William Dunn Macray (ed.), The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England begun in the Year 1641, Vol. 1: Books I–IV
That posterity may not be deceived, by the prosperous 'Silly. March 18, 1645.' wickedness of these times, into an opinion that less than a general combination, and universal apostasy in the whole nation from their religion and allegiance, could, in so short a time, have produced such a total and prodigious alteration and confusion over the whole kingdom; and so the memory of those few who, out of duty and conscience, have opposed and resisted that torrent which hath overwhelmed them may lose the recompense due to their virtue, and, having undergone the injuries and reproaches of this, may not find a vindication in a better, age; it will not be unuseful, (at least to the curiosity if not the conscience of men,) to present to the world a full and clear narration of the grounds, circumstances, and artifices of this Rebellion, not only from the time since the flame hath been visible in a civil war, but, looking farther back, from those former passages, accidents, and actions, by which the seed-plots were made and framed from whence these mischiefs have successively grown to the height they are now at.
And then, though the hand and judgment of God will be very visible, in the infatuating a people (as ripe and prepared for destruction) into all the perverse actions of folly and madness, making the weak to contribute to the designs of the pg 2wicked, and suffering even those by degrees, out of the conscience of their guilt, to grow more wicked than they intended to be; letting the wise to be imposed upon by men of no understanding, and possessing the innocent with laziness and sleep in the most visible article of danger; uniting the ill, though of the most different opinions, divided interests, and distant affections, in a firm and constant league of mischief; and dividing those whose opinions and interests are the same into faction and emulation, more pernicious to the public than the treason of the others: whilst the poor people, under pretence of zeal to Religion, Law, Liberty, and Parliaments, (words of precious esteem in their just signification,) are furiously hurried into actions introducing Atheism, and dissolving all the elements of Christian Religion, cancelling all obligations, and destroying all foundations of Law and Liberty, and rendering not only the privileges but very being of Parliaments desperate and impossible: I say, though the immediate finger and wrath of God must be acknowledged in these perplexities and distractions, yet he who shall diligently observe the distempers and conjunctures of time, the ambition, pride, and folly of persons, and the sudden growth of wickedness, from want of care and circumspection in the first impressions, will find all this bulk of misery to have proceeded, and to have been brought upon us, from the same natural causes and means which have usually attended kingdoms swoln with long plenty, pride, and excess, towards some signal mortification, and castigation of Heaven. And it may be, upon the view of the impossibility of foreseeing many things that have happened, and of the necessity of overseeing many other things, [we] may not yet find the cure so desperate, but that, by God's mercy, the wounds may be again bound up, though no question many must first bleed to death; and then this prospect may not make the future peace less pleasant and durable.
And I have the more willingly induced myself to this unequal task out of the hope of contributing somewhat to that end: and though a piece of this nature (wherein the infirmities of some, and the malice of others, both things and persons, must pg 3be boldly looked upon and mentioned) is not likely to be published, (at least in the age in which it is writ,) yet it may serve to inform myself and some others what we are to do, as well as to comfort us in what we have done; and then possibly it may not be very difficult to collect somewhat out of that store more proper, and not unuseful, for the public view. And as I may not be thought altogether an incompetent person for this communication, having been present as a member of Parliament in those councils before and till the breaking out of the Rebellion, and having since had the honour to be near two great kings1 in some trust, so I shall perform the same with all faithfulness and ingenuity, with an equal observation of the faults and infirmities of both sides, with their defects and oversights in pursuing their own ends; and shall no otherwise mention small and light occurrences than as they have been introductions to matters of the greatest moment; nor speak of persons otherwise than as the mention of their virtues or vices is essential to the work in hand: in which as I shall have the fate to be suspected rather for malice to many than of flattery to any, so I shall, in truth, preserve myself from the least sharpness that may proceed from private provocation or a more public indignation; in the whole observing the rules that a man should, who deserves to be believed.
I shall not then lead any man farther back in this journey, for the discovery of the entrance into these dark ways, than the beginning of this King's reign. For I am not so sharp-sighted as those who have discerned this rebellion contriving from, if not before, the death of Queen Elizabeth, and fomented by several Princes and great ministers of state in Christendom to the time that it brake out. Neither do I look so far back as believing the design to be so long since formed; (they who have observed the several accidents, not capable of being contrived, which have contributed to the several successes, and do know the persons who have been the grand instruments towards pg 4this change, of whom there have not been any four of familiarity and trust with each other, will easily absolve them from so much industry and foresight in their mischief;) but that, by viewing the temper, disposition, and habit, of that time, of the court and of the country, we may discern the minds of men prepared, of some to do, and of others to suffer, all that hath since happened: the pride of this man, and the popularity of that; the levity of one, and the morosity of another; the excess of the court in the greatest want, and the parsimony and retention of the country in the greatest plenty; the spirit of craft and subtlety in some, and the rude and unpolished integrity of others, too much despising craft or art; like so many atoms contributing jointly to this mass of confusion now before us. 1625
King James in the end of March 1625 died, leaving his majesty that now is engaged in a war with Spain, but unprovided with money to manage it, though it was undertaken by the consent and advice of Parliament: the people being naturally enough inclined to the war (having surfeited with the uninterrupted pleasures and plenty of twenty-two years peace) and sufficiently inflamed against the Spaniard, but quickly weary of the charge of it. And therefore, after an unprosperous and chargeable attempt in a voyage by sea upon Caliz, [Cadiz,] and as unsuccessful and more unfortunate a one upon France, at the Isle of Rees, [Rhé,] (for some difference had likewise at the same time begotten a war with that prince,) a 1630 general peace was shortly concluded with both kingdoms; the exchequer being so exhausted with the debts of King James, the bounty of his majesty that now is, (who, upon his first access to the crown, gave many costly instances of his favour to persons near him,) and the charge of the war upon Spain and France, that, both the known and casual revenue being anticipated, the necessary subsistence of the household was unprovided for; and the King on the sudden driven to those straits for his own support that many ways were resorted to, and inconveniences submitted to, for supply; as, selling the pg 5crown-lands, creating peers for money, and many other particulars, which no access of power or plenty since could repair.
Parliaments were summoned, and again dissolved: and in the fourth year that (after the dissolution of two former) 1629 was determined with a profession and declaration that there should be no more assemblies of that nature expected, and all men inhibited upon the penalty of censure so much as to speak of a Parliament. And here I cannot but let myself loose to say, that no man can shew me a source from whence these waters of bitterness we now taste have more probably flowed, than from this unseasonable, unskilful, and precipitate dissolution of Parliaments; in which, by an unjust survey of the passion, insolence, and ambition of particular persons, the Court measured the temper and affection of the country; and by the same standard the people considered the honour, justice, and piety of the Court; and so usually parted, at those sad seasons, with no other respect and charity one toward the other than accompanies persons who never meant to meet but in their own defence. In which always the King had the disadvantage to harbour persons about him who with their utmost industry, information, and malice, improved the faults and infirmities of the Court to the people; and again, as much as in them lay, rendered the people suspected if not odious to the King.
I am not altogether a stranger to the passages of those Parliaments, (though I was not a member of them,) having carefully perused the Journals of both Houses, and familiarly conversed with many who had principal parts in them; and I cannot but wonder at those counsels which persuaded the courses then taken; the habit and temper of men's minds being, no question, very applicable to the public ends, and those ends being only discredited by the jealousies the people entertained, from the manner of the prosecution, that they were other, and worse, than in truth they were. It is not to be denied that there were in all those Parliaments, especially in that of the fourth year, several passages, and distempered speeches of particular persons, not fit for the dignity and honour of those places, and unsuitable to the reverence due to his majesty and pg 6 1629 March 2. his councils. But I do not know any formed Act of either House (for neither the Remonstrance or votes of the last day were such) that was not agreeable to the wisdom and justice of great courts upon those extraordinary occasions. And whoever considers the acts of power and injustice in the intervals of Parliaments, will not be much scandalized at the warmth and vivacity of those meetings. 1626
In the second Parliament there was a mention, and intention declared, of granting five subsidies, a proportion (how contemptible soever in respect of the pressures now every day imposed) never before heard of in Parliament. And that, meeting being, upon very unpopular and unplausible reasons, immediately dissolved, those five subsidies were exacted throughout the whole kingdom with the same rigour, as if, in truth, an Act had passed to that purpose. And very many gentlemen of prime quality, in all the several counties of England, were, for refusing to pay the same, committed to prison, with great rigour and extraordinary circumstances. And could it be imagined, that these men would meet again 1628 in a free convention of Parliament without a sharp and severe expostulation, and inquisition into their own right, and the power that had imposed upon that right? And yet all these provocations, and many other, almost of as large an extent, June. produced no other resentment than the Petition of Right, (of no prejudice to the Crown,) which was likewise purchased at the price of five more subsidies, and, in a very short time after that supply granted, that Parliament was likewise, with 1629 March 10. strange circumstances of passion on all sides, dissolved.
The abrupt and ungracious breaking of the two first. Parliaments was wholly imputed to the duke of Buckingham, and of the third principally to the lord Weston, then Lord High Treasurer of England; both in respect of the great power and interest they then had in the affections of his majesty, and for that the time of the dissolutions happened to be when some charges and accusations were preparing and ready to be preferred against those two great persons. And therefore the envy and hatred that attended them thereupon was insupportable, pg 7and was visibly the cause of the murder of the first, (stabbed to the heart by the hand of an obscure villain, upon the mere impious pretence of his being odious to the Parliament,) and made, no doubt, so great an impression upon the understanding and nature of the other, that by degrees he lost that temper and serenity of mind he had been before master of, and which was most fit to have accompanied him in his weighty employments; insomuch as, out of indignation to find himself worse used than he deserved, he cared less to deserve well than he had done, and insensibly grew into that public hatred that rendered him less useful to the service that he only intended.
I wonder less at the errors of this nature in the duke of Buckingham; who, having had a most generous education in courts, was utterly ignorant of the ebbs and floods of popular councils, and of the winds that move those waters; and could not, without the spirit of indignation, find himself in the space of a few weeks, without any visible cause intervening, from the greatest height of popular estimation that any person hath ascended to, (insomuch as sir Edward Coke blasphemously called him our Saviour,) by the same breath thrown down to the depth of calumny and reproach. I say, it is no marvel, (besides that he was naturally [inclined] to follow such counsel as was given him,) that he could think of no better way to be freed of the inconveniences and troubles the passions of those meetings gave him, than to dissolve them, and prevent their coming together: and, that when they seemed to neglect the public peace out of animosity to him, that he intended his own ease and security in the first place, and easily believed the public might be otherwise provided for by more intent and dispassionate councils. But that the other, the lord Weston, who had been very much and very popularly conversant in those conventions, who exactly knew the frame and constitution of the kingdom, the temper of the people, the extent of the courts of law, and the jurisdiction of parliaments, which at that time had never committed any excess of jurisdiction, (—modesty and moderation in words never was, nor ever will be, observed in popular councils, whose foundation is liberty of pg 8speech—) should believe that the union, peace, and plenty of the kingdom could be preserved without parliaments, or that the passion and distemper gotten and received into parliaments could be removed and reformed by the more passionate breaking and dissolving them; or that that course would not inevitably prove the most pernicious to himself; is as much my wonder as any thing that hath since happened.
There is a protection very gracious and just which princes owe to their servants, when, in obedience to their just commands, upon extraordinary and necessary occasions in the execution of their trusts, they swerve from the strict rule of the law, which, without that mercy, would be penal to them. In any case, it is as legal (the law presuming it will be always done upon great reason) for the king to pardon, as for the party to accuse, and the judge to condemn. But for the supreme power to interpose, and shelter an accused servant from answering, does not only seem an obstruction of justice, and lay an imputation upon the prince of being privy to the offence, but leaves so great a scandal upon the party himself that he is generally concluded guilty of whatsoever he is charged; which is commonly more than the worst man ever deserved. And it is worthy the observation, that, as no innocent man who made his defence ever suffered in those times by judgment of Parliament, so, many guilty persons, and against whom the spirit of the time went as high, by the wise managing their defence have been freed from their accusers, not only without i. May,1624 ii. Feb. 1629 iii. Nov.–Dec.1640 censure but without reproach; as the bishop of Lincoln, then Lord Keeper, sir H. Martin, and sir H. Spiller; men in their several degrees as little beholding to the charity of that time as any men since. Whereas scarce a man who, with industry and skill, laboured to keep himself from being accused, or by power to stop or divert the course of proceeding, scaped without some signal mark of infamy or prejudice. And the reason is clear; for—besides that after the first storm there is some compassion naturally attends men like to be in misery, and besides the latitude of judging in those places, whereby there is room for kindness and affection and collateral considerations pg 9to interpose—the truth is, those accusations (to which this man contributes his malice, that his wit, all men what they please, and most upon hearsay, with a kind of uncharitable delight of making the charge as heavy as may be) are commonly stuffed with many odious generals, that the proofs seldom make good: and then a man is no sooner found less guilty than he is expected but he is concluded more innocent than he is; and it is thought but a just reparation for the reproach that he deserved not, to free him from the censure he deserved. So that, very probably, those two noble persons had been happy if they had stoutly submitted to the proceedings were designed against them; and, without question, it had been of sovereign use to the King if, in those peaceable times, parliaments had been taught to know their own bounds by being suffered to proceed as far as they could go; by which the extent of their power would quickly have been manifested. From whence no inconvenience of moment could have proceeded; the House of Commons never then pretending to the least part of judicature, or exceeding the known verge of their own privileges; the House of Peers observing the rules of law and equity in their judgments, and proceeding deliberately upon clear testimony and evidence of matter of fact; and the King retaining the sole power of pardoning, and receiving the whole profit of all penalties and judgments, and indeed having so great an influence upon the body of the peerage, that it was never known that any person of honour was severely censured in that House, (before this present Parliament,) who was not either immediately prosecuted by the Court or in evident disfavour there; in which, it may be, (as it usually falls out) some doors were opened at which inconveniences to the Crown have got in, that were not then enough weighed and considered.
But the course of exempting men from prosecution by dissolving of parliaments made the power of parliaments much more formidable, as conceived to be without limit; since the sovereign power seemed to be compelled (as unable otherwise to set bounds to their proceedings) to that rough cure, and to determine their being because it could not determine their pg 10jurisdiction. Whereas, if they had been frequently summoned, and seasonably dissolved after their wisdom in applying medicines and cures, as well as their industry in discovering diseases, had been discerned, they would easily have been applied to the uses for which they were first instituted, and been of no less esteem with the Crown than of veneration with the people. And so I shall conclude this digression, which I conceived not unseasonable for this place nor upon this occasion, and return to the time when that brisk resolution was taken of totally declining those conventions; all men being inhibited (as I said before) by proclamation, at the dissolution of the Parliament in the fourth year, so much as to mention or speak as if a Parliament should be called.
And here it will give much light to that which follows if we take a view of the state of the Court and of the Council at that time, by which, as in a mirror, we may best see the face of that time, and the affections and temper of the people in general. And for the better taking this prospect, we will take a survey of the person of that great man, the duke of Buckingham, (who was so barbarously murdered at this time,) whose influence had been unfortunate in the public affairs, and whose death produced a change in all the councils1.
The duke was indeed a very extraordinary person; and never any man, in any age, nor, I believe, in any country or nation, rose, in so short a time, to so much greatness of honour, fame and fortune, upon no other advantage or recommendation than of the beauty and gracefulness and becomingness of his person. And I have not the least purpose of undervaluing his good parts and qualities, (of which there will be occasion shortly to give some testimony,) when I say that his first introduction into favour was purely from the handsomeness of his person.
He was the younger son of sir George Villiers, of Brookesby, in the county of Leicester; a family of an ancient extraction, even from the time of the Conquest, and transported pg 11then with the Conqueror out of Normandy, where the family hath still remained, and still continues with lustre. After sir George's first marriage, in which he had two or three sons and some daughters1, who shared an ample inheritance from him, by a second marriage, (with a young lady of the family of the Beaumonts2,) he had this gentleman and two other sons and a daughter, who all came afterwards to be raised to great titles and dignities. George, the eldest son of this second bed, was, after the death of his father, by the singular affection and care of 1605 his mother, who enjoyed a good jointure in the account of that age, well brought up; and, for the improvement of his education and giving an ornament to his hopeful person, he was by her sent into France, where he spent two or three years in attaining the language, and in learning the exercises of riding and dancing; in the last of which he excelled most men, and returned into England by the time he was twenty-one years old. 1613
King James reigned at that time; and though he was a prince of more learning and knowledge than any other of that age, and really delighted more in books and in the conversation of learned men, yet, of all wise men living, he was the most delighted and taken with handsome persons and with fine clothes. He began to be weary of his favourite the earl of Somerset, who was the only favourite who kept that post so long without any public reproach from the people: and, by the instigation and wickedness of his wife, he became at least privy to a horrible murder that exposed him to the utmost severity of the law, (the poisoning of sir Thomas Overbury,) upon which both 1616 May 25. he and his wife were condemned to die, after a trial by their peers; and many persons of quality were executed for the same.
Whilst this was in agitation, and before the utmost discovery was made, Mr. Villiers appeared in Court, and drew the King's eyes upon him. There were enough in the Court enough angry and incensed against Somerset for being what themselves desired to be, and especially for being a Scotchman, and ascending in so short a time from being a page to the height he was then at, pg 12to contribute all they could to promote the one, that they might throw out the other. Which being easily brought to pass, by the proceeding of the law upon his crime aforesaid, the other found very little difficulty in rendering himself gracious to the King, whose nature and disposition was very flowing in affection towards persons so adorned, insomuch that, in few days after his first appearance in Court he was made cupbearer to the King; by which he was naturally to be much in his presence, and so admitted to that conversation and discourse with which that prince always abounded at his meals. And his inclination to his new cupbearer disposed him to administer frequent occasions of discoursing of the Court of France, and the transactions there, with which he had been so lately acquainted that he could pertinently enlarge upon that subject, to the King's great delight, and to the reconciling the esteem and value of all the standers by likewise to him, which was a thing the King was well pleased with.
He acted very few weeks upon this stage when he mounted higher, and, being knighted, without any other quali- 1616 fication, he was at the same time made gentleman of the bedchamber, and knight of the order of the Garter; and in a short time (very short for such a prodigious ascent) he was 1617–18 made a baron, a viscount, an earl, a marquis, and became Lord High Admiral of England, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, Master of the Horse, and entirely disposed of all the graces of the King, in conferring all the honours and all the offices of the three kingdoms, without a rival; in dispensing whereof he was guided more by the rules of appetite than of judgment; and so exalted almost all of his own numerous family and dependants, who had no other virtue or merit than their alliance to him, which equally offended the ancient nobility and the people of all conditions, who saw the flowers of the Crown every day fading and withered, whilst the demesnes and revenue thereof was sacrificed to the enriching a private family, (how well soever originally extracted,) not heard of before ever to the nation; and the expenses of the Court so vast, and unlimited by the old good rules of economy, that they had a sad prospect of that pg 13poverty and necessity which afterwards befell the Crown, almost to the ruin of it.
Many were of opinion that King James before his death grew weary of his favourite, and that if he had lived he would have deprived him at least of his large and unlimited power. And this imagination prevailed with some men, as the Lord Keeper Lincoln, the earl of Middlesex, Lord High Treasurer of England, and other gentlemen of name though not in so high stations, that they had the courage to withdraw from their absolute dependence upon the duke, and to make some other essays, which proved to the ruin of every one of them, there appearing no marks or evidence that the King did really lessen his affection to him to the hour of his death. On the contrary, as he created him duke of Buckingham in his absence, whilst he was with the Prince in Spain, so, after his return, he executed the same authority in conferring all favours and graces, and revenging himself upon those who had manifested any unkindness towards him. And yet, notwithstanding all this, if that King's nature had equally disposed him to pull down as to build and erect, and if his courage and severity in punishing and reforming had been as great as his generosity and inclination was to oblige, it is not to be doubted but that he would have withdrawn his affection from the duke entirely before his death; which those persons who were admitted to any privacy with [him,] and were not in the confidence of the other, (for before those he knew well how to dissemble,) had reason enough to expect.
For it is not to be doubted that the King was never well pleased with the duke after the Prince's going into Spain, which was infinitely against his will, and contrived wholly by the duke: who, out of envy that the earl of Bristol should have the sole management of so great an affair, (as hitherto that treaty had been wholly managed by him in Spain, where he was now extraordinary ambassador, and all particulars agreed upon,) 1623 Jan. had one day insinuated to the Prince the common misfortune of princes that in so substantial a part of their happiness in this world as depended upon their marriage, themselves had never pg 14 1623 any part, but must receive only an account from others of the nature and humour and beauty of the ladies they were to marry; and those reports seldom proceeded from persons totally uninterested, at least uninclined from the parts they had acted towards such preparations. From hence [he] discoursed how gallant and how brave a thing it would be for his highness to make a journey into Spain and to fetch home his mistress; that it would put an end presently to all those formalities, which, (though all substantial matters were agreed upon already,) according to the style of that Court and the slow progress in all things of ceremony, might yet long retard the Infanta's voyage into England many months, all which would be in a moment removed by his own presence; that it would be such an obligation to the Infanta herself as she could never enough value or requite, and being a respect never paid by any other prince, upon the like addresses, could proceed only from the high regard and reverence he had for her person; that in the great affair that only remained undetermined, and was not entirely yielded to, though under a very civil deliberation, which was the restoring the Palatinate, it was very probable that the King of Spain himself might choose in the instant to gratify his personal interposition, which in a treaty with an ambassador might be drawn out in length, or attended with overtures of recompense by some new concessions which would create new difficulties: however, that the mediation could not but be frankly undertaken by the Infanta herself, who would ambitiously make it her work to pay a part of her great debt to the Prince, and that he might with her and by her present to his majesty the entire peace and restitution of his family, which by no other human means could be brought to pass.
These discourses made so deep impression upon the mind and spirit of the Prince, (whose nature was inclined to adventures,) that he was transported with the thought of it, and most impatiently solicitous to bring it to pass. The greatest difficulty that was in view was how they might procure the King's consent, who was very quicksighted in discerning difficulties pg 15and raising objections, and very slow in mastering them and 1623 untying the knots he had made: in a word, he knew not how to wrestle with desperate contingencies, and so abhorred the being entangled in such. This was to be first attempted by the Prince himself, by communicating it to the King as his earnest desire and suit, with this circumstance, that since his doing or not doing what he most desired depended wholly and entirely upon his majesty's own approbation and command, that he would vouchsafe to promise not to communicate the thing proposed before he had first taken his own resolution; and that this condition should be first humbly insisted on, before the substantial point should be communicated; and so, this approach being first made, the success and prosecution was to be left to the duke's credit, dexterity and cultivation. All things being thus concerted between his highness and the duke, (and this the beginning of an entire confidence between them, after a long time of declared jealousy and displeasure on the Prince's part1, and occasion enough administered on the other,) they shortly found a fit opportunity (and there were seasons when Feb. that King was to be approached more hopefully than in others) to make their address together. And his majesty cheerfully consented to the condition, and, being well pleased that all should depend upon his will, frankly promised that he would not in any degree communicate to any person the matter before he had taken and communicated to them his own resolution.
The Prince then, upon his knees, declared his suit and very importunate request, the duke standing a long time by without saying a word, and until the King discoursed the whole matter to the Prince with less passion than they expected, and then looked upon the duke, as inclined to hear what he would say; who spake nothing to the point whether in point of prudence counsellable or not, but enlarged upon the infinite obligation his majesty would confer upon the Prince by his concession, of the violent passion his highness was transported with, and, after many exalted expressions to that purpose, con-pg 16 1623 cluded that he doubted that his majesty's refusing to grant the Prince this his humble request would make a deep impression upon his spirits and peace of mind, and that he would, he feared, look upon it as the greatest misfortune and affliction that could befall him in this world. The Prince then taking the opportunity, from the good temper he saw his father in, to enlarge upon those two points which he knew were most important in the King's own wishes and judgment; that this expedient would put a quick end to this treaty, which could not be continued after his arrival in that Court, but that his marriage must presently ensue, which he well knew the King did the most impatiently desire of all blessings in this world; he said likewise, he would undertake (and he could not but be believed from the reasonableness of it) that his presence would in a moment determine the restitution of the Palatinate to his brother and sister; which was the second thing the King longed most passionately to see before he should leave this world.
