If we consider the embarrassment in which Charles I had been involved by his conduct of the war, we are tempted to assume that, in order to extricate himself from it, he must have opened negotiations with the two great powers with which he was at war whilst they were still at variance with one another. This however was not the case.
Negotiations with France were opened at the instigation of the powers combined to resist Spain, between which an agreement had first been set on foot by James I, and had been renewed by Buckingham. Those powers regarded the breach between England and France as a misfortune, which they must endeavour to obviate if they would carry on the war against Austria and Spain with full vigour. The Republic of Venice, which felt itself most seriously threatened by these powers, made a great point of promoting a reconciliation between France and England by the agency of its ambassadors.
A few days before his unhappy end, Buckingham withdrew with the Venetian ambassador, Aluise Contarini?, into a retired chamber in one of his country-houses, and there concerted with him a letter of pacific import to his brother envoy in France, for him to communicate to the French court1. While Buckingham was preparing to strike a blow, he still hoped to procure from France tolerable conditions for the besieged town of Rochelle. All other difficulties he thought might then be removed in a couple of hours.
But Buckingham was assassinated. When the Venetians after this event
brought their negotiations before the King, who as yet knew nothing
about them, he even refused to hear them. He quite recognised the
necessity of finding some arrangement:
I acknowledge all that, he said
one day to the ambassador ;
but, he added,
I have arms in my hands,
not to negotiate, but to save the town. My honour is at
Though Rochelle, as we have seen, failed to hold out, the result cannot be ascribed to King Charles. After Lindsay's? attempt to break through the mole had proved unsuccessful—we do not quite know whether on account of the superiority of the French, or from the above-mentioned deficiencies on the side of the English—Charles I gave orders to renew the attempt again, without any regard to the danger to his ships, and not to retire from the town whatever might be the cost3. On this the council of war had in fact resolved to lead the ships against the palisades by a way hitherto untried, when the town, despairing of help and overpowered by unendurable hardships, capitulated4.
After the fall of Rochelle the Venetians resumed their attempts at mediation with redoubled ardour. King Charles was brought into a more favourable frame of mind by the tolerable conditions granted to the town in regard to the profession of religion, and by the evident impossibility of doing anything effectual in France: and Contarini now found him inclined to listen. But the ambassador was considerate enough not to urge the King, after he had been beaten in the strife, now to make overtures for its adjustment: the negotiations were left more than ever in the hands of the Venetian ambassador in France, Zorzo Zorzi.
They were principally concerned with two points. The French demanded above all the execution of the provisions laid down in the marriage contract for the constitution of the Queen's household. Charles I not only refused to revert to these, he even rejected the conditions which he had consented to when Bassompierre? was in England, and which the French at that time did not accept. He insisted that her court should continue as it was. He had made other arrangements for filling the offices in the household;—how could he take away their places again from the English lords and ladies who were in possession of them? He would not have any misunderstandings at his court, in his house, and as he said plainly, in his marriage bed. The Venetian ambassador in England remarked that it would be disadvantageous to the Queen if these demands were persisted in. And she herself also had already begged that they should be dropped, on the ground that she was satisfied with the present arrangements of her court: she did not even think fit to write about them to her mother5. However disagreeable it might be for the Queen-mother herself, and for the zealous advocates of the Church about her, her son and Cardinal Richelieu sympathised with the point of view of Charles I, or else they saw that he would not give it up: at all events they contented themselves with stipulating that, if an alteration in the court were necessary, they should come to an amicable arrangement on the subject, to suit the requirements of the Queen's service6. Even these words were merely accepted by the English in the avowed expectation that they would never be used to disturb the repose of the kingdom, or the mode of life of the King 7. In brief, the execution of the former stipulations was given up by the French. In this matter, which most nearly concerned King Charles, he carried the day.
The second point affected the old connexion between the English and the Huguenots. The former had hitherto claimed to regulate through their intervention, and to fix by compact, the relations between the French government and the Reformed Churches. Buckingham had already been disposed to drop this claim: and after the last turn which affairs had taken, there could be no more thought of maintaining it. The English plenipotentiaries were satisfied with a general pardon bestowed on the Huguenots by the King of France, reserving to them their Protestant worship. But the English had wished that it should be indicated, if even by the slightest expressions, that this concession was the effect of the peace8. Not that it should be a condition of the agreement, nor even that any interest in the result should be ascribed to England, but something was to be said about regard for peace as the foremost public good, and about the joint action between the two nations which was in immediate prospect. They thought that this was demanded by their honour, and they would not at once renounce all common feeling with the Calvinists. But the French returned a decided refusal. True as it was that the concessions that were vouchsafed to the Huguenots were based on the necessity of a closer connexion with England and Holland, which but for these could not have been agreed on, yet the French would not allow any hint of this to be dropped. They would have feared that occasion might thus be given for interference at some future time: in any case the authority of the government would have been damaged. The Venetian ambassador in London makes a merit of inducing Charles I finally to desist from this request. The principal reason alleged by him in support of his advice was that not only a question of religion, but an actual rebellion was here concerned, inasmuch as the Huguenots had leagued with Spain9.
