« PreviousContinue »
and told the lords, they would make proof thereof in convenient time; but desired in the mean time, that I might be committed to safe custody. This was strange news to my innocency; for this I can say for myself, without falsehood or vanity, that to the uttermost of my understanding, I served the king, my gracious master, with all duty and faithfulness; and without any known or wilful disservice to the state therewhile. And this I did, with as true and free a heart, as ever any man did that served the king. And I thank God, my care was such for the public, that it is well known, I much neglected my own private fortunes there while. The more was I amazed at the first apprehension of this heavy and undeserved charge.
“ Upon this charge, I was commanded to withdraw. But I first desired leave to speak a few words; and I spake to this effect; that I was heartily sorry for the offence taken against me, and that I was most unhappy, to have my eyes open to see that day, and mine ears to hear such a charge. But humbly desired their lordships, to look upon
the whole course of my life, which was such, as that I did verily persuade myself, not one man in the house of commons did believe in his heart, that I was a traitor. Here my lord, the Earl of Essex, interrupted me, and said, that speech of mine was a scandal put upon the whole house of commons, that they should bring me up charged with so high a crime, which themselves did not believe. I humbly desired then, that I might be proceeded with in the ancient parliamentary way of England. This the Lord Say excepted against; as if I would prescribe them how they should proceed. So I withdrew, as I was commanded, and was presently called in again to the bar; and thence delivered to Mr. James Maxwell, the officer of the black rod, to be kept in custody, till the house of commons should farther impeach me.
“ Here I humbly desired leave, that I might go home to fetch some papers necessary for my defence. This was granted me with some difficulty, and Mr. Maxwell was commanded to attend me all the while I should stay. When I was gone to Lambeth, after some little discourse (and sad enough) with my steward, and some private friends, I went into my chapel to evening prayer. The psalms for that day gave me much comfort, and were observed by some friends then present, as well as by myself. And upon the comfort I then received, ! have every day since (unless some urgent business prevented me) read over both these psalms, and, God willing, purpose so to do every day of my life. Prayers being ended, I went with Mr. Maxwell, as I was commanded ; hundreds of my poor neighbours standing at my gates to see me go, and prayed heartily for my safe return to my house ; for which I blessed God and them.” p. 73.
Such ample justice has been done to the private virtues of Laud, by the eloquence of Clarendon, that we shall trouble our readers upon that head very briefly. It is, however, a subject to which, briefly as we can notice it, we turn with far greater pleasure than we have felt in dwelling on the errors of his public life. Upon his sincerity a few words have been already
said. To his charities, ample testimony is borne by the records of many a religious foundation still in existence. His munificent patronage of learning has, perhaps, never been surpassed in this country. His zeal in the cause of virtue, though often intemperate, was unquestionably sincere ; his notions of justice, though rigorous, seem never to have been vindictive; his gratitude, though undiscriminating, was yet pure. Much praise, we think, is also due to him for the sincerity and steadfastness of his friendship to Strafford : in spite of all the infirmities of temper which that great man was apt to manifest, and in spite too of all his influence with the monarch, which nearly rivalled Laud's, and might therefore have excited his jealousy, the Archbishop seems to have lived with him in confidence and friendship, and has pronounced over his tomb an eulogy which we extract on account of its mingled truth and beauty.
“These answers being returned, the earl prepared himself; and upon Wednesday morning, about ten of the clock, being May the twelfth, he was beheaded on the Tower-hill, many thousands behold ing him. The speech which he made at his end was a great testimony of his religion and piety, and was then printed : and in their judgement, who were men of worth, and some upon, some near the scaffold, and saw him die, he made a patient, and pious, and couragious end; insomuch, that some doubted whether his death had more of the Roman or the Christian in it, it was so full of both. And notwithstanding this hard fate which fell upon him, he is dead with more honour than any of them will gain who hunted after his life. Thus ended the wisest, the stoutest, and every way the ablest subject that this nation hath bred these many years. The only imperfections which he had, that were known to me, were his want of bodily health, and a carelessness (or rather roughness) not to oblige any; and his mishaps in this last action were, that he groaned under the public envy of the nobles, served a mild and a gracious prince, who knew not how to be, or be made great; and trusted false, perfidious, and cowardly men in the northern employment, though he had many doubts put to him about it. This day was after called by divers, Homicidium Comitis Straffordiæ, the day of the murder of Strafford : because when malice itself could find no law to put him to death, they made a law on purpose for it. God forgive all, and be merciful.”
