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always aplech we canuld be
Bishop, had as much power in his hands, as he could wish for the good of the establishment; and this power exposed him to the bitterness of hostile feeling. At the coronation of the King he was called on to officiate in the place of the Dean of Westminster, and, in the arrangement of the regalia was accused of purposely placing an old crucifix upon the altar: so low did that reckless faction condescend to stoop for matter of grievous accusation. The state of things was, if any thing, worse than in the time of James, and the growing jealousies of Abbot and Williams, Laud's great opponents, rendered his situation more precarious. To him the uneasy zealots referred all their occasions of complaint-and whether the Star-chamber exceeded or not its authority, all the odium settled on the head of Laud. But he was careless of it, so that the Church which he loved was safe. Still, there is fair reason to doubt, whether there might not be some leaven of human nature in his dealings; and we are not fairly convinced, even by the reasoning of Mr. Lawson, that Laud was altogether free in some of the decisions to which the court of inquiry came. There has always appeared to us somewhat strange in the treatment of Leighton, although we cannot agree in the censures of Dr. Symmons, whose Life of Milton would be more interesting were there less of party violence in it; or in the strictures of the inconsistent Mr. Hallam, whose obliquities of judgment are before the world. Nor are we sure, that in the charge which has been brought against the prelate, in the story of the offered Cardinal's hat, there may not be some truth: for though his life and death acquit him of all tendency to Popery, there still might be a something of worldly vanity, in the pride of the distinction, to allure him. The consecration of the Church of St. Catharine Cree, if the historians are to be believed, has an air of such pantomimic absurdity about it, that the Bishop must have caught, for once, the infection of fanaticism, and surrendered his better judgment to the keeping of an absent friend. But after all, falsified as he is, may not the story be exaggerated ? These little weaknesses do not, however, detract from the general purport of his views : and if he were fallible, it may be pardoned, when he paid for his consistency at so dear a rate. His munificence and liberality have left behind them monuments which party zeal cannot charge with error : and the testimony of two learned Universities, Oxford and Dublin, yet remain, to prove how much he loved, and how well he patronized that which made for the welfare of his Church. Of the unfortunate marriage in the carly part of his career in which he was concerned, his diary contains so many signs of his regret, that there is offered in them proofs of his tenderness of conscience, on a point where those who boasted of it more presumptuously might have likewise erred. Faults he doubtless had : but his virtues were great and striking and the prominent features of his character were an uncompromising hatred of all foreign influence, and a determined spirit of support, through all extremities of good or of evil, of the Church in which he served. That he was persecuted and reviled for this unjustly, the very charge against him satisfactorily determines. Popery he abhorred-Puritanism he abjured : yet was he charged by one party with a leaning to the other, and like many others, was absurdly judged, at hazard, by prejudiced, incapable, intolerant judges. Clarendon most accurately states the truth of this remark.
“He was always maligned and persecuted," says the noble historian, “ by those who were of the Calvinistic faction, which was then very powerful, and who, according to their usual 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 only gave him bread, till the vigour of his age was past; and, 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."—Vol. II. p. 43.
His elevation to Canterbury raised him to a higher place in the scale of popular execration; and now, indeed, the measure of his guilt was full.
The See of Canterbury will never be a sinecure ; nor was Laud disposed to take his ease in this important situation. No man better understood the duties of a Christian Bishop: he was moved, doubtless, by something of that spirit which induced the Apostle of the Gentiles to exclaim, that he had “the care of all the churches ;" nor had Laud, from the day on which he first entered upon an active life, known what it was to enjoy peace in the domestic circle. It was not that he delighted in bustle; but the times were too troublesome, and he hesitated not as to the conduct which it became him to pursue. This year we find him employed in improving and settling the revenues of the London clergy, which had been heretofore barely sufficient for their maintenance in the metropolis of a great kingdom.-Pp. 87, 88.
This measure also gave offence—as what would not, which he was a party in ? So, when he tried to settle the disputes of the Universities, he was considered as an ambitious tyrant, though every measure tended to the maintenance of the religion of the State. Libels, circulated freely in all public places, served to keep alive the embers of dissension, and to bring down odium on the unlucky Primate. But he thus pobly acquits himself:
“ But for myself, to pass over all the scandalous reproaches which they have most injuriously cast upon me, I say this only. First, I know of no plot, nor purpose of altering the established religion. Secondly, I have always been far from attempting such a thing that may truly be said to tend that way in the least decree, and to these two I here offer my oath. Thirdly, if the King had a mind to change his religion, which I know he hath not, and God forbid he should ever have, he must seek for other instruments; for as basely as these men conceive of me, I thank God, I know my duty well, both to God and the King: and I know that all the duty I owe to the King is under God: and my great happiness it is (though not mine alone) to live under a gracious and a religious King, who duly appreciates the service of God. But were the days otherwise, I thank Christ, I yet know not how to serve any man against the truth of God; and this I trust I shall never learn.”—Pp. 167, 168.