These discourses, urged with all the artifice and address imaginable, so far wrought upon and prevailed with the King, that, with less hesitation than his nature was accustomed to, and much less than was agreeable to his great wisdom, he gave his approbation, and promised that the Prince should make the journey he was so much inclined to: whether he did not upon the sudden comprehend the consequences which would naturally attend such a rash undertaking, or whether he the less considered them because the provisions which must be made for such a journey, both with reference to the expense and security of it, would take up much time, and could not be done in such a secret way but that the counsel itself might be resumed again, when new measures should be taken. But this imagination was too reasonable not to be foreseen by them; and so they had provided themselves accordingly. And therefore, as soon as they had the King's promise upon the main, they told him the security of such a design depended on the expedition, without which there could be no secresy observed or hoped for; that, if it was deferred till such a fleet could be made ready, and such an equipage prepared, as might be fit for the Prince of Wales, pg 17so much time would be spent as would disappoint the principal 1623 ends of the journey: if they should send for a pass to France, the ceremony in the asking and granting it, and that which would flow from it in his passage through that kingdom, would be at least liable to the same objection of delay: besides that, according to the mysteries and intrigues of state, such a pass could not in point of security be reasonably depended upon; and therefore they had thought of an expedient which would avoid all inconveniences and hazards, and that it should be executed before it should be suspected: that it had never hitherto been in the least degree consulted but between themselves, (which was really true;) and therefore, if they now undertook the journey only with two servants, who should not know any thing till the moment they were to depart, they might easily pass through France before they should be missed at Whitehall: which was not hard to be conceived, and so with the less disquisition was consented to by the King. And the farther deliberation of what was more to be done, both in matter and manner, and the nomination of the persons who should attend them, and the time for their departure, was deferred to the consultation of the next day.
When the King, in his retirement and by himself, came to revolve what had been so loosely consulted before, as he had a wonderful sagacity in such reflections, a thousand difficulties and dangers occurred to him, as so many precipices which could hardly be avoided in such a journey. Besides those considerations which the violent affection of a father to his only son suggested to him, he thought how ill an influence it might have on his people, too much disposed to murmur and complain of the least inadvertisements; that they looked upon the Prince as the son of the kingdom as well as his natural son. He considered the reputation he should lose with all foreign princes, (especially if any ill accident should happen) by so much departing from his dignity in exposing the immediate heir of the crown, his only son, to all the dangers and all the jealousies which particular malice, or that fathomless abyss of reason of state, might prepare and contrive against him; and then, in how pg 18 1623 desperate a condition himself and his kingdoms should remain, if the prince miscarried, by such an unparalleled weakness of his, contrary to the light of his understanding as well as the current of his affection.
These reflections were so terrible to him that they robbed him of all peace and quiet of mind; insomuch as when the Prince and duke came to him about the despatch, he fell into a great passion of tears, and told them that he was undone, and that it would break his heart if they pursued their resolution; that, upon a true and dispassionate disquisition he had made with himself, he was abundantly convinced that, besides the almost inevitable hazards of the Prince's person, with whom his life was bound up, and besides the entire loss of the affections of his people, which would unavoidably attend this rash action, he foresaw it would ruin the whole design, and irrecoverably break the match. For whereas all those particulars upon which he could positively and of right insist were fully granted, (for that which concerned the Prince Elector, who had unexcusably, and directly against his advice, incurred the ban of the empire in an imperial diet1, must be wrought off by mediation and treaty, could not be insisted upon in justice,) nor could Spain make any new demands, all the overtures they had made being adjusted; the Prince should no sooner arrive at Madrid than all the articles of the treaty should be laid aside, and new matters be proposed, which had not been yet mentioned, and could never be consented to by him: that the treaty of this marriage, how well soever received, and how much soever desired by the King and his chief ministers, was in no degree acceptable to the Spanish nation in general, and less to the court of Rome, where, though the new Pope seemed more inclined to grant the dispensation than his predecessor had been, it was plain enough that it proceeded only from the apprehension he had to displease the King of Spain, not that he was less averse from the match, it having been always believed both in Spain and in Rome that this marriage was to be pg 19attended with a full repeal of all the penal laws against the 1623 Catholics, and a plenary toleration of the exercise of that religion in England, which they now saw concluded without any signal or real benefit or advantage to them. And therefore they might expect, and be confident, that when they had the person of the Prince of Wales in their hands, the King of Spain (though in his own nature and inclination full of honour and justice) would be even compelled by his clergy (who had always a great influence upon the counsels of that kingdom) and the importunities from Rome, who would tell him that God had now put it into his hand to advance the Catholic cause, to make new demands for those of that religion here; which, though he could never consent to, would at best interpose such delays in the marriage that he should never live to see it brought to pass, nor probably to see his son return again out of Spain. Then he put the duke in mind (whom he hitherto believed only to comply with the Prince to oblige him, after a long alienation from his favour) how inevitable his ruin must be by the effect of this counsel, how ungracious he was already with the people, and how many enemies he had amongst the greatest persons of the nobility, who would make such use of this occasion that it would not be in his majesty's power to protect him. And he concluded with the disorder and passion with which he began, with sighs and tears, to conjure them that they would no more press him to give his consent to a thing so contrary to his reason and understanding and interest, the execution whereof would break his heart, and that they would give over any farther pursuit of it.
The Prince and the duke took not the pains to answer any of the reasons his majesty had insisted on; his highness only putting him in mind of the promise lie had made to him the day before, which was so sacred that he hoped he would not violate it; which would make him never think more of marriage. The duke, who better knew what kind of arguments were of prevalence with him, treated him more rudely; told him nobody could believe any thing he said when he retracted so soon the promise he had so solemnly made; that he plainly pg 20 1623 discerned that it proceeded from another breach of his word, in communicating with some rascal who had furnished him with those pitiful reasons he had alleged, and he doubted not but he should hereafter know who his counsellor had been: that if he receded from what he had promised, it would be such a disobligation upon the Prince, who had set his heart now upon the journey after his majesty's approbation, that he could never forget it, nor forgive any man who had been the cause of it.
The Prince (who had always expressed the highest duty and reverence towards the King,) by his humble and importunate entreaty, and the duke by his rougher dialect, in the end prevailed so far, (after his majesty had passionately and with many oaths renounced the having communicated the matter with any person living,) that the debate was again resumed upon the journey, which they earnestly desired might not be deferred, but that they might take their leaves of the King within two days, in which they would have all things ready which were necessary, his highness pretending to hunt at Tybalt's, [Theobald's,] and the duke to take physic at Chelsy.
They told him, that being to have only two more in their company, as was before resolved, they had thought (if he approved them) upon sir Francis Cottington and Endymion Porter, who, though they might safely, should not be trusted with the secret till they were even ready to be embarked. The persons were both grateful to the King, the former having been long his majesty's agent in the court of Spain, and was now secretary to the Prince; the other having been bred in Madrid, and, after many years attendance upon the duke, was now one of the bedchamber to the Prince: so that his majesty cheerfully approved the election they had made, and wished it might be presently imparted to them: saying that many things would occur to them as necessary to the journey that they two would never think of; and took that occasion to send for sir Francis Cottington to come presently to him, (whilst the other two remained with him,) who, being of custom waiting in the outward rooms, was quickly brought in; whilst the duke whispered the Prince in the ear that Cottington pg 21would be against the journey, and his highness answered he 1623 durst not.
The King told him that he had always been an honest man, and therefore he was now to trust him in an affair of the highest importance, which he was not upon his life to disclose to any man alive; then said to him, 'Cottington, here is Baby Charles and Stenny,' (an appellation he always used of and towards the duke,) 'who have a great mind to go by post into Spain to fetch home the Infanta, and will have but two more in their company, and have chosen you for one; what think you of the journey?' He often protested that when he heard the King he fell into such a trembling that he could hardly speak. But when the King commanded him to answer him, what he thought of the journey, he replied, that he could not think well of it, and that he believed it would render all that had been [done] towards the match fruitless: for that Spain would no longer think themselves obliged by those articles, but that when they had the Prince in their hands they would make new overtures which they believed more advantageous to them, amongst which they must look for many which would concern religion, and the exercise of it in England. Upon which the King threw himself upon his bed, and said, 'I told you this before,' and fell into new passion and lamentation, that he was undone, and should lose Baby Charles.
There appeared displeasure and anger enough in the countenances both of the Prince and duke; the latter saying, that as soon as the King sent for him, he whispered the Prince in the ear that he would be against it; that he knew his pride well enough; and that, because he had not been first advised with, he was resolved to dislike it; and thereupon he reproached Cottington with all possible bitterness of words; told him the King asked him only of the journey, and which would be the best way, of which he might be a competent counsellor, having made the way so often by post: but that he had the presumption to give his advice upon matter of state, and against his master, without being called to it, which he should repent as long as he lived; with a thousand new pg 22 1623 reproaches; which put the poor King into a new agony, on the behalf of a servant who he foresaw would suffer for answering him honestly. Upon which he said, with some commotion, 'Nay, by God, Stenny, you are very much to blame to use him so. He answered me directly to the question I asked him, and very honestly and wisely: and yet you know he says no more than I told you before he was called in.' However, after all this passion on both parts, the King yielded, and the journey was at that very conference agreed upon, and all directions given accordingly to sir Francis Cottington; the King having now plainly discovered that the whole intrigue was originally contrived by the duke, and so violently pursued by his spirit and impetuosity.
The manner, circumstances, and conclusion of that voyage, with the rare accidents which happened in it, will no doubt be at large remembered by whosoever shall have the courage to write the transactions of that time with that integrity he ought to do: in which it will manifestly appear, how much of the prophet was in the wisdom of the King, and that that designed marriage, which had been so many years in treaty, even from the death of Prince Harry, and so near concluded, was solely broken by that journey: which, with the passages before mentioned, King James never forgave the duke of Buckingham, but retained as sharp a memory of it as his nature could contain.
This indisposition in the King towards the duke was exceedingly increased and aggravated upon and after the Oct. Prince's return out of Spain. For though it brought infinite joy and delight to his majesty, which he expressed in all imaginable transportation, and was the argument of the loudest and most universal rejoicing over the whole kingdom that the nation had ever then been acquainted with;—in which the duke had so full a harvest, that the imprudence and presumption (to say no more) of carrying the Prince into Spain was totally forgotten, or forgotten with any reference to him, and the high merit and inestimable obligation in bringing him home was remembered, magnified, and celebrated by all men in pg 23all places ;—yet the King was wonderfully disquieted, when 1623 he found (which he had not before their return suspected) that the Prince was totally aliened from all thoughts of, or inclinations to, the marriage, and that they were resolved to break it, with or without his approbation or consent. And in this the duke resumed the same impetuosity he had so much indulged to himself in the debate of the journey into Spain.
The King had, upon the Prince's return, issued out 1624 writs to call a Parliament, which was in the twenty-first year of his reign, thinking it necessary, with relation to the perplexities he was in for the breach of this match with Spain, (which he foresaw must ensue,) and the sad condition of his only daughter in Germany with her numerous issue, to receive their grave advice. By the time the Parliament could meet, the Prince's entire confidence being still reposed in the duke, as the King's seemed to be, the duke had wrought himself into the very great esteem and confidence of the principal members of both Houses of Parliament, who were most like to be the leading men, and had all a desire to have as much reputation in the Court as they had in the country. It was very reasonably thought necessary that as the King would, at the opening of the Parliament, make mention of the treaty with Spain, and more at large of his daughter's being driven out of the Palatinate, which would require their assistance and aid, so that the Prince and duke should afterwards, to one or both Houses, as occasion should be offered, make a relation of what had passed in Spain, especially concerning the Palatinate: that so putting the Houses into some method and order of their future debate, they would be more easily regulated than if they were in the beginning left to that liberty which they naturally affected, and from which they would not be restrained but in such a maimer as would be grateful to themselves.
Things being thus concerted, after the Houses had been three or four days together, (for in that time some days were always spent in the formality of naming committees and providing for common occurrences before they made an entrance pg 24 1624 Feb. 23. upon more solemn debates), the Prince began to speak of the Spanish affairs and of his own journey thither, and forgat not to mention the duke with more than ordinary affection. Whereupon it was thought fit that the whole affair, which was likewise to be the principal subject matter of all their consultations, should be stated and enlarged upon in a conference between the two Houses, which his highness and the duke were desired to manage. How little notice soever any body else could take of the change, the duke himself too well knew the hearty resentment the King had of what had passed, and of the affection he still had for the Spanish treaty; and therefore he had [done], and resolved still to do, all he could to make himself grateful to the Parliament and popular amongst the people, who he knew had always detested the match with Spain, or in truth any alliance with that nation. Feb. 27.
So when, at the conference, the Prince had made a short introduction to the business, and said some very kind things of the duke, of his wonderful care of him whilst he was in Spain, and the great dexterity he used in getting him away, he referred the whole relation to him; who said1, 'the true ground of the Prince's journey into Spain, which he well knew had begot such a terrible panting in the hearts of all good Englishmen, had been only to make a clear discovery of the sincerity of the Spaniard, and, if his intention was real, to put a speedy end to it by marrying, the lady upon the place: if he found it otherwise, to put his father and himself into liberty to dispose of himself in some other place. That the ambassador, in whose hands that great affair was solely managed, when in one despatch he wrote that all was concluded, in the next used to give an account of new difficulties and new demands: and, when all things were adjusted at Madrid, some unexpected scruples discovered themselves at Rome, with which the councils in Spain seemed to be surprised, and appeared to be confounded and not to know what to say. These ebbs and floods made the Prince apprehend, that the purpose was to amuse us, whilst they had other designs in secret agitation. And thereupon, pg 25that his highness had prevailed with his father (how unwilling 1624 soever) to permit him to make that journey, that he might make that useful discovery which could not be otherwise made in any seasonable time.
'That they no sooner came to Madrid than they discovered (though the Prince was treated with all the respect due to his greatness and the obligation he had laid upon that nation) that there had never been any real purpose that the Infanta should be given to him: that, during so long an abode as his highness made there, they had never procured the dispensation from Rome, which they might easily have done: and that, at last, [upon] the death of the Pope, (Gregory XV,) the whole process was to begin again, and would be transacted with 1623 July 8. the formalities which they should find necessary to their other affairs. That, instead of proceeding upon the articles which had been pretended to be concluded, they urged nothing but new demands, and in matters of religion so peremptorily, that the principal clergymen and the most eminent of that King's preachers had frequent conferences with the Prince to persuade him to change his religion and become Catholic. And, in order to move him the more successfully thereunto, they procured the Pope to write a letter himself to his highness, putting him in mind of the religion of his ancestors and progenitors, and conjuring him to return to the same faith: but that it had pleased God not only to give the Prince a constant and unshakable heart in his religion, but such wonderful abilities to defend the same in his discourse and arguments, that they stood amazed to hear him, and upon the matter confessed that they were not able to answer him.
'That they would not suffer the Prince to confer with, or so much as to speak to, hardly and very rarely to see, his mistress, who they pretended he should forthwith marry. That they could never obtain any better answer in the business of the Palatinate than that the restoring it was not in the power of that King, though it had been taken by the sole power of Spain and the Spanish army under the command of the marquis Spinola, who was then in the entire possession of it; but that pg 26 1624 his Catholic Majesty would use his interposition with all the credit he had with the Emperor and Duke of Bavaria, without whose joint consent it could not be done, and whose consent he hoped to obtain: but that he was well assured, that there was no more real intention in that point of restitution than in the other of the marriage; and that the Palatinate must not be looked to be recovered any other way than by force, which would easily bring it to pass.'
Throughout his whole discourse he made frequent reflections upon the earl of Bristol, as if he very well knew the Spaniards' purposes in the whole, and concurred with them in it; that he was so much troubled when he first saw the Prince, who alighted at his house, that he could not contain himself, but wished that his highness were at home again; that he had afterwards, when he found that his highness liked the Infanta, persuaded him in private that he would become Catholic, and that without changing his religion it would not be possible ever to compass that marriage.
He told them that the King had sent for the earl to return home, where he should be called to account for all his miscarriages. Whereas in truth the King had recalled him rather to assist him against the duke, than to expose him to his malice and fury; his majesty having a great esteem of that earl's fidelity to him, and of his great abilities.
The conference ended in a wonderful applause, in both Houses, of the Prince's and duke's behaviour and carriage March 4. throughout the affair, and in a hasty resolution to dissuade the King from entertaining any farther motions towards the match, and frankly and resolutely to enter into a war with Spain; towards the carrying on of which they raised great mountains of promises, and, prevailing in the first, never remembered to make good the latter; which too often falls out in such councils.
When King James was informed of what the duke had so confidently avowed, for which he had no authority, or the least direction from him, and a great part whereof himself knew to be untrue; and that he had advised an utter breach of the treaty, pg 27and to enter upon a war with Spain, he was infinitely offended; 1624 so that he wanted only a resolute and brisk counsellor to assist him in destroying him: and such a one he promised himself in the arrival of the earl of Bristol, whom he expected every day.
He had another exception against the duke, which touched him as near, and in which he enlarged himself much more. Lionel Cranfeild, who, though extracted from a gentleman's family, had been bred in the city, and, being a man of great wit and understanding in all the mysteries of trade, had found means to work himself into the good opinion and favour of the duke of Buckingham; and having shortly after married a near ally of the duke's, with wonderful expedition was made a Privy Councillor, Master of the Wardrobe, Master of the Wards, and, without parting with any of these, was now become Lord High Treasurer of England, and earl of Middlesex, had1 in truth gained so much credit with the King, (being in truth a man of great parts and notable dexterity,) that during the duke's absence in Spain he was not only negligent in issuing out such sums of money as were necessary to the defraying those illimited expenses, and to correspond with him with that deference he had used to do, but had the courage to dispute his commands, and to appeal to the King, whose ear was always inclined to him, and in whom he began to believe himself so far fastened that he should not stand in need of the future support of the favourite. And of all this the duke could not be without ample information, as well from his own creatures who were near enough to observe, as from others who, caring for neither of them, were more scandalized at so precipitate a promotion of a person of such an education, and whom they had long known so much their inferior, though it could not be denied that he filled the places he held with great abilities.
The duke no sooner found the Parliament disposed to a good opinion of him, and being well assured of the Prince's fast kindness, than he projected the ruin of this bold rival of his, of whom he saw clearly enough that the King had so good an opinion that it would not be in his sole power to crush him, pg 28 1624 as he had done others in the same and as high a station. And so he easily procured some leading men in the House of Apr. 16. Commons to cause an impeachment for several corruptions and misdemeanours to be sent up to the House of Peers against that great minister, whom they had so lately known their equal in that House, which (besides their natural inclination to those kinds of executions) disposed them with great alacrity to the prosecution. The wise King knew well enough the ill consequence that must attend such an activity, and that it would shake his own authority in the choice of his own ministers when they should find that their security did not depend solely upon his own protection: which breach upon his kingly power was so much without a precedent, (except one unhappy one made three years before1, to gratify likewise a private displeasure,) that the like had not been practised in some hundred of years, and never in such a case as this.
When this prosecution was first entered upon, and that the King clearly discerned that it was contrived by the duke, and that he had likewise prevailed with the Prince to be well pleased with it, his majesty sent for them, and with much warmth and passion dissuaded them from appearing further in it; and conjured them to use all their interest and authority to restrain it, as such a wound to the Crown that would not be easily healed. And when lie found the duke unmoved by all the considerations and arguments and commands he had offered, he said in great choler, 'By God, Stenny, you are a fool, and will shortly repent this folly, and will find that in this fit of popularity you are making a rod with which you will be scourged yourself.' And turning in some anger to the Prince, told him, that he would live to have his bellyful of Parliaments; and that, when he should be dead, he would have too much cause to remember how much he had contributed to the weakening of the Crown by this precedent he was now so fond of; intending as well the engaging the Parliament in the war, as the prosecution of the earl of Middlesex.
But the duke's power (supported by the Prince his pg 29countenance) was grown so great in the two Houses that it 1624 was in vain for the King to interpose; and so, notwithstanding so good a defence made by the earl that he was absolved from any notorious crime by the impartial opinion of many of those May 13. who heard all the evidence, he was at last condemned in a great fine [£50,000], to a long and strict imprisonment, and never to sit in Parliament during his life: a clause of such a nature as was never before found in any judgment of Parliament, and, in truth, not to be inflicted upon any peer but by attainder,
And how much aliened soever the King's affection was in truth from the duke upon these three provocations, 1. the Prince's journey into Spain; 2. the engaging the Parliament to break the match and treaty with Spain, and to make a war against that crown; and, 3. the sacrificing the earl of Middlesex in such a manner, upon his own animosity; yet he was so far from thinking fit to manifest it, (except in whispers to very few men,) that he was prevailed with to restrain the earl of Bristol upon his first arrival, without permitting him to come into his presence, which he had positively promised and resolved to do; and in the end suffered his Attorney General to exhibit a charge of high treason in his majesty's name1 against the said earl, who was thereupon committed to the Tower; but so little dejected with it that he answered the articles with great steadiness and unconcernedness, and exhibited another charge of high treason against the duke in many particulars.
And in this order and method the war was hastily entered into against Spain, and a new treaty set on foot for the Prince of Wales with the daughter of France, which was quickly concluded, though not executed till after the death of King James2; who, in the spring following, after a short indisposition by the gout, fell into a quartan ague, which, meeting many humours in a fat, unwieldy body of [fifty-eight] years 1625 March 27. old, in four or five fits carried him out of the world. After whose death many scandalous and libellous discourses were pg 30 1625 raised, without the least colour or ground; as appeared upon the strictest and [most] malicious examination that could be made, long after, in a time of license, when nobody was afraid of offending majesty, and when prosecuting the highest reproaches and contumelies against the royal family was held very meritorious.
Upon the death of King James, Charles Prince of Wales succeeded to the crown, with as universal a joy in the people as can be imagined, and in a conjuncture when all the other parts of Christendom, being engaged in war, were very solicitous for his friendship, and the more, because he had already discovered an activity that was not like to suffer him to sit still. The duke continued in the same degree of favour, at the least, with the son which he had enjoyed so many years under the father. Which was a rare felicity, seldom known, and in which the expectation of very many was exceedingly disappointed; who, knowing the great jealousy and indignation that the Prince had heretofore had against the duke, insomuch as he was once very near striking him, expected that he would now remember that insolence of which he then so often complained; without considering the opportunity the duke had, by the conversation with the Prince during his journey into Spain, (which was so grateful to him) and whilst he was there, to wipe out the memory of all former oversights, by making them appear to be of a less magnitude than they had been understood before, and to be excusable from other causes, still being severe enough to himself for his unwary part, whatsoever excuses he might make for the excess; and by this means to make new vows for himself, and to tie new knots to restrain the Prince from future jealousies. And it is very true his hopes in this kind never failed him; the new King from the death of the old even to the death of the duke himself discovering the most entire confidence in, and even friendship to, him that ever king had shewed to any subject. All preferments in church and state [were] given by him; all his kindred and friends promoted to the degree in honour, or riches, or offices, as he thought fit, and all his enemies and enviers discountenanced, and kept at that distance from the Court as he appointed.
But a Parliament was necessary to be called, as at the 1625 May. entrance of all kings to the crown, for the continuance of some supplies and revenue to the King, which have been still used to be granted in that season. And now he quickly found how prophetic the last King's predictions had [proved], and were like to prove. The Parliament that had so furiously advanced the war, and so factiously adhered to his person, was now no more; and though the House of Peers consisted still of the same men, and most of the principal men of the House of Commons were again elected to serve in this Parliament, yet they were far from wedding the war, or taking themselves to be concerned to make good any declarations made by the former: so that, though the war was entered in, all hope of obtaining money to carry it on was even desperate; and the affection they had for the duke and confidence in him was not then so manifest, as the prejudice they had now and animosity against him was visible to all the world. All the actions of his life [were] ripped up and surveyed, and all malicious glosses made upon all he had said and all he had done: votes and Remonstrances passed against him as an enemy to the public, and his ill management made the ground of their refusal to give the King that supply he had reason to expect, and was absolutely necessary to the state he was in. And this kind of treatment was so ill suited to the duke's great spirit, which indeed might easily have been bowed but could very hardly be broken, that it wrought contrary effects upon his high mind and his indignation to find himself so used by the same men. For they who flattered him most before, mentioned him now with the greatest bitterness and acrimony; and the same men who had called him our saviour1 for bringing the Prince safe out of Spain, called him now the corrupter of the King and betrayer of the liberties of the people2, without imputing the least crime to him to have been committed since the time of that exalted pg 32 1625 adulation, or that was not then as much known to them as it could be now; so fluctuating and unsteady a testimony is the applause of popular councils.
This indignation, I say, so transported the duke that he thought it necessary to publish and manifest a greater contempt Aug. 12. 1626, June 15. of them than he should have done; causing this and the next Parliament to be quickly dissolved, as soon as they seemed to entertain counsels not grateful to him, and before he could well determine and judge what their temper was in truth like to prove: and upon every dissolution such who had given any offence were imprisoned or disgraced; new projects were everyday set on foot for money, which served only to offend and incense the people, and brought little supply to the King's occasions, yet raised a great stock for expostulation, murmur, and complaint, to be exposed when other supplies should be required; and many persons of the best quality and condition under the peerage were committed to several prisons, with circumstances unusual and unheard of, for refusing to pay money required by those extraordinary ways. And the duke himself would passionately say, and frequently do, many things which only grieved his friends and incensed his enemies, and gave them as well the ability as the inclination to do him much harm.