We have spoken of the sincerity of Laud's religious principles, as admitted even by his bitterest opponents ; but we think it fair to say that those principles, as represented even by himself, appear to have been considerably 'tinctured with superstition. Many passages in the work before us warrant this opinion; and some of them, indeed, are of such a nature as to be excused only by the current prejudices of the time. See, for example, how ingeniously he avails himself of the misfortune of Lord Brook to clap a judgment upon his back.”
“ The Lord Brook was now in action. A bitter enemy he was to the church, and her government by bishops. On March 2, he was going to give onset upon the close of the cathedral at Litchfield ; and as he was taking view of the place, from a window in a house opposite to the close, and his beaver up, so that a musket at such a distance could have done him but little harm; yet was he shot in the left eye, and killed dead in the place without speaking one word. Whence I shall observe three things : first, that this great and known enemy to cathedral churches died thus fearfully in the assault of a cathedral, A fearful manner of death in such a quarrel. Secondly, that this happened upon Saint Chad's day, of which Saint the Cathedral bears the
Thirdly, that this lord coming from dinner about t'vo years since, from the Lord Herbert's house in Lambeth, upon some discourse of St. Paul's church, then in their eye upon the water, said to some young lords that were with him, that he hoped to live to see that one stone of that building should not be left upon another. But that church stands yet, and that eye is put out that hoped to see the ruins of it.” p. 201.
Moreover, the scrupulous minuteness with which he records his dreams, (and the diary is full of them,) savours strongly of the same infirmity. We shall conclude our extracts from this volume, with a specimen or two of the Archbishop's nightly visions ; just observing, that the favours of Queen Mab, which he has here recorded, though numerous, seem hardly to have been of the choicest.
“ December 14.–Sunday night, I did dream that the Lord Keeper was dead : that I passed by one of his men, that was about a monument for him : that I heard him say, his lower lip was infinitely swelled and fallen, and he rotten already. This dream did trouble me.” p. 7.
“ August 21.-Sunday, I preached at Brecknock; where I stayed two days, very busy in performing some business. That night, in my sleep, it seemed to me, that the Duke of Buckingham came into bed to me; where he behaved himself with great kindness towards me, after that rest, wherewith wearied persons are wont to solace themselves. Many also seemed to me to enter the chamber, who saw this. Not long before, I dreamed that I saw the Dutchess of Buckingham, that excellent Lady, at first very much perplexed about her husband, but afterwards cheerful and 'rejoycing that she was freed from the fear of abortion, so that in due time she might be again a mother.” p. 22.
“ January 5.-Epiphany-eve, and Friday, in the night I dreamed, that my mother, long since dead, stood by my bed, and drawing aside the cloaths a little, looked pleasantly upon me; and that I was glad to see her with so merry an aspect. She then showed to me a certain old man, long since deceased; whom, while alive, I both knew and loved. He seemed to lie upon the ground, merry enough, but with a wrinkled countenance. His name was Grove. While I prepared to salute him, I awoke." p. 37.
“ January 14.-Sunday, towards morning I dreamed, that the Bishop of Lincoln came, I know not whither, with iron chains ; but returning loosed from them, leaped on horseback, and went away; neither could I overtake him.” p. 38.
January 16.—I dreamed that the King went out to hunt; and that when he was hungry, I brought him on the sudden into the house of my friend, Francis Windebank. While he prepareth to eat, I, in the absence of others, presented the cup to him after the usual manner. I carried drink to him; but it pleased him not. I carried it again, but in a silver cup : thereupon, his Majesty said, you know that I always drink out of glass. I go away again, and awoke.” p. 38.
