Abbildungen der Seite

Teasonable Stiffness, gave Occasion to his Enemies to represent him as not well inclined to the Prerogative, or too much addicted to a Popular Interest, and therefore not fit to be employed in Matters of Government.

On the other Hand, as Bishop Laud was a Man so much superior in Learning that they are not to be named together, so much greater was his Ambition and natural Parts, for he nicely understood the Art of pleasing a Court; and finding no surer Way to raise himself to the first Dignicies of the Church, than by acting a quite contrary Part to that of Bishop Abboi, he gave into every Thing that seemed to favour the Prerogative of the Crown, or enforce an Ab. solute Obedience upon the Subject.

The King's urgent Necessities, and the Backwardness to supply the m, had forced him upon unwarrantable Methods of raising Money; and the Readiness the Roman Catholicks expreffed to affist him in his Wants, did beget in him at first a Tenderness towards, and afterwards a Trust and Confidence in them; which was unhappily mistaken by his other Subjects, as if he inclined to their Religion.

. Among other Means of raising Money, that of Loan was fallen upon; which met with great Difficulties and was generally taken to be illegal, One Sibtborp, an obfcure Parson,in a Sermon preached at Northampton Alizes, was for making his Court by asserting not only the Lawfulness of this Way of Imposing Money by Loan, but that it was the indispen Gible Duty of the Subject to comply with it. At the same Time Dr. Manwaring preached two Sermons before the King at Whiteball, in which he advanced there Doctrines, I. “That the King • is not bound to observe the Laws of the Realm, concerning the Subjects ! Rights and Liberties; but that his Royal Word and Conmand, in Imposing • Laws and Taxes without Consent of Parliament, does oblige the Subjects • Conscience upon Pain of Eternal Damnation. II. That those who refused ' to pay this Loan did offend against the Law of God, and became guilty of • Impiety, Diloyalty and Rebellion, and thac the Authority of Parliament is • not necessary for raising of Aids and Subsidies.

Abbot indeed was averse to these Doctrines; and for an Advantage against him, Sibtborp's Sermon, dedicated to the King, was sent him by his Majesty's Order to license, which he refused, and sent back his Reasons ; which Laud answered, and licensed both Sibtborp's and Manwaring's Sermons. Upon this,

Abbot was confined and suspended from his Function; the Administration of which was committed to Laud, and some others of his Recommendation, Sonic Time after Abbot dying in Disgrace, Laud succeeded him in the See of Centerbury, while in the mean Time Things went on from bad to worse, and hastened to a Crisis..

The iwo first Parliaments King Charles had called, pressing him hard for Redress of Grievances, and pushing on the Resentments begun in the preceding Reign; he was prevailed with not only to diffolve them, but to leave the Nacion without Parliaments for twelve Years together; and this contrary to the Advice of his best Friends and Counsellors, who foresaw the ill Consequences that might follow if an unluckly Juncture of Affairs should neceffitate him to call one: Which foon fell out in the worst Manner that could be, viz. Vol. III.

x x


The Scots had long been four'd by the Incroachments they complain’d Men made upon their Rights and Liberties, particularly as to the Matter of Church. Government. Laud's Zeal for a Liturgical Uniformity between the two Nations proved the fatal Torch that inflamed both Kingdoms : Being the sooner kindled, because there had been so much fuel laid up for many Years, that the least Spark was sufficient to fire the Pile.

Anno 1637, the Scots had not only in a tumultuous Manner refused the Liturgy composed and sent them by Laud, but assumed afterwards to themselves the Liberty and Power of holding a General Assembly of their Church, and therein to abolish Episcopacy, and commit several other Things judged to be inconsistent with the Duty of Subjects: Upon which they were declared Rebels ; and the King thought his Honour concerned in reducing them to Obedience by the Sword.

Instead of venturing to call. a Parliament, to enable him to profecute this Design, he was necessitated' to level Money another Way. Great Sums were raised by Loan and Benevolence, to which the Roman Catholicks and the Laudean: Faction contributed most. Thus supplied, the King marched to the North with a gallant Army; and the Scots came as far as the Borders in a Posture of Defence and to prevent the Extremity of what might happen, they presented his Majesty with their humble Supplication and Remonstrance, setting forth their inviolable Fid "lity to the Crown; and that they desired nothing more, but the peaceable En.. . joyment of their Religion and Liberties; and that all Things might be setcled

by a free Parliament, and general Affembly.' At length, through the Intera, cession of the moderate Party about the King, and some of the highest Rank in both Kingdoms, his Majesty was pleased to comply with the Defires of the Scots, bý a solemn Pacification, fign'd in View of both Armies near Berwick, in June 1638.

This Treaty was but short-lived, and ill-observed on either Side. The same Men that counsel'd the King to the first, push'd him on to a second War against the Scots. Parliamenis had now been for fome Years discontinued, and there appear'd no great Inclination in the King to call any more, if this Emergency had not fallen out: But his pressing Necessities, and this new War, obe liged him once more to try the Affections of his People in a Parliamentary Way.