In this fatal conjuncture, and after several costly em- 1625 June. bassies into France, in the last of which the duke himself went and brought triumphantly home with him the Queen, to the joy of the nation; in a time when all endeavours should have been used to have extinguished that war in which the kingdom was so unhappily engaged against Spain, a new war was as precipitately declared against France. And the fleet, that had been unwarily designed to have surprised Cales, under a general1 very unequal to that great work, was no sooner returned without success and with much damage, than the fleet was repaired and the army reinforced for the invasion of France ; in which the duke was general himself, and made that notable descent upon the Isle of Rea which was quickly afterwards attended with many unprosperous attempts, and then with a pg 33miserable retreat in which the flower of the army was lost. So 1626 that, how ill soever Spain and France were inclined to each other, they were both mortal enemies to England; whilst England itself was so totally taken up with the thought of revenge upon the person who they thought had been the cause of their distress, that they never considered that the sad effects of it (if not instantly provided against) must inevitably destroy the kingdom; and gave no truce to their rage till the duke finished 1628 Aug. 24. his course by the wicked means mentioned before, in the fourth year of the King and the thirty-sixth of his age.
[The duke was killed by one] John Felton, an obscure person, who had been bred a soldier, and lately a lieutenant of a foot company whose captain had been killed upon the retreat at the Isle of Ree, upon which he conceived that the company of right ought to have been conferred upon him, and it being refused to him by the duke of Buckingham, general of the army, he had given up his commission of lieutenant and withdrawn himself from the army. He was of a melancholic nature, and had little conversation with anybody, yet of a gentleman's family in Suffolk of good fortune and reputation. From the time that he had quitted the army, he resided in London.
When the House of Commons, transported with passion and prejudice against the duke of Buckingham, bad accused him to the House of Peers for several misdemeanours and miscarriages, and in some declarations had styled him, 'the cause of all the evils the kingdom suffered, and an enemy to the public2,' some transcripts of such expressions, (for the late license of printing all mutinous and seditious discourses was not yet in fashion,) and some general invectives he met with amongst the people, to whom that great man was not grateful, wrought so far upon this melancholic gentleman that, by degrees and (as he said upon some of his examinations) by frequently hearing some popular preachers in the city, (who pg 34 1628 were not yet arrived at the presumption and impudence they have been since transported with,) he believed he should do God good service if he killed the duke; which he shortly after resolved to do. He chose no other instrument to do it with than an ordinary knife, which he bought of a common cutler for a shilling: and thus provided he repaired to Portsmouth, where Aug. 23. he arrived the eve of St. Bartholomew. The duke was then there, in order to the preparing and making ready the fleet and the army, with which he resolved in few days to transport himself to the relief of Rochelle, which was then straitly besieged by the cardinal of Richelieu, and for relief whereof the duke was the more obliged by reason that at his being at the Isle of Ree he had received great supplies of victual and some companies of their garrison from that town, the want of both which they were at this time very sensible of and grieved with. Aug. 24.
This morning of St. Bartholomew the duke had received letters in which he was advertised that Rochelle had relieved itself; upon which he directed that his breakfast might speedily be made ready, and he would make haste to acquaint the King with the good news, the Court being then at Southwick, the house of sir Daniel Norton, five miles from Portsmouth. The chamber wherein he was dressing himself was full of company of persons of quality and officers of the fleet and army.
There was monsieur de Sobiez [Soubize], brother to the duke of Rohan, and other French gentlemen, who were very solicitous for the embarkation of the army, and for the departure of the fleet for the relief of Rochelle; and they were at this time in much trouble and perplexity, out of apprehension that the news the duke had received that morning might slacken the preparations for the voyage, which their impatience and interest persuaded were not advanced with expedition; and so they had then held much discourse with the duke of the impossibility that his intelligence could be true, and that it was contrived by the artifice and dexterity of their enemies in order to abate the warmth and zeal that was used for their relief, the arrival of which they had so much reason to apprehend; and a little longer delay in sending it would ease them of that terrible pg 35apprehension, their forts and works toward the sea and in the 1628 harbour being almost finished.
And this discourse, according to the natural custom of that nation and by the usual dialect of that language, was held with that passion and vehemence that the standers by, who understood not French, did believe that they were very angry, and that they used the duke very rudely. He being ready, and informed that his breakfast was ready, drew towards the door, where the hangings were held up; and, in the very passage, turning himself to speak with sir Thomas Fryer, a colonel of the army, who was then speaking near his ear, he was on the sudden struck over his shoulder upon the breast with a knife; upon which, without using any other words but that 'The villain hath killed me,' and in the same moment pulling out the knife himself, he fell down dead, the knife having pierced his heart.
No man had seen the blow or the man who made it; but, in the confusion they were in, every man made his own conjectures and declared it as a thing known; most agreeing that it was clone by the French, from the angry discourse they thought they heard from them. And it was a kind of a miracle that they were not all killed in that instant; the soberer sort that preserved them from it having the same opinion of their guilt, and only reserving them for a more judicial examination and proceeding.
In the crowd near the door there was found upon the ground a hat, in the inside whereof there was sewed upon the crown a paper in which were writ four or five lines of that declaration made by the House of Commons in which they had styled the duke an enemy to the kingdom, and under it a short ejaculation or two towards a prayer. It was easily enough concluded that the hat belonged to the person who had committed the murder: but the difficulty remained still as great who that person should be, for the writing discovered nothing of the name; and whosoever it was, it was very natural to believe that he was gone far enough not to be found without a hat.
In this hurry, one running one way, another another pg 36 1628 way, a man was seen walking before the door very composedly without a hat; whereupon one [cried]1 out, 'Here is the fellow that killed the duke!' upon which others ran thither, everybody asking, 'Which is he? Which is he?' To which the man without the hat very composedly answered, 'I am he.' Thereupon some of those who were most furious suddenly ran upon the man with their drawn swords to kill him; but others, who were at least equally concerned in the loss and in the sense of it, defended him; himself with open arms very calmly and cheerfully exposing himself to the fury and swords of the most enraged, as being very willing to fall a sacrifice to their sudden anger, rather than to be kept for that deliberate justice which he knew must be exercised upon him.
He was now known enough, and easily discovered to be that Felton, whom we mentioned before, who had been a lieutenant in the army. He was quickly carried into a private room by the persons of the best condition, some whereof were in authority, who first thought fit so far to dissemble as to mention the duke only as grievously wounded, but not without hope of recovery. Upon which Felton smiled, and said, he knew well he had given him a blow that had determined all those hopes. Being then asked (which was the discovery principally aimed at) by whose instigation he had performed that horrid and wicked act, he answered them with a wonderful assurance, that they should not trouble themselves in that inquiry; that no man living had credit or power enough in him to have engaged or disposed him to such an action; that he had never intrusted his purpose and resolution to any man; that it proceeded only from himself and the impulsion of his own conscience; and that the motives thereunto would appear if his hat were found, in which he had therefore fixed them because he believed it very probable that he might perish in the attempt. He confessed that he had come to the town but the night before, and had kept his lodging that he might not be seen or taken notice of; and that he had come that morning to the duke's lodging, where he had waited at the door for his pg 37coming out; and when he found by the motions within that he 1628 was coming, he drew to the door, as if he held up the hanging; and sir Thomas Fryer speaking at that time to the duke, as hath been said, and being of a much lower stature than the duke, who a little inclined towards him, he took the opportunity of giving the blow over his shoulder.
He spake very frankly of what he had done, and bore the reproaches of those who spake to him with the temper of a man who thought he had not done amiss. But after he had been in prison some time, where he was treated without any rigour and with humanity enough, and before, and at, his trial, which was about four months after, at the King's Bench bar, Nov. 27. he behaved himself with great modesty and wonderful repentance, being, as he said, convinced in his conscience that he had done wickedly, and asked the pardon of the King, the duchess, and of all the duke's servants, whom he acknowledged to have offended; and very earnestly besought the judges that he might have his hand struck off with which he had performed that impious act, before he should be put to death.
The Court was too near Portsmouth, and too many courtiers upon the place, to have this murder (so wonderful in the nature and circumstances, the like whereof had not been known in England in many ages) long concealed from the King. His majesty was at the public prayers of the church, when sir John Epsly [Hippesly] came into the room, with a troubled countenance, and, without any pause in respect to the exercise they were performing, went directly to the King and whispered in his ear what had fallen out. His majesty continued unmoved, and without the least change in his countenance, till prayers were ended; when he suddenly departed to his chamber, and threw himself upon his bed, lamenting with much passion and with abundance of tears the loss he had of an excellent servant and the horrid manner in which he had been deprived of him ; and he continued in this melancholic and discomposure of mind many days.
Yet the manner of his receiving the news in public, when it was first brought to him in the presence of so many, pg 38 1628 (who knew or saw nothing of the passion he expressed upon his retreat,) made many men to believe that the accident was not very ungrateful; at least, that it was very indifferent to him; as being rid of a servant very ungracious to the people, and the prejudice to whose person exceedingly obstructed all overtures made in Parliament for his service.
And upon this observation persons of all conditions took great license in speaking of the person of the duke, and dissecting all his infirmities, believing they should not thereby incur any displeasure of the King. In which they took very ill measures; for from that time almost to the time of his own death the King admitted very few into any degree of trust who had ever discovered themselves to be enemies to the duke, or against whom he had ever manifested a notable prejudice. And sure never any prince manifested more a most lively regret for the loss of a servant than his majesty did for this great man, in his constant favour and kindness to his wife and children, in a wonderful solicitous care for the payment of his debts, (which, it is very true, were contracted for his service, though in such a manner that there remained no evidence of it, nor was any of the duke's officers intrusted with the knowledge of it, nor was there any record of it but in his majesty's own generous memory,) and in all offices of grace towards his servants.
After all this, and such a transcendent mixture of ill fortune, of which as ill conduct and great infirmities seem to be the foundation and source, this great man was a person of a noble nature and generous disposition, and of such other endowments as made him very capable of being a great favourite to a great King. He understood the arts and artifices of a court, and all the learning that is professed there, exactly well. By long practice in business, under a master that discoursed excellently, and surely knew all things wonderfully, and took much delight in indoctrinating his young unexperienced favourite, who, he knew, would be always looked upon as the workmanship of his own hands, he had obtained a quick conception and apprehension of business, and pg 39had the habit of speaking very gracefully and pertinently. He was of a most flowing courtesy and affability to all men who made any address to him; and so desirous to oblige them, that he did not enough consider the value of the obligation or the merit of the person he chose to oblige; from which much of his misfortune resulted. He was of a courage not to be daunted, which was manifested in all his actions, and his contests with particular persons of the greatest reputation; and especially in his whole demeanour at the Isle of Rees, both at the landing and upon the retreat: in both which no man was more fearless, or more ready to expose himself to the brightest dangers. His kindness and affection to his friends was so vehement that it was so many marriages for better and worse, and so many leagues offensive and defensive; as if he thought himself obliged to love all his friends, and to make war upon all they were angry with, let the cause be what it would. And it cannot be denied that he was an enemy in the same excess, and prosecuted those he looked upon as his enemies with the utmost rigour and animosity, and was not easily induced to a reconciliation. And yet there were some examples of his receding in that particular. And in highest passion he was so far from stooping to any dissimulation whereby his displeasure might be concealed and covered till he had attained his revenge, (the low method of courts,) that he never endeavoured to do any man an ill office before he first told him what he was to expect from him, and reproached him with the injuries he had done, with so much generosity that the person found it in his power to receive further satisfaction in the way he would choose for himself.
And in this manner he proceeded with the earl of Oxford, a man of great name in that time, and whom he had endeavoured by many civil offices to make his friend, and who seemed equally to incline to the friendship. When he discovered (or, as many thought, but suspected) that the earl was entered into some cabal in Parliament against him, he could not be dissuaded by any of his friends to whom he imparted his resolution; but, meeting the earl the next day, he took him pg 40aside, and, after many reproaches for such and such ill offices he had done, and for breaking his word towards him, he told him he would rely no longer on his friendship, nor should he expect any farther friendship from him, but, on the contrary, he would be for ever his enemy, and do him all the mischief he could. The earl, (who, as many thought, had not been faulty towards him,) was as great-hearted as he, and thought the very suspecting him to be an injury unpardonable, [and,] without any reply to the particulars, declared that he neither cared for his friendship nor feared his hatred; and from thence avowedly entered into the conversation and confidence of those who were always awake to discover and solicitous to pursue any thing that might prove to his disadvantage; which was of evil consequence to the duke, the earl being of the most ancient of the nobility, and a man of great courage, and of a family which had in no time swerved from its fidelity to the Crown.
Sir Francis Cottington, who was secretary to the Prince, and not grown courtier enough to dissemble well his opinion, had given the duke offence before the journey into Spain, as is before touched upon, and improved that prejudice after his coming thither by disposing the Prince all he could to the marriage of the Infanta; and by his behaviour after his return in justifying to King James, who had a very good opinion of him, the sincerity of the Spaniard in the treaty of the marriage, that they did in truth desire it, and were fully resolved to gratify his majesty in the business of the Palatinate, and only desired in the manner of it, to gratify the Emperor and the Duke of Bavaria all he could, which would take up very little time. All which being so contrary to the duke's positions and purposes, his displeasure to Cottington was sufficiently manifest, and King James was no sooner dead, and the new officers and orders made, but the profits and privileges which had used to be continued to him who had been secretary till some other promotion were all retrenched. And when he was one morning attending in the privy lodgings, as he was accustomed to do, one of the Secretaries of State pg 41came to him, and told him that it was the King's pleasure that he should no more presume to come into those rooms, which was the first instance he had received of the King's disfavour. And at the same instant the duke entered into that quarter, upon which sir Francis Cottington addressed himself towards [him,] and desired he would give him leave to speak to him: upon which the duke inclining his ear, moved to a window from the company; the other told him that he received every day fresh marks of his severity; mentioned the message which had been then delivered to him, and desired only to know whether it could not be in his power, by all dutiful application and all possible service, to be restored to the good opinion his grace had once vouchsafed to have of him, and to be admitted to serve him. The duke heard him without the least commotion, and with a countenance serene enough, and then answered him, that he would deal very clearly with him; that it was utterly impossible to bring that to pass which he had proposed: that he was not only firmly resolved never to trust him, or to have to do with [him,] but that he was, and would be always, his declared enemy; and that he would do always whatever should be in his power to ruin and destroy him, and of this he might be most assured; without mentioning any particular ground for his so heightened displeasure.
The other very calmly replied to him, (as he was master of an incomparable temper,) that since he was resolved never to do him good, that he hoped, from his justice and generosity, that he would not suffer himself to gain by his loss; that he had laid out by his command so much money for jewels and pictures, which he had received: and that, in hope of his future favour, he had once presented a suit of hangings to him which cost him 800l., which he hoped he would cause to be restored to him, and that he would not let him be so great a loser by him. The duke answered, he was in the right; that he should the next morning go to Oliver, (who was his receiver,) and give him a particular account of all the money due to him, and he should presently pay him; which was pg 42done the next morning accordingly, without the least abatement of any of his demands. (69.) And he was so far reconciled to him before his death, that being resolved to make a peace with Spain, to the end he might more vigorously pursue the war with France, (to which his heart was most passionately fixed,) he sent for Cottington to come to him, and, after conference with him, told him the King would send him ambassador thither, and that he should attend him at Portsmouth for his despatch.
His single misfortune was, (which indeed was productive of many greater,) that he never made a noble and a worthy friendship with a man so near his equal that he would frankly advise him, for his honour and true interest, against the current, or rather the torrent, of his impetuous passions; which was partly the vice of the time, when the Court was not replenished with great choice of excellent men, and partly the vice of the persons who were most worthy to be applied to, and looked upon his youth and his obscurity as obligations upon him to gain their friendships by extraordinary application. Then his ascent was so quick that it seemed rather a flight than a growth; and he was such a darling of fortune that he was at the top before he was seen at the bottom; for the gradation of his titles was the effect, not cause, of his first promotion, and, as if he had been born a favourite, he was supreme the first month he came to Court; and it was want of confidence, not of credit, that he had not all at first which he obtained afterwards, never meeting with the least obstruction from his setting out till he was as great as he could be: so that he wanted dependants before he thought he could want coadjutors. Nor was he very fortunate in the election of those dependants, very few of his servants having been ever qualified enough to assist or advise him, and were intent only upon growing rich under [him,] not upon their master's growing good as well as great: insomuch as he was throughout his fortune a much wiser man than any servant or friend he had.
Let the fault or misfortune be what and whence it will, it may very reasonably be believed that if he had been blessed pg 43with one faithful friend who had been qualified with wisdom and integrity, that great person would have committed as few faults, and done as transcendent worthy actions, as any man who shined in such a sphere in that age in Europe. For he was of an excellent nature, and of a capacity very capable of advice and counsel. He was in his nature just and candid, liberal, generous, and bountiful; nor was it ever known that the temptation of money swayed him to do an unjust or unkind thing. And though he left a very great inheritance to his heirs, considering the vast fortune he inherited by his wife, (the sole daughter and heir of Francis earl of Rutland,) he owed no part of it to his own industry or solicitation, but to the impatient humour of two kings his masters, who would make his fortune equal to his titles, and the one above other men as the other was. And he considered it no otherwise than as theirs, and left it at his death engaged for the Crown almost to the value of it, as is touched upon before1.
If he had an immoderate ambition, with which he was charged, and is a weed (if it be a weed) apt to grow in the best soils, it does not appear that it was in his nature, or that he brought it with him to the Court, but rather found it there, and was a garment necessary for that air. Nor was it more in his power to be without promotion and titles and wealth, than for a healthy man to sit in the sun in the brightest dog-days and remain without any warmth. He needed no ambition who was so seated in the hearts of two such masters.
There are two particulars, which lie heaviest upon his memory, either of them aggravated by circumstances very important, and which administer frequent occasions by their effects to be remembered.
The first, his engaging his old unwilling master and the kingdom in the war with Spain, (not to mention the bold journey thither, or the breach of that match,) in a time 1623 when the Crown was so poor, and the people more inclined to a bold inquiry how it came to be so than dutifully to pg 44 1623 provide for its supply: and this only upon personal animosities between him and the duke of Olivarez, the sole favourite in that Court, and those animosities from very trivial provocations, and flowed indeed from no other fountain than that the nature and education of Spain restrained men from that gaiety of humour and from the frolic humour to which the Prince his Court was more inclined. And Olivarez had been heard to censure very severely the duke's familiarity and want of respect towards the Prince, (a crime monstrous to the Spaniard,) and had said that 'if the Infanta did not as soon as she was married suppress that license, she would herself quickly undergo the mischief of it:' which gave the first alarm to the duke to apprehend his own ruin in that union, and accordingly to use all his endeavours to break and prevent it; and from that time he took all occasions to quarrel with and reproach the Conde duke.
One morning the King desired the Prince to take the air, and to visit a little house of pleasure he had (the Prado) four miles from Madrid, standing in a forest, where he used sometimes to hunt; and the duke not being ready, the King and the Prince and the Infante Don Carlo went into the coach, the King likewise calling the earl of Bristol into that coach to assist them in their conversation, the Prince then not speaking any Spanish; and left Olivarez to follow in the coach with the duke of Buckingham. When the duke came, they went into the coach, accompanied with others of both nations, and proceeded very cheerfully towards overtaking the King: but when upon the way he heard that the earl of Bristol was in the coach with the King, he brake out into great passion, reviled the Conde duke as the contriver of the affront, reproached the earl of Bristol for his presumption in taking the place which in all respects belonged to him who was joined with him as ambassador extraordinary, and came last from the presence of their master; and resolved to go out of the coach and to return to Madrid. Olivarez easily discovered by the disorder and the noise and the tune that the duke was very angry, without comprehending the cause of it; only found that pg 45the earl of Bristol was often named with such a tone that be 1623 began to suspect what in truth might be the cause. And thereupon he commanded a gentleman, who was on horseback, with all speed to overtake the King's coach and desire that it might stay, intimating that the duke had taken some displeasure, the ground whereof was not enough understood. Upon which the King's coach stayed; and when the other approached within distance, the Conde duke alighted, and acquainted the King with what he had observed and what he conceived. The King himself alighted, made great compliments to the duke, the earl of Bristol excusing himself upon the King's command that he should serve as a truckman1. In the end Don Carlo went into the coach with the favourite, and the duke and the earl of Bristol went with the King and the Prince; and so they prosecuted their journey, and after dinner returned in the same manner to Madrid.
This, with all the circumstances of it, administered wonderful occasion of discourse in the court and country, there having never been such a comet seen in that hemisphere, and their submiss reverence to their princes being a vital part of their religion.
There were very few days passed afterwards in which there was not some manifestation of the highest displeasure and hatred in the duke against the other. And when the Conde duke had some eclaircissement with the duke, in which he made all the protestations of his sincere affection and his desire to maintain a clear and faithful friendship with him, which he conceived might be in some degree useful to both their masters, the other received his protestations with all contempt, and declared, with a very unnecessary frankness, that he would have no friendship with him.
And. the next day after the King returned from accompanying the Prince towards the sea,—where, at parting, there were all possible demonstrations of mutual affection between pg 46 1623 them, and the King caused a fair pillar to be erected in the place where they last embraced each other, with inscriptions of great honour to the Prince; there being then in that Court not the least suspicion or imagination that the marriage would not succeed, insomuch that afterwards, upon the news from Rome that the dispensation was granted, the Prince having left the desponsorios in the hands of the earl of Bristol, in which the Infante Don Carlo was constituted the Prince's proxy to marry the Infanta on his behalf, she was treated as Princess of Wales, the Queen gave her place, and the English ambassador had frequent audiences, as with his mistress, in which he would not Sept. 13. be covered: yet, I say, the very next day after the Prince's departure from the King,—Mr. Clarke, one of the Prince's bedchamber who had formerly served the duke, was sent back to Madrid, upon pretence that somewhat was forgotten there, but in truth with orders to the earl of Bristol not to deliver the desponsorios (which by the articles he was obliged to do within fifteen days after the arrival of the dispensation) until he should receive further orders from the Prince, or King, after his return into England. (79.) Mr. Clarke was not to deliver this letter to the ambassador till he was sure the dispensation was come; of which he could not be advertised in the instant. But he lodging in the ambassador's house, and falling sick of a calenture which the physicians thought would prove mortal, he sent for the earl to come to his bedside, and delivered him the letter before the arrival of the dispensation, though long after it was known to be granted; upon which all those ceremonies were performed to the Infanta.
By these means, and by this method, this great affair, upon which the eyes of Christendom had been so long fixed, came to be dissolved, without the least mixture with, or contribution from, those amours which were afterwards so confidently discoursed of. For though the duke was naturally carried violently to those passions when there was any grace or beauty in the object, [yet 1] the duchess of Olivarez, (of whom the talk was,) was then a woman so old, past children, of so abject a pg 47presence, in a word, so crooked and deformed, that she could 1623 neither tempt his appetite or magnify his revenge. And whatever he did afterwards in England was but tueri opus, and to prosecute the design he had, upon the reasons and provocations aforesaid, so long before contrived during his abode in Spain.
The other particular, by which he involved himself in so many fatal intricacies from which he could never extricate himself, was his running violently into the war with France, without any kind of provocation and upon a particular passion very unwarrantable. In his embassy in France—where his person and 1625 presence was wonderfully admired and esteemed, (and in truth it was a wonder in the eyes of all men,) and in which he appeared with all the lustre the wealth of England could adorn him with, and outshined all the bravery that Court could dress itself in, and overacted the whole nation in their own most peculiar vanities—he had the ambition to fix his eyes upon, and to dedicate his most violent affection to, a lady of a very sublime quality1, and to pursue it with most importunate addresses: insomuch as when the King had brought the Queen his sister as far as he meant to do, and delivered her into the hands of the duke to be by him conducted into England, the duke, in his journey, after his departure from that Court, took a resolution once more to make a visit to that great lady, which he believed he might do with great privacy. But it was so easily discovered that provision was made for his reception, and if he had pursued his attempt he had been without doubt assassinated; of which he had only so much notice as served him to decline the danger2. But he swore, in the instant, that he would see and speak with that lady, in spite of the strength and power of France. And from the time that the Queen arrived in England, he took all the ways he could to undervalue and exasperate that Court and nation, by causing all those who fled into England from the justice and displeasure of pg 48 1625 that King to be received and entertained here, not only with ceremony and security, but with bounty and magnificence; and the more extraordinary the persons were, and the more notorious the King's displeasure was towards them, (as in that time there were very many lords and ladies of that classis,) the more respectively they were received and esteemed. He omitted no opportunity to incense the King against France, and to dispose him to assist the Huguenots, whom he likewise encouraged to give their King some trouble.
And, which was worse than all this, he took great pains to lessen the King's affection towards his young Queen, being exceedingly jealous lest her interest might be of force enough to cross his other designs: and, in this stratagem, he so far swerved from the instinct of his nature and his proper inclinations, that he, who was compounded of all the elements of affability and courtesy towards all kind of people, had brought himself to a habit of neglect, and even of rudeness, towards the Queen.
One day, when he unjustly apprehended that she had shewed some disrespect to his mother, in not going to her lodging at an hour she had intended to do, and was hindered by a very accident, he came into her chamber in much passion, and, after some expostulations rude enough, he told her she should repent it. And her majesty answering with some quickness, he replied insolently to her, that there had been queens in England who had lost their heads. And it was universally known that during his life the Queen never had any credit with the King with reference to any public affairs, and so could not divert the resolution of making a war with France.