“July 7.--Saturday night, I dreamed that I had lost two teeth. The Duke of Buckingham took the Isle of Rhée.” p. 41.
“ January 24.--Friday, at night I dreamed that my father (who died forty-six years since) came to me; and, to my thinking, he was as well and as cheerful as ever I saw him. He asked me, what I did here ? and after some speech, I asked him, how long he would stay with me? he answered, he would stay till he had me away with him. I am not moved with dreams ; yet I thought fit to remember this.” p. 57.
Upon the whole, we do not think that this work is calculated to diminish any of the prejudices which we had entertained against the political character of the author, or to inspire us with any respect for his talents. Making all possible allowances for the difficulties of his public situation, we can see in him nothing more than a man with very ordinary abilities for government under the guidance of a very defective judgement. A comparison has sometimes been instituted between Laud and Wolsey ; but never, certainly, was a more unfortunate comparison made. True, both rose from a very humble rank in life to the first station in the kingdom ; both were churchmen; both were ambitious ; both unfortunate. But Wolsey seems to have been a man of talents equal to his fortunes—talents to which Laud could make no pretension ; while, on the other hand, Laud was the undoubted possessor of virtues, to which Wolsey appears to have been an utter stranger.
We have spoken, without reserve, the sentiments which we entertain as to the public conduct of our author, and feel no desire to qualify the censures we have pronounced. At the same time, however, we look with feelings of shame and abhorrence upon that infamous proceeding, misnamed a trial, by which Laud was brought to the scaffold. That both he and Strafford had shown themselves unfit for power, by the indiscreet and arbitrary use they made of it, we are fully convinced ; but not less strong is our conviction, that neither Strafford nor Laud, in the plenitude and wantonness of their authority, ever committed such an outrage upon the laws as that by which they died.
Art. V.- The Cure of Old Age and Preservation of Youth, by
Roger Bacon, a Franciscan Friar; translated out of Latin by
Richard Browne, M.L. Col. Med. Lond. 1683. A Physical Account of the Tree of Life, by Edw. Madeira
Arrais. 1683. Sure Methods of attaining a Long and Healthful Life, with the
Means of correcting a Bad Constitution, by Lewis Cornaro;
translated from the Italian. 1737. Hermippus Redivivus, or the Sage's Triumph over Old Age and
the Grave; wherein a Method is laid down for prolonging the
Life and Vigour of Man. 1749. A Delineation of the particular History of Life and Death, with
a view to preserve Health and retard o Age, by Francis Bacon, Baron of Verulam, Viscount St. Alban's. 1778.
We do not know how it may be with our readers ; but for our own parts, we confess that we are very willing to be—that is, to remain, to exist, as lor as circumstances and the fates will permit. We should have no objection to bargain for some five hundred years (we don't like to be unreasonable), provided we might during that time write-and be read. This may seem a little derogatory-a little like an admission of mere, common, human infirmity, which we, of editorial nature, should not be too forward to allow. For an editor, as he is in numerals more than a man, so ought he to be superior in a freedom from the ordinary infirmities—prejudice, ignorance, haste, death, and the like. The only excuse which we have to offer for contesting this position is, that it is-true. Like other people of great pretensions, kings, poets, warriors, philosophers, popular preachers, and inventors of “ patent” medicines,—so editors of reviews and magazines die off and decay. The “ brief candles” of their lives (from a farthing upwards) shed for a time a little light, and show a good deal of vapouring--they are puffed—they struggle-and at last, like all others, go out. Of course, they leave the world in darkness.
For our own particular parts, having admitted very readily our mortality (Mrs. Malaprop would call it our morality) and frailty, we may the less scrupulously lay claim to some qualities which our readers will be pleased to throw into the opposite scale. We have our weakness (good nature),—but we think, that we are entitled also to some credit for common sense and