asking sir J. a question, which in short was this, "whether he were not already married?" Sir J. after a little demur, answered, "Yes, truly, he was married the day before." Well then, replied sir Anthony, there is no more need of our advice: pray let us have the honour to see my lady, and wish her joy, and so to dinner. As they were returning to London in their coach, I am obliged to you, said sir Richard, for preventing my running into a discourse which could never have been forgiven me, if I had spoke out what I was going to say. But as for
sir J. he, methinks, ought to cut your throat for your civil question. How could it possibly enter into your head to ask a man, who had solemnly invited us on purpose to have our advice about a marriage he intended, had gravely proposed the woman to us, and suffered us seriously to enter into the debate," whether he were already married or no?" The man, and the manner, replied sir Anthony, gave me a suspicion that, having done a foolish thing, he was desirous to cover himself with the authority of our advice. I thought it good to be sure before you went any farther, and you see what came of it. This afforded them entertainment till they came to town, and so they parted.
Soon after the restoration of king Charles II, the earl of Southampton and he having dined together at the chancellor's, as they were returning home, he said to my lord Southampton, "Yonder Mrs. Anne Hyde (for so, as I remember, he styled her)" is certainly married to one of the brothers." The earl, who was a friend to the chancellor, treated this as a chimæra, and asked him how so wild a fancy could get into his head. Assure yourself, sir, replied he, it is so. A concealed respect, however suppressed, showed itself so plainly in the looks, voice, and manner, wherewith her mother carved to her, or offered her of every dish, that it is impossible but it must be so. My lord S. who thought it a groundless conceit then, was not long after convinced by the duke of York's owning of her, that lord Ashley was no bad guesser.
I shall give one instance more of his great sagacity, wherein it proved of great use to him in a case of mighty consequence. Having reason to apprehend what tyranny the usurpation of the government by the officers of the army, under the title of the committee of safety, might end in; he thought the first step to settlement was the breaking of them, which could not be done with any pretence of authority, but that of the long parliament. Meeting therefore secretly with sir Arthur Haselrig, and some others of the members, they gave commissions in the name of the parliament to be major-generals, one of the forces about London, ano
ther of the west, &c. and this when they had not one soldier. Nay, he often would tell it laughing, that when he had his commission his great care was where to hide it. Before this he had secured Portsmouth for the governor of it, colonel Metham, being his old acquaintance and friend, he asked him one day, meeting him by chance in Westminster-hall, whether he would put Portsmouth into his hands if he should happen to have an occasion for it? Metham promised it should be at his devotion. These transactions, though no part of them were known in particular, yet causing some remote preparations, alarmed Wallingford-house, where the committee of safety sat, and made them so attentive to all actions and discoveries that might give them any light, that at last they were fully persuaded there was something a brewing against them, and that matter for commotions in several parts was gathering. They knew the vigour and activity of sir A.Ashley, and how well he stood affectionated to them, and therefore suspected that he was at the bottom of the matter. To find what they could, and secure the man they most apprehended, he was sent for to Wallingford-house, where Fleetwood examined him according to the suspicions he had of him; that he was laying designs in the west against them, and was working the people to an insurrection that he intended to head there. He told them he knew no obligation he was under to give them an account of his actions, nor to make them any promises; but to show them how ill-grounded their suspicions were, he promised that he would not go out of town without coming first and giving him an account of it. Fleetwood knowing his word might be relied on, satisfied with the promise he had made, let him go upon his parole. That which deceived them in the case was, that knowing his estate and interest lay in the west, they presumed, that that was his post, and there certainly, if any stir was, he would appear, since there lay his great strength, and they had nobody else in view who could supply his room, and manage that part. But they were mistaken: Haselrig, upon the knowledge that they should have Portsmouth, forwardly took that