Thus was this peace concluded at Susa, April 1, 1629. In estimating the historical relations of the two kingdoms in general, great importance must be assigned to it. What had been brought about in the times of the Normans and Plantagenets, and once more during the great wars of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries—I mean a most intimate connexion of French and English interest—had, as it were, repeated itself, although on a far smaller scale, during the religious wars. In the times of Queen Elizabeth and James I the French Reformed ranged themselves under the influence of England: even in the time of Charles I this had not ceased. On the other hand the French had sought to establish a counter-acting influence on their side, especially by the late marriage contract. Neither of the two governments profited by this. In the peace of Susa they agreed to desist from this mutual action on one another. The French resigned the literal fulfilment of the marriage contract: the English renounced the connexion with the Huguenots which had hitherto been acknowledged. Relations into which religion entered could not be avoided, but the political sting, so to speak, was taken out of them. In France from that date the ascendancy of Catholicism could more decidedly be erected into a principle of the state: in England the court once more asserted its Protestant character.
For the moment the result of the peace was to untie the hands of France for the conflict with Spain. Every one knows what vast dimensions this assumed: it set fresh enmity between the parts of the world of that day which it rent asunder, and laid the foundation of the state of affairs which prevailed in the following epoch.
While France carried her arms into Italy, in order to force back the Spanish influence there, the King of England was to direct his forces to North Germany, in order to check the spreading power of the Emperor and the League. Maritime affairs at that time principally attracted the general attention. Wallenstein? advanced a claim to sovereignty over the Baltic, but at the same time he intended to hold the ports of the German Ocean and the mouth of the Elbe in behalf of the Empire: and a combination between the Hanseatic shipping and the Spanish naval power was contemplated. Roused by this unexpected danger, the Kings of Sweden? and Denmark? held a conference in February 1629 on the confines of the province of Halland, and united to defend the 'Regalia of the northern crowns on the Baltic sea'10. The Danish ambassador exerted himself most zealously to kindle the sympathies of the Dutch and English also. And in fact the King of England, in transmitting the official notification of the peace with France, announced to the States-General that he had sent a squadron under Pennington? and Colonel Mackay? to the Elbe in order to encourage the King of Denmark11, and he invited the Dutch likewise to support him. A short time before, Colonel Morgan? with another considerable body of troops, among whom were newly enlisted French and Scots, had started from the islands of Sylt and Föhr and made an attack upon the troops of the Empire and of Gottorp at Nordstrand. But at this moment, when a new coalition embracing the South, West, and North of Europe, was again just about to be formed to check the advance of the house of Austria, Denmark, which was to have been supported in the first instance, came to an agreement with that power. In the beginning of June, at Lübeck, King Christian IV renounced his operations against the German empire; but in return he received back without loss of a foot of land his possessions in Holstein and Jutland, the greater part of which was in the hands of the enemy. If we ask what induced the Imperialists to make so extensive a concession, it was no doubt anxiety about that maritime coalition, for which great exertions were being made at Copenhagen. Even without this aid the Danish fleet was able to defend itself with much more success than the army: the Imperial and German navies. with all their combined force, were still far from being a match for it. The generals were afraid of reverses, and of a mischievous action of the Danish fleet upon the coast towns of which they had taken possession, and upon the German empire in general12. Charles I had just sent one of his ablest and most zealous diplomatists, Thomas Roe?, a particular friend of his sister the Electress Palatine?, to Hamburg, in order to bring about a northern alliance between the two kings, the Republic, and the Hanse towns13. He hoped still to delay the ratification of the treaty between Denmark and Austria, and to make it abortive. But all was in vain ; the peace was far too advantageous to Denmark for the Danish councillors to give it up again.
Upon this most of the adversaries of Austria and Spain, even those in Italy, directed their gaze to the King of Sweden. The forces of the Emperor, which were no longer engaged with Denmark, were now twice as dangerous to him, and he appeared quite ready to take up arms if he should be supported by France and England. Cardinal Richelieu showed an inclination, if England would send a fleet to sea against Spain, to furnish a third of the vessels, and to make common cause in general with that power: he only wished that the undertaking should be carried out in the name of England. But the withdrawal of Denmark had quite a different effect upon the King of England, to whom the preservation of his uncle had supplied a motive for taking arms: he inclined on the contrary to follow the example set him by that prince. The Lord Treasurer Weston?, who had to provide the money, looked upon the Danish peace as a relief: he breathed more freely when it had been concluded; for after the unhappy results of the last Parliament the want of money was so sorely felt by the government, that no one reckoned upon their fulfilling their engagements, and they themselves would undertake none. And such great injury had been inflicted on trade by the war, that the whole people cried out not only for peace with France, but also, just as loudly, for peace with Spain14.