The war with Spain had found the nation in a surfeit of a long peace, and in a disposition inclinable enough to war with that nation, which might put an end to an alliance the most ungrateful to them and which they most feared, and from whence no other damage had yet befallen them than a chargeable and unsuccessful voyage by sea without the loss of ships or men. But a war with France must be carried on at another rate and expense. Besides, the nation was weary and surfeited with the first before the second was entered upon; and it was pg 49very visible to wise men that when the general trade of the 1625 kingdom, from whence the supports of the Crown principally resulted, should be utterly extinguished with France as it was with Spain, and interrupted or obstructed with all other places, (as it must be in a war, how prosperously soever carried on,) the effects would be very sad, and involve the King in many perplexities. And it could not but fall out accordingly.
Upon the return from Cales without success, though all the ships, and, upon the matter, all the men, were seen, (for, though some had so surfeited in the vineyards and with the wines that they had been left behind, the generosity of the Spaniards had sent them all home again;) and though by that fleet's putting in at Plymouth, near two hundred miles from London, so that there could be very imperfect relations, and the news of yesterday was contradicted the morrow; besides, the expedition had been undertaken by the advice of the Parliament, and with an universal approbation of the people, so that nobody could reasonably speak loudly against it; yet, notwithstanding all this, the ill success was heavily borne, and imputed to ill conduct; the principal officers of the fleet and army divided amongst themselves, and all united in their murmurs against the general, the lord viscount Wimbledon, who, though an old officer in Holland, was never thought equal to the enterprise, and had in truth little more of a Holland officer than the pride and formality. In a word, there was indisposition enough quickly discovered against the war itself, that it was easily discerned it would not be pursued with the vigour it was entered into, nor carried on by any cheerful sure contributions of money from the public.
But the running into this war with France, from whence 1627 the Queen was so newly and so joyfully received, without any colour of reason, or so much as the formality of a declaration from the King containing the ground and provocation and end of it, according to custom and obligation in the like cases, (for it was observed that the declaration which was published was in the duke's own name, who went admiral and general of the expedition,) opened the mouths of all men to inveigh against it, pg 50 1627 with all bitterness, and the sudden ill effects of it, manifested in the return of the fleet to Portsmouth, within such a distance of London that nothing could be concealed of the loss sustained, in which most noble families found a son or brother or near kinsman wanting, without such circumstances of their deaths which are usually the consolations and recompenses of such catastrophes. The retreat had been a rout without an enemy, and the French had their revenge by the disorder and confusion of the English themselves; in which great numbers of noble and ignoble were crowded to death, or drowned, without the help of an enemy: and as many thousands of the common men were wanting, so few of those principal officers who had attained to a name in war, and by whose courage and experience any war was to be conducted, could be found.
The effects of this overthrow did not at first appear in whispers, murmurs, and invectives, as the retirement from Cales had done, but produced such a general consternation over the face of the whole nation, as if all the armies of France and Spain were united together, and had covered the land: mutinies in the fleet and army, under pretence of their want of pay, (whereof no doubt there was much due to them,) but in truth out of detestation of the service and the authority of the duke. The counties throughout the kingdom were so incensed, and their affections poisoned, that they refused to suffer the soldiers to be billeted upon them; by which they often underwent greater inconveniences and mischiefs than they endeavoured to prevent. The endeavour to raise new men for the recruit of the army by pressing (the only method that had ever been practised upon such occasions) found opposition in many places, and the authority by which it was done not submitted to, as illegal; which produced a resort to martial law, by which many were executed; which raised an asperity in the minds of more than of the common people. And this distemper was so universal, the least spark still meeting with combustible matter enough to make a flame, that all wise men looked upon it as the prediction of the destruction and desolation that would follow; nor was there a serenity in the countenance of any pg 51man, who had age and experience enough to consider things to 1627 come, but only in those who wished the destruction of the duke, and thought it could not be purchased at too dear a price, and looked upon this flux of humours as an inevitable way to bring it to pass.
And it cannot be denied that from these two wars so wretchedly entered into, and the circumstances before mentioned and which flowed from thence, the duke's ruin took its date, and never left pursuing him till that execrable act upon his person; the malice whereof was contracted by that sole evil spirit of the time, without any partner in the conspiracy. And the venom of that season increased and got vigour, until, from one license to another, it proceeded till the nation was corrupted to that monstrous degree that it grew satiated and weary of the government itself, under which it had enjoyed a greater measure of felicity than any nation was ever possessed of, and which could never be continued to them but under the same. And as these calamities originally sprung from the inordinate appetite and passion of this young man, under the too much easiness of two indulgent masters, and the concurrence of a thousand other accidents; so1, if he had lived longer, (for he was taken away at the age of thirty-six years,) the observation and experience he had, which had very much improved his understanding, with the greatness of his spirit and jealousy of his master's honour, (to whom his fidelity was superior to any temptation,) might have repaired many of the inconveniences which he had introduced, and would have prevented the mischiefs which were the natural effects of those causes.
There were many stories scattered abroad at that time 1628 of several prophecies and predictions of the duke's untimely and violent death. And amongst the rest there was one which was upon a better foundation of credit than usually such discourses are founded upon. There was an officer [Nich. Towse] in the King's wardrobe in Windsor Castle, of a good reputation for honesty and discretion, and then about the age of fifty years or more. This man had in his youth been bred in a school in the parish2 pg 52 1628 where sir George Villiers, the father of the duke, lived, and had been much cherished and obliged in that season of his age by the said sir George, whom afterwards he never saw. About six months before the miserable end of the duke of Buckingham, about midnight, this man being in his bed at Windsor, where his office was, and in very good health, there appeared to him on the side of his bed a man of a very venerable aspect, who drew the curtains of his bed, and, fixing his eyes upon him, asked him if he knew him. The poor man, half dead with fear and apprehension, being asked the second time whether he remembered him, and having in that time called to his memory the presence of sir George Villiers, and the very clothes he used to wear, in which at that time he seemed to be habited, he answered that he thought him to be that person. He replied, he was in the right; that he was the same, and that he expected a service from him; which was, that he should go from him to his son the duke of Buckingham, and tell him, if he did not do somewhat to ingratiate himself to the people, or, at least, to abate the extreme malice they had against him, he would be suffered to live [but] a short time. And after this discourse he disappeared; and the poor man, if he had been at all waking, slept very well till morning, when he believed all this to be a dream, and considered it no otherwise.
The next night, or shortly after, the same person appeared to him again in the same place, and about the same time of the night, with an aspect a little more severe than before, and asked him whether he had done as he had required him: and perceiving he had not, gave him very sharp reprehensions; told him, he expected more compliance from him; and that, if he did not perform his commands he should enjoy no peace of mind, but should be always pursued by him; upon which he promised him to obey him. But the next morning, waking out of a good sleep, though he was exceedingly perplexed with the lively representation of all particulars to his memory, he was willing still to persuade himself that he had only dreamed; and considered that he was a person at such a distance from the duke that he knew not how to find any admission to his presence, much pg 53less had any hope to be believed in what he should say. And 1628 so, with great trouble and unquietness, he spent some time in thinking what he should do, and in the end resolved to do nothing in the matter.
The same person appeared to him the third time, with a terrible countenance, and bitterly reproaching him for not performing what he had promised to do. The poor man had by this time recovered the courage to tell him, That in truth he had deferred the execution of his commands upon considering how difficult a thing it would be for him to get any access to the duke, having acquaintance with no person about him; and if he could obtain admission to him, he should never, be able to persuade him that he was sent in such a manner, but he should at best be thought to be mad, or to be set on and employed, by his own or the malice of other men, to abuse the duke; and so he should be sure to be undone. The person replied, as he had done before, That he should never find rest till he should perform what he required; and therefore he were better to despatch it: that the access to his son was known to be very easy, and that few men waited long for him: and for the gaining him credit, he would tell him two or three particulars, which he charged him never to mention to any person living but to the duke himself; and he should no sooner hear them, but he would believe all the rest he should say; and so, repeating his threats, he left him.
And in the morning the poor man, more confirmed by the last appearance, made his journey to London, where the Court then was. He was very well known to sir Ralph Freeman, one of the Masters of Requests, who had married a lady that was nearly allied to the duke, and was himself well received by him. To him this man went; and though he did not acquaint him with all particulars, he said enough to him to let him see there was somewhat extraordinary in it, and the knowledge he had of the sobriety and discretion of the man made the more impression in him. He desired that by his means he might be brought to the duke, to such a place and in such a manner as should be thought fit: that he had much pg 54 1628 to say to him, and of such a nature as would require much privacy, and some time and patience in the hearing. Sir Ralph promised he would speak first with the duke of him, and then he should understand his pleasure; and accordingly, in the first opportunity, he did inform him of the reputation and honesty of the man, and then what he desired, and of all he knew of the matter. And the duke, according to his usual openness and condescension, told him that he was the next day early to hunt with the King; that his horses should attend him at Lambeth Bridge, where he would land by five of the clock in the morning; and if the man attended him there at that hour, he would walk and speak with him as long as should be necessary. Sir Ralph carried the man with him the next morning, and presented him to the duke at his landing, who received him courteously, and walked aside in conference near an hour, none but his own servants being at that hour in that place, and they and sir Ralph at such a distance, that they could not hear a word, though the duke sometimes spake, and with great commotion; which sir Ralph the more easily observed and perceived because he kept his eyes always fixed upon the duke, having procured the conference upon somewhat he knew there was of extraordinary. And the man told him in his return over the water, that when he mentioned those particulars which were to gain him credit, the substance whereof he said he durst not impart to him, the duke's colour changed, and he swore he could come to that knowledge only by the devil, for that those particulars were only known to himself, and to one person more, who, he was sure, would never speak of it.
The duke pursued his purpose of hunting; but was observed to ride all the morning with great pensiveness, and in deep thoughts, without any delight in the exercise he was upon; and before the morning was spent left the field, and alighted at his mother's lodging in Whitehall, with whom he was shut up for the space of two or three hours, the noise of their discourse frequently reaching the ears of those who attended in the next rooms: and when the duke left her, his countenance pg 55appeared full of trouble with a mixture of anger; a countenance 1628 that was never before observed in him in any encounters with her: towards her he had ever a most profound reverence. And the countess herself (for though she was married to a private gentleman, sir Thomas Compton, [she] had been created countess of Buckingham, shortly after her son had first assumed that title) was at the duke's leaving her found overwhelmed in tears, and in the highest agony imaginable. Whatever there was of all this, it is a notorious truth that when the news of the duke's murder (which happened within few months after) was brought to his mother, she seemed not in the least degree surprised, but received it as if she had foreseen it; nor did afterwards express such a degree of sorrow as was expected from such a mother for the loss of such a son.
This digression, much longer than it was intended, may not be thought altogether unnatural in this discourse. For as the mention of his death was very proper in the place and upon the occasion it happened to be made, so, upon that occasion, it seemed the more reasonable to enlarge upon the nature and character and fortune of the duke; as being the best mirror to discern the temper and spirit of that age, and the rather and because all the particulars before set down are found in the papers and memorials of the person whose life is the subject of this discourse1, who was frequently heard to relate the wonderful concurrence of many fatal accidents to disfigure the government of two excellent kings, under whom their kingdoms in general prospered exceedingly, and enjoyed a longer peace, a greater plenty, and in fuller security, than had been in any former age; and who was so far from any acrimony to the memory of that great favourite, (whose death he had lamented at that time, and endeavoured to vindicate him from some libels and reproaches which vented after his death,) that he took delight in remembering his many virtues, and to magnify his affability and most obliging nature. And pg 56 1628 he kept the memorial of that prediction1, (though no man looked upon relations of that nature with less reverence or consideration,) the substance of which (he said) was confirmed to him by sir Ralph Freeman, and acknowledged by some servants of the duke's who had the nearest trust with him, and who were informed of much of it before the murder of the duke.
And because there was so total a change of all counsels, and in the whole face of the Court, upon the death of that omnipotent favourite; all thoughts of war being presently laid aside, (though there was a faint looking towards the relief of Rochelle by the fleet that was ready, under the command of the earl of Lindsey,) and the provisions for peace and plenty taken to heart; it will not be unuseful nor unpleasant to enlarge the digression, (before a return to the proper subject of the discourse,) by a prospect of the constitution of the Court after that bright star was shot out of the horizon; who were the chief ministers that had the principal management of public affairs in Church and State; and how equal their faculties and qualifications were for those high transactions; in which mention shall be only made of those who were then in the highest trust; there being at [that] time no ladies who had disposed themselves to intermeddle in business: and hereafter, when that activity began and made any progress, it will be again necessary to take a new survey of the Court upon that alteration.
Sir Thomas Coventry was then Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of England, and newly made a baron. He was a son of the robe, his father having been a judge in the court of the Common Pleas; who took great care to breed his son, though his first-born, in the study of the common law, by which himself had been promoted to that degree, and in which, in the society of the Inner Temple, his son made a notable progress by an early eminence in practice and learning: insomuch as he was Recorder of London, Solicitor-General, and King's At-pg 57torney, before he was forty years of age. A rare ascent! All 1628 which offices he discharged with great abilities and singular reputation of integrity. In the first year after the death of 1625 king James he was advanced to be Keeper of the Great Seal of England (the natural advancement from the office of AttorneyGeneral) upon the removal of the bishop of Lincoln, who, though a man of great wit and good scholastic learning, was generally thought so very unequal to the place that his remove was the only recompense and satisfaction that could be made for his promotion. And yet it was enough known that the disgrace proceeded only from the private displeasure of the duke of Buckingham. The lord Coventry enjoyed this place with an universal reputation (and sure justice was never better administered) for the space of about sixteen years, even to his death, some months before he was sixty years of age; which 1640, Jan. was another important circumstance of his felicity, that great office being so slippery that no man had died in it before for near the space of forty years. Nor had his successors, for some time after him, much better fortune. And he himself had use of all his strength and skill (as he was an excellent wrestler) to preserve himself from falling, in two shocks: the one given him by the earl of Portland, Lord High Treasurer of England; the other by the marquis of Hamilton, who had the greatest power over the affections of the King of any man of that time.
He was a man of wonderful gravity and wisdom; and understood not only the whole science and mystery of the law at least equally with any man who had ever sate in that place, but had a clear conception of the whole policy of the government both of Church and State, which, by the unskilfulness of some well-meaning men, justled each the other too much.
He knew the temper and disposition and genius of the kingdom most exactly; saw their spirits grow every day more sturdy and inquisitive and impatient; and therefore naturally abhorred all innovations which he foresaw would produce ruinous effects. Yet many who stood at a distance thought that he was not active and stout enough in the opposing those inno-pg 58 1628 vations. For though, by his place, he presided in all public councils, and was most sharp-sighted in the consequence of things, yet he was seldom known to speak in matters of state, which he well knew were for the most part concluded before they were brought to that public agitation; never in foreign affairs, which the vigour of his judgment could well comprehend, nor indeed freely in any thing but what immediately and plainly concerned the justice of the kingdom; and in that, as much as he could, he procured references to the judges. Though in his nature he had not only a firm gravity, but a severity and even some morosity, (which his children and domestics had evidence enough of;) [yet]1 it was so happily tempered that his courtesy and affability towards all men was so transcended, so much without affectation, that it marvellously reconciled [him] to all men of all degrees, and he was looked upon as an excellent courtier, without receding from the native simplicity of his own manner.
He had, in the plain way of speaking and delivery, without much ornament of elocution, a strange power of making himself believed, the only justifiable design of eloquence: so that though he used very frankly to deny, and would never suffer any man to depart from him with an opinion that he was inclined to gratify when in truth he was not, (holding that dissimulation to be the worst of lying,) yet the manner of it was so gentle and obliging, and his condescension such, to inform the persons whom he could not satisfy, that few departed from him with ill will and ill wishes.
But then this happy temper and these good faculties rather preserved him from having many enemies, and supplied him with some well-wishers, than furnished him with any fast and unshaken friends; who are always procured in courts by more ardour and more vehement professions and applications than he would suffer himself to be entangled with. So that he was a man rather exceedingly liked than passionately loved: insomuch that it never appeared that he had any one friend in the Court of quality enough to prevent or divert any dis-pg 59advantage he might be exposed to. And therefore it is no 1628 wonder, nor to be imputed to him, that he retired within himself as much as he could, and stood upon his defence, without making desperate sallies against growing mischiefs, which he knew well he had no power to hinder, and which might probably begin in his own ruin. To conclude; his security consisted very much in the little credit he had with the King, and he died in a season most opportune, and in which a wise man would have prayed to have finished his course, and which in truth crowned his other signal prosperity in this world.
Sir Richard Weston had been advanced to the white staff, to the office of Lord High Treasurer of England, some months before the death of the duke of Buckingham; and had, in that short time, so much disobliged him, at least disappointed his expectation, that many who were privy to the duke's most secret purposes did believe that if he had outlived that voyage in which he was engaged he would have removed him, and made another treasurer. And it is very true that great office too had been very slippery, and not fast to those who had trusted themselves in it: insomuch as there were at that time five noble persons alive, who had all succeeded one another immediately in that unsteady charge, without any other person intervening: the earl of Suffolk; the lord viscount Mandeville, afterwards earl of Manchester; the earl of Middlesex; and the earl of Marlborough, who was removed under pretence of his age and disability for the work, (which had been a better reason against his promotion so few years before that his infirmities were very little increased,) to make room for the present officer; who, though advanced by the duke, may properly be said to be established by his death.
He was a gentleman of a very good and ancient extraction by father and mother. His education had been very good amongst books and men. After some years' study of the law in the Middle Temple, and at an age fit to make observations and reflections, out of which that which is commonly called experience is constituted, he travelled into foreign parts, pg 60 1628 and was acquainted in foreign parts1. [After this] he betook himself to the Court, and lived there some years, at that distance, and with that awe, as was agreeable to the modesty of that age, when men were seen some time before they were known, and well known before they were preferred, or durst pretend to be preferred.
He spent the best part of his fortune (a fair one, that he inherited from his father) in his attendance at Court, and involved his friends in securities with him, who were willing to run his hopeful fortune, before he received the least fruit from it but the countenance of great men and those in authority, the most natural and most certain stairs to ascend by. 1622
He was then sent ambassador to the archdukes Albert and 1620 Isabella, into Flanders; and to the Diet in Germany, to treat about the restitution of the Palatinate; in which negotiation he behaved himself with great prudence, and with the concurrent testimony of a wise man from all those with whom he treated, princes and ambassadors, and upon his return was 1620 made a Privy Councillor, and Chancellor of the Exchequer in the place of the lord Brooke, who was either persuaded, or put, out of the place; which, being an office of honour and trust, is likewise an excellent stage for men of parts to tread and expose themselves upon, and where they have occasion of all natures to lay out and spread all their faculties and qualifications most for their advantage. He behaved himself very well in this function, and appeared equal to it; and carried himself so luckily in Parliament that he did his master much service, and preserved himself in the good opinion and acceptation of the House; which is a blessing not indulged to many by those high powers. He did swim in those troubled and boisterous waters in which the duke of Buckingham rode as admiral with a good grace, when very many who were about him were drowned, or forced on shore with shrewd hurts and bruises: which shewed he knew well how and when to use his limbs and pg 61strength to the best advantage, sometimes only to avoid sinking, 1628 and sometimes to advance and get ground. And by this dexterity he kept his credit with those who could do him good, and lost it not with others who desired the destruction of those upon whom he most depended.
He was made Lord Treasurer in the manner and at the time mentioned before, upon the removal of the earl of Marlborough, and few months before the death of the duke. The former circumstance, which is often attended by compassion towards the degraded and prejudice towards the promoted, brought him no disadvantage: for, besides the delight that season had in changes, there was little reverence towards the person removed; and the extreme visible poverty of the Exchequer sheltered that province from the envy it had frequently created, and opened a door for much applause to be the portion of a wise and provident minister. For the other, of the duke's death, though some who knew the duke's passions and prejudice, (which often produced rather sudden indisposition than obstinate resolution,) believed he would have been shortly cashiered, as so many had lately been; and so that the death of his founder was a greater confirmation of him in the office than the delivery of the white staff had been: many other wise men, who knew the Treasurer's talent in removing prejudice and reconciling himself to wavering and doubtful affections, believed that the loss of the duke was very unseasonable, and that the awe or apprehension of his power and displeasure was a very necessary allay for the impetuosity of the new officer's nature, which needed some restraint and check, for some time, to his immoderate pretences and appetite of power.
He did indeed appear on the sudden wonderfully elated, and so far threw off his old affectation to please some very much and to displease none, in which art he had excelled, that in few months after the duke's death he found himself to succeed him in the public displeasure and in the malice of his enemies, without succeeding him in his credit at Court or in the affection of any considerable dependants. And yet, though he was not superior to all other men in the affection, or rather resignation, pg 62 1628 of the King, so that he might dispense favours and disfavours according to his own election, he had a full share in his master's esteem, who looked upon him as a wise and able servant and worthy of the trust he reposed in him, and received no other advice in the large business of his revenue; nor was any man so much his superior as to be able to lessen him in the King's affection by his power. So that he was in a post in which he might have found much ease and delight if he could have contained himself within the verge of his own province, which was large enough, and of such an extent that he might, at the same time, have drawn a great dependence upon him of very considerable men, and appeared a very useful and profitable minister to the King, whose revenue had been very loosely managed during the late years, and might by industry and order have been easily improved: and no man better understood what method was necessary towards that good husbandry than he.
But, I know not by what frowardness in his stars, he took more pains in examining and inquiring into other men's offices than in the discharge of his own; and not so much joy in what he had as trouble and agony for what he had not. The truth is, he had so vehement a desire to be the sole favourite, that he had no relish of the power he had: and in that contention he had many rivals, who had credit enough to do him ill offices, though not enough to satisfy their own ambition; the King himself being resolved to hold the reins in his own hands, and to put no further trust in others than was necessary for the capacity they served in. Which resolution in his majesty was no sooner believed, and the Treasurer's pretence taken notice [of,] than he found the number of his enemies exceedingly increased, and others to be less eager in the pursuit of his friendship. And every day discovered some infirmities in him, which, being before known to few and not taken notice of, did now expose him both to public reproach and to private animosities; and even his vices admitted those contradictions in them that he could hardly enjoy the pleasant fruit of any of them. That which first exposed him to the public jealousy, which is always attended with public reproach, was the con-pg 63current suspicion of his religion. His wife and all his daughters 1628 were declared of the Roman religion: and though himself and his sons sometimes went to church, he was never thought to have zeal for it; and his domestic conversation and dependants, with whom only he used entire freedom, were all known Catholics, and were believed to be agents for the rest. And yet, with all this disadvantage to himself, he never had reputation and credit with that party, who were the only people of the kingdom who did not believe him to be of their profession. For the penal laws (those only excepted which were sanguinary, and even those sometimes let loose) were never more rigidly executed, nor had the Crown ever so great a revenue from them, as in his time; nor did they ever pay so dear for the favours and indulgences of his office towards them.
No man had greater ambition to make his family great, or stronger designs to leave a great fortune to it. Yet his expenses were so prodigiously great, especially in his house, that all the ways he used for supply, which were all that occurred, could not serve his turn; insomuch that he contracted so great debts, (the anxiety whereof, he pretended, broke his mind, and restrained that intentness and industry which was necessary for the due execution of his office,) that the King was pleased twice to pay his debts; at least, towards it, to disburse forty thousand pounds in ready money out of his Exchequer. Besides, his majesty gave him a whole forest, Chute forest in Hampshire, and much other land belonging to the Crown; which was the more taken notice of and murmured against, because, being the chief minister of the revenue, he was particularly obliged, as much as in him lay, to prevent and even oppose such disinherison, and because, under that obligation, he had, avowedly and sourly, crossed the pretences of other men, and restrained the King's bounty from being exercised almost to any. And he had that advantage, (if he had made the right use of it,) that his credit was ample enough (seconded by the King's own experience and observation and inclination) to retrench very much of the late unlimited expenses, and especially those of bounties, which from the death pg 64 1628 of the duke ran in narrow channels, which never so much overflowed as towards himself who stopped the current to other men.
He was of an imperious nature, and nothing wary in disobliging and provoking other men, and had too much courage in offending and incensing them: but, after having offended and incensed them, he was of so unhappy a feminine temper that he was always in a terrible fright and apprehension of them.
He had not that application and submission and reverence for the Queen as might have been expected from his wisdom and breeding, and often crossed her pretences and desires with more rudeness than was natural to him. Yet he was impertinently solicitous to know what her majesty said of him in private, and what resentments she had towards him. And when by some confidants (who had their ends upon him from those offices) he was informed of some bitter expressions fallen from her majesty, he was so exceedingly afflicted and tormented with the sense of it, that, sometimes by passionate complaints and representations to the King, sometimes by more dutiful addresses and expostulations with the Queen in bewailing his misfortunes, he frequently exposed himself, and left his condition worse than it was before: and the eclaircissement commonly ended in the discovery of the persons from whom he had received his most secret intelligence.
He quickly lost the character of a bold, stout and magnanimous man, which he had been long reputed to be in worse times; and, in his most prosperous season, fell under the reproach of being a man of big looks and of a mean and abject spirit.
