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the case to
The king replied, that the compliance proposed was directly CHARLES contrary to his conscience, and therefore, to make his majesty easy, they desired him to consult the bishops. The bishops of London, Durham, and Carlisle, Williams, archbishop of York, and Usher, primate of Ireland, were sent for upon this occasion. In order to resolve the case, they state the question to the king in these words: “whether, as his majesty refers his own judgment to his judges (in whose person they act) in courts of oyer and terminer, king's-bench, assize, and in causes of life and death, and it lies on them if an innocent man suffer ; so why may not his majesty satisfy his conscience in the present matter, that since competent judges in law had awarded that they found guilt of treason in the earl, that he may suffer that judgment to stand, though in his private mind he was not satisfied the earl of Strafford was so deeply criminal, and let the blame lie upon them who were the earl's judges.”
Four of these bishops, Usher, Williams, Morton, and Pot- The king, not ter, declared for the affirmative side of the question, as bishop the bill, puts Hacket reports from the mouth of three of them.
the bishops. Another considerable historian relates, that the question Bishop being put to the bishops whether the king might lawfully pass Life of the bill, they answered, “ that his majesty was to distinguish Archbishop between matter of fact and law :" as to the first, his majesty part 2 being present at the whole trial might qualify him to pronounce whether the articles of impeachment were proved home or not : and in case he believed the evidence came short, he would be obliged in conscience not to sign the bill. As to matter of law, whether any of the articles amounted to treason or not; the judges, they said, were obliged by their oaths to inform his majesty.
L'Estrange, There was a writing, indeed, as this historian continues, K. Charles, put into the king's hand by archbishop Williams, but with the p. 265. contents of this paper the other bishops were not acquainted : but that this paper related to a foreign subject, and was charged with no unfriendly advice against the earl of Strafford, Bishop is affirmed by an historian who had it from archbishop Williams himself. To mention the contents, the paper Williams Archbishop put into the king's hand was a dissuasive against passing the part 2. bill for continuing the session during the pleasure of both L..162. houses : this was admirable advice, and had it been taken, rendon's
the might probably have prevented the rebellion,
LAUD, The lord Clarendon, who, one would think, could not be
lamentable casuist of archbishop Williams: he reports this
But to leave this matter with the reader, the bishops' opinion, as far as it appears, was founded upon the resolution of the judges ; who, being consulted by the king, had declared the earl of Strafford guilty of high treason upon the whole
matter: but being pressed to justify their opinion by statutes Whitlock.. and authorities of law, they declined producing their proof. L'Estrange.
Notwithstanding these motives the king could not prevail
with himself to pass this bill: to set his majesty's conscience bishop Usher
, p. 45. at liberty, the earl very generously wrote him a letter to perThe earl of Strafford's suade his compliance, and, amongst other things, declares himLetter to the self willing to resign his life rather than keep up a misunder
standing between the king and his subjects. Upon this the king gives a commission to the lord privy seal, the lord chamberlain, and several others, to pass the attainder; and at the same time the king signed another destructive act for continuing the session as long as the two houses should think fit : and
thus the parliament had some colour, though not any law, to push things to an extremity, and levy men and money
against the government. Had not this act been passed, the 802. king might have scattered them at discretion; and in case
they had been so hardy as to have sat after a dissolution, they would have wanted a varnish to cover their coarse complexion, and the revolt would have been more legible and uncontested'.
The earl of Strafford being to suffer the next day, desired to speak with the archbishop of Canterbury: the lieutenant of
1 This remark of Collier respecting the long parliament is confirmed by the testimonies of our best political writers.
Parr's Life of Arch
the Tower told him that matter was impracticable without an CHARLES order from the parliament. Upon this the earl told primate Usher, then with him, what he intended to have said in case the liberty had been granted : “ My lord,” says he,“ pray desire the archbishop to assist me with his prayers to-night, and give me his blessing when I go abroad to-morrow; and desire him to be in his window, that I may thank him for this, and all his former favours." The primate immediately delivering the message, the archbishop replied, " That he should not fail serving the earl in the first part of his request, but was afraid his infirmity and concern would put him out of condi- L'Estrange's tion to take his last leave of his lordship :” however, the next K.Charles 1. morning, when the earl came by, the archbishop appeared at the window; the earl, making a low reverence, said, “ My lord, your prayers and your blessing." The archbishop, lifting up his hands, gave him both; but being immediately overcome with grief and tenderness, swooned, and fell down: the earl, bowing again, took his leave, and said, “ My lord, God protect your innocency. The archbishop quickly recovering himself, and imagining this behaviour might be interpreted to want of fortitude, told the company, “that when his own execution came on, he hoped God would enable him to manage himself with more firmness and unconcern."