Under these circumstances Peter Paul Rubens?, the painter, arrived in London bearing proposals from the court of Spain. The painter was also a clever diplomatist; his art served to cloak his missions. Two years before he had had an interview with Balthasar Gerbier, a skilful miniature painter, also a native of Antwerp, who had been employed by Buckingham on secret business: they had conferred at Delft in July 1627 on the establishment of peace between England and Spain. Rubens belonged to the court of the Infanta Isabella, and had made communications to her on the subject, but was reluctant to send his papers to Spain15; and besides, no one, he said, would have been able to extract information from them. He was therefore summoned to Spain in person, and was sent to England charged with overtures of peace on the basis of the plans sketched out. Extremely remarkable were the overtures which Rubens made. Although the estrangement between England and Spain had grown out of the affair of the Palatinate, Rubens made no attempt to settle this: he declared, on the contrary, that it was not in the power of Philip IV to restore the Palatinate to its former owner; that he would gladly set about it, but that it was dependent mainly on the Emperor and the Elector of Bavaria. Rubens however saw in this disagreement no absolute hindrance to the renewal of friendly relations, especially in regard to commerce, nor to the return of the ambassador of either power to the court of the other: he thought that the two governments must only abstain from framing new articles, and revert to the peace which King James had concluded with Spain at the very beginning of his reign, and which left several important controversies unsettled ; that in the same way at this time the affair of the Elector Palatine, and even of the Dutch, might remain untouched; that Charles I need not give up either the one or the other, and yet might maintain peace with the Spaniards16. From our knowledge of this prince, these proposals, especially after the conclusion of the Danish peace, must have been most welcome to him. He also had now a freer prospect. Almost at the first moment when the arrival of the French ambassador was talked of in the Queen's presence, he had said to her that in the course of the year she might see the arrival of another from Spain. She answered, for she was not yet of his opinion, that he must only take care that no one deceived him afresh.
The world was already prepared for negotiations with Spain. The Venetians had so zealously promoted the arrangement with France, principally in order to anticipate them. People saw those persons again appear at court who were thought to favour Spain, and had been obliged to retire when Buckingham's ascendancy was established. To men's astonishment, Lord Bristol?, once the great antagonist of Buckingham, now on the contrary himself acquired influence over the King. The Earl of Arundel?, of the house of Howard, resumed his former place in the Privy Council. Closely allied with these men was the Lord Treasurer Weston, who principally exerted himself to save money with the object of relieving the King from the necessity of reassembling Parliament: it was owing to him that dissensions at home furnished a real motive for peace abroad. Weston himself, and Cottington?, who was regarded as a staunch adherent of Spain, and who professed Catholicism with hardly any disguise, were selected to confer with Rubens; and that to the exclusion of the other members of the Privy Council, even of the Secretaries of State. Before the end of July they had made such progress that the matter could be laid before the Privy Council17. The King loved to sit in council: but on important questions he expressed his opinion so decidedly, that no one ventured to contradict him. Thus on the present occasion also he gave Weston's scheme his unqualified approval. Cottington, much to the annoyance of the French, set out for Spain : while on the part of Spain, Don Carlos Coloma?, one of the Infanta Isabella's most trusty ministers—for a subordinate would not have been thought of—was appointed ambassador in England. Coloma was an old friend of Weston ; and it is supposed that the basis of an agreement had been concerted between them beforehand18.
In the negotiations however the question of the Palatinate presented a great obstacle ; for King Charles and his ministers sometimes seemed unwilling to come to a conclusion unless the Spaniards undertook a formal obligation with regard to it. But the latter rejected conditions by which they would very likely have even been compelled to go to war with Austria and the Elector of Bavaria, and that at a time when peace had not been concluded between Spain and France19. Looking to the existing state of affairs in Europe, they refused to give up the fortresses that were so extremely important strategically, and which in that case might easily have fallen into the hands of others who were hostile to them. They adhered to a view of the situation fundamentally the same as that which had moved the King to break with them in the first years of his reign. But the lofty courage of that period had now abandoned him: he now dispensed with a stipulation like that which he had then demanded, and contented himself with a simple promise that satisfaction would be given him in the affair of the Palatinate. At the signature of the peace, an assurance of Philip IV on this subject, written with his own hand, was solemnly delivered to him by Don Carlos Coloma20.
And already there were indications that the Spanish influence might possibly this time produce more effect on the Emperor than before. The Emperor allowed a plenipotentiary from the Elector, whom he had laid under the ban, to appear at Ratisbon; and he showed a disposition to withdraw the ban and to allow the expelled sovereign an income out of the revenues of the country. Notwithstanding these offers the restoration of his territory was still very far off. Charles said to his sister, the Queen of Bohemia, that the agreement was a remedy which could do no harm, even if it did no good ; that he acquired thereby a right to the cooperation of the King of Spain; that moreover he was taking steps to conclude a defensive and offensive league with France and the States-General for the restoration of the Palatinate, but that unhappily he did not find these powers so willing as he had expected21. We know from Queen Elizabeth's letters that she was calmed by these assurances22
The States-General had again rejected the proposals of the Spaniards for a peaceful arrangement, which in themselves were not acceptable; for they feared to endanger their existing government. The treaty of 1630 therefore caused them certainly not less uneasiness than that of 1604 had done. Charles I repeated to them assurances similar to those which were then made, that his alliance with them, as far as their state and religion were concerned, should not be prejudiced on that account.