The grand question, however, comes to this—who is a Papist ? Mr. Lawson shall answer.
I maintain, therefore, that it was not Laud, but the Presbyterians, whether Puritans or Covenanters, who were sticklers for forms and ceremonies; who innagined they saw a merit placed in things which had actually none; who disputed as much about the mere act of genuflexion, as if it involved their salvation :- that in the indecent rudeness of Presbyterianism there is a greater attempt at effect than in the national and primitive ritual of the Church of England :—that, in fine, in the public worship of Dissenters in general, not even excepting the fanaticism of the Quakers, if indeed their practice can be termed public worship, there is not an essential difference from the Church of Rome, with this qualification, that the former are at one extreme and the Papists at another; yet both pretend self-denial, and both imagine that their outward acts of devotion are exclusively spiritual and holy.—Pp. 234, 235.
To enter on the question of the Scottish Church, of which Mr. Lawson is said to be a Member, or of the Scottish Kirk, we cannot spare sufficient room: nor dare we venture here to touch upon the covenanting system, further than to say, what history bears us 'out in saying, that from Scotland came that deadly evil, as from Scotland has come an equal evil, in later times, a Popish faction. There, as in a hot-bed, Puritanism and Popery were forced and nurtured ; and from that kingdom we have drawn, till recent times, but little good. There rebellion first commenced, and thence issued that horde of northern barbarians who ravaged English constitutional and royal liberty : for Scottish Covenanters, uniting with English Puritans, were the cause of ruin to the crown, and of the loss of liberty to the people.
The stories of the conversion of Chillingworth, and of John Hales, “ the ever-memorable,” (themselves the refutation of the Popish charge against him,) are pleasing episodes in this part of the Archbishop's history, although the general interest of the work gains upon the reader till the close. The turbulence of the Scottish “ Cove anters" has been often stated, and the breaking out of the Rebellion, under their auspicious agency, is known to all who have perused some works of popular esteem and recent publication. The abolition of Episcopacy commenced in Scotland -and the aúthority of Charles was first disputed there ; whilst his injudiciously yielding to the request of unbridled fanatics, and insolent despisers of established law, may be called the commencement of his downfall. Why did he call that beggarly assembly? Associations of such a character should be put down by the arm of temporal power, or by the rigour of military law. But, alas! one false step of mistaken leniency
is nered. A " bellum English mitre ; consanded with the na
che the doom otinued still to sis; Anabaptistas charged
is never retrieved! It was not likely, that, after this, they would be satisfied. A “bellum Episcopale” would not be averted by the superior dignity of an English mitre; consequently, for the part he took in this affair, Archbishop Laud was branded with the name of an * incendiary," and his ruin planned. On the 13th April, 1640, the King assembled the Parliament, to consider the affairs of Scotland. The Parliament refused co-operation ; and was accordingly dissolved. But the doom of Strafford and of Laud had been determined. The convocation continued still to sit ; and various canons were brought in in opposition to the Socinians, Anabaptists, Brownists, &c. This brought on Laud immense hatred :-he was charged with being the cause of the dissolution of Parliament, and various other offences. Papers were posted on the walls against him, and Lambeth Palace threatened with a storming. Had the Archbishop not retired, and guarded the palace with artillery, he would have been destroyed by the infatuated mob. Libels, however, continued to be circulated against Laud; intimations by letter were given him of his ruin ; and Puritans, Jesuits, and Scottish Covenanters united to destroy him. There were other indications also of his approaching fate-indications which his enemies ridicule, but which we, with his biographer, are inclined to respect. (See Vol. II. pp. 369—372.)
We are now arrived at the period when the death of the unfortunate Primate was about to be determined on: and though, in our preceding remarks we have been guided rather by a desire to say what is most fitting to our present perilous position, than by a plan of giving an exact detail of the Archbishop's life, we shall now confine ourselves to the narration of the tragic scene that closed this great political melo-drame, as an apt comment and example for the quotations previously made.