The earl of Strafford went on to the scaffold, and behaved His execuhimself with all imaginable marks of resignation and courage : the lieutenant of the Tower desiring him to take coach, for fear the mob should rush in, if he walked, and pull him in pieces. He told him, “ No, he was not afraid to look death in the face, and the people too. Have you a care,” said the earl, “ I do not escape ; and whether I die by the hand of the executioner, or the fury of the people, is to me perfectly indifferent.”
In his speech upon the scaffold he declared, that through the whole course of his employments his intention was always to promote the joint interest of the king and his subjects : that he was so far from being an enemy to parliaments, as had been charged upon him, that he thought the English government the happiest constitution upon this score; and that parliaments were the best human means for the prosperity of king and people. That “in the intentions and purposes of his heart,” he was not guilty of what he died for, and prayed God
Hist. And character.
LAUD, would forgive those who contrived his death. That he died a
true son of the Church of England, and prayed for the peace and prosperity of it. Then turning to his brother, sir George Wentworth, he desired him to charge his son to continue in
the same communion, and never seize any part of the Church's L'Estrange's patrimony, for that would prove a cancer to his estate.
This nobleman was a person of extraordinary natural parts, improved by business and education: he had a lively and penetrating genius; his thought reached a great way, and his manner of delivering himself was clear and moving: he was without question an accomplished statesman ; and as he was happy at the designing part, so he wanted no courage to go through and execute: and as for loyalty and affection to the king, no man possessed that quality in a higher degree: neither was he only thus well furnished for the public service, but his private life was likewise regular and unblemished ; but, in short, he was undone by his zeal for his master, and the weight of his merit sunk him : had his advice been taken, the Scottish invasion must in all likelihood have miscarried : this made the Covenanters implacable, and never give over till they had prosecuted him to the scaffold. Had he been false or indifferent to the crown, those few inequalities of his government would probably have been overlooked, and he might have lived to the end of his constitution; but he was too great a terror to rebellion to be endured at this juncture.
About a week before this nobleman suffered, the house of commons took an oath, called the “Protestation ;” part of it runs thus :
I, A. B., do, in the presence of Almighty God, promise vow, and protest, to maintain and defend, as far as lawfully I may, with my life, power, and estate, the true reformed Protestant religion expressed in the doctrine of the Church of England, against all popery and popish innovation within this realm, contrary to the said doctrine; and according to the duty.of mine allegiance, I will maintain and defend his majesty's royal person, honour, and estate.”
This protestation had a meaning in reserve, not friendly to the Church of England, as will appear by and by.
To proceed. A design was now forming in the parliament
for lopping the revenues of the Church, and suppressing the CHARLES deaneries and chapters. The Churchmen endeavouring to break this project, ordered one in each cathedral to come up, and solicit their friends in either house: they drew a petition to the lords and commons, but it was never presented: they likewise retained counsel, and instructed them with heads to plead on. But being informed the house would not allow them the benefit of the long robe; and that if they had any thing to suggest, they must appear, and plead their own cause; the matter standing thus, they made choice of Dr. John Hacket, prebendary of Paul's, and archdeacon of Bedford, for their counsel. This gentleman being admitted to the bar of the house of commons, made an argument to the following effect.
He began with craving a favourable construction in regard of the double disadvantage he lay under. “ First, Upon the score of his being straitened in time ; Dr. Hacket's
speech before the business being put upon him but the afternoon before.
the house of And, Secondly, Because he had no certain information of commons in what was objected against deans and chapters; that he had deans and
chapters, only heard a flying report of their insignificancy; that he should endeavour to disprove this charge under two heads, that is, with respect to things and persons.
“ To make good the first point, he observed, that to supply the defects of private prayer, it was fit devotion should be publicly performed in some place of distinction : and that this, in imitation of primitive practice, was constantly done in cathedrals. And whereas some complained the exquisiteness of the music made the service offensive, and that the sprightliness and bending of the notes took too much hold of the imagination ; to this he answered, that himself, and the rest of his brethren, wished the entertainment might be reformed, and made less affecting : and here he dilated in commendation of Church music, when well suited to the solemnity of the occasion.
“From hence he went on to show the benefit of preaching in cathedrals: that the statutes of most of these mother-churches required sermons on the week-days; and that this practice had been the custom ever since the Reformation.
“He urged how serviceable the cathedrals appeared for the 803. advancement of learning ; that each of them was a sort of university in little ; that here people were trained up to con