There was a very ridiculous story at that time in the mouths of many, which, being a known truth, may not be unfitly mentioned in this place, as a kind of illustration of the humour and nature of the man. Sir Julius Cæsar was then Master of the Rolls, and had, inherent in his office, the indubitable right and disposition of the Six-Clerks' places; all which he had, for many years, upon any vacancy bestowed to such persons as he thought fit. One of those places was become pg 65void, and designed by the old man to his son Robert [Cæsar1], 1628 a lawyer of a good name, and exceedingly beloved. The Treasurer (as he was vigilant in such cases) had notice of the clerk's expiration so soon that he procured the King to send a message to the Master of the Rolls, expressly forbidding him to dispose of that Six-Clerk's place till his majesty's pleasure should be further made known to him. It was the first command of that kind that had been heard of, and [was] felt by the old man very sensibly. He was indeed very old, and had outlived most of his friends, so that his age was an objection against him; many persons of quality being dead who had, for recompense of services, procured the reversion of his office. The Treasurer found it no hard matter so far to terrify him that (for the King's service, as was pretended) he admitted for a Six-Clerk a person recommended by him, (Mr. Tern2, a dependant upon him,) who paid six thousand pounds ready money; which, (poor man!) he lived to repent in a gaol. This work being done at the charge of the poor old man, who had been a Privy Councillor from the entrance of King James, had been Chancellor of the Exchequer, and had served in other offices, the depriving him of his right made a great noise: and the condition of his son, (his father being not like to live to have the disposal of another office in his power,) who, as was said before, was generally beloved and esteemed, was argument of great compassion, and was lively and successfully represented to the King himself; who was graciously pleased to promise that, if the old man chanced to die before any other of the Six-Clerks, that office when it should fall should be conferred on his son, whosoever should succeed him as Master of the Rolls: which might well be provided for; and the Lord Treasurer obliged himself (to expiate for the injury) to procure some declaration, to that purpose under his majesty's sign manual; which, however easy to be done, he long forgot or neglected. pg 66 1628
One day the earl of Tillibarne, [Tullibardine,] who was nearly allied to Mr. Cæsar, and much his friend, being with the Treasurer, passionately asked him whether he had done that business? To whom he answered, with a seeming trouble, that he had forgotten it, for which he was heartily sorry; and if he would give him a little in writing, for a memorial, he would put it amongst those which he would despatch with the King that afternoon. The earl presently writ in a little paper, Remember Cæsar, and gave it to him; and he put it into that little pocket where, he said, he kept all his memorials which were first to be transacted.
Many days passed, and Cæsar never thought of. At length, when he changed his clothes, and he who waited on him in his chamber, according to custom, brought him all the notes and papers which were left in those he had left off, which he then commonly perused, when he found this little billet, in which was only written Remember Cæsar, and which he had never read before, he was exceedingly confounded, and knew not what to make or think of it. He sent for his bosom friends, with whom he most confidently consulted, and shewed the paper to them, the contents whereof he could not conceive, but that it might probably have been put into his hand (because it was found in that enclosure wherein he put all things of moment which were given him) when he was in motion, and in the privy lodgings in the Court. After a serious and melancholic deliberation, it was agreed that it was the advertisement from some friend, who durst not own the discovery: that it could signify nothing but that there was a conspiracy against his life, by his many and mighty enemies: and they all knew Cæsar's fate by contemning or neglecting such animadversions. And therefore they concluded that he should pretend to be indisposed, that he might not stir abroad all that day, nor that any might be admitted to him but persons of undoubted affections; that at night the gate should be shut early, and the porter enjoined to open it to nobody, nor to go himself to bed till the morning; and that some servants should watch with him, lest violence might be used at the gate; and that they themselves and some other gentlemen would sit up all the pg 67night, and attend the event. Such houses are always in the 1628 morning haunted by early suitors; but it was very late before any could now get admittance into the house, the porter having quitted some of that arrear of sleep which he owed to himself for his night's watching; which he excused to his acquaintance by whispering to them, 'that his lord should have been killed that night, which had kept all the house from going to bed.' And shortly after, the earl of Tillibarne asking him, whether he had remembered Cæsar, the Treasurer quickly recollected the ground of his perturbation, and could not forbear imparting it to his friends, who likewise affected the communication, and so the whole jest came to be discoursed.
To conclude, all the honours the King conferred upon him (as he made him a baron, then an earl, and knight of the Garter, and above this, gave a young beautiful lady, nearly allied to him and to the crown of Scotland, in marriage to his eldest son1) could not make him think himself great enough. Nor could all the King's bounties, nor his own large accessions, raise a fortune to his heir; but, after six or eight years spent in outward opulency, and inward murmur and trouble that it was no greater, after vast sums of money and great wealth gotten, and rather consumed than enjoyed, without any sense or delight in so great prosperity, with the agony that it was no greater, he died unlamented by any, bitterly mentioned by most, 1634 who never pretended to love him, and severely censured and complained of by those who expected most from him, and deserved best of him; and left a numerous family, which was in a short time worn out, and yet outlived the fortune he left behind him.
The next greatest councillor of state was the Lord Privy Seal, who was likewise of a noble extraction, and of a family at that time very fortunate. His grandfather had been Lord Chief Justice, and left by King Harry the Eighth one of his executors of his last will. He was the younger son of his father, and brought up in the study of the law in the Middle Temple, and had passed through, and, as it were, made a progress through, all the eminent degrees of law and in the state. pg 68 1628 At the death of Queen Elizabeth, or thereabouts, he was Recorder of London; then the King's Sergeant-at-law; afterwards Chief Justice of the King's Bench. Before the death of King James, by the favour of the duke of Buckingham, he was raised 1620 to the place of Lord High Treasurer of England; and within less than a year afterwards, by the withdrawing of that favour, he was reduced to the empty title of President of the Council, and, to allay the sense of the dishonour, created viscount Mande ville. He bore the diminution very well, as he was a wise man and of an excellent temper, and quickly recovered so much grace that he was made Lord Privy Seal and earl of Manchester, and enjoyed that office to his death; whilst he saw many removes and degradations in all the other offices of which he had been possessed.
He was a man of great industry and sagacity in business, which he [delighted1] in exceedingly; and preserved so great a vigour of mind, even to his death, (when he was very near eighty years of age,) that some who had known him in his younger years did believe him to have much quicker parts in his age than before. His honours had grown faster upon him than his fortunes, which made him too solicitous to advance the latter by all the ways which offered themselves; whereby he exposed himself to some inconvenience and many reproaches, and became less capable of serving the public by his counsels and authority, which his known wisdom, long experience, and confessed gravity and ability, would have enabled him to have done; most men considering more the person that speaks, than the thing he says. And he was unhappily too much used as a cheek upon the lord Coventry; and when the other perplexed their counsels and designs with inconvenient objections in law, his authority, who had trod the same paths, was still called upon; and he did too frequently gratify their unjustifiable designs and pretences: a guilt and mischief all men who are obnoxious, or who are thought to be so, are liable to, and can hardly preserve themselves from. But his virtues so far weighed pg 69down his infirmities that he maintained a good general reputa- 1628 tion and credit with the whole nation and people; he being always looked upon as full of integrity and zeal to the Protestant religion as it was established by law, and of unquestionable loyalty, duty, and fidelity to the King; which two qualifications will ever gather popular breath enough to fill the sails, if the vessel be competently provided with ballast. He died in a lucky time, in the beginning of the Rebellion, when 1642 Nov. 7. neither religion, or loyalty, or law, or wisdom, could have provided for any man's security.
The earl of Arundel was the next to the officers of state who, in his own right and quality, preceded the rest of the Council. He was a man supercilious and proud, who lived always within himself and to himself, conversing little with any who were in common conversation; so that he seemed to live as it were in another nation, his house being a place to which all men resorted who resorted to no other place; strangers, or such who affected to look like strangers and dressed themselves accordingly. He resorted sometimes to the Court, because there only was a greater man than himself; and went thither the seldomer, because there was a greater man than himself. He lived toward all favourites and great officers without any kind of condescension; and rather suffered himself to be ill treated by their power and authority (for he was always in disgrace, and once or twice prisoner in the Tower) than to descend 1621 in making any application to them. 1626
And upon these occasions he spent a great interval of his time in several journeys into foreign parts, and with his wife and family had lived some years in Italy, the humour and manners of which nation he seemed most to like and approve, and affected to imitate. He had a good fortune by descent, and a much greater from his wife, who was the sole daughter upon the matter (for neither of the two sisters left any issue) of the great house of Shrewsbury: but his expenses were without any measure, and always exceeded very much his revenue. He was willing to be thought a scholar, and to understand the most mysterious parts of antiquity, because he made a wonderful pg 70 1628 and costly purchase, of excellent statues whilst he was in Italy and Rome, (some whereof he could never obtain permission to remove from Rome, though he had paid for them,) and had a rare collection of the most curious medals; whereas in truth he was only able to buy them, never to understand them; and as to all parts of learning he was most illiterate, and thought no other part of history considerable but what related to his own family; in which, no doubt, there had been some very memorable persons. It cannot be denied that he had in his person, in his aspect and countenance, the appearance of a great man, which he preserved in his gait and motion. He wore and affected a habit very different from that of the time, such as men had only beheld in the pictures of the most considerable men; all which drew the eyes of most, and the reverence of many, towards him, as the image and representative of the primitive nobility and native gravity of the nobles, when they had been most venerable. But this was only his outside, his nature and true humour being so much disposed to levity and vulgar delights, which indeed were very despicable and childish. He was never suspected to love anybody, nor to have the least propensity to justice, charity, or compassion; so that, though he got all he could, and by all the ways he could, and spent much more than he got or had, he was never known to give any thing, nor in all his employments—for he had employments of great profit as 1636 well as honour, being sent ambassador extraordinary into Germany for the treaty of that general peace, for which he had great appointments, and in which he did nothing of the least importance; and, which is more wonderful, he was afterwards made general of the army raised for Scotland, and received full pay as such; and in his own office of Earl Marshal more money was drawn from the people by his authority and pretence of jurisdiction than had ever been extorted by all the officers precedent—yet, I say, in all his offices and employments, never man used or employed by him ever got any fortune under him, nor did ever any man acknowledge any obligation to him. He was rather thought to be without religion than to incline to this or that party of any. He would have been a proper instrupg 71ment for any tyranny, if he could have [had] a man tyrant 1628 enough to have been advised by him; and had no other affection for the nation or the kingdom than as he had a great share in it, in which, like the great leviathan, he might sport himself, from which he withdrew himself, as soon as he discerned the repose thereof was like to be disturbed, and died in 1646 Oct. 4. Italy, under the same doubtful character of religion in which he lived.
William earl of Pembroke was next, a man of another mould and making, and of another fame and reputation with all men, being the most universally loved and esteemed of any man of that age; and, having a great office in the Court, [he] made the Court itself better esteemed and more reverenced in the country. And as he had a great number of friends of the best men, so no man had ever the wickedness to avow himself to be his enemy. He was a man very well bred, and of excellent parts, and a graceful speaker upon any subject, having a good proportion of learning, and a ready wit to apply it and enlarge upon it; of a pleasant and facetious humour, and a disposition affable, generous, and magnificent. He was master of a great fortune from his ancestors, and had a great addition by his wife, (another daughter and heir of the earl of Shrewsbury,) which he enjoyed during his life, she outliving him: but all served not his expense, which was only limited by his great mind and occasions to use it nobly.
He lived many years about the Court before in it, and never by it; being rather regarded and esteemed by King James than loved and favoured; and after the foul fall of the earl of Somerset, he was made Lord Chamberlain of the King's 1615 house more for the Court's sake than his own; and the Court appeared with the more lustre because he had the government of that province. As he spent and lived upon his own fortune, so he stood upon his own feet, without any other support than of his proper virtue and merit; and lived towards the favourites with that decency as would not suffer them to censure or reproach his master's judgment and election, but as with men of his own rank. He was exceedingly beloved in the Court, pg 72 1628 because he never desired to get that for himself which others laboured for, but was still ready to promote the pretences of worthy men. And he was equally celebrated in the country for having received no obligations from the Court which might corrupt or sway his affections and judgment; so that all who were displeased and unsatisfied in the Court or with the Court were always inclined to put themselves under his banner, if he would have admitted them; and yet he did not so reject them as to make them choose another shelter, but so far to depend on him that he could restrain them from breaking out beyond private resentments and murmurs.
He was a great lover of his country, and of the religion and justice which he believed could only support it: and his friendships were only with men of those principles. And as his conversation was most with men of the most pregnant parts and understanding, so towards any who needed support or encouragement, though unknown, if fairly recommended to him, he was very liberal. And sure never man was planted in a Court that was fitter for that soil, or brought better qualities with him to purify that air.
Yet his memory must not be so flattered that his virtues and good inclinations may be believed without some allay of vice, and without being clouded with great infirmities, which he had in too exorbitant a proportion. He indulged to himself the pleasures of all kinds, almost in all excesses. Whether out of his natural constitution, or for want of his domestic content and delight, (in which he was most unhappy, for he paid much too dear for his wife's fortune by taking her person into the bargain,) he was immoderately given up to women. But therein he likewise retained such a power and jurisdiction over his very appetite, that he was not so much transported with beauty and outward allurements, as with those advantages of the mind as manifested an extraordinary wit and spirit and knowledge, and administered great pleasure in the conversation. To these he sacrificed himself, his precious time, and much of his fortune. And some who were nearest his trust and friendship were not without apprehension that pg 73his natural vivacity and vigour of mind began to lessen and 1628 decline by those excessive indulgences.
About the time of the death of King James, or pre- 1625 sently after, he was made Lord Steward of his majesty's house, that the staff of Chamberlain might be put into the hands of his brother, the earl of Mountgomery, upon a new contract of friendship with the duke of Buckingham; after whose death he had likewise such offices of his as he most affected, of honour and command, none of profit, which he cared not for. And within two years after, he died himself of an apoplexy, after 1630 Apr. 10. a full and cheerful supper.
A short story may not be unfitly inserted, it being very frequently mentioned by the person whose life is here undertaken to be set down1, and who, at that time, being on his way to London, met at Maidenhead some persons of quality, of relation or dependance upon the earl of Pembroke, sir Charles Morgan, commonly called General Morgan, who had commanded an army in Germany and defended Stoad, [Stade,] 1627—8 Dr. Feild, then bishop of St. David's, and Dr. Chafin, the earl's then chaplain in his house, and much in his favour. At supper one of them drank a health to the Lord Steward; upon which another of them said, that he believed his lord was at that time very merry, for he had now outlived the day which his tutor Sandford had prognosticated upon his nativity he would not outlive; which he had done now, for that was his birthday, which had completed his age to fifty years. The next morning; by the time they came to Col[n]ebrook, they met with the news of his death.
He died exceedingly lamented by all qualities of men, and left many of his servants and dependants owners of good estates, raised out of his employments and bounty. Nor had his heir cause to complain: for, though his expenses had been very magnificent, (and it may be the less considered, and his providence the less, because he had no child to inherit,) insomuch as he left a great debt charged upon the estate, yet, considering the wealth he left in jewels, plate, and furniture, pg 74 1628 and the estate his brother enjoyed in the right of his wife (who was not fit to manage it herself) during her long life, he may be justly said to have inherited as good an estate from him as he had from his father, which was one of the best in England.
The earl of Mountgomery, who was then Lord Chamberlain of the household, and now earl of Pembroke, and the earl of Dorset, were likewise of the Privy Council; men of very different talents and qualifications. The former being a young man, scarce of age, at the entrance of King James, had the good fortune, by the comeliness of his person, his skill, and indefatigable industry in hunting, to be the first who drew the King's eyes towards him with affection, which was quickly so far improved that he had the reputation of a favourite. 1605 And before the end of the first or second year, he was made gentleman of the King's bedchamber and earl of Mountgomery; which did the King no harm, for, besides that he received the King's bounty with more moderation than other men who succeeded him, he was generally known and as generally esteemed, being the son and younger brother to the earl of Pembroke, who liberally supplied his expense beyond what his annuity from his father would bear.
He pretended to no other qualifications than to understand horses and dogs very well, which his master loved him the better for, (being at his first coming into England very jealous of those who had the reputation of great parts,) and to be believed honest and generous, which made him many friends and left him no enemy. He had not sat many years in that sunshine when a new comet appeared in Court, Robert Carr, a Scotchman, quickly afterwards declared favourite: upon whom the King no sooner fixed his eyes but the earl, without the least murmur or indisposition, left all doors open for his entrance; (a rare temper, and could proceed from nothing but his great perfection in loving field-sports;) which the King received as so great an obligation that he always afterwards loved him in the second place, and commended him to his son at his death as a man to be relied on in point pg 75of honesty and fidelity; though it appeared afterwards that he 1628 was not strongly built, nor had sufficient ballast to endure a storm; of which more will be said hereafter.
The other, the earl of Dorset, was, to all intents, principles, and purposes, another man; his person beautiful, and graceful, and vigorous; his wit pleasant, sparkling, and sublime; and his other parts of learning and language of that lustre that, he could not miscarry in the world. The vices he had were of the age, which he was not stubborn enough to contemn or resist. He was a younger brother, grandchild to the great Treasurer Buckhurst, created at the King's first entrance earl of Dorset, who outlived his father1, and took care and delight in the education of his grandchild, and left him a good support for a younger brother, besides a wife who was heir to a fair fortune. As his person and parts were such as are before mentioned, so he gave them full scope, without restraint; and indulged to his appetite all the pleasures that season of his life (the fullest of jollity and riot of any that preceded or succeeded) could tempt or suggest to him.
He entered into a fatal quarrel, upon a subject very unwarrantable, with a young nobleman of Scotland, the lord Bruce; upon which they both transported themselves into Flanders, and, attended only by two surgeons placed at a distance and under an obligation not to stir but upon the fall of 1613 Aug. one of them, they fought under the walls of Antwerp 2, where the lord Bruce fell dead upon the place, and sir Edward Sackville (for so he was then called), being likewise hurt, retired into the next monastery which was at hand. Nor did this miserable accident (which he did always exceedingly lament) make that thorough impression upon him but that he indulged still too much to those importunate and insatiate appetites, even of that individual person that had so lately embarked him in that desperate enterprise; being too much tinder not to be inflamed with those sparks.
His elder brother did not enjoy his grandfather's title many years before it descended, for want of heirs male, to the younger brother. But in those few years, by an excess of expense in all the ways to which money can be applied, he so entirely consumed almost the whole great fortune that de- 1624 scended to him, that, when he was forced to leave the title to his younger brother, he left upon the matter nothing to him to support it; which exposed him to many difficulties and inconveniences. Yet his known great parts, and the very good general reputation he had (notwithstanding his defects) acquired, (for, as he was eminent in the House of Commons whilst he sat there, so he sinned in the House of Peers when he came to move in that sphere,) inclined King James to call him to his Privy Council before his death. And if he had not too much cherished his natural constitution and propensity, and been too much grieved and wrung by an uneasy and strait fortune, he would have been an excellent man of business; for he had a very sharp, discerning spirit, and was a man of an obliging nature, much honour, and great generosity, and of most entire fidelity to the Crown.
There were two other persons of much authority in the Council, because of great name in the Court, as they deserved to be; being, without doubt, two as accomplished courtiers as were found in the palaces of all the princes in Europe, and the greatest (if not too great) improvers of that breeding and those qualifications with which courts use to be adorned; the earl of Carlisle, and earl of Holland; both, (though men of pleasure,) by their long experience in Court, well acquainted with the affairs of the kingdom, and better versed in those abroad than any other who sat then at that board.
The former, a younger brother of a noble family in Scotland, came into the kingdom with King James as a gentleman; under no other character than a person well qualified by his breeding in France, and by study in humane learning, in which he bore a good part in the entertainment of the King, who much delighted in that exercise; and by this means, and notable gracefulness in his behaviour and affability, pg 77in which he excelled, he had wrought himself into a particular 1628 interest with his master, and into greater affection and esteem with the whole English nation than any other of that country by choosing their friendships and conversation, and really preferring it to any of his own: insomuch as, upon the King's making him gentleman of his bedchamber and viscount Don- 1618 caster, and by his royal mediation (in which office he was a most prevalent prince), he obtained the sole daughter and heir of the lord Denny to be given him in marriage; by 1604 which he had a fair fortune in land provided for any issue he should raise, and which his son by that lady lived long to enjoy.
He ascended afterwards, and with the expedition he desired, to the other conveniences of the Court. He was groom of the stole, and an earl, and knight of the Garter; and married 1617 a beautiful young lady, daughter to the earl of Northumberland1, without any other approbation of her father, or concernment in it, than suffering him and her to come into his presence after they were married. He lived rather in a fair intelligence than any friendship with the favourites, having credit enough with his master to provide for his own interest, and he troubled not himself for that of other men; and had no other consideration of money than for the support of his lustre; and whilst he could do that he cared not for money, having no bowels in the point of running in debt or borrowing all he could.
He was surely a man of the greatest expense in his own person of any in the age he lived, and introduced more of that expense in the excess of clothes and diet than any other man; and was indeed the original of all those inventions from which others did but transcribe copies. He had a great universal understanding, and could have taken as much delight in any other way if he had thought any other as pleasant and worth his care. But he found business was attended with more rivals and vexation, and, he thought, with much less pleasure and not more innocence.
pg 781628 136.
He left behind him the reputation of a very fine gentleman and a most accomplished courtier; and after having spent, in a very jovial life, above four hundred thousand pounds, which, upon a strict computation, he received from the Crown, he left not a house or acre of land to be remembered by. And when he had in his prospect (for he was very sharpsighted, and saw as far before him as most men) the gathering together of that cloud in Scotland which shortly after covered 1636 Apr. 25. both kingdoms, he died with as much tranquillity of mind to all appearance as used to attend a man of more severe exercise of virtue, and as little apprehension of death, which he expected many days.
The earl of Holland was a younger son of a noble house, and a very fruitful bed, which divided a numerous issue between two great fathers; the eldest, many sons and daughters to the lord Rich; the younger, of both sexes to Moun[t]joy earl of Devonshire, who had been more than once married to the mother1. The reputation of his family gave him no great advantage in the world, though his eldest brother was earl of Warwick and owner of a great fortune, and his younger earl of Newport, of a very plentiful revenue likewise. He, after some time spent in France, betook himself to the war in Holland, which he intended to have made his profession; where, after he had made two or three campaigns, according to the custom of the English volunteers, he came in the leisure of the winter to visit his friends in England and the Court, that shined then in the plenty and bounty of King James, and about the time of the infancy of the duke of Buckingham's favour, to whom he grew in a short time very acceptable. But his friendship was more entire to the earl of Carlisle, who was more of his nature and humour, and had a generosity more applicable at that time to his fortune and his ends; and it was thought by many who pg 79stood within view that for some years he supported himself 1628 upon the familiarity and friendship of the other; which continued mutually between them very many years, with little interruption, to their death.
He was a very handsome man, of a lovely and winning presence and gentle conversation, by which he got so easy an admission into the Court and grace of King James that he gave over the thought of further intending the life of a soldier. He took all the ways he could to endear himself to the duke and to his confidence, and wisely declined the receiving any grace or favour but as his donation; above all, avoided the suspicion that the King had any kindness for him upon any account but of the duke, whose creature he desired to be esteemed, though the earl of Carlisle's friend. And he prospered so well in that pretence that the King scarce made more haste to advance the duke than the duke did to promote the other.
He first preferred him to a wife, the daughter and heir of [Sir Walter] Cope, by whom he had a good fortune, and, amongst other things, the manor and seat of Kensington, of which he was shortly after made baron. And he had quickly 1622 so entire a confidence in him that he prevailed with the King to put him about his son the Prince of Wales, and to be a gentleman of his bedchamber, before the duke himself had reason to promise himself any proportion of his highness's grace and protection. He was then made earl of Holland, captain of 1624 the Guard, knight of the Order, and of the Privy Council; sent the first ambassador into France to treat the marriage with the Queen, or, rather, privately to treat about the marriage before he was ambassador. And when the duke went to the Isle of Ree, he trusted the earl of Holland with the command of that army with which he was to be recruited and assisted.
And in this confidence, and in this posture, he was left by the duke when he died; and, having the advantage of the Queen's good opinion and favour, (which the duke neither had or cared for,) he made all possible approaches towards the obtaining his trust and succeeding him in his power, or, rather, that the Queen might have solely that power, and he only be pg 80 1628 subservient to her. And upon this account he made a continual war upon the earl of Portland, the Treasurer, and all others who were not gracious to the Queen, or desired not the increase of her authority. And in this state, and under this protection, he received every day new obligations from the King and great bounties, and continued to flourish above any man in the Court whilst the weather was fair: but the storm did no sooner arise but he changed so much, and declined so fast from the honour he was thought to be master of, that he fell into that condition which there will hereafter be too much cause to mention and to enlarge upon.
The two Secretaries of State (which were not in those days officers of that magnitude they have been since, being only to make despatches upon the conclusion of councils, not to govern, or preside in, those councils) were sir John Cooke, who, upon the death of sir Albert Mourton, was, from being Master 1625 of Requests, preferred to be Secretary of State; and sir Dudley Carleton, who, from his employment in Holland, was put into 1628 the place of the lord Conway, who, for age and incapacity, was at last removed from the Secretary's office which he had exercised for many years with very notable insufficiency; so that King James was wont pleasantly to say that 'Stenny' (the duke of Buckingham) 'had given him two very proper servants, a secretary who could neither write or read, and a groom of his bedchamber who could not truss his points'; Mr. Clark having but one hand.
