« AnteriorContinuar »
of the church by bishops, and did utterly abominate the scandalous lives of some clergymen, he thought its doctrine in the great part primitive and conformable to God's words, as in Holy Scripture revealed.' He was attended by Dr Giles, the rector of Chinnor, with whom he had lived in habits of close friendship, and by Dr Spurstow, an Independent minister, the chaplain to his regiment. At length, being well nigh spent, and labouring for breath, he turned himself to die in prayer. O Lord God of Hosts,' said he, 'great is thy mercy, just and holy are thy dealings unto us sinful men I Save me, O Lord, if it be thy good will, from the jaws of death! Pardon my manifold transgressions. O Lord, save my bleeding country! Have these realms in the special keeping. Confound and level in the dust those who would rob the people of their liberty and lawful prerogative. Let the king see his error, and turn the hearts of his wicked counsellors from the malice and wickedness of their designs. Lord Jesus, receive my soul l' He then mournfully uttered, O Lord save my country.—O Lord, be merciful to'. ..... and here his speech failed him. He fell back in the bed, and expired."
BORN A. D. 1584.-DIED A, D. 1643.
John Pym, the worthy colleague of the illustrious Hampden, was descended of a good family in Somersetshire.' He was born in 1584. In his fifteenth year he entered as a gentleman-commoner of Broadgate's hall, now Pembroke college, Oxford, where he had for his tutor Degory Wheare. He seems to have left the university without taking a degree, and studied for some time in one of the inns of court. While yet a very young man he was appointed to an office in the exchequer; and soon after returned to parliament as member for Tavistock. From his first taking his seat in the house, he distinguished himself by his unflinching opposition to arbitrary measures, and his intrepid defence of the rights and privileges of parliament “ with a courage," says Lord Nugent, " that never quailed, a vigilance that never slept, a severity sharp as the sunbeam to penetrate, and rapid as the thunderbolt to consume, Pym was the undaunted, indefatigable, implacable foe, of every measure, and of every man, that threatened to assail the power of the parliament, or to destroy the great work which was in hand for the people and posterity.” He was always ready for debate, and his authority on points of parliamentary practice was hardly inferior to that of Selden himself. His ruling maxim was that which he expressed on Strafford's impeachment: “ Parliaments, without parliamentary power, are but a fair and plausible way into bondage.”
In 1626, he was one of the managers of Buckingham's impeachment; and in 1628, he accused Dr Mainwaring in the house of commons, of promulgating doctrines subversive of the true interests both of the king and state. In the eventful parliament of 1640, he took so conspicuous a part and displayed so great abilities, that he was thenceforth regarded as one of the principal props of the country-party. Perhaps, his inAnence in the house at this period exceeded that of any other of the
popular leaders. “He combined in his own person the most accurate research; and the most perfect talent for arranging and conducting of business, with an intellect, not subdued by the fulness in which he possessed the knowledge of precedents and approved practice, but of the highest courage and the utmost firmness that were to be found even in these extraordinary times.”!
On the meeting of the long parliament, the task of leading the opposition was committed to Pym, Hampden, and St John; and the impeachment of the great apostate, Strafford, was principally entrusted to Pym, who acquitted himself in the arduous task with the greatest ability and the most unshrinking resolution. It is recorded of him that when Strafford, shortly after his elevation to the peerage, suddenly came upon two or three of his former associates, and addressing them familiarly said, “Well, you see I have left you !" The answer of the stern and resolute leader was, “ Yes, my lord, but we will never leave you while that head is on your shoulders." How faithfully he executed his threat, the fate of Strafford testifies. On the last day of the trial lie made, says Baillie, “ in half an hour, one of the most eloquent, wise, and free speeches that we ever heard, or I think shall ever hear. I believe the king (he was present) never heard a lecture of so free language against his idolized prerogative."