It was the wish of Charles I to revert to the policy of his father. Experience had taught him that he could no longer advance in the path on which he had entered while still Prince of Wales, and which he had continued to follow after he became King. He had plunged himself into the gravest political embarrassments; and, although the hostility between Crown and Parliament had long been threatening, he had caused the first open outbreak. He now wished to establish tolerably good relations with both the two neighbouring powers alike. With France he felt himself more intimately connected in the great affairs of Europe, and he took good care not to loosen this tie: he did not drop the cause of the Elector Palatine; but he wished at the same time to open commercial intercourse between his country and the extensive and wealthy provinces of the Spanish monarchy. When Cottington returned home from his embassy, he had the silver brought by the ship in which he came laid upon wagons, and carried in a sort of procession through the town. For he intended the inhabitants to be impressed by the opulence of the country, the commerce of which was reopened to them by the treaty just concluded.
Charles I shrank from bringing his whole strength to bear upon the great questions of religion and politics which engrossed the continent, that he might above all be the King of Great Britain. We may certainly ask whether he was morally entitled to renounce his connexion with European affairs after he had contributed so largely to increase the existing confusion, and to bring the Protestant cause to destruction. And moreover such a severance was hardly possible any longer. Religious and political sympathies and conflicting tendencies had become so strong on the continent of Europe, that in one form or another they could not fail to react upon Great Britain as well.
Charles I had told his sister? that the conclusion of peace with Spain did not hinder him from forming an alliance with Sweden. And in fact, in the summer of 1630, as soon as Gustavus Adolphus? appeared in Germany, we find one of the principal nobles of Scotland, James Marquess of Hamilton?, collecting English and Scottish levies with the support of the King, who handed over to him the proceeds of a Scottish tax for that purpose. One part of this force embarked at Leith, the other at Yarmouth; and towards the end of July 1631 they landed at Usedom, as Gustavus Adolphus had done a year before. The English have always affirmed that the arrival of Hamilton with a considerable body of troops contributed materially to the decided successes of this year of the war. And with good reason; for they gave the Protestant princes greater confidence in their cause and made the Emperor anxious for his territory of Bohemia. Hamilton was one of those personages of high rank who gave themselves up to the cause of the Queen of Bohemia with chivalrous devotion. While the King of Sweden was pressing forward into Saxony to try his strength against the arms of the League, Hamilton guarded the passage of the Oder to provide for the possible contingency of a retreat: but after the decisive battle at Breitenfeld, not far from Leipsic, he turned his steps to Lusatia and Silesia. How advantageous would King Charles have found it for his purpose, which he thought to promote by combining Spanish influence and warlike demonstrations in support of it, if he had been able to offer places in Silesia in exchange for those in the Palatinate! Hamilton had taken Guben, and was on the way to Glogau, when Gustavus Adolphus, chiefly out of regard to Saxony, gave him orders to turn aside towards the Elbe to besiege Magdeburg. Hamilton looked upon this as an intentional injury done to Queen Elizabeth and her consort. As the King of Sweden was advancing into West Germany without a check, Hamilton hurried after him, hoping to be put at the head of a separate division, and charged with the reconquest of the Palatinate. But the number of the Scots and English had already melted away to a great extent, owing to the unhealthiness of the climate and to their marches through a devastated country: they were besides at variance among themselves, so that he now threw no weight into the scale. It was intimated to him that every one knew quite well that he was not prosecuting his own cause, but that of the King of England: but that no one would help him to attain his party-end by these means.
Gustavus Adolphus was convinced that the enemy would not be able to drive him out of Germany. He was more afraid of the coldness and jealousy of his allies, who could easily undermine his authority23: and he looked upon Charles I as one of them.
At Frankfort on the Main Henry Vane? presented himself before Gustavus Adolphus as ambassador of the King of England, in order to invite him to restore the Elector Palatine to his country. The King of Sweden made various objections, founded on his relations with France, which was again showing much regard for the Catholic princes; but he principally urged the request that King Charles should break with Spain 24. People feared that whenever the King of England saw his brother-in-law restored, he would throw himself entirely on the side of the Spaniards. If, as Charles I said, his relations were such that an agreement with Spain did not prevent him from forming a connexion with Sweden, they yet involved the consequence that this was never very close; for Sweden was allied with France, whose interests ran exactly counter to those of Spain.
Gustavus Adolphus saw with pleasure that the Elector Frederick?, with the support of the States-General, of the Prince of Orange and the King of England, joined his camp and followed it for a time. Frederick was present when Gustavus Adolphus conquered Kreuznach, formerly one of his towns; and it appears possible that the reviving affection of his subjects contributed to the result. A couple of English regiments were also engaged here25, and Frederick welcomed them with satisfaction. He attended the King on his victorious march to the Lech and into Bavaria; every word the King uttered strengthened his hopes of returning in a short time to his country as sovereign. But when he now desired to come forward on his own account and to arm, Gustavus Adolphus would not accede to his wish. He gave him to understand that this would interfere with the success of his own enlistments. The King even hesitated to replace in his hands the government of those circles of the Palatinate which had been reconquered; at all events he annexed to his consent the condition that the Lutherans should be allowed free profession of their faith. Everything led men to expect that if he wrested from the Spaniards the two strongholds which they still retained, he would keep them for a time in his own hands. Even in this moment of apparent success Frederick endured hours of sadness and heavy sorrow of heart. He once with tears in his eyes told Hamilton and Vere? that he had rather be out of the world than obliged to submit to the conditions imposed by Sweden.