Of these two Secretaries, the former was a man of a very narrow education and a narrower nature; having continued long in the university of Cambridge, where he had gotten Latin learning enough, and afterwards in the country in the condition of a private gentleman, till after he was fifty years of age; when, upon some reputation he had for industry and diligence, he was called to some painful employment in the office of the Navy, which he discharged well, and afterwards to be Master of Requests, and then to be Secretary of State, which he enjoyed to a great age: and was a man rather unadorned with parts of vigour and quickness, and unendowed pg 81with any notable virtues, than notorious for any weakness or 1628 defect of understanding, than transported with any vicious inclinations, appetite to money only excepted. His cardinal perfection was industry, and his most eminent infirmity covetousness. His long experience had informed him well of the state and affairs of England; but of foreign transactions, or the common interest of Christian princes, he was entirely ignorant and undiscerning.
Sir Dudley Carleton was of a quite contrary nature, constitution, and education, and understood all that related to foreign employment, and the condition of other princes and nations, very well: but was utterly unacquainted with the government, laws, and customs of his own country, and the nature of the people. He was a younger son in a good gentleman's family, and bred in Christ Church in the university of Oxford, where he was a student of the foundation, and a young man of parts and towardly expectation. He went from thence early into France, and was soon after secretary to sir Ha[rry] Nevill, the ambassador there. He had been sent ambassador to Venice, where he resided many years with good reputation, and was no sooner returned from thence into England than he went ambassador into Holland to the States General, and resided there when that synod was assembled at Dort which 1618 hath given the world so much occasion since for uncharitable disputations which they were called together to prevent. Here the ambassador was not thought so equal a spectator, or assessor, as he ought to have been, but by the infusions he made into King James, and by his own activity, he did all he could to discountenance that party that was most learned and to raise the credit and authority of the other; which hath since proved as inconvenient and troublesome to their own country as to their neighbours.
He was once more ambassador extraordinary in Holland after the death of King James, and was the last who was admitted to be present and to vote in the general assembly of the States under that character, of which great privilege the Crown had been possessed from a great part of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and through the time of King James to that moment; pg 82 1628 which administered fresh matter of murmur for the giving up the towns of the Brill and Flushing, which had been done some years before by King James; without which men thought those States would not have had the courage so soon to have degraded the Crown of England from a place in their councils, which had prospered so eminently under the shadow of that 1625 Dec. power and support. As soon as he returned from Holland, he was called to the Privy Council; and the making him Secretary of State, and a peer of the realm, when his estate was scarce visible, was the last piece of workmanship the duke of Buckingham lived to finish1, who seldom satisfied himself with conferring a single obligation.
The duke had observed and discovered that the channel in which the church promotions had formerly run had been liable to some corruptions, at least to many reproaches, and therefore had committed the sole representation of those affairs, and the vacancies which should happen, to bishop Laud, then bishop of Bath and Wells and sworn of the Privy Council. And the King after his death continued that trust in the same hands, infinitely to the benefit and honour of the church, though, it may be, no less to the prejudice of the poor bishop; who, too secure in a good conscience and most sincere worthy intentions, (with which no man was ever more plentifully replenished,) thought he could manage and discharge the place and office of the greatest minister in the Court (for he was quickly made archbishop of Canterbury) without the least condescension to the arts and stratagems of the Court, and without, any other friendship or support than what the splendour of a pious life and his unpolished integrity would reconcile to him; which was an unskilful measure in a licentious age, and may deceive a good man in the best that shall succeed; which exposed him to such a torrent of adversity and misery as we shall have too natural an occasion to lament in the following discourse, in which it will be more seasonable to enlarge upon his singular abilities and immense virtue.
There were more (too many more) honourable persons pg 83in that time of the Privy Council whose faculties were not 1628 notorious enough to give them any great part in the affairs, nor had their advice much influence upon them. Other very notable men were shortly after added to the Council, who will anon be remembered in their proper places and seasons. What hath been said before contains information enough of the persons in employment, and the state of the Court and kingdom, when the duke of Buckingham was taken from it; by which, and the lively reflections upon the qualities and qualifications of the several persons in authority in Court and Council, no man could expect that the vigorous designs and enterprises undertaken by the duke would be pursued with equal resolution and courage; [but] that much the greater part of them would be wholly intent upon their own accommodations in their fortunes, (in which they abounded not,) and in their ease and pleasure, which they most passionately affected; having, (as hath been said,) no other consideration of the public than that no disturbance therein might interrupt their quiet in their own days: and that the rest, who had larger hearts and more public spirits, would extend their labour, activity, and advice, only to secure the empire at home by all peaceable arts and advancement of trade, which might gratify the people and fill the empty coffers of the impoverished Crown. To which end the most proper expedients were best understood by them, not to enlarge it by continuing and propagating the war, the ways and means whereof they knew not how to comprehend, and had all the desperate imaginations and jealousies of the end and necessary consequences of it. And so they all concurred (though in nothing else) in their unanimous advice to the King to put the quickest period he could possibly to the expensive war against the two crowns: and, his majesty following their advice, a peace was made with both, upon better terms and conditions and in less time than, from the known impatience of the war, could reasonably have been expected or hoped for. And after some short unquietness of the people, and unhappy assaults upon the prerogative by the Parliament, which produced its dissolution, and thereupon some froward and obstinate pg 84 1628 disturbances in trade, there quickly followed so excellent a composure throughout the whole kingdom that the like peace and plenty and universal tranquillity for ten years was never enjoyed by any nation; and was the more visible and manifest in England by the sharp and bloody war suddenly entered into between the two neighbour crowns, and the universal conflagration that, from the inundation of the Swedes, covered the whole empire of Germany. And so we shall return to the discourse which this very long digression hath interrupted longer than was intended.
That proclamation, mentioned before, at the breach of the last Parliament, and which inhibited all men to speak of another Parliament, produced two very ill effects of different natures. It afflicted many good men (who otherwise were enough scandalized at those distempers which had incensed the King) to that degree that it made them capable of receiving some impressions from those who were diligent in whispering and infusing an opinion into men that there was really an intention to alter the form of government, both in Church and State; 'of which,' said they, 'a greater instance cannot be given than this public declaring that we shall have no more Parliaments.' Then, this freedom from the danger of such an inquisition did not only encourage ill men to all boldness and license, but wrought so far upon men less inclined to ill (though not built for examples) that they kept not those strict guards upon themselves they used to do; especially, if they found themselves above the reach of ordinary justice, and feared not extraordinary, they by degrees thought that no fault which was like to find no punishment. Supplemental acts of state were made to supply defect of laws; and so tonnage and poundage, and other duties upon merchandises, were collected by order of the Board, which had been perversely refused to be settled by Act of Parliament, and new and greater impositions laid upon trade. Obsolete laws were revived and rigorously executed, wherein the subject might be taught how unthrifty a thing it was by too strict a detaining of what was his to put the King pg 85as strictly to inquire what was his own. And by this ill hus- 1628 bandry the King received a vast sum of money from all persons of quality, or indeed of any reasonable condition throughout the kingdom, upon the law of knighthood; which, though it had a foundation in right, yet, in the circumstances of proceeding, was very grievous, and no less unjust.
Projects of all kinds, many ridiculous, many scandalous, all very grievous, were set on foot; the envy and reproach of which came to the King, the profit to other men, insomuch as, of two hundred thousand pound drawn from the subject by these ways in a year, scarce fifteen hundred came to the King's use or account. To recompense the damage the Crown sustained by the sale of the old lands, and by the grant of new pensions, the old laws of the forest are revived, by which not only great fines are imposed, but great annual rents intended and like to be settled by way of contract; which burden lighted most upon persons of quality and honour, who thought themselves above ordinary oppressions, and therefore like to remember it with more sharpness. Lastly, for a spring and magazine that should have no bottom, and for an everlasting supply of all occasions, a writ is framed in a form of law, and directed to the sheriff of every county of England, to provide a ship of war for the King's service, and to send it, amply provided and fitted, by such a day to such a place; and with that writ were sent to each sheriff instructions that, instead of a ship, he should levy upon his county such a sum of money, and return the same to the Treasurer of the Navy for his majesty's use, with direction in what manner he should proceed against such as refused: and from hence that tax had the denomination of Ship-Money, a word of a lasting sound in the memory of this kingdom; by which for some years really accrued the yearly sum of two hundred thousand pounds to the King's coffers, and was in truth the only project that was accounted to his own. service. And, after the continued receipt of it for four years together, was at last (upon the refusal of a private gentleman 1637 to pay thirty shillings as his share) with great solemnity publicly argued before all the judges of England in the pg 86 1637 Exchequer-chamber, and by the major part of them the King's right to impose asserted, and the tax adjudged lawful; which judgment proved of more advantage and credit to the gentleman condemned, Mr. Hambden, than to the King's service.
For the better support of these extraordinary ways, and to protect the agents and instruments who must be employed in them, and to discountenance and suppress all bold inquirers and opposers, the Council-table and Star-chamber enlarge their jurisdictions to a vast extent, 'holding' (as Thucydides1 said of the Athenians) 'for honourable that which pleased, and for just that which profited;' and, being the same persons in several rooms, grew both courts of law to determine right and courts of revenue to bring money into the treasury; the Council-table by proclamations enjoining this to the people that was not enjoined by the law, and prohibiting that which was not prohibited; and the Star-chamber censuring the breach and disobedience to those proclamations by very great fines and imprisonment; so that any disrespect to acts of state or to the persons of statesmen was in no time more penal, and those foundations of right by which men valued their security, to the apprehension and understanding of wise men, never more in danger to be destroyed.
And here I cannot but again take the liberty to say, that the circumstances and proceedings in these new extraordinary cases, stratagems, and impositions, were very unpolitic, and even destructive to the services intended. As, if the business of ship-money, being an imposition by the State under the notion of necessity, upon a prospect of danger, which private persons could not modestly think themselves qualified to discern, had been managed in the same extraordinary way as the royal loan (which was the imposing the five subsidies after the second Parliament spoken of before) was, men would much easier have submitted to it; as it is notoriously known that pressure was borne with much more cheerfulness before the judgment for the King than ever it was after; men before pleasing themselves with doing somewhat for the King's service, as a testimony of their affection, which they were not pg 87bound to do; many really believing the necessity, and therefore 1637 thinking the burden reasonable; others observing that the access to the King was of importance, when the damage to them was not considerable; and all assuring themselves that when they should be weary, or unwilling to continue the payment, they might resort to the law for relief and find it. But when they heard this demanded in a court of law as a right, and found it by sworn judges of the law adjudged so, upon such grounds and reasons as every stander-by was able to swear was not law, and so had lost the pleasure and delight of being kind and dutiful to the King; and instead of giving were required to pay, and by a logic that left no man any thing which he might call his own; they no more looked upon it as the case of one man but the case of the kingdom, nor as an imposition laid upon them by the King but by the judges; which they thought themselves bound in conscience to the public justice not to submit to. It was an observation long ago by Thucydides1, that 'men are much more passionate for injustice than for violence; because,' says he, 'the one, coming as from an equal, seems rapine; when the other, proceeding from one stronger, is but the effect of necessity.' So, when ship-money was transacted at the Council-board, they looked upon it as a work of that power they were always obliged to trust, and an effect of that foresight they were naturally to rely upon. Imminent necessity and public safety were convincing persuasions; and it might not seem of apparent ill consequence to them that upon an emergent occasion the regal power should fill up an hiatus, or supply an impotency in the law. But when they saw in a court of law, (that law that gave them title and possession of all that they had) apophthegms of state urged as elements of law; judges as sharp-sighted as Secretaries of State and in the mysteries of state; judgment of law grounded upon matter of fact of which there was neither inquiry or proof; and no reason given for the payment of the thirty shillings in question but what Concluded the estates of all the standers-by; they had no reason to hope that that pg 88 1637 doctrine or the preachers of it would be contained within any bounds. And it was no wonder that they who had so little reason to be pleased with their own condition, were not less solicitous for, or apprehensive of, the inconveniences that might attend any alteration.
And here the damage and mischief cannot be expressed, that the Crown and State sustained by the deserved reproach and infamy that attended the judges, by being made use of in this and the like acts of power; there being no possibility to preserve the dignity, reverence, and estimation of the laws themselves but by the integrity and innocency of the judges. And no question, as the exorbitancy of the House of Commons this Parliament hath proceeded principally from their contempt of the laws, and that contempt from the scandal of that judgment, so the concurrence of the House of Peers in that fury can be imputed to no one thing more than to the irreverence and scorn the judges were justly in; who had been always before looked upon there as the oracles of the law, and the best guides and directors of their opinions and actions: and they now thought themselves excused for swerving from the rules and customs of their predecessors (who in altering and making of laws, in judging of things and persons, had always observed the advice and judgment of those sages) in not asking questions of those whom they knew nobody would believe; and thinking it a just reproach upon them, (who out of their gentilesses had submitted the difficulties and mysteries of the law to be measured by the standard of general reason and explained by the wisdom of state,) to see those men make use of the license they had taught, and determine that to be law which they thought reasonable or found to be convenient. If these men had preserved the simplicity of their ancestors in severely and strictly defending the laws, other men had observed the modesty of theirs in humbly and dutifully obeying them.
And upon this consideration it is very observable that, in the wisdom of former times, when the prerogative went highest, (as very often it hath been swollen above any pitch we have seen it at in our times,) never any court of law, very pg 89seldom any judge, or lawyer of reputation, was called upon to 1637 assist in an act of power; the Crown well knowing the moment of keeping those the objects of reverence and veneration with the people, and that though it might sometimes make sallies upon them by the prerogative, yet the law would keep the people from any invasion of it, and that the King could never suffer whilst the law and the judges were looked upon by the subject as the asyla for their liberties and security. And therefore you shall find the policy of many princes hath endured as sharp animadversions and reprehensions from the judges of the law, as their piety hath from the bishops of the church; imposing no less upon the people under the reputation of justice by the one, than of conscience and religion by the other.
To extend this consideration of the form and circumstance of proceeding in cases of an unusual nature a little farther:—As it may be most behoveful for princes in matters of grace and honour, and in conferring of favours upon their people, to transact the same as publicly as may be, and by themselves, or their ministers, to dilate upon it, and improve the lustre by any addition, or eloquence of speech; (where, it may be, every kind word, especially from the prince himself, is looked upon as a new bounty;) so it is as requisite in matters of judgment, punishment, and censure, upon things or persons, (especially when the case, in the nature of it, is unusual, and the rules in judging as extraordinary,) that the same be transacted as privately, and with as little noise and pomp of words, as may be. For (as damage is much easier borne and submitted to by generous minds than disgrace) in the business of the ship-money, and in many other cases in the Star-chamber and at Council-board, there were many impertinencies, incongruities, and insolencies, in the speeches and orations of the judges, much more offensive and much more scandalous than the judgments and sentences themselves; besides that men's minds and understandings were more instructed to discern the consequence of things, which before they considered not. As, undoubtedly, my lord Finch's speech in the Exchequer-chamber made shipmoney much more abhorred and formidable than all the pg 90 1637 commitments by the Council-table and all the distresses taken by the shrieves in England; the major part of men (besides the common unconcernedness in other men's sufferings) looking upon those proceedings as a kind of applause to themselves, to see other men punished for not doing as they had done; which delight was quickly determined when they found their own interest by the unnecessary logic of that argument no less concluded than Mr. Hambden's.
And he hath been but an ill observer of the passages of those times we speak of who hath not seen many sober men, who have been clearly satisfied with the conveniency, necessity, and justice of many sentences, depart notwithstanding extremely offended and scandalized with the grounds, reasons, and expressions of those who inflicted those censures, when they found themselves, thinking to be only spectators of other men's sufferings, by some unnecessary influence or declaration in probable danger to become the next delinquent.
They who look back upon the Council-books of Queen Elizabeth, and the acts of the Star-chamber then, shall find as high instances of power and sovereignty upon the liberty and property of the subject as can be since given. But the art, order, and gravity of those proceedings (where short, severe, constant rules were set and smartly pursued, and the party only felt the weight of the judgment, not the passion of his judges) made them less taken notice of, and so less grievous to the public, though as intolerable to the person. Whereas, since those excellent rules of the Council-board were less observed, and debates (which ought to be in private, and in the absence of the party concerned, and thereupon the judgment of the Table to be pronounced by one, without the interposition of others or reply of the party,) suffered to be public, questions to be asked, passions discovered, and opinions to be promiscuously delivered; all advice, directions, reprehensions, and censures of those places grew to be in less reverence and esteem; so that, (besides the delay and interruption in despatch,) the justice and prudence of the counsels did not many times weigh down the infirmity and passion of the counsellors, and both suitors and pg 91offenders returned into their country with such exceptions and 1637 arguments against persons as brought and prepared much prejudice to whatsoever should proceed from thence. And whatever excuses shall be made, or arguments given, that upon such extraordinary occasions there was a necessity of some pains and care to convince the understandings of men with the reasons and grounds of their proceeding, (which, if what was done had been only ad informandam conscientiam, without reproach or penalty, might have been reasonable,) it is certain the inconvenience and prejudice that grew thereby was greater than the benefit: and the reasons of the judges being many times not the reasons of the judgment, that might more satisfactorily and more shortly [have] been put in the sentence itself than spread in the discourses of the censurers.
These errors (for errors they were in view, and errors they are proved by the success) are not to be imputed to the Court, but to the spirit and over-activity of the lawyers themselves, who should more carefully have preserved their profession and the professors from being profaned to those services which have rendered both so obnoxious to reproach. There were two persons of that profession and of that time by whose several and distinct constitutions (the one knowing nothing of nor caring for the Court, the other knowing or caring for nothing else) those mischiefs were introduced; Mr. Noy, the Attorney-general; and sir John Finch, first, Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and then Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of England.
The first, upon the great fame of his ability and learning, (and very able and learned he was,) was by great industry and importunity from Court persuaded to accept that place for which all other men laboured, (being the best for profit that profession is capable of,) and so he suffered himself to be made 1631 the King's Attorney-general. The Court made no impression upon his manners; upon his mind it did: and though he wore about him an affected morosity which made him unapt to flatter other men, yet even that morosity and pride rendered him the most liable to be grossly flattered himself that can be imagined. pg 92And by this means the great persons who steered the public affairs, by admiring his parts and extolling his judgment as well to his face as behind his back, wrought upon him by degrees, for the eminency of the service, to be an instrument in all their designs; thinking that he could not give a clearer testimony that his knowledge in the law was greater than all other men's, than by making that law which all other men believed not to be so. So he moulded, framed, and pursued the odious and crying project of soap, and with his own hand drew and prepared the writ for ship-money, both which will be the lasting monuments of his fame. In a word, he was an unanswerable instance how necessary a good education and knowledge of men is to make a wise man, at least a man fit for business. 1634
Sir John Finch had much that the other wanted, but nothing that the other had. Having led a licentious life in a restrained fortune, and having set up upon the stock of a good wit and natural parts, without the superstructure of much knowledge in the profession by which he was to grow, [he] was willing to use those weapons in which he had most skill; and so (being not unseen in the affections of the Court, but not having reputation enough to guide or reform them) he took up ship-money where Mr. Noy left it, and, being a judge, carried it up to that pinnacle from whence he almost broke his own neck, having, in his journey thither, been too much a solicitor to induce his brethren to concur in a judgment they had all 1640 cause to repent. To which, his declaration after he was Keeper of the Great Seal of England must be added, upon a demurrer put in to a bill before him, which had no other equity in it than an order of the lords of the Council, that, 'whilst he was Keeper, no man should be so saucy to dispute those orders, but that the wisdom of that board should be always ground enough for him to make a decree in chancery;' which was so great an aggravation of the excess of that Table, that it received more, prejudice from that act of unreasonable countenance and respect than from all the contempt could possibly have been offered to it. But of this no more.
Now after all this (and I hope I cannot be accused of pg 93much flattery in this inquisition) I must be so just as to say, 1629–1640 that, during the whole time that these pressures were exercised, and those new and extraordinary ways were run, that is, from the dissolution of the Parliament in the fourth year to the beginning of this Parliament, which was above twelve years, this kingdom, and all his majesty's dominions, (—of the interruption in Scotland somewhat shall be said in its due time and place—) enjoyed the greatest calm and the fullest measure of felicity that any people in any age for so long time together have been blessed with; to the wonder and envy of all the parts of Christendom.
And in this comparison I am neither unmindful of, nor 1558–1603 ungrateful for, the happy times of Queen Elizabeth, or for those more happy under King James. But, for the former, the doubts, hazards, and perplexities upon a total change and alteration of religion, and some confident attempts upon a farther alteration by those who thought not the reformation enough; the charge, trouble, and anxiety of a long continued war (how prosperous and successful soever) even during that Queen's whole reign; and (besides some domestic ruptures into rebellion, frequently into treason, and besides the blemish of an unparalleled act of blood upon the life of a crowned neighbour, queen, and ally) the fear and apprehension of what was to come (which is one of the most unpleasant kinds of melancholy) from an unknown, at least an unacknowledged, successor to the crown; clouded much of that prosperity then which now shines with so much splendour before our eyes in chronicle.
And, for the other, under King James, (which indeed 1603–1624 were excellent times bona si sua norint1,) the mingling with a stranger nation, (formerly not very gracious with this,) which was like to have more interest of favour: the subjection to a stranger prince, whose nature and disposition they knew not: the noise of treason (the most prodigious that had ever been attempted) upon his first entrance into the kingdom: the wants of the Crown, not inferior to what it hath since felt, (I mean whilst it sat right on the head of the King,) and the pressures pg 94 1629–1640 upon the subject of the same nature, and no less complained of: the absence of the Prince in Spain, and the solicitude that his highness might not be disposed in marriage to the daughter of that kingdom; rendered the calm and tranquillity of that time less equal and pleasant. To which may be added the prosperity and happiness of the neighbour kingdoms, not much inferior to that of this; which, according to the pulse of states, is a great diminution of their health; at least, their prosperity is much improved and more visible by the misery and misfortunes of their neighbours.
The happiness of the times I mentioned was enviously set off by this, that every other kingdom, every other province, were engaged, many entangled, and some almost destroyed, by the rage and fury of arms; those which were ambitiously in contention with their neighbours having the view and apprehensions of the miseries and desolation which they saw other states suffer by a civil war; whilst alone the kingdoms we now lament were looked upon as the garden of the world; Scotland (which was but the wilderness of that garden) in a full, entire, undisturbed peace, which they had never seen; the rage and barbarism (that is, the blood, for of charity we speak not) of their private feuds being composed to the reverence or to the awe of public justice; in a competency, if not in an excess, of plenty, which they had never hope to see, and in a temper (which was the utmost we desired and hoped to see) free from rebellion: Ireland, which had been a sponge to draw, and a gulph to swallow, all that could be spared and all that could be got from England, merely to keep the reputation of a kingdom, reduced to that good degree of husbandry and government that it not only subsisted of itself and gave this kingdom all that it might have expected from it, but really increased the revenue of the Crown forty or fifty thousand pounds a year, besides much more to the people in the traffick and trade from thence; arts and sciences fruitfully planted there; and the whole nation beginning to be so civilized that it was a jewel of great lustre in the most royal diadem.
When these outworks were thus fortified and adorned, pg 95it was no wonder if England was generally thought secure, 1629–1640 with the advantages of its own climate; the Court in great plenty, or rather (which is the discredit of plenty) excess and luxury; the country rich, and, which is more, fully enjoying the pleasure of its own wealth, and so the easier corrupted with the pride and wantonness of it; the Church flourishing with learned and extraordinary men, and (which other good times wanted) supplied with oil to feed those lamps; and the Protestant religion more advanced against the Church of Rome by writing, especially (without prejudice to other useful and godly labours) by those two books of the late lord archbishop of Canterbury his grace, and of Mr. Chillingworth, than it had been from the Reformation; trade increased to that degree, that we were the Exchange of Christendom, (the revenue thereof to the Crown being almost double to what it had been in the best times,) and the bullion of all other kingdoms was brought to receive a stamp from the Mint of England; all foreign merchants looking upon nothing as their own but what they laid up in the warehouses of this kingdom; the royal navy, in number and equipage much above former times, very formidable at sea, and the reputation of the greatness and power of the King much more with foreign princes than any of his progenitors; for those rough courses which made him haply1 less loved at home made him more feared abroad, by how much the power of kingdoms is more reverenced than their justice by their neighbours: and it may be this consideration might not be the least motive, and may not be the worst excuse, for those counsels. Lastly, for a complement of all these blessings, they were enjoyed by and under the protection of a King of the most harmless disposition and the most exemplar piety, the greatest example of sobriety, chastity, and mercy, that any prince hath been endued with, (and God forgive those that have not been sensible of, and thankful for, those endowments,) and who might have said that which Pericles2 was proud of upon his deathbed, 'that no Englishman had ever worn black gown through his occasion.' pg 96 1629–1640 In a word, many wise men thought it a time wherein those two unsociable1 adjuncts which Nerva was deified for uniting, imperium et libertas, were as well reconciled as is possible.