In 1643, when the commons determined on impeaching the queen, for high treason against the parliament and kingdom, the articles were carried up to the house of lords by the hands of Pym. His death at the close of the same year was a severe loss to the commonwealth. “ He was at that time,” says Clarendon, “the most popular man that ever lived. He had a very comely and grave way of expressing himself, with great volubility of words, natural and proper, and understood the temper and affections of the kingdom as well as any man." Very active attempts were made to malign the memory of this great and good man. Some of the insinuations thrown out against him were of the most frivolous and contemptible kind. One very absurd one was that he had won over the beauteous countess of Carlisle, by a softer influence than that of politics, to the interest of his party. A graver allegation was that he had taken a heavy bribe from the French nionarchy; but the charge was never supported with the slightest shadow of evidence, and is sufficiently refuted by the fact that Pym was always remarkable for the simplicity approaching to austerity of his living, and, notwithstanding his many opportunities to enrich himself, actually did not leave enough to pay his debts. The parliament voted £10,000 for this purpose; and he was interred in Westminster abbey at the public expence.
Cary, Viscount Falkland.
BORN A. D. 1610.-DIED A. D. 1643.
Lucius CARY, Viscount Falkland, was the eldest son of Henry, Viscount Falkland, lord-deputy of Ireland. He was born about the year 1610, and received his academical learning at Trinity college,
Dublin, and St John's college, Cambridge. About the time of his father's death, in 1633, he was made one of the gentlemen of the privychamber to Charles I. He had hitherto been distinguished chiefly for his love of letters and philosophical retirement. It is said that before he had completed his twenty-third year, he had read over all the Greek and Latin fathers. His ample fortune enabled him to gratify his literary propensities to the utmost, and he caused books to be transmitted to him from all quarters of Europe. In 1639, he laid aside the more tranquil habits of a scholar, for those of the military profession. He joined the expedition sent that year against Scotland, and afterwards accompanied, as a volunteer, the earl of Essex.
In 1640, he entered on a new and still more arduous career, baving been returned member for Newport in the isle of Wight. Clarendon has given a pretty fair account of Falkland's conduct and principles at this eventful crisis. He says that at first he declared himself very sharply and severely against those exorbitances of the court, which had been most grievous to the state. He was so rigid an observer of established laws and rules, that he could not endure a breach or deviation from them; and thought no mischief so intolerable as the presump
1 tion of ministers of state to break positive rules for reasons of state, or judges to transgress known laws upon the plea of conveniency or necessity. This made hinn so severe against the earl of Strafford and the lord Finch, contrary to his natural gentleness and temper. He likewise concurred in the first bill to take away the votes of bishops in the house of lords. This gave occasion to some to believe that he was no friend to the church, and the established government of it; it also caused many in the house of commons to imagine and hope that he might be brought to a further compliance with their designs. Indeed the great opinion he had of the uprightness and integrity of those persons who appeared most active against the court, kept him longer from suspecting against the peace of the kingdom ; and though he differed from them commonly in conclusions, he believed their purposes were honest. When better informed what was law, and discerning in them a desire to contract that law by a vote of one or both houses, no man more opposed those attempts, and gave the adverse party more trouble, by reason and argumentation. About six months after passing the above mentioned-bill for taking away the bishops' votes, when the same argument came again into debate, he changed his opinion, and gave
the house all the opposition he could, insomuch that he was by degrees looked upon as an advocate for the court; to which he contributed so little, that he declined those addresses, and even those invitations which he was obliged almost by civility to entertain. He was so jealous of the least imagination of his inclining to preferment, that he affected moroseness to the court and to the courtiers, and left nothing undone which might prevent and divert the king's or queen's favour towards him, but the deserving it. When the king sent for him once or twice to speak to him, and to give him thanks for his excellent comportment in those councils which his majesty termed doing him service, his answers were more negligent and less satisfactory than might be expected; as if he cared only that his actions should be just, not that they should be acceptable; and he took more pains, and more forced his nature to actions unagreeable and unpleasant to it, that he might not be thought to incline to the court, than most men have done to procure an office there : not that he was in truth averse to receiving public employment, for he had a great devotion to the king's person, and had before used some small endeavour to be recommended to him for a foreign negotiation, and had once a desire to be sent ambassador into France; but lie abhorred an imagination or doubt should sink into the thoughts of any man, that in the discharge of his trust and duty in parliament he had any bias to the court, or that the king himself should apprehend that he looked for a reward for being honest. For this reason, when he heard it first whispered, that the king had a purpose to make him a privy-councillor, for which there was in the beginning no other ground but because he was known to be well-qualified, he resolved to decline it, and at last suffered himself to be over-ruled by the advice and persuasion of