In October 1632 Frederick returned to his country. But in what a plight did he find it on his return! Oppenheim, where he wished to take up his residence, was half burnt down; the houses that were left standing had no bolts or bars, no doors or windows. To avoid being carried off by the first active bands of marauders, he set out for Mainz; but a pestilent sickness was raging there; he was attacked by it and perished, far from his wife and children. He had paid for the short possession of a throne, which his own unassisted strength was too weak to maintain, by a fugitive's life, in which many yielded him their sympathies, but none the help of which he stood in need.
At that time his death was hardly remarked, in presence of the great loss which the whole Protestant cause and the world in general experienced when the King of Sweden fell on the battle-field of Lützen.
The two events exercised a concurrent influence upon England. King Charles, after his brother-in-law's death, regarded it as his duty to identify his nephew's cause still more closely with his own. The death of the King of Sweden made his task easier, inasmuch as the strong will, which had hitherto controlled every design, had now ceased to act. Charles I now immediately invited the Protestant sovereigns of Germany to carry on the war, by which the Palatinate was to be restored; and in return he offered to continue to them the subsidies which he had contributed to the King of Sweden. And Chancellor Oxenstiern?, who guided the Swedish policy, had weighty reasons himself for respecting the interests of the Palatinate, as they were linked not only with so many others in the Empire, but with those of the Netherlands besides, and just now with those of Great Britain26. In May 1633, at the convention of Heilbronn, where the English ambassador Anstruther? appeared among others, the cause of the Palatinate received more consideration than it ever had before. Electoral rank was conceded for the first time to the plenipotentiary of the Palsgrave Louis Philip, who came forward as administrator of the Palatinate in the name of the Elector Charles Louis, who was still a minor. The Chancellor of Sweden promised them the restoration of the whole country, so far as it was in Swedish hands: and in the Consilium formatum, which it was determined at Heilbronn to set up, to act in conjunction with him, the Palatinate occupied the first place. In return the administrator granted the restoration of the Lutheran faith: he left Mannheim, as well as other important places, in the hands of Sweden for the time, and made himself answerable for the payment of 60,000 reichs thalers. These however the English ambassador undertook to furnish; and in fact we find that immediately after this time £15,000, which at that time was about equal to the sum stipulated, was despatched to Germany. The King and Weston were well pleased that England was not named in the treaty, nor pledged to further advances27. They now thought it preferable to leave the matter alone.
But the help of England could not but be often claimed hereafter in aid of this cause.
In the summer of 1633 there was much talk of invoking the sympathies of the English nation in behalf of the widowed Queen Elizabeth and her children. Her friends flattered themselves that half a million thalers might be raised by voluntary contributions; and Nethersole?, one of the Queen's most trusty friends, was in the country to conduct the transaction, which was to be carried out in the name of the Princess and of the King. But it was soon perceived that the nation was not so forward as had been expected; for it saw in this scheme an attempt to evade the necessity of a Parliamentary grant. In order to meet this suspicion the sketch of a proclamation was laid before the King, in which the remark was made that he would measure the loyalty of his people by the amount of their voluntary contributions, and would be the more ready to seek their help in another way when the time for this should have arrived28. But this clause displeased the King, because it contained a promise which he was reluctant to give, that Parliament should be summoned; and he struck it out with his own hand 29. On this the whole project fell to the ground, for without an assurance of this sort the Queen's friends had no hope of effecting anything.
Towards the end of the year 1633 there was a moment when the Emperor again obtained advantages on the Upper Rhine; and the attention of King Charles was called to the inability of the territory of the Palatinate to resist even a feeble attack from the side of Alsace. The administrator asked for only a small force of 6000 infantry and 1000 cavalry, which after it was once raised might be kept in pay for £6000 a month. The Queen of Bohemia, the States-General, and the French ambassador united their requests with his; the Chancellor of Sweden? sent his son over to recommend the King most strongly to accede to them: but the King and his treasurer shrank from a new and regular outlay, which in the present instance was sure to entail much other expenditure. At last they raised 100,000 thalers for Germany, and sent the administrator a gold chain in order to keep him in a good humour: but they could not be moved to undertake an obligation which could lead to the assembling of Parliament.
We should remark however that they were withheld from decisive action, not only by want of money and by fees of Parliament, but also by general political considerations as well.