But all these blessings could but enable, not compel, us to be happy: we wanted that sense, acknowledgment, and value of our own happiness which all but we had, and took pains to make, when we could not find, ourselves miserable. There was in truth a strange absence of understanding in most, and a strange perverseness of understanding in the rest: the Court full of excess, idleness and luxury, and the country full of pride, mutiny and discontent; every man more troubled and perplexed at that they called the violation of one law, than delighted or pleased with the observation of all the rest of the charter2: never imputing the increase of their receipts, revenue and plenty to the wisdom, virtue and merit of the Crown, but objecting every little trivial imposition to the exorbitancy and tyranny of the government; the growth of knowledge and learning being disrelished for the infirmities of some learned men, and the increase of grace and favour upon the Church more repined and murmured at than the increase of piety and devotion in the Church, which was as visible, acknowledged or taken notice of; whilst the indiscretion and folly of one sermon at Whitehall3 was more bruited abroad, and commented upon, than the wisdom, sobriety and devotion of a hundred.
It cannot be denied but there was sometimes preached there matter very unfit for the place, and very scandalous for the persons, who presumed often to determine things out of the verge of their own profession, and, in ordine ad spiritualia, gave unto Cæsar what Cæsar refused to receive as not belongpg 97ing to him. But it is as true (as was once said by a man fitter 1629–1640 to be believed in that point than I, and one not suspected for flattering of the clergy) that 'if the sermons of those times preached in Court were collected together and published, the world would receive the best bulk of orthodox divinity, profound learning, convincing reason, natural powerful eloquence, and admirable devotion, that hath been communicated in any age since the Apostles' time.' And I cannot but say, for the honour of the King and of those who were trusted by him in his ecclesiastical collations (who have received but sad rewards for their uprightness) in those reproached, condemned times, there was not one churchman in any degree of favour or acceptance, (and this the inquisition that hath been since made upon them—a stricter never was in any age—must confess,) of a scandalous insufficiency in learning, or of a more scandalous condition in life; but, on the contrary, most of them of confessed eminent parts in knowledge, and of virtuous or unblemished lives. And therefore wise men knew that that which looked like pride in some and like petulance in others would, by experience in affairs and conversation amongst men, both of which most of them wanted, be in time wrought off or in a new succession reformed, and so thought the vast advantage from their learning and integrity an ample recompense for any inconvenience from their passion; and yet by the prodigious impiety of those times the latter was only looked on with malice and revenge, without any reverence or gratitude for the former.
1When the King found himself possessed of all that 1633 pg 98 1633 tranquillity mentioned before, that he had no reason to apprehend any enemies from abroad, and less any insurrections at home, against which no kingdom in Christendom, in the constitution of its government, in the solidity and execution of the laws, and in the nature and disposition of the people, was more pg 99secure than England; that he might take a nearer view of 1633 those great blessings which God had poured upon him, he resolved to make a progress into the northern parts of his kingdom, and to be solemnly crowned in his kingdom of Scotland, which he had never seen from the time he first left pg 100 1633 it, when he was of the age of two years and no more. In order to this journey, which was made with great splendour and proportionable expense, he added to the train of the Court many of the greatest nobility, who cared not to add to the pomp of the Court, at their own charge, which they were obliged to do, and did with all visible alacrity submit to the pg 101King's pleasure as soon as they knew his desire; and so his 1633 attendance in all respects was proportionable to the glory of the greatest king.
This whole progress was made from the first setting out to the end of it with the greatest magnificence imaginable; and the highest excess of feasting was then introduced, or, at 1633 pg 102least, carried up to a height it had never been before, and from whence it hardly declined afterwards, to the great damage and mischief of the nation in their estates and manners. All persons of quality and condition who lived within distance of the northern road received the great persons of the nobility with that hospitality which became them; in which all cost was pg 103employed to make their entertainments splendid, and their 1633 houses capable for those entertainments. And the King himself met with many treatments of that nature, at the charge of particular men who desired the honour of his presence, which had been rarely practised till then by the persons of the best condition, though it hath since grown into a very pg 104 1633 inconvenient custom. But when he passed through Nottinghamshire both King and Court were received and entertained by the earl of Newcastle, and at his own proper expense, in such a wonderful manner and in such an excess of feasting as had never before been known in England, and would be pg 105still thought very prodigious if the same noble person had 1633 not within a year or two afterwards made the King and Queen a more stupendous entertainment; which, (God be thanked,) though possibly it might too much whet the appetite of others to excess, no man ever after imitated. 1633
The great offices of the Court and principal places of attendance upon the King's person were then upon the matter equally divided between the English and the Scots; the marquis of Hamilton Master of the Horse, and the earl of Carlisle First Gentleman of the Bedchamber1, and almost all the second relations in that place being of that kingdom; so that there was as it were an emulation between the two nations which should appear in the greatest lustre, in clothes, horses, and attendance. And as there were (as is said before) many of the principal nobility of England who attended upon the King and who were not of the Court, so the Court was never without many Scots volunteers, and their number was well increased upon this occasion in nobility and gentry, who pg 107were resolved to convince all those who had believed their 1633 country to be very poor.
The King no sooner entered Scotland but all his English servants and officers yielded up their attendance to those of the Scots nation who were admitted into the same offices in [Scotland1], or had some title to those relations by the constitution of that kingdom, as most of the great offices are held by inheritance; as the duke of Richmond and Lenox was then High Steward and High Admiral of Scotland by descent, as others had the like possession of other places; so that all the tables of the house which had been kept by the English officers were laid down, and taken up again by the Scots, who kept them up with the same order and equal splendour, and treated the English with all the freedom and courtesy imaginable; as all the nobility of that nation did at their own expense, where their offices did not entitle them to tables at the charge of the Crown, keep very noble houses to entertain their new guests who had so often and so well entertained them. And it cannot be denied the whole behaviour of that nation towards the English was as generous and obliging as could be expected, and the King appeared with no less lustre at Edinburgh than at Whitehall. And in this pomp his coronation passed with all the solemnity and evidence of public joy that can be imagined or could be expected; and the Parliament then held, with no less demonstration of duty, passed and presented those acts which were prepared for them to the royal sceptre; in which were some laws which restrained the extravagant power of the nobility, which in many cases they had long exercised, and the diminution whereof they took very heavily, though at that time they took little notice of it; the King being absolutely advised in all the affairs of that kingdom then and long before and after by the sole counsel of the marquis of Hamilton, who was, or at least then believed to be, of the greatest interest of any subject in that kingdom, of whom more will be said hereafter. 1633
The King was very well pleased with his reception, and with all the transactions there; nor indeed was there any thing to be blamed but the luxury and vast expense, which abounded in all respects of feasting and clothes with too much license: which being imputed to the commendable zeal of the people of all conditions to see their King amongst them, whom they were not like to see there again, and so their expense was to be but once made, and to the natural pride and vanity of that people who will bear any inconveniences in it or from it [rather] than confess the poverty of their country, no man had cause to suspect any mischief from it: and yet the debts contracted at that time by the nobility and gentry, and the wants and temptations they found themselves exposed to from that unlimited expense, did very much contribute to the kindling that fire which shortly after broke out in so terrible a combustion: nor were the sparks of murmur and sedition then so well covered but that many discerning men discovered very pernicious designs to lurk in their breasts who seemed to have the most cheerful countenance, and who acted great parts in the pomp and triumph. And it evidently appeared, that they of that nation who shined most in the Court of England had the least influence in their own country, (except only the marquis of Hamilton, whose affection to his master was even then suspected by the wisest men in both kingdoms,) and that the immense bounties the King and his father had scattered amongst those of that nation out of the wealth of England, besides that he had sacrificed the whole revenue and benefit of that kingdom to themselves, were not looked upon as any benefit to that people, but as obligations cast away upon particular men, many of whom had with it wasted their own patrimony in their country.
The King himself observed many of the nobility to endeavour to make themselves popular by speaking in Parliament against those things which were most grateful to his majesty, and which still passed notwithstanding their contradiction; and he thought a little discountenance upon those persons would either suppress that spirit within themselves, or pg 109make the poison of it less operative upon others. But as those 1633 acts of discountenance were too often believed to proceed from the displeasure of the marquis of Hamilton, and so rather advanced than depressed the object, so that people have naturally an admirable dexterity in sheltering themselves from any of those acts of discountenance which they have no mind to own; (as they are equal promoters and promulgators of it, though not intended, when they can make benefit by it;) when it hath been notoriously visible, and it was then notorious, that many of the persons then, as the earl of Rothes and others, of whom the King had the worst opinion, and from whom he most purposely withheld any grace by never speaking to them or taking notice of them in the Court, when the King was abroad in the fields or passing through villages, when the greatest crowds of people flocked to see him, those men would still be next him, and entertain him with some discourse and pleasant relations, which the King's gentle disposition could not avoid, and which made those persons to be generally believed to be most acceptable to his majesty. Upon which the lord Falkland was wont to say, 'that keeping of state was like committing adultery, there must go two to it;' for let the proudest or most formal man resolve to keep what distance he will towards others, a bold and confident man instantly demolishes that whole machine, and gets within him, and even obliges him to his own laws of conversation.
The King was always the most punctual observer of all decency in his devotion, and the strictest promoter of the ceremonies of the Church, as believing in his soul the Church of England to be instituted the nearest to the practice of the Apostles, and the best for the propagation and advancement of Christian religion, of any church in the world: and on the other side, though no man was more averse from the Romish Church, than he was, nor better understood the motives of their separation from us and animosity against us, he had the highest dislike and prejudice to that part of his own subjects who were against the government established, and did always look upon them as a very dangerous and seditious people, who would, pg 110 1633 under pretence of conscience which kept them from submitting to the spiritual jurisdiction, take the first opportunity they could find or make to disturb and withdraw themselves from their temporal subjection; and therefore he had with the utmost vigilance caused that temper and disposition to be watched and provided against in England; and if it were then in truth there, it lurked with wonderful secrecy. In Scotland indeed it covered the whole nation, so that though there were bishops in name, the whole jurisdiction and they themselves were upon the matter subject to an Assembly which was purely Presbyterian; no form of religion in practice, no liturgy, nor the least appearance of any beauty of holiness: the clergy, for the most part, corrupted in their principles; at least, (for it cannot be denied but that their universities, especially Aberdeen, flourished under many excellent scholars and very learned men,) none countenanced by the great men or favoured by the people but such. Yet, though all the cathedral churches were totally neglected with reference to those administrations over the whole kingdom, yet the King's own chapel at Halirudehouse had still been maintained with the decency and splendour of the cathedral service and all other formalities incident to the royal chapel. And the whole nation seemed in the time of King James well inclined to receive the liturgy of the Church of England, which the King exceedingly desired, and was so confident of, that they who were privy to the counsels of that King in that time did believe that the bringing that work to 1617 pass was the principal end of his progress thither some years before his death, though he was not so well satisfied at his being there, two or three of the principal persons trusted by him in the government of that kingdom dying in or about that very time : but [though1] he returned without making any visible attempt in that affair, yet he retained still the purpose and resolution to his death to bring it to pass. However, his two or three last years were less pleasant to him, by the Prince's voyage into Spain, the jealousies which about that time began in England, and the imperious proceedings in Parliament there, pg 111so that he thought it necessary to suspend any prosecution of 1633 that design until a more favourable conjuncture, and he lived not to see that conjuncture.
The King his son, with his kingdoms and other virtues, inherited that zeal for religion, and proposed nothing more to himself than to unite his three kingdoms in one form of God's worship and in a uniformity in their public devotions; and there being now so great a serenity in all his dominions, as is mentioned before, there is great reason to believe that in this journey into Scotland to be crowned, he carried the resolution with him to finish that important business in the Church at the same time. And to that end the then bishop of London, Dr. Laud, attended on his majesty throughout that whole journey, which, as he was dean of the chapel, he was not obliged to do, and no doubt would have been excused from if that design had not been in view; to accomplish which he was not less solicitous than the King himself, nor the King the less solicitous for his advice. He preached in the royal chapel, (which scarce any Englishman had ever done before in the King's presence,) and principally upon the benefit of conformity and the reverent ceremonies of the Church, with all the marks of approbation and applause imaginable; the great civility of that people being so notorious and universal that they would not appear unconformable to his majesty's wish in any particular. And many wise men were then and still are of opinion, that if the King had then proposed the liturgy of the Church of England to have been received and practised by that nation, it would have been submitted to against all opposition.
But, upon mature consideration, the King concluded that it was not a good season to promote that business. He had passed two or three Acts of Parliament which had much lessened the authority and dependence of the nobility and great men, and incensed and disposed them proportionably to cross and oppose any proposition which would be most grateful1; and that thwartover humour was enough discovered to rule in pg 112 1633 the breasts of many who made the greatest professions. Yet this was not the obstruction which diverted the King. The party that was averse from the thing, and abhorred any thought of conformity, could not have been powerful enough to have stopped the progress of it; the mischief was that they who most desired it and were most concerned to promote it were the men who used all their credit to divert the present attempting it; and the bishops themselves, whose interest was to be most advanced thereby, applied all their counsels secretly to have the matter more maturely considered; and the whole design was never consulted but privately, and only some few of the great men of that nation and some of the bishops advised with by the King and the bishop of London; it being manifest enough that as the finishing that great affair must be very grateful to England, so the English must not appear to have the hand in the contriving and promoting it.
The same who did not only pretend but did really and heartily wish that they might have a liturgy to order and regulate the worship of God in their churches, and did very well approve the ceremonies established in the Church of England, and desired to submit and to practise the same there, had no mind that the very liturgy of the Church of England should be proposed to or accepted by them. For which they offered two prudential reasons, as their observations upon the nature and humour of the nation, and upon the conferences they had often had with the best men upon that subject, which was often agitated in discourse, upon what had been formerly projected by King James, and upon what frequently occurred to Avise men in discourses upon the thing itself and the desirableness of it:—
The first was, that the English liturgy, how piously and wisely soever framed and instituted, had found great opposition, and though the matter of the ceremonies had wrought for the most part only upon light-headed, weak men, whose satisfaction was not to be laboured, yet there were many grave and learned men who excepted against some particulars, which would not be so easily answered. That the reading Psalms being of the pg 113old translation were in many particulars so different from the 1633 new and better translation that many instances might be given of importance to the sense and truth of Scripture. They said somewhat of the same nature concerning the translation of the Epistles and Gospels, and some other exceptions against reading the Apocrypha, and some other particulars of less moment; and desired that, in forming a liturgy for their Church, they might by reforming those several instances give satisfaction to good men, who would thereupon be easily induced to submit to it.
The other, which no doubt but took this in the way to give it the better introduction, was, that the kingdom of Scotland generally had been long jealous that by the King's continued absence from them they should by degrees be reduced to be but as a province to England and subject to their laws and government, which it would never submit to, nor would any man of honour, who loved the King best and respected England most, ever consent to bring that dishonour upon his country. If the very liturgy in the terms it is constituted and practised in England should be offered to them, it would kindle and inflame that jealousy, as the prologue and introduction to that design, and as the first rung of the ladder which should serve to mount over all their customs and privileges, and be opposed and detested accordingly: whereas if his majesty would give order for the preparing a liturgy with those few desirable alterations, it would easily be done; and in the mean time they would so dispose the minds of the people for the reception of it that they should even desire it. And this expedient was so passionately and vehemently urged, even by the bishops, that, however they referred to the minds and humours of other men, it was manifest enough that the exception and advice proceeded from the pride of their own hearts.
The bishop of London, who was always present with the King at these debates, was exceedingly troubled at this interjection, and to find those men the instruments in it who had seemed to him as solicitous for the expedition as zealous for the thing itself, and who could not but suffer by the delay. He knew well how far any enemies to conformity would be pg 114 1633 from being satisfied with those small alterations, which being consented to they would, with more confidence though less reason, frame other exceptions, and insist upon them with more obstinacy. He foresaw the difficulties which would arise in rejecting, or altering, or adding to, the liturgy, which had so great authority, and had by the practice of near fourscore years obtained great veneration from all Protestants; and how much easier it would be to make objections against any thing that should be new than against the old; and would therefore have been very glad that the former resolution might be pursued, there having never been [any] thought in the time of King James, or the present King, but of the English liturgy; besides that any variation from it, in how small matters soever, would make the uniformity the less, the manifestation whereof was that which was most aimed at and desired.
The King had exceedingly set his heart upon the matter, and was as much scandalized as any man at the disorder and indecency in the exercise of religion in that Church: yet he was affected with what was offered for a little delay in the execution, and knew more of the ill humour and practices amongst the greatest men of the kingdom at that season than the bishop did, and believed he could better compose and reduce them in a little time and at a distance, than at the present and whilst he was amongst them. Besides, he was in his nature too much inclined to the Scots nation, having been born amongst them, and as jealous as any one of them could be that their liberties and privileges might not be invaded by the English, who, he knew, had no reverence for them: and therefore the objection that it would look like an imposition from England, if a form settled in Parliament at Westminster should without any alteration be tendered (though by himself) to be submitted to and observed in Scotland, made a deep impression in his majesty.
In a word, he committed the framing and composing such a liturgy as would most probably be acceptable to that people to a select number of the bishops there, who were very able and willing to undertake it: and so his majesty returned pg 115into England at the time proposed to himself, without having 1633 ever proposed, or made the least approach in public towards, any alteration in the Church.
It had been very happy if there had been then nothing done indeed that had any reference to that affair, and that, since it was not ready to promote it, nothing had been transacted which accidentally aliened the affections of the people from it; and this was imputed to the bishop of London, who was like enough to be guilty of it, since he did naturally believe that nothing more contributed to the benefit and advancement of the Church than the promotion of churchmen to places of the greatest honour and offices of the highest trust: and this opinion and the prosecution of it (though his integrity was unquestionable, and his zeal as great for the good and honour of the State as for the advancement and security of the Church) was the unhappy foundation of his own ruin, and of the prejudice towards, and malice against, and almost destruction of, the Church.
During the King's stay in Scotland, when he found the conjuncture not yet ripe for perfecting that good order which he intended in the Church, he resolved to leave a monument behind him of his own affection and esteem of it. Edinburgh, though the metropolis of the kingdom and the chief seat of the King's own residence, and the place where the Council of State and the courts of justice still remained, was but a borough town within the diocese of the archbishopric of St. Andrew's, and governed in all church affairs by the preachers of the town; who, being chosen by the citizens from the time of Mr. Knox (who had a principal hand in the suppression of Popery, with circumstances not very commendable) to this day, had been the most turbulent and seditious ministers of confusion that could be found in the kingdom; of which King James had so sad experience, after he came to age as well as in his minority, that he would often say that his access to the crown of England was the more valuable to him as it redeemed him from the subjection to their ill manners and insolent practices, which he could never shake off before. The King before his return from pg 116 1633 thence, with the full consent and approbation of the archbishop of St. Andrew's, erected Edinburgh into a bishopric, assigned it a good and convenient jurisdiction out of the nearest limits of the diocese of St. Andrew's, appointed the fairest church in the town to be his cathedral, settled a competent revenue upon the bishop out of lands purchased by his majesty himself from the duke of Lenox, who sold it much the cheaper that it might be consecrated to so pious an end, and placed a very eminent scholar of a good family in the kingdom, who had been educated in the university of Cambridge, to be the first bishop in that his new city1; and made another person of good fame and learning2 his first dean of his new cathedral, upon whom likewise he settled a proper maintenance; hoping by this means the better to prepare the people of the place, who were the most numerous and richest of the kingdom, to have a due reverence to order and government, and at least to discountenance, if not suppress, the factious spirit of Presbytery which had so long ruled there. But this application little contributed thereunto: and the people generally thought that they had too many bishops before, and so the increasing the number was not like to be very grateful to them.
The bishops had indeed very little interest in the affection of that nation, and less authority over it; they had not power to reform or regulate their own cathedrals, and very rarely shewed themselves in the habit and robes of bishops, and durst not contest with the General Assembly in matters of jurisdiction; so that there was little more than the name of Episcopacy preserved in that Church. To redeem them from that contempt, and to shew that they should be considerable in the State how little authority soever they were permitted to 1634 have in the Church, the King made the archbishop of St. Andrew's3, a learned, wise and pious man, and of long experi-pg 117ence, Chancellor of the kingdom, (the greatest office, and which 1633 had never been in the hands of a churchman since the reformation of religion and suppressing the Pope's authority,) and four or five other bishops of the Privy Council or Lords of the Session; which his majesty presumed, by their power in the civil government and in the judicatories of the kingdom, would render them so much the more reverenced, and the better enable them to settle the affairs of the Church: which fell out otherwise too; and it had been better that envious promotion had been suspended till by their grave and pious deportment they had wrought upon their clergy to be better disposed to obey them, and upon the people to like order and discipline, and till by these means the liturgy had been settled and received amongst them; and then the advancing some of them to greater honour might have done well.
But this unseasonable accumulation of so many honours upon them to which their functions did not entitle them, (no bishop having been so much as a Privy Councillor in very many years,) exposed them to the universal envy of the whole nobility, many whereof wished them well as to all their ecclesiastical qualifications, but could not endure to see them possessed of those offices and employments which they looked upon as naturally belonging to them; and then the number of them was thought too great, so that they overbalanced many debates; and some of them, by want of temper or want of breeding, did not behave themselves with that decency in their debates towards the greatest men of the kingdom as in discretion they ought to have done, and as the others reasonably expected from them: so that, instead of bringing any advantage to the Church or facilitating the good intentions of the King in settling order and government, it produced a more general prejudice to it; though for the present there appeared no sign of discontent, or ill-will to them; and the King left Scotland, as he believed, full of affection and duty to him, and well inclined to receive a liturgy when he should think it seasonable to commend it to them.
It was about the end of August in the year 1633 when pg 118 1633 the King returned from Scotland to Greenwich, where the Queen kept her Court; and the first accident of moment that happened after his coming thither was the death of Abbot, archbishop of Canterbury; who had sat too many years in that see, and had too great a jurisdiction over the Church, though he was without any credit in the Court from the death of King James, and had not much in many years before. He had been head or master of one of the poorest colleges in Oxford1, and had learning sufficient for that province. He was a man of very morose manners and a very sour aspect, which in that time was called gravity; and under the opinion of that virtue, and by the recommendation of the earl of Dunbar, (the King's first Scotch favourite,) he was preferred by King James to the 1609 bishopric of Coventry and Litchfield, and presently after to 1610 London, before he had ever been parson, vicar, or curate of any parish-church in England, or dean or prebend of any cathedral church, and was in truth totally ignorant of the true constitution of the Church of England, and the state and interest of the clergy; as sufficiently appeared throughout the whole course of his life afterward.
He had scarce performed any part of the office of a bishop in the diocese of London when he was snatched from thence and promoted to Canterbury, upon the never enough 1610 lamented death of Dr. Bancroft, that metropolitan who understood, the Church excellently, and had almost rescued it out of the hands of the Calvinian party, and very much subdued the unruly spirit of the Non-conformists, by and after the conference at Hampton Court; countenanced men of the greatest parts in learning, and disposed the clergy to a more solid course of study than they had been accustomed to; and if he had lived would quickly have extinguished all that fire in England which had been kindled at Geneva, or if he had been succeeded by bishop Andrewes, bishop Overall, or any man who understood and loved the Church, that infection would easily have been kept out which could not afterwards be so easily expelled.
But Abbot brought none of this antidote with him, and pg 119considered Christian religion no otherwise than as it abhorred 1633 and reviled Popery, and valued those men most who did that most furiously. For the strict observation of the discipline of the Church, or the conformity to the Articles or Canons established, he made little inquiry and took less care; and having himself made a very little progress in the ancient and solid study of divinity, he adhered wholly to the doctrine of Calvin, and, for his sake, did not think so ill of the discipline as be ought to have done, but if men prudently forbore a public reviling and railing at the hierarchy and ecclesiastical government, let their opinions and private practice be what it would, they were not only secure from any inquisition of his but acceptable to him, and at least equally preferred by him. And though many other bishops plainly discerned the mischiefs which daily brake in to the prejudice of religion by his defects and remissness, and prevented it in their own dioceses as much as they could, and gave all their countenance to men of other parts and other principles; and though the bishop of London (Dr. Laud) from the time of his authority and credit with the King had applied all the remedies he could to those defections, and from the time of his being Chancellor of Oxford had much discountenanced and almost suppressed that spirit by encouraging another kind of learning and practice in that university, which was indeed according to the doctrine of the Church of England; yet that temper in the archbishop, whose house was a sanctuary to the most eminent of that factious party, and who licensed their most pernicious writings, left his successor a very difficult work to do, to reform and reduce a Church into order that had been so long neglected, and that was so ill inhabited by many weak and more wilful churchmen.
