« PreviousContinue »
loyalty of his protestant subjects may not be a hinderance to her love of the true religion; and never prays, that the dissoluteness of his court, the scandals of his clergy, the unsoundness of his own judgment, the lukewarmness of his life, his letter of compliance to the pope, his permitting agents at Rome, the pope's nuncio, and her jesuited mother here, may not be found in the sight of God far greater hinderances to her conversion.
But this had been a subtle prayer indeed, and well prayed, though as duly as a Paternoster, if it could have charmed us to sit still, and have religion and our liberties one by one snatched from us, for lest rising to defend ourselves we should fright the queen, a stiff papist, from turning protestant! As if the way to make his queen a protestant, had been to make his subjects more than halfway papists. He prays next, "that his constancy may be an antidote against the poison of other men's example." His constancy in what? Not in religion, for it is openly known, that her religion wrought more upon him, than his religion upon her; and his open favouring of papists, and his hatred of them called puritans, (the ministers also that prayed in churches for her conversion, being checked from court,) made most men suspect she had quite perverted him. But what is it, that the blindness of hypocrisy dares not do? It dares pray, and thinks to hide that from the eyes of God, which it cannot hide from the open view of man.
Upon his Repulse at Hull, and the Fate of the Hothams. HULL, a town of great strength and opportunity both to sea and land affairs, was at that time the magazine of all those arms which the king had bought with money most illegally extorted from his subjects of England, to use in a causeless and most unjust civil war against his subjects of Scotland. The king in hgh discontent and anger had left the parliament, and was gone towards the north, the queen into Holland, where she pawned and set to sale the crown jewels; (a crime heretofore counted treasonable in kings;) and to what intent these sums were raised, the parliament was not ignorant. His going northward in so high a chafe they doubted
was to possess himself of that strength which the storehouse and situation of Hull might add suddenly to his malignant party. Having first therefore in many petitions earnestly prayed him to dispose and settle, with consent of both houses, the military power in trusty hands, and as he as oft refusing, they were necessitated by the turbulence and danger of those times, to put the kingdom by their own authority into a posture of defence; and very timely sent Sir John Hotham, a member of the house, and knight of that county, to take Hull into his custody, and some of the trained bands to his assistance.
For besides the general danger, they had, before the king's going to York, notice given them of his private commissions to the Earl of Newcastle, and to Colonel Legg, one of those employed to bring the army up against the parliament; who had already made some attempts, and the former of them under a disguise, to surprise that place for the king's party. And letters of the Lord Digby were intercepted, wherein was wished, that the king would declare himself, and retire to some safe place; other information came from abroad, that Hull was the place designed for some new enterprise. And accordingly Digby himself not long after, with many other commanders, and much foreign ammunition, landed in those parts. But these attempts not succeeding, and that town being now in custody of the parliament, he sends a message to them, that he had firmly resolved to go in person into Ireland, to chastise those wicked rebels, (for these and worse words he then gave them,) and that towards this work he intended forthwith to raise by his commissions, in the counties near Westchester, a guard for his own person, consisting of two thousand foot, and two hundred horse, that should be armed from his magazine at Hull.
On the other side, the parliament, foreseeing the king's drift, about the same time send him a petition, that they might have leave for necessary causes to remove the magazine of Hull to the Tower of London, to which the king returns his denial; and soon after going to Hull attended with about four hundred horse, requires the governor to deliver him up the town: whereof the governor besought humbly to be excused, till he could send notice to the parliament, who had intrusted him. Whereat the king much incensed proclaims him traitor before the town walls, and gives immediate order to stop all passages
between him and the parliament. Yet he himself dispatches post after post to demand justice, as upon a traitor; using a strange iniquity to require justice upon him, whom he then waylaid, and debarred from his appearance. The parliament no sooner understood what had passed, but they declare, that Sir John Hotham had done no more than was his duty, and was therefore no traitor.