In the last few years, since the leading of the King of Sweden in Germany, the importance and power of the French had immeasurably increased. They had the Protestant interest in Germany on their side, and they already exercised a decisive influence on the Catholics also. In all their proceedings it was seen that, notwithstanding the advantages which they won, their allies derived no benefit, but that on the contrary they only endeavoured to make their own position so strong in order to be raised above all need of considering the interests of other powers. Only one other state, Holland, raised itself side by side with them to daily-increasing importance. Just at that time the Dutch had thrown their English rivals into the shade: they had founded their East Indian empire, they had established a footing in Brazil, they had captured in the West Indian waters the Spanish register-ships which went from Mexico to Havanna with all their rich cargo—an achievement which the English had so often attempted in vain; and in their domestic waters, in the narrow channel of the Slaak, they had annihilated the fleet of the Infanta Isabella which was sailing to attack them. In consequence of this they also became masters of the neighbouring seas. They did not hesitate to seek out ships under the Spanish flag, especially those of Dunkirk, in English ports, or in English waters, and to take them across to Holland as their lawful prize. And even on land at that time they achieved important results. By the successful surprise of Wesel they not only again secured their own frontier, but once more infused some portion of vital power into that principality on the Rhine, which had been formerly founded there by Brandenburg in conjunction with England, but which certainly required a longer time for its development. The sieges of Bois-le-duc and Maastricht, notwithstanding so many other great events, riveted at that time the attention of Europe. The success of the Dutch in these two enterprises appeared a proof of their general superiority; the provinces of the Spanish Netherlands were much straitened by it. And as it revived in those provinces the hereditary feeling of dislike to a foreign rule, Holland and France on their part might well think of availing themselves of this dissatisfaction, and of putting an end for ever by a sudden attack to the rule of Spain.
It is quite plain how great a blow the English would have sustained if the whole coasts of this part of the continent had fallen into the hands of these two neighbours, whose close alliance was in itself very offensive to them30. Against the danger of being entangled in continental affairs, and of feeling their reflex action in Great Britain, Charles I had to set off the other danger, if he held aloof from them, of seeing new powers develop during their progress, which might make his position most critical. In order to acquire the means of resisting the ascendancy of France and Holland, he was obliged to make fresh advances to Spain. We can hardly form an idea for ourselves how much the relations between England and Spain changed and shifted in the great conflict which was going on. In the year 1631 a scheme was drawn up for a great attack of the English and Spaniards upon the United Netherlands, as a result of which Zealand should fall to the lot of the former. As yet indeed there was no treaty, but only a plan sketched out for further consideration, which Charles I avoided accepting, although Cottington seems to have approved of it31. But we see at all events to what the aim of the Spaniards was directed. After a short time, when they found themselves deceived, they entertained designs of an entirely opposite character. A detailed plan of Count Olivarez is extant, according to which Spain and France were to undertake a general attack upon England32. England, Scotland, and Ireland, were each to be attacked separately, and internal animosities of every kind were to be invoked in aid of the invaders. An idea was entertained of placing the young Elector Palatine on the throne of England, under the condition that he guaranteed full religious liberty and restored the expelled Irish to their lost inheritance. On the other hand, in the summer of 1634 an alliance between Spain and England was again in progress. Weston, Cottington, and Windebank?, took counsel with the Spanish resident, Don Juan Nicolalde, for this object, in such entire secrecy that even Coke, the Secretary of State, had no information about it. The King besought the court of Brussels, which on this occasion as on others he was obliged to take into his confidence, to apply to no one about this matter except himself and Windebank. The overtures which he made to Spain at that time are accounted for by the ascendancy of the Dutch marine and the rise of that of the French. The claim of England to exercise a sort of supremacy over the neighbouring seas, was once more called in question. The English contended for this right in learned treatises33; the King of France? on the other hand showed a determination no longer to acknowledge it. For, as his ambassador said, everything must have its foundation in reason; the usage of the sea only required that the less powerful should show honour to the more powerful; even England could have no other claim: and what would happen if the relative power of different states varied? The English would not entertain this supposition, for they clung to the principle that their navy must have the superiority over that of all their neighbours 34, for this reason, if for no other, that, if it had not, their neighbours could throw a far superior army on the shores of England. And another principle was asserted at. that time, which did not find full acceptance until a quarter of a century later, viz. that there must be an equilibrium between the European powers; for fears were already felt lest France should become supreme by sea as well as on land 35. Moreover King Charles was implored by English merchants to protect them against the insults to which they were exposed, while he was not even in a condition to give effect to his ordinances, e.g. those which concerned the fisheries: he therefore cherished the ardent wish to be able again to show himself strong by sea; it was to a Spanish loan that he looked for the requisite means. For even in reference to this object he was cramped by his misunderstanding with Parliament. We shall see hereafter how fatal to the development of domestic affairs were the measures which Charles I was induced to adopt in order to attain this end. Certainly Spain, fully occupied by the war in Germany, and threatened just now by a French war in the Netherlands, could not give him the assistance he desired. But even though no subsidy was forthcoming, yet at all events a common tie of interest between England and Spain again grew out of the situation of affairs.
