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At the time appointed, the King (having gone to bed, and afterwards dreffed himfelf, and privately gone out of a back door, and leaving only a letter to fome 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 abfence as fecret as poffible, under pretence of being indifpofed) came to the place: there he found Fleming with the horses, as he had directed. He then acquainted Fleming of his defign of going to the Hague; and not regarding the hazards he might be exposed to, away he went with his flender equipage and attendance, travelling through the moft fecret bye-ways, and contriving it fo, that he came to the Hague by fix in the morning, and alighted at a fcrub inn in a remote part of the town, where he was confident none would know him under the difguife he was then in. He immediately fent 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, fo as not to be known.
Fleming having difpatched his commiffion in a very fhort time, (lefs than an hour) was no fooner 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
afked of the landlord, if two Frenchmen had not alighted at his houfe that morning? The landlord replied, that indeed two men had come, but of what country he knew not. The ftranger defired him to tell them he wanted to speak to them; which he having done, the King was much furprized, but withal inclined to fee the perfon.Fleming oppofed it; but the King being pofitive, the person was introduced, being an old reverendlike man, with a long beard and ordinary grey cloaths; who looking and speaking to the perfon of the King, told him he was the perfon he wanted to speak to, and that all alone, on matters of importance. The King believing it might perhaps be a return from his fifter, or being curious to know the refult of fuch an adventure, defired Fleming to withdraw; which he refufed, till the King taking him afide, told him there could be no hazard from fuch an old man, for whom he was too much, and commanded him to retire.
They were no fooner alone, than the ftranger bolted the door, (which brought the King to think on what might or would happen) and at the fame time falling upon his knees, pulled off his very nice and artificial mafk, and difcovered him felf to be Mr. Downing, (afterwards well known by the name of Sir George, and Ambaffador from the B 2 King
King to the States, after his reftoration) then Envoy or Ambaffador from Cromwell to the States, being the fon of one Downing, an Independent Minister, who attended some of the Parliamentmen who were once fent 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 furprized at the difcovery: but Downing gave him no time for reflection, having immediately spoke to him in the following manner:That he humbly begged his Majefty's pardon for any share or part he had acted during the rebellion against his Royal intereft; and affured him, that though he was just now in the fervice of the Ufurper, he wifhed his Majefty as well as any of his fubjects; and would, when an occafion offered, venture all for his fervice; and was hopeful, what he was to fay would convince his Majefty of his fincerity: but before he mentioned the caufe of his coming to him, he must infift that his Majefty would folemnly promife to him not to mention what had happened, to Fleming, or any other perfon whatsoever, until it pleafed God his Majesty was reftored to his crowns, when he fhould not have reafon to defire it to be concealed; though
even then he must likewife have his Majefty's promise never to afk, or expect he should difcover how or when he came to know of his being there.
The King having folemnly engaged in the terms required, Downing proceeded, and told, that his mafter the Ufurper, being now at peace with the Dutch, and the States fo dependent and obfequious to him that they refused nothing he required, had with the greateft fecrecy, in order to make it more effectual, entered into a treaty, by which, among other trifling matters, agreed to hinc inde, the chief and indeed main end of the negociation was, that the States stood engaged to feize and deliver up to the Ufurper the perfon of his Majefty, if fo be at any time he should happen, by chance or defign, to come within their territories, when required thereto by any in his name;—and that this treaty, having been figned by the States, was fent to London, from whence it had returned but yefterday morning, and totally finished yefternight, betwixt him and a private committee of the States. He represented his mafter's intelligence to be fo good, that a difcovery would be made even to himself (Downing) of his Majesty's being there; and if he neglected to apply to have him feized, his mafter would refent it to the higheft, which would infallibly coft him his head, and deprive
his Majefty of a faithful fervant. And being defirous to prevent the miferable confequences of what would follow, if his being here was difcovered, he refolved to communicate the danger he was in; and, for fear of a future difcovery, he had difguifed himself, being refolved to truft no perfon with the fecret. He then proposed that his Majefty would immediately mount his horses, and make all the difpatch imaginable out of the States' territories: that he himself would return home, and, under pretence of ficknefs, lie longer in bed than ufual; and that when he thought his Majefty was fo far off, as to be out of danger to be overtaken, he would go to the States, and acquaint them that he underftood his Majefty was in town, and require his being feized in the terms of the late treaty: that he knew they would comply, and
to the place directed; but, on finding that his Majefty was gone off fo far as to be fafe, he would propofe to make no farther noife about it, left it fhould difcover the treaty, and prevent his Majefty's afterwards falling into their hands. The King immediately followed his advice; and he returning home, every thing was acted and happened as he propofed and foretold.
The King having thus efcaped this imminent danger, moft religioufly performed what he had promised,