It was within one week after the King's return from Scotland that Abbot died at his house at Lambeth. And the Aug. 4. King took very little time to consider who should be his successor, but the very next time the bishop of London (who was longer upon his way home than the King had been) came to him, his majesty entertained him very cheerfully with this compellation, 'My lord's grace of Canterbury, you are very pg 120 1633 welcome,' and gave order the same day for the despatch of all the necessary forms for the translation: so that within a month or thereabouts after the death of the other archbishop he was completely invested in that high dignity, and settled in his palace at Lambeth. This great prelate had been before in great favour with the duke of Buckingham, whose great confidant he was, and by him. recommended to the King as fittest to be trusted in the conferring all ecclesiastical preferments, when he 1621 was but bishop of St. David's or newly preferred to Bath and 1626 Wells, and from that time he entirely governed that province without a rival; so that his promotion to Canterbury was long foreseen and expected, nor was it attended with any increase of envy or dislike.
He was a man of great parts, and very exemplar virtues, allayed and discredited by some unpopular1 natural infirmities; the greatest of which was (besides a hasty, sharp way of expressing himself,) that he believed innocence of heart and integrity of manners was a guard strong enough to secure any man in his voyage through this world, in what company soever he travelled and through what ways soever he was to pass: and sure never any man was better supplied with that provision. He was born of honest parents, who were well able to provide for his education in the schools of learning, from whence they sent him to St. John's college in Oxford, the worst endowed at that time of any in that famous university. From a scholar he became a fellow, and then the president of that college, after he had received all the graces and degrees, the proctorship and the doctorship, could be obtained there. He was always maligned and persecuted by those who were of the Calvinian faction, which was then very powerful, and who, according to their useful maxim and practice, call every man they do not love, Papist; and under this senseless appellation they created him many troubles and vexations, and so far suppressed him that, though he was the King's chaplain and taken notice of for an excellent preacher and a scholar of the most sublime parts, he had not any preferment to invite him to leave his poor college, which pg 121only gave him bread, till the vigour of his age was past: and 1633 when he was promoted by King James, it was but to a poor bishopric in Wales, which was not so good a support for a bishop as his college was for a private scholar, though a doctor.
Parliaments in that time were frequent, and grew very busy; and the party under which he had suffered a continual persecution appeared very powerful and full of design, and they who had the courage to oppose them began to be taken notice of with approbation and countenance: and under this style he came to be first cherished by the duke of Buckingham, after he had made some experiments of the temper and spirit of the other people, nothing to his satisfaction. From this time he prospered at the rate of his own wishes, and being transplanted out of his cold barren diocese of St. David's into a warmer climate, he was left, as was said before, by that omnipotent favourite in that great trust with the King, who was sufficiently indisposed towards the persons or the principles of Mr. Calvin's disciples.
When he came into great authority, it may be he retained too keen a memory of those who had so unjustly and uncharitably persecuted him before, and, I doubt, was so far transported with the same passions he had reason to complain of in his adversaries, that, as they accused him of Popery because he had some doctrinal opinions which they liked not, though they were nothing allied to Popery, so he entertained too much prejudice to some persons as if they were enemies to the discipline of the Church, because they concurred with Calvin in some doctrinal points, when they abhorred his discipline, and reverenced the government of the Church, and prayed for the peace of it with as much zeal and fervency as any in the kingdom; as they made manifest in their lives, and in their sufferings with it and for it. He had, from his first entrance into the world, without any disguise or dissimulation, declared his own opinion of that classis of men; and as soon as it was in his power he did all he could to hinder the growth and increase of that faction, and to restrain those who were inclined to it from doing the mischief they desired to do. But his power at Court pg 122 1633 could not enough qualify him to go through with that difficult reformation whilst he had a superior in the Church, who, having the reins in his hand, could slacken them according to his own humour and indiscretion, and was thought to be the more remiss to irritate his choleric disposition. But when he had now the primacy in his own hand, the King being inspired with the same zeal, he thought he should be to blame, and have much to answer, if he did not make haste to apply remedies to those diseases which he saw would grow apace.
In the end of September of the year 1633 he was invested in the title, power and jurisdiction of archbishop of Canterbury, and entirely in possession of the revenue thereof, without a rival in Church or State, that is, no man professed to oppose his greatness; and he had never interposed or appeared in matter of State to this time. His first care was that the place he was removed from might be supplied with a man who would be vigilant to pull up those weeds which the London soil was too apt to nourish, and so drew his old friend and companion Dr. Juxon as near to him as he could. They had been fellows together in one college in Oxford, and, when he was first made bishop of St. David's, he made him president of that college: when he could no longer keep the deanery of the chapel royal, he made him his successor in that near attendance upon the King: and now he was raised to be archbishop, he easily prevailed with the King to make the other bishop of London, before, or very soon after, he had been consecrated bishop of Hereford, if he were more than elect of that church1.
It was now a time of great case and tranquillity; the King (as hath been said before) bad made himself superior to all those difficulties and straits he had to contend with the four first years be came to the crown at home, and was now reverenced by all his neighbours, who all needed his friendship and desired to have it; the wealth of the kingdom notorious to all the world, and the general temper and humour of it little in-pg 123clined to the Papists and less to the Puritan. There were some 1633 late taxes and impositions introduced which rather angered than grieved the people, who were more than repaired by the quiet, peace and prosperity they enjoyed; and the murmur and discontent that was, appeared to be against the excess of power exercised by the Crown and supported by the judges in Westminster Hall. The Church was not repined at, nor the least inclination to alter the government and discipline thereof or to change the doctrine, nor was there at that time any considerable number of persons of any valuable condition throughout the kingdom who did wish either. And the cause of so prodigious a change in so few years after was too visible from the effects. The archbishop's heart was set upon the advancement of the Church, in which he well knew he had the King's full concurrence, which he thought would be too powerful for any opposition, and that he should need no other assistance.
Though the nation generally, as was said before, was without any ill talent to the Church, either in the point of the doctrine or the discipline, yet they were not without a jealousy that Popery was not enough discountenanced, and were very averse from admitting any thing they had not been used to, which they called innovation, and were easily persuaded that any thing of that kind was but to please the Papists. Some doctrinal points in controversy had been in the late years agitated in the pulpits with more warmth and reflections than had used to be; and thence the heat and animosity increased in books pro and con upon the same arguments: most of the popular preachers, who had not looked into the ancient learning, took Calvin's word for it, and did all they could to propagate his opinions in those points : they who had studied more, and were better versed in the antiquities of the Church, the Fathers, the Councils and the ecclesiastical histories, with the same heat and passion in preaching and writing, defended the contrary.
But because, in the late dispute in the Dutch churches, those opinions were supported by Jacobus Arminius, the divinity professor in the university of Leyden in Holland, the latter pg 124 1633 men we mentioned were called Arminians, though many of them had never read word written by Arminius. Either side defended and maintained their different opinions as the doctrine of the Church of England, as the two great orders in the Church of Rome, the Dominicans and Franciscans, did at the same time, and had many hundred years before, with more vehemence and uncharitableness, maintained the same opinions one against the other; either party professing to adhere to the doctrine of the Catholic Church, which had been ever wiser than to determine the controversy. And yet that party here which could least support themselves with reason were very solicitous, according to the ingenuity they always practise to advance any of their pretences, to have the people believe that they who held with Arminius did intend to introduce Popery; and truly the other side was no less willing to have it thought that all who adhered to Calvin in those controversies did in their hearts adhere likewise to him with reference to the discipline, and desired to change the government of the Church, destroy the bishops, and so set up the discipline that he had established at Geneva. And so both sides found such reception generally with the people as they were inclined to the persons; whereas, in truth, none of the one side were at all inclined to Popery, and very many of the other were most affectionate to the peace and prosperity of the Church, and very pious and learned men.
The archbishop had all his life eminently opposed Calvin's doctrine in those controversies, before the name of Arminius was taken notice of or his opinions heard of; and thereupon, for want of another name, they had called him a Papist, which nobody believed him to be, and he had more manifested the contrary in his disputations and writings than most men had done; and it may be the other found the more severe and rigorous usage from him for their propagating that calumny against him. He was a man of great courage and resolution, and being most assured within himself that he proposed no end in all his actions or designs than what was pious and just, (as sure no man had ever a heart more entire to the pg 125King, the Church, or his country,) he never studied the best 1633 ways to those ends; he thought, it may be, that any art or industry that way would discredit, at least make the integrity of the end suspected. Let the cause be what it will, he did court persons too little; nor cared to make his designs and purposes appear as candid as they were by shewing them in any other dress than their own natural beauty and roughness; and did not consider enough what men said or were like to say of him. If the faults and vices were fit to be looked into and discovered, let the persons be who they would that were guilty of them, they were sure to find no connivance of favour from him. He intended the discipline of the Church should be felt, as well as spoken of, and that it should be applied to the greatest and most splendid transgressors, as well as to the punishment of smaller offences and meaner offenders; and thereupon called for or cherished the discovery of those who were not careful to cover their own iniquities, thinking they were above the reach of other men1, or their power and will to chastise. Persons of honour and great quality, of the Court and of the country, were every day cited into the High Commission court, upon the fame of their incontinence, or other scandal in their lives, and were there prosecuted to their shame and punishment: and as the shame (which they called an insolent triumph upon their degree and quality, and levelling them with the common people) was never forgotten, but watched for revenge, so the fines imposed there were the more questioned and repined against because they were assigned to the rebuilding and repairing St. Paul's church, and thought therefore to be the more severely imposed, and the less compassionately reduced and excused; which likewise made the jurisdiction and rigour of the Star Chamber more felt and murmured against, which sharpened many men's humours against the bishops before they had any ill intention towards the Church.
There were three persons most notorious for their declared malice against the government of the Church by bishops in their several books and writings, which they had published pg 126 1637 to corrupt the people, with circumstances very scandalous and in language very scurrilous and impudent, which all men thought deserved very exemplary punishment. They were of three several professions which had the most influence upon the people, a divine, a common lawyer, and a doctor of physic; neither of them of interest or any esteem with the worthy part of their several professions, having been formerly all looked upon under characters of reproach: yet when they were all sentenced, and for the execution of that sentence brought out to be punished as common and signal rogues, exposed upon scaffolds to have their ears cut off and their faces and foreheads branded with hot irons, as the poorest and most mechanic malefactors used to be when they were not able to redeem themselves by any fine for their trespasses or to satisfy any damages for the scandals they had raised against the good name and reputation of others, men began no more to consider their manners, but the men; and every profession, with anger and indignation enough, thought their education and degrees and quality would have secured them from such infamous judgments, and treasured up wrath for the time to come.
The remissness of Abbot, and of other bishops by his example, had introduced, or at least connived at, a negligence that gave great scandal to the Church, and no doubt offended very many pious men. The people took so little care of the churches, and the parsons as little of the chancels, that, instead of beautifying or adorning them in any degree, they rarely provided for their stability and against the very falling of very many of their churches; and suffered them, at least, to be kept so indecently and slovenly that they would not have endured it in the ordinary offices of their own houses; the rain and the wind to infest them, and the Sacraments themselves to be administered where the people had most mind to receive them. This profane liberty and uncleanliness the archbishop resolved to reform with all expedition, requiring the other bishops to concur with him in so pious a work; and the work sure was very grateful to all men of devotion; yet, I know not how, the prosecution of it, with too much affectation of expense, it may pg 127be, or with too much passion between the minister and the 1637 parishioners, raised an evil spirit towards the Church, which the enemies of it took much advantage of as soon as they had opportunity to make the worst use of it.
The removing the Communion table out of the body of the church, where it had used to stand and used to be applied to all uses, and fixing it to one place in the upper end of the chancel, which frequently made the buying a new table to be necessary; the inclosing it with a rail of joiner's work, and thereby fencing it from the approach of dogs, and all servile uses; the obliging all persons to come up to those rails to receive the Sacrament; how acceptable soever to grave and intelligent persons who loved order and decency, (for acceptable it was to such,) yet introduced, first, murmurings amongst the people, upon the very charge and expense of it, and, if the minister were not a man of discretion and reputation to compose and reconcile those indispositions, (as too frequently he was not, and rather inflamed and increased the distemper,) it begat suits and appeals at law. The opinion that there was no necessity of doing any thing, and the complaint that there was too much done, brought the power and jurisdiction to impose the doing of it to be called in question, contradicted, and opposed. Then the manner and gesture and posture in the celebration of it brought in new disputes, and administered new subjects of offence, according to the custom of the place and humour of the people ; and those disputes brought in new words and terms (altar, and adoration, and genuflexion, and other expressions) for the more perspicuous carrying on those disputations; new books were written for and against this new practice, with the same earnestness and contention for victory as if the life of Christianity had been at stake. There was not an equal concurrence in the prosecution of this matter amongst the bishops themselves; some of them proceeding more remissly in it, and some not only neglecting to direct any thing to be done towards it, but restraining those who had a mind to it from meddling in it. And this again produced as inconvenient disputes, when the pg 128 1637 subordinate clergy would take upon them not only without the direction of, but expressly against, the diocesan's injunctions, to make those alterations and reformations themselves, and by their own authority.
The archbishop, guided purely by his zeal and reverence for the place of God's service, and by the canons and injunctions of the Church, with the custom observed in the King's chapel and in most cathedral churches, without considering the long intermission and discontinuance in many other places, prosecuted this affair more passionately than was fit for the season, and had prejudice against those who, out of fear or foresight or not understanding the thing, had not the same warmth to promote it. The bishops who had been preferred by his favour, or hoped to be so, were at least as solicitous to bring it to pass in their several dioceses, and some of them with more passion and less circumspection than they had his example for or than he approved; prosecuting those who opposed them very fiercely, and sometimes unwarrantably, which was kept in remembrance. Whilst other bishops, not so many in number or so valuable in weight, who had not been beholding to [him]1 nor had hope of being so, were enough contented to give perfunctory orders for the doing it and to see the execution of those orders not intended, and not the less pleased to find that the prejudice of that whole transaction reflected solely upon the archbishop.
The bishop of Lincoln (Williams) who had been heretofore Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of England, and the most generally abominated whilst he had been so, was, since his disgrace at Court and prosecution from thence, become very popular; and having faults enough to be ashamed of, the punishment whereof threatened him every day, he was very willing to change the scene, and to be brought upon the stage for opposing these innovations (as he called them) in religion. It was an unlucky word, and cozened very many honest men into apprehensions very prejudicial to the King and to the Church. He published a discourse and treatise against the pg 129matter and manner of the prosecution of that matter1; a book 1637 so full of good learning, and that learning so close and solidly applied, (though it abounded with too many light expressions,) that it gained him reputation enough to be able to do hurt, and shewed that in his retirement he had spent his time with his books very profitably. He used all the wit and all the malice he could to awaken the people to a jealousy of these agitations and innovations in the exercise of religion; not without insinuations that it aimed at greater alterations, for which he knew the people would quickly find a name; and he was ambitious to have it believed that the archbishop was his greatest enemy for his having constantly opposed his rising to any government in the Church, as a man whose hot and hasty spirit he had long known.
Though there were other books written with good learning, and which sufficiently answered the bishop's book, and to men of equal and dispassionate inclinations fully vindicated the proceedings which had been and were still very fervently carried on, yet it was done by men whose names were not much reverenced by many men, and who were taken notice of with great insolence and asperity to undertake the defence of all things which the people generally were displeased with, and who did not affect to be much cared for by those of their own order. So that from this unhappy subject, not in itself of that important value to be either entered upon with that resolution or to be carried on with that passion, proceeded upon the matter a schism among the bishops themselves, and a world of uncharitableness in the learned and moderate clergy towards one another: which, though it could not increase the malice, added very much to the ability and power of the enemies of the Church to do it hurt, and added to the number of them. For, without doubt, many who loved the established government of the Church and the exercise of religion as it was used, and desired not a change in either, nor did dislike the order and decency which they saw mended, yet they liked not any novelties, and so were liable to entertain pg 130 1637 jealousies that more was intended than was hitherto proposed; especially when those infusions proceeded from men unsuspected to have any inclinations to change, and from known assertors of the government both in Church and State. They did observe the inferior clergy took more upon them than they had used to do, and did not live towards their neighbours of quality or their patrons themselves with that civility and condescension they had used to do; which disposed them likewise to a withdrawing their good countenance and good neighbourhood from them.
The archbishop had not been long at Canterbury when 1634 there was another great alteration in the Court by the death of the earl of Portland, High Treasurer of England; a man so jealous of the archbishop's credit with the King that he always endeavoured to lessen it by all the arts and ways he could; which he was so far from effecting that, as it usually falls out when passion and malice make the accusation, by suggesting many particulars which the King knew to be untrue or believed to be no faults, he rather confirmed his majesty's judgment of him and prejudiced his own reputation. His death caused no grief in the archbishop; who was upon it made one of the Commissioners of the Treasury and revenue, which he had reason to be sorry for, because it engaged him in civil business and matters of state in which he had little experience and which he had hitherto avoided. But being obliged to it now by his trust, he entered upon it with his natural earnestness and warmth, making it his principal care to advance and improve the King's revenue by all the ways which were offered, and so hearkened to all informations and propositions of that kind; and having not had experience of that tribe of people who deal in that traffick, (a confident, senseless, and for the most part a naughty, people,) he was sometimes misled by them to think better of some projects than they deserved: but then he was so entirely devoted to what would be beneficial to the King that all propositions and designs which were for the profit only or principally of particular persons, how great soever, were opposed and crossed, pg 131and very often totally suppressed and stifled in their birth, 1637 by his power and authority; which created him enemies enough in the Court, and many of ability to do mischief, who well knew how to recompense discourtesies, which they always called injuries.
And the revenue of too many of the Court consisted principally in enclosures, and improvements of that nature, which he still opposed passionately except they were founded upon law; and then, if it would bring profit to the King, how old and obsolete soever the law was, he thought he might justly advise the prosecution. And so he did a little too much 1636–40 countenance the Commission for Depopulation, which brought much charge and trouble upon the people, which was likewise cast upon his account.
He had observed, and knew it must be so, that the principal officers of the revenue, who governed the affairs of money, had always access to the King, and spent more time with him in private than any of his servants or councillors, and had thereby frequent opportunities to do good or ill offices to many men; of which he had had experience when the earl of Portland was Treasurer, and the lord Cottington Chancellor of the Exchequer, neither of them being his friends; and the latter still enjoying that place, and having his former access, and so continuing a joint Commissioner of the Treasury with him, and understanding that province much better, he still opposed, and commonly carried every thing against him: so that he was weary of the toil and vexation of that business; as all other men were, and still are, of the delays which are in all despatches whilst that office is executed by commission.
The Treasurer's is the greatest office of benefit in the kingdom, and the chief in precedence next the archbishop and the Great Seal, so that the eyes of all men were at gaze who should have this great office; and the greatest of the nobility who were in the chiefest employments looked upon it as the prize of one of them, such offices commonly making way for more removes and preferments: when on a sudden the staff was put into the hands of the bishop of London, 1635 pg 132 1635 a man so unknown that his name was scarce heard of in the kingdom, who had been within two years before but a private chaplain to the King and the president of a poor college in Oxford. This inflamed more men than were angry before, and no doubt did not only sharpen the edge of envy and malice against the archbishop, (who was the known architect of this new fabric,) but most unjustly indisposed many towards the Church itself, which they looked upon as the gulph ready to swallow all the great offices, there being others in view, of that robe, who were ambitious enough to expect the rest.
In the mean time the archbishop himself was infinitely pleased with what was done, and unhappily believed he had provided a stronger support for the Church; and never abated any thing of his severity and rigour towards men of all conditions, or in the sharpness of his language and expressions, which was so natural to him that he could not debate any thing without some commotion when the argument was not of moment, nor bear contradiction in debate, even in the Council where all men are equally free, with that patience, and temper that was necessary; of which they who wished him not well took many advantages, and would therefore contradict him that he might be transported with some indecent passion; which, upon a short recollection, he was always sorry for, and most readily and heartily would make acknowledgment. No man so willingly made unkind use of all those occasions as the lord Cottington, who, being a master of temper, and of the most profound dissimulation, knew too well how to lead him into a mistake, and then drive him into choler, and then expose him upon the matter and the manner to the judgment of the company, and he chose to do this most when the King was present; and then he would dine with him the next day. 1636
The King, who was excessively affected to hunting and the sports of the field, had a great desire to make a great park for red as well as fallow deer between Richmond and Hampton Court, where he had large wastes of his own and great parcels of wood, which made it very fit for the use he pg 133designed it to: but as some parishes had common in those 1636 wastes, so many gentlemen and farmers had good houses and good farms intermingled with those wastes, of their own inheritance or for lives or years; and without taking in of them into the park, it would not be of the largeness or for the use proposed. His majesty desired to purchase those lands, and was very willing to buy [them]1 upon higher terms than the people could sell [them]1 at to any body else if they had occasion to part with [them]1, and thought it no unreasonable thing upon those terms to expect from his subjects; and so he employed his own surveyor and other of his officers to treat with the owners, many whereof were his own tenants whose terms would at last expire.
The major part of the people were in a short time prevailed with, but many very obstinately refused; and a gentleman who had the best estate, with a convenient house and gardens, would by no means part with it; and the King being as earnest to compass it, [it] made a great noise, as if the King would take away men's estates at his own pleasure. The bishop of London, who was Treasurer, and the lord Cottington, Chancellor of the Exchequer, were, from the first entering upon it, very averse from the design, not only for the murmur of the people but because the purchase of the land, and the making a brick-wall about so large a parcel of ground, (for it is not less than ten or twelve miles about,) would cost a greater sum of money than they could easily provide, or than they thought ought to be sacrificed to such an occasion; and the lord Cottington (who was more solicited by the country people, and heard most of their murmurs) took the business most to heart, and endeavoured by all the ways he could and by frequent importunities to divert his majesty from pursuing [it], and put all delays he could well do in the bargains which were to be made, till the King grew very angry with him, and told him he was resolved to go through with it, and had already caused brick to be burned, and much of the pg 134 1636 wall to be built upon his own land; upon which Cottington thought fit to acquiesce.
The building the wall before people consented to part with their land or their common looked to them as if by degrees they should be shut out from both, and increased the murmur and noise of the people who were not concerned as well as of them who were, and it was too near London not to be the common discourse; and the archbishop (who desired exceedingly that the King should be possessed as much of the hearts of the people as was possible, at least that they should have no just cause to complain) meeting with it, resolved to speak with the King of it; which he did, and received such an answer from him that he thought his majesty rather not informed enough of the inconveniences and mischiefs of the thing than positively resolved not to desist from it. Whereupon one day he took the lord Cottington aside, (being informed that he disliked it,) and, according to his natural custom, spake with great warmth against it, and told him, 'he should do very well to give the King good counsel, and to withdraw him from a resolution in which his honour and his justice was so much called in question.' Cottington answered him very gravely, 'that the thing designed was very lawful, and he thought the King resolved very well, and, since the place lay so conveniently for his winter exercise, and that he should by it not be compelled to make so long journeys as he used to do in that season of the year for his sport, that1 nobody ought to dissuade him from it.'
The archbishop, instead of finding a concurrence from him as he expected, seeing himself reproached upon the matter for his opinion, grew into much passion, telling him 'such men as he would ruin the King, and make him lose the affections of his subjects; that for his own part, as he had begun so he would go on to dissuade the King from proceeding in so ill a counsel, and that he hoped it would appear who had been his counsellor.' Cottington, glad to see him so soon hot, pg 135and resolved to inflame him more, very calmly replied to him 1636 that 'he thought a man could not with a good conscience hinder the King from pursuing his resolution, and that it could not but proceed from want of affection to his person, and he was not sure that it might not be high treason.' The other, upon the wildness of his discourse, in great anger asked him, 'Why? from whence he had received that doctrine?' He said, with the same temper, 'They who did not wish the King's health could not love him; and they who went about to hinder his taking recreation which preserved his health might be thought, for aught he knew, guilty of the highest crimes.' Upon which the archbishop in great rage, and with many reproaches, left him, and either presently or upon the next opportunity told the King that he now knew who was his great counsellor for making his park, and that he did not wonder that men durst not represent any arguments to the contrary, or let his majesty know how much he suffered in it, when such principles in divinity and law were laid down to terrify them; and so recounted to him the conference he had with the lord. Cottington, bitterly inveighing against him and his doctrine, mentioning him with all the sharp reproaches imaginable, and beseeching his majesty that his counsel might not prevail with him, taking some pains to make his conclusions appear very false and ridiculous.
The King said no more but, 'My lord, you are deceived; Cottington is too hard for you: upon my word, he hath not only dissuaded me more, and given more reasons against this business, than all the men in England have done, but hath really obstructed the work by not doing his duty as I commanded him, for which I have been very much displeased with him; you see how unjustly your passion hath transported you.' By which reprehension he found how much he had been abused, and resented it accordingly1.
Whatsoever was the cause of it, this excellent man, who pg 136 1636 stood not upon the advantage ground before, from the time of his promotion to the archbishopric, or rather from that of his being Commissioner of the Treasury, exceedingly provoked or underwent the envy and reproach and malice of men of all qualities and conditions, who agreed in nothing else: all which, though well enough known to him, were not enough considered by him, who believed the government to be so firmly settled that it could neither be shaken from within or without, (as most men did,) and that less than a general confusion of Law and Gospel could not hurt him, (which was true too): but he did not foresee how easily that confusion might be brought to pass, as it proved shortly to be. And with this general observation of the outward visible prosperity, and the inward reserved disposition of the people to murmur and unquietness, we conclude this first book.
THE END OF THE FIRST BOOK.