And this necessarily produced its effect on the treatment of the controversy about the Palatinate. For, if in the general conduct of affairs the King was inclined to favour Spain, how was it to be expected that in the affairs of Germany he would with all his heart support the allies of the French, whose ascendancy he was already beginning to fear? The relation in which England thus stood had already at times been advantageous to the Palatine dominions. After the battle of Nördlingen, which restored to the Imperial arms their superiority in Upper Germany, those districts had had some mercy shown them, at least for a while, owing to this consideration; though on other occasions it was completely lost sight of. In England an intention was cherished of supporting the young Elector with the whole weight of the British name, when in January 1636, on entering his eighteenth year, the time should come for him to claim his hereditary rank and position; for whatever guilt the father had incurred, they thought that it could not be imputed to his children. In this matter the King had reckoned on the good offices of Spain, and on the favour of the Emperor. Then came the news of the treaty of Prague, the fulfilment of which was based upon a new dynastic connexion between the whole house of Austria and Bavaria, and upon the concurrence of the Elector of Saxony. The former stipulations made in favour of Bavaria with regard to the Elector's dignity, and the dominions of the Palatinate were therein expressly confirmed: the sister of Charles was promised her personal property, and his nephews a maintenance proportioned to their rank so long as they submitted; but these concessions were granted as a favour and not as a right36. These tidings produced on Charles I an impression of the most painful surprise; he would hardly believe them: but he thought that, if they were true, every effort must be made to cancel the agreement. Now too, very much as in the year 1623, the Stuart policy depended on the conclusion of an agreement with Austria and Spain. Instructions of this import were given to Lord Aston?, who went as envoy to Madrid: and John Taylor?, an agent who was not without experience in these transactions, was sent by Charles to Vienna to protest against the provisions of the treaty, and to bring the Emperor to another determination.
Taylor was one of those diplomatists who find their whole happiness in the success of the mission committed to them: who accept as perfectly genuine all the overtures made to them in regard to this object by foreign courts; and therefore try to induce their own government to accept them. In Vienna he fell in with John Leslie?, one of the agents in the murder of Wallenstein?, who at that time was in high favour with the court, and who introduced Taylor at the different princely houses and procured him a good reception there. They both thought the alliance of Charles I with the house of Austria the only hope for the world. How glorious, they thought, would be the position of this monarch: he would then be the most powerful of European sovereigns. The Jesuits had already on one occasion, in a play performed at their seminary at Prague, celebrated King Charles as the restorer of universal peace. And how could the Imperial court itself fail to be sensible of the advantageous prospect held out to them by a connexion with England? On the 24th of February, 1636, the Emperor declared that he would free the Count Palatine, Charles Louis, if he. made proper submission, from the ban under which he had been laid owing to his father's guilt; that he would again receive him among the Princes of the Empire, and enfeoff him with no mean portion of his father's possessions: that if negotiations about the electoral dignity were then opened, he would give proof of his favourable disposition to the King, as well as to the young Prince, conceding everything which could be granted to them under fair conditions37. These were well-considered words, which made no promise but held out all the greater hopes. Taylor interpreted them to mean that the Lower Palatinate on both sides of the Rhine would be restored at once; that negotiations about the Upper Palatinate would be set on foot, and that the dignity of Elector would be transferred to the young Palsgrave after the death of the Elector of Bavaria. He reported that Charles I would receive an assurance on the subject in writing from the Emperor, and his son the King of Hungary, and also from the King of Spain; and that the young Prince would be married to an archduchess, and become greater than any Elector Palatine had ever been. He said that the Queen of Hungary, to whom Charles had once paid court in Spain, had not yet forgotten him, and that the old Elector of Bavaria was derided by her court; that it was intended to restore the old Burgundian alliance between the two houses; that even the Spanish ambassador Oñate?, who was at first less favourable to the plan, had said that Spain wished for the friendship of the King of England, not in part but altogether, and only hoped that he would renew his ancestors' claims on France38.
In England, Taylor's ardour had never been approved; but the affair seemed to have reached a point at which further negotiations might be committed to one of the magnates of the kingdom, Thomas Howard?, Earl of Arundel and Surrey, Earl Marshal of England, whom the King had once rightly styled the most distinguished of his subjects39. From the statements of the Secretary? employed in these affairs, it is clear that Charles would have been quite contented with such terms as might be hoped from the tenor of Taylor's despatches. In June 1636 we find Arundel at Linz, where at that time the Emperor had arrived on his way to the meeting of the Electors, which was to be held at Ratisbon?, for the choice of his successor.
But a very unexpected difficulty showed itself at once. The full powers entrusted to the Imperial commissioners appointed to negotiate with Arundel, rested on the assumption that an offensive and defensive alliance would be concluded between England and the house of Austria. Arundel was one of those statesmen who were generally considered to favour Spain; but he was haughty and measured, and had neither inclination nor authority to form so close an alliance. England wished to conclude a treaty with both lines of the house of Austria as secretly as possible, in order to be able on the one hand to offer resistance to the French by sea, and on the other to promote the interest of the Elector Palatine: but she did not desire to plunge into open war with Holland and France. The Imperial ministers referred to Taylor's overtures; but the latter proved that he had spoken, officially at least, only of an intimate understanding, and not of an offensive and defensive alliance40. Arundel remarked, that the understanding could only be of such a character that all other sovereigns also might be admitted into it. He was out of humour that the other side should have intended to lead him unperceived further than his King thought of going.
Although this beginning certainly argued no good, the negotiations were still by no means rendered hopeless, So long as the prospect of a close connexion was maintained. On the contrary, though Arundel had at first pressed for the restoration of the Elector Palatine to his full rights, he now only asked whether such a restoration might be expected, at least at some future time. The Imperial ministers repeated the declaration given on the 24th of February, with the additional statement that the King of England might promise himself the more affection from the Emperor as the ambassador gave assurance of the sincere good intentions of the King towards him : but they proceeded to indicate the conclusion of an alliance as a necessary condition. Further progress was deferred until the time of the negotiations, which were to be conducted at Ratisbon41.