Accordingly a Parliament met in April 1640, at the Opening of which the King acquainted them with the Affronts he had received from the Scots, and demanded a Supply to reduce them to their Duty by Force of Arms. Both Houses Thew'd a Willingness to relieve the King's Wants, and offer'd him a confiderable Supply; but with this Condition, That their Grievances might be first redress'd, which were mightily increased since the last Diffolution : Not only so, but the Scots had Friends enough in the Parliament to hinder any great Mate ter that should be concealed againit them; and the Majority both of Lords and Commons were but little inclined to a War of Laud's Kindling.

The King, thus disappointed, dissolved this Parliament within the Month of their firring; and made what Shifts he could to raise a new Army against the Scots: And they being resolved not to be behind in their Preparations, enter'd Eng.

land with a numerous Army, composed for the moft Part of Veteran Officers and Troops, that had served in Germany, under Guftavus Adolphus, and taking Berwick and Newcastle pushed their way as far as Durham.

The King came in Person to York, and found himself inviron'd with perplexing Difficulties on all Hands; the Nobility and Gentry that attended him express”d on all Occasions their Dinike of the Cause, and the War they were engaged in : The Scots stood firm to their Ground, being fush'd with Success; and the King was follow'd from the South with Petitions from London, several Councies, and a considerable Number of Lords, deliring him to call a. new Par- . • liament, as the only effectual Means to quiet the Minds of the People, and com

pose the present War without Bloodshed.. : "The King; to extricate himself out of this Labyrinth, fummond the Great Carincil of Peers to meet at York, and concert proper Measures for this Juncture : They unanimously advifed him to enter into a Treaty with the Scots at Rippon, and summons a Parliament to meet at Westminster ; with both which Advices the King complied, and immediately issued out Writs for the Meeting of a Parliament in November 1640, and adjourn'd the Scots Treaty to London

No Age ever produced greater Men than the Members of chis Parlia ment: They had Abilities and Inclinations sufficient to have render'd both the King and Nation happy, if England had not been through a Chain of concurring Accidents ripen’d for Destruction. At their first Meeting a Scene of Grievances, under which the Nation had long groan'd, was laid open, and all Topicks made use of to display them in the liveliest Colours. The many Cruelties and illegal Practices of the Star-Chamber, and High Commission Court, that had alienated People's Minds from che Hierarcby, were now inlisted on to throw down those two Arbitrary Tribunals, and with them, in some Time after, the Bishops out of the House of Peers, and Episcopaty itself out of the Church. It was not a few of either House, but indeed all the great Patriots, that concurr'd at first to make Inquiry into the Grievances of this Reign : Sir Edward Hide, afterwards Earl of Clarendon ; the Lord Digby the Lord Falkland; the Lord Capel; Mr. Grimstone, who was chosen afterwards Speaker of the House of Commons that brought in King Charles II. and was Master of the Rolls ; Mr. Holles, fince Lord Holles ; all which suffer'd afterwards on the King's Side ; and in general, most of those that took the King's Part in the succeeding War were the Men that appear'd with the greatest Zeal for the Redress of Grievances, and made the sharpeft * Speeches upon these Subjects. The Intentions of the Gentlemen were certainly noble and just, and tended to the equal Advantage of King and People: Rut the Fate of England urged on its own Ruin Step by Step, till an open Rupture between the King and Parliament made the Gap too wide ever to be closed again. Sir Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, and Archbishop Laud, had too great a Share in the Ministry, to escape being censured ; and they were the first that felc the Effects of a Popular Hatred. They, with Duke Hamilton, first advised the King to call this Parliament; and all three fell by it, tho' not at the same Time.

As a farther Specimen of Laud's turbulent and inconsiderate Rashness in facrificing a whole Nation to his boundlefs Ambition, it will not be amiss to insert his Advice to the King, when in Conference with the Earl of Strafford and the Lord Cottington.

X x 2

• *Mr. Secretary Vane’s Notes about the Earl of Strafford's Advice to King « Charles, to bring over an Army from Ireland, to subdue England. . ;

The Title of them was,

No Danger of War with Scotland,
If Offensive, not Defensive.

King. How can we undertake offensive War, if we have no more Money?

Strafford. Borrow of the City a Hundred Thousand Pounds : Go on vigorously to levy Ship-Money. Your Majesty having tried the Affection of your People, you are ablolved and loose from all Manner of Government, and to do what Power will admit. Your Majesty having tried all Ways, and being refused, shall be acquitted before Ciod and Man. And you have an Army in Ireland that you may employ to reduce this Kingdom to Obedience ; for I am confident the Scots cannot hold out five Months.

Laud. You have tried all. Ways, and have always been denied : It is now lawful to take it by Force.