his friends to submit to it. Afterwards, when he found that the king intended to make him secretary of state, he was positive to refuse it, declaring to his friends that he was most unfit for it, and that he must either do that which would be great disquiet to his own nature, or leave that undone which was most necessary to be done by one that was honoured with that place; for the most just and honest men did, every day, that which he could not give himself to do. He was so exact and strict an observer of justice and truth, that he believed those necessary condescensions and applications to the weakness of other men, and those arts and insinuations which are necessary for discoveries and prevention of ill, would be in him a declension from his own rules of life, though he acknowledged them fit, and absolutely necessary to be practised in those employments. However, he was at last prevailed upon to submit to the king's command, and became his secretary: but two things he could never bring himself to whilst he continued in that office (which was to his death), for which he was contented to be reproached as for omissions in a most necessary part of his place. The one, employing of spies, or giving any countenance or entertainment to them; not such emissaries, as with danger would venture to view the enemy's camp, and bring intelligence of their number, or quartering, or any particulars that such an observation can comprehend; but those who, by communication of guilt, or dissimulation of manners, wind themselves into such trusts and secrets, as enable them to make discoveries. The other, the liberty of opening letters, upon a suspicion that they might contain matters of dangerous consequence. For the first, he would say, such instruments must be void of all ingenuity and common honesty before they could be of use, and afterwards they could never be fit to be credited: and that no single preservation could be worth so general a wound and corruption of human society, as the cherishing such persons would carry with it. The last he thought such a violation of the law of nature, that no qualification by office could justify him in the trespass; and though he was convinced by the necessity and iniquity of the time, that those advantages of information were not to be declined, and were necessarily to be practised, he found means to put it off from himself, whilst he confessed he needed excuse and pardon for the omission. In all other particulars he filled his place with great sufficiency, being well versed in languages, and with the utmost integrity, being above corruption
Such is the view which Lord Clarendon, himself the intimate friend and admirer of this amiable nobleman, has given of Falkland's political character. In the main we believe it to be correct, although, as might have been expected, the historian of the great rebellion,' has dexterously thrown the well-known attachment of the viscount to constitutional principles as much into the shade as possible, while he has reflected a strong light on such features of his friend's character as tended most to identify him with his own party and principles. It would be difficult however to select from the pages of any historian a more finished sketch of individual biography than that which Clarendon has devoted to the memory of Falkland. We shall pursue our sketch in the historian's own words.
“ He had a courage of the most clear and keen temper, and so far from fear that he seemed not without some appetite of danger, and therefore upon any occasion of action he always engaged his person in those troops which he thought by the forwardness of the commanders to be most like to be farthest engaged; and in all such encounters he had about him an extraordinary cheerfulness, without at all affecting the execution that usually attended them, in which he took no delight, but took pains to prevent it, where it was not by resistance made necessary; insomuch that at Edge-hill, when the enemy was routed, he was like to have incurred great peril by interposing to save those who had thrown away their arms, and against whom it may be others were more fierce for their having thrown them away; so that a man might think he came into the field chiefly out of curiosity to see the face of danger, and charity to prevent the shedding of blood. Yet in his natural inclination he acknowledged he was addicted to the profession of a soldier, and shortly after he came to his fortune, before he was of age, he went into the Low Countries, with a resolution of procuring command, and to give himself up to it, from which he was diverted by the complete inactivity of that summer; so he returned into England, and shortly after entered upon that vehement course of study we mentioned before, till the first alarm from the north : then again he made ready for the field, and though he received some repulse in the command of a troop of horse of which he had a promise, he went a volunteer with the earl of Essex.
“ From the entrance into this unnatural war his natural cheerfulness and vivacity grew clouded, and a kind of sadness and dejection of spirit stole upon him, which he had never been used to; yet, being one of those who believed that one battle would end all differences, and that there would be so great a victory on one side that the other would be compelled to submit to any conditions of the victor (which supposition and conclusion generally sunk into the minds of most meu and prevented the looking after many advantages that might have been laid hold of) he resisted those indispositions, et in luctu, bellum inter remedia erat. But after the king's return from Brentford, and the furious resolution of the two houses not to admit any treaty for peace, those indispositions which had before touched him grew into a perfect habit of uncheerfulness, and he who had been so exactly easy and affable to all men that his face and countenance was always present, and vacant to his company, and held any cloudiness and Jess pleasantness of the visage a kind of rudeness or incivility, became on a sudden less communicable, and