This relation, being most true, proves that which is affirmed here to be most false; seeing the parliament, whom he accounts his "greatest enemies," had 66 more confidence to abet and own," what Sir John Hotham had done, than the king had confidence to let him answer in his own behalf. To speak of his patience, and in that solemn manner, he might better have forborne; "God knows," saith he, " it affected me more with
* The particulars of this transaction, with the due degree of party colouring, are given by Clarendon. It seems that the order of parliament for removing the magazine from Hull to the Tower of London, had among "the gentlemen of Yorkshire," caused much trouble; wherefore, before the commands of parliament could be obeyed, they advised the seizing upon this magazine, which is softly expressed in Clarendon by "they did very earnestly beseech him, that he would take such course, that it might still remain there, for the better securing those, and the rest of the northern parts." Their advice was found palatable; for, "hereupon he resolved to go thither himself; and the night before, he sent his son, the duke of York, who was lately arrived from Richmond, accompanied with the Prince Elector, thither, with some other persons of honour; who knew no more, than that it was a journey given to the pleasure and curiosity of the duke. Sir John Hotham received them with that duty and civility that became him. The next morning early, the king took horse from York; and, attended with two or three hundred of his servants, and gentlemen of the country, rode thither; and, when he came within a mile of the town, sent a gentleman to Sir John Hotham, 'to let him know that the king would that day dine with him;' with which he was strangely surprised, or seemed to be so. It was then reported, and was afterwards averred by himself to some friends, that he had received the night before advertisement, from a person very near to, and very much trusted by his majesty, of the king's purpose of coming thither, and that there was a resolution of hanging him, or cutting his throat, as soon as he was in the 'own. Whether this, or anything else wrought with him, I know not, but when the king came, he found the gates shut, and the bridges drawn. Sir John Hotham appeared himself upon the wall, and when the king commanded him to cause the port o be opened, he answered like a distracted man, that no man could understand; he fell upon his knees, and used all the execrations imaginable, that the earth would open and swallow him up, if he were not his majesty's most faithful subject; talked of his trust from the parliament, of whose fidelity towards his majesty he was likewise well assured; and in conclusion, he made it evident, that he would not permit the king
sorrow for others, than with anger for myself; nor did the affront trouble me so much as their sin." This is read, I doubt not, and believed: and as there is some use of everything, so is there of this book, were it but to shew us, what a miserable, credulous, deluded thing that creature is, which is called the vulgar; who, notwithstanding what they might know, will believe such vain glories as these. Did not that choleric and vengeful act of proclaiming him traitor before due process of law, having been convinced so late before of his illegality with the five members, declare his anger to be incensed? Doth not his own relation confess as much? And his second message left him fuming three days after, and in plain words testifies "his impatience of delay" till Hotham be severely punished, for that which he there terms an insupportable affront.
to enter into the town. So that after many messages and answers, for he went himself from the wall, out of an apprehension of some attempt upon his person, the king, after the duke of York and they who attended him were permitted to return out of the town, and after he had caused Sir John Hotham to be proclaimed a traitor, for keeping the town by force against him, returned to York, with infinite perplexity of mind, and sent a complaint to the parliament, of Hotham's disobedience and rebellion. It was then believed, and Hotham himself made it to be believed, that Mr. Murray, of the bedchamber, who was the messenger sent by the king in the morning, to give Sir John Hotham notice that his majesty intended to dine with him, had infused some apprehensions into the man, as if the king meant to use violence towards him, which produced that distemper and resolution in him: but it was never proved, and that person (who was very mysterious in all his actions) continued long after in his majesty's confidence." (Clarendon's History, &c. ii. 382. sqq., and the suppressed passages in the notes, and appendix, &c. p. 608.)-ED.
None, in fact, but the most vulgar minds could ever be deluded by such a mixture of cant, imbecility, and falsehood as the Eikon Basilike. If it was written by the king, it affords an admirable means of estimating his capacity; if it was written by the bishop, we may judge of the egregious folly of those who could mistake his miserable sophistry for reasoning or argument, or his exaggerated hypocrisy for devotion. It is some satisfaction that neither tyrants nor their advocates often excel in the art of writing; which, as Jean Jaques well remarks, no man becomes master of by instinct. Painted fires may deceive the eye, but will not warm ; nor can the specious imitation of noble sentiments kindle in the breast of the reader a spark of generous enthusiasm. For this reason the icy periods of the Eikon Basilikè are now dismissed with indifference or contempt; while they who read the Eikonoklastes, however few, experience all that warmth of delight which true eloquence and lofty sympathies never fail to inspire-ED.
Surely if his sorrow for Sir John Hotham's sin were greater than his anger for the affront, it was an exceeding great sorrow indeed, and wondrous charitable. But if it stirred him so vehemently to have Sir John Hotham punished, and not at all, that we hear, to have him repent, it had a strange operation to be called a sorrow for his sin. He who would persuade us of his sorrow for the sins of other men, as they are sins, not as they are sinned against himself, must give us first some testimony of a sorrow for his own sins, and next for such sins of other men as cannot be supposed a direct injury to himself. But such compunction in the king no man hath yet observed; and till then his sorrow for Sir John Hotham's sin will be called no other than the resentment of his repulse; and his labour to have the sinner only punished will be called by a right name, his revenge.
And "the hand of that cloud, which cast all soon after into darkness and disorder," was his own hand. For, assembling the inhabitants of Yorkshire and other counties, horse and foot, first under colour of a new guard to his person, soon after, being supplied with ammunition from Holland, bought with the crown jewels, he begins an open war by laying siege to Hull: which town was not his own, but the kingdom's; and the arms there, public arms, bought with the public money, or not his own. Yet had they been his own by as good a right as the private house and arms of any man are his own; to use either of them in a way not private, but suspicious to the commonwealth, no law permits. But the king had no property at all either in Hull or in the magazine: so that the following maxims, which he cites, "of bold and disloyal undertakers," may belong more justly to whom he least meant them. After this, he again relapses into the praise of his patience at Hull, and by his overtalking of it seems to doubt either his own conscience or the hardness of other men's belief. To me the more he praises it in himself, the more he seems to suspect that in very deed it was not in him; and that the lookers on so likewise thought.
Thus much of what he suffered by Hotham, and with what patience; now of what Hotham suffered, as he judges, for opposing him: "he could not but observe how God, not long after, pleaded and avenged his cause." Most men are too apt, and commonly the worst of men, so to interpret, and ex