Cottington. Levies abroad there may be made for Defence of the Kingdom, The lower House are weary of the King and Church. All Ways shall be just to raise Money by, in this inevitable Neceflity, and are to be used, being lawful. · Laud. For an Ofensive, not a Defensive War. . .

Strafford. The Town is full of Lords.. Put the Commission of Array on Foots: and it any of them (tir, we will make them smart. • To ruch Counsellors chis unhappy Prince owed all his Misfortunes! I shall conclude this Head with observing, that as:Archbishop Laud was nothing inferior to the Earl of Strafford in Parts, and much his fuperior in Learning; so it is as hard to determine which of the two made a nobler Defence as their Trial. Laud's Fate has been the same with that of most great Men, to be represented to Porterity in Extremes ;, for we have nothing writ of him, but what is either Panegya ric or Satire, rather than History.

That he was brought to - his Trial, and found guilty, during the Heat of a Civil War, and when all Things were tending to Confusion, was nothing strange: Nor was Serjeant Wild's Introduction at the Opening of his Charge any Thing but what might have been expected at-such a Time, when he told the Lords, That it might be said of the Great Cause of the Archbishop of Canterbury, as it was in a. like Case, Repertum est bodierno die facinus; quodinec Poeta fingere, nec Hiftrio fo: nare, nec minus imitari potuerit ; but it was indeed Itrange, and none of the least of this great Man's Misfortunes, that three Years before he should be declared by the House of Commons a Traytor nemine contradicente, at a Time when there was not the least Misunderstanding between the King and Parliament, being within the first Month after they sat down :: and which was yet stranger, thac no body was more severe upon him, than some of those that afterwards took the King's Part against the Parliament, and were at last the chief Instruments of his


*Whitlock's Memorials, Vol. II. p.41.

Son's Restauration. Whoever reads Sir Harbottle Grimstone's Speech upon voting his Impeachment, or Pym's upon carrying it up to the Lords, will be apt to think, that scarce any Age has produced a Man whose Actions and Conduct have been more obnoxious to Obloquy, or given greater Occasion for it.

There was one Thread that run through his whole Accusation, and upon which most of the Articles of his Impeachment turn'd; and that was, his Inclination to Popery, and Design to introduce that Religion : Of which his immortal Book against Piper the Jesuit sufficiently acquits him. And yet not Protestants only, but even Roman Catholicks themselves were led into this Mira rake ; otherwise they would not have dared to offer one in his Post a Cardinal's Cap, as * he confesses they did twice. - The introducing a great many pom. pous Ceremonies into the Church, the licensing some Books that spoke favourably of the Church of Rome, and refusing to license some others wrote against it, were the principal Causes of his being thus misrepresented; And indeed his Behaviour in these Matters, as likewise in the Star-Chamber and High Commillion Court, can hardly be accounted for ;' and particularly his Theatrical Manner of consecrating Katherine Creed Church. I shall close all,agreeing with the + Historian, that notwithstanding all these Faults, and in Spite of Malice, He was a

Man of great Parts, and very exemplary Virtues, allay'd, and difcredited by • some un popular natural Infirmities; the greatest, of which was (besides à ihasty, sharp Way of expressing himself) that he believed Innocence of Heart • and Integrity of Manners, was a Guard Atrong enough to secure any Man in his • Voyage through this World, in what Company soever he travel'd, and thro' • what Ways soever he was to pass : And sure never any Man was better sups • plied with that Provision. He was always maligned and persecuted by those • who were of the Calvinian Faction, and who, according to their usual Maxim • and Practice, call every Man they do not love Papist; and, under this senseless • Appellation, they created many Troubles and Vexations. He was certainly at i Heart passionately concern’d for the Church: He had usually about him an • uncourtly Quickness, if not Sharpnefs, and did not sufficiently value what Men • said or thought of him ;r by which Means a more than ordinary Prejudice and • Uncharitableness was always contracted against him.'

Thus, Sir, have I laid before you three considerable Instances of the Clergy's being the original Cause of the Disturbances in this Nation, and I hope I shall! escape free from the Imputation of Partiality, since I have been equally just to their Virtues and their Vices,

Without any Reflection, let'any' Man but soberly consider the Behaviour of homas á Becket to King Henry, and though there was Faults on bork Sides, yet I am certain Becket's unparalleld Insolence will meet with no one's Approbation.

And as 10 Archbishop Laud, I dare appeal to the most strenuous of his Defenders, that I have done him ftrict Justice, I must own, that l chink we may properly compare the Use of the Clergy to the Elements of Fire and Water, viz. That ihey are good Servants, but bad Masters; and the Precedents of these two Gentlemen are not very tempting for Futurity to proceed upon, since both of them sacrificed their Lives to the Caprice of their Ambition.

Vide Bishop Laud's Diary.

't Clarendon's Hilf, vol. I. p. 90, 86.

« ZurückWeiter »