The course of events at that time are sufficiently known to those who have perused the histories of the age ; and we may, therefore, without further hesitation or delay, give the account of Strafford's death in Mr. Lawson's own pathetic words, as the preamble to the still more awful execution of Archbishop Laud.
On the fatal morning that Charles signed the warrant for Strafford's execution, he signed his own: at that very time he signed the bill for making the Parliament perpetual. On the 12th of May, 1641, Strafford was led out to execution on Tower-hill, an illustrious martyr for Church and State, a victim to the implacable enmity of parliamentary zealots. He died as he lived, great in death as he had been in life; his conduct worthy of his illustrious name. Loyalty was his crime; his faithful attachment to his Sovereign the cause of his misfortunes. The night before his execution he desired to have an interview with his illustrious and venerable friend the Archbishop; but he was told by the Lieutenant of the Tower that this could not be granted without an order from the Parliament. “Sir," replied he to the Lieutenant, "you may hear what passes between us; it is not now a time for me to plot treason, or for him to plot beresy." The Lieutenant, however, said that he was prohibited, but entreated
VOL. XI. NO, III.
his Lordship to apply to the Parliament for an order. “No,” he replied, “ I have gotten my dispatch from them, and will trouble them no more; I am now petitioning a higher court, where neither partiality can be expected nor error feared. But, my Lord,” continued this heroic nobleman, turning to Archbishop Usher, Primate of Ireland, who attended him on the occasion, “ I will tell you what I would have spoken to my Lord of Canterbury. Desire the Archbishop to aid me by his prayers this night, and to give me his blessing when I go abroad to-morrow, and to be at his window, that when I pass, by my last farewell, I may give him thanks for this and all his other former favours.” Usher proceeded to the aged Primate's apartments, and delivered the message of his friend, and returned with this reply from the sorrowful Archbishop, that “in conscience he was bound to do the first, and in duty and obligation to the second; but he feared his weakness and grief would not lend him sight to behold his destruction." On the following morning, attended by Usher, and several persons of distinction, among whom was his brother, Sir George Wentworth, the noble Strafford was led ont to execution. Approaching the Archbishop's prison in his progress, he stopped, and looking up, he did not perceive that beloved friend. “Yet," said he to the Lieutenant, “ though I do not see the Archbishop, give me leave, I pray you, to do my last obeisance towards his room." The aged Primate, however, appeared at the casement, and with hands uplifted, while the tears rolled down his venerable cheeks, supplicated in behalf of the noble sufferer. Strafford was deeply affected, and, bowing to the ground, exclaimed, “ Farewell, my Lord, may God protect your innocency." But the scene was too much for Laud, and, overcome with grief, he sunk upon the ground, " as if his soul," as it has been beautifully remarked, “would have forced a way to join that of the Earl in its passage to eternity." Yet, fearing that this might be deemed weakness, he afterwards observed, “That he hoped, by God's assistance and his own innocence, when he came to his own execution, (which he now daily expected,) that the world would perceive he had been more sensible of Strafford's loss than of his own; and good reason, for that nobleman had done more service to the Church, not to mention the State, than either himself, or all the other churchmen put together."
Thus fell Strafford, whose head was struck off at one blow-a noble victim for his loyalty, and whose life had indeed been offered to him, if he would abjure the Church, and advise the King to abolish Episcopacy; but whose answer was, that he would not buy his life at so dear a rate. The French minister, Richelieu, well knew his abilities, and wondered at the folly of the English, “ who would not allow the wisest head among them to remain upon its own shoulders." Like Laud, he fell a sacrifice to the practices of the Covenanting enthusiasts of Scotland, who saw their Presbyterian Covenant insecure while Strafford lived. Pym and Vane, however, were the principal contrivers of his death. “ The speech which he made at his end,” says his friend and fellow-martyr,) “was a great testimony of his religion and piety, and was then printed; and in the judgment of those who were men of worth, and of those who were upon the scaffold, and saw him die, he made a patient, pious, and courageous 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 those will gain who thirsted for his blood. Thus ended the wisest, the stoutest, and every way the ablest subject that this nation hath had these many years. The day was afterwards 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. May God forgive all, and be merciful!" Pp. 412_416.
There is no need to recount by what deceits the unhappy Monarch was, subsequently to this sad event, cajoled ; nor by what tortuous and unlegal acts of opposition, the Covenanting murderers, under semblance of a constitutional authority, achieved their final aim. The