For these negotiations nothing was more needful than that the Imperial ministers should first of all be agreed among themselves how far they were willing to go. But how could they have taken any steps at all without conferring with Bavaria? In the face of the impending Diet of the Electors, they could least of all have ventured to affront the powerful sovereign, with whom so many others took part. They sent a special mission to invite him to express his views to them categorically: at the same time they called his attention to the importance of the English fleet at that juncture. The Elector Maximilian attached little weight to this. He answered, that Germany certainly had nothing to fear from this fleet, and that France, which was just as well equipped by sea, would not be deterred even by the enmity of England from extending its power in Germany: that Charles I moreover could not long keep his fleet at sea, for that he was on bad terms with his Estates of the realm, without whose assent he certainly could not reckon upon any permanent contribution. It is remarkable that this consideration which exercised so much influence on the decisions of the King himself, also affected the attitude of other powers towards him, and influenced a negotiation carried on between Austria and Bavaria.
But even apart from this, what would come of it, Maximilian asked, if concessions were made to the presumptuous demands of England? He said that for his part he was not disinclined to surrender under certain conditions the district of the Lower Palatinate, which he had in his hands, but not the Upper Palatinate, which he held in pledge: that the Emperor by virtue of his authority had made over the electoral dignity to him and his house for ever: that this settlement had been made in concert with the other Electors, and that his father and cousin, the Emperor, would not wish to reverse it: that he could not, if he would.
On the resumption of negotiations with England, Count Olivarez? remarked that they had been broken off for other reasons, no doubt those very reasons which arose out of the stipulations of Saxony and Bavaria with regard to the Palatinate. He thought however that even now Charles I would take no decided action in behalf of Spain, and would always look to his own interests alone. The great successes of the Spanish army in the year 1636 perhaps enhanced his self-confidence: and when negotiations were renewed, the Spaniards were rather on the side of Bavaria than on that of England. The Imperial court was then confronted by the same question which had formerly been discussed in Spain in the year 1623. Was it to show compliance towards England, and for the sake of this break off its connexion with Bavaria, and quarrel with Spain? The question was submitted to the Emperor's successor?, who decided that in this case England must be disregarded42.
A formal answer to this effect was communicated to Arundel at Ratisbon on September 12. The restoration of the Count Palatine to the Electorship was deferred until events should have happened, which seemed to Arundel about as near as the end of the world. He remarked that, if his sovereign had been told this before, he would never have sent him to Germany. He returned to England deeply incensed, for he thought that, personally as well as officially, he had not met with the consideration which he had a right to claim.
This was the second time that the Austro-Spanish house refused to draw closer to England from regard to its relations with Germany. There is no doubt that, for the German branch in the present state of affairs, the maintenance of Catholicism and of an alliance with Bavaria outweighed all other considerations. But was this the case also with the Spanish branch? For it, both for the sake of the monarchy and its general position in European politics, a closer agreement with England even under the Stuarts would have been of inestimable advantage. Olivarez differed from Lerma?, in that the latter studied most carefully the general and maritime interests of Spain, the former her interests in Germany and on the continent. The mistake of the first Stuarts lay in this, that they thought to find in Spain the centre of gravity of the joint relations of the two houses, even after it had been transferred to Austria. In that long and bloody conflict between all the continental powers, which we term the Thirty Years' War, England also had her interest. James I and Charles I never wholly lost sight of the principal aim of their continental policy, the restoration of the Elector Palatine. But they never staked their whole power on the issue. They once stirred up Denmark to conduct the cause; they then allied themselves with Sweden in order directly to attain their object. But for all that they would never adopt as their own the common political point of view of the Protestant powers. They would far rather, from first to last, have procured from the Emperor the recovery of the Palatinate by means of Spanish influence. But even for securing this the means which they set in motion were not sufficient. Their misunderstandings with Parliament rendered strong measures on their part impossible, just where it was most necessary. In the great continental struggle which must be decisive as to the future condition of Europe, the Stuarts could not interfere to influence the result. Meanwhile they were pursuing their own special end.
Whilst the agitation of the world was at high tide, Charles I in his insular domain, which was affected by it without feeling its full force, was scheming to establish for ever the kingly power.
Among the English ministers Lord Treasurer Weston?, who at that time exercised the greatest influence upon foreign affairs, and had almost the sole direction of domestic matters, afforded a signal instance of successful activity. He had formerly taken office, when matters were almost desperate. The English were still at war with both the neighbouring powers; enormous demands were made for the support of the forces by land and sea. The former moreover were burdensome to the districts on which they were quartered: none of the civil officials had been paid for several years: the considerable burden of debt which James I had bequeathed to his successor (£1,200,000) was increased a third by the years spent in war;and as interest was paid at the rate of 8 per cent. for the earlier, and 12 per cent. for the later loan, it absorbed the greater portion of the revenue. But this latter, which was principally derived from customs, had been rendered precarious by the dispute about tonnage and poundage. Bales of woollen goods had been sent back from the ports to the manufacturing towns because the owners refused to pay the duty; and foreign merchants had abstained from having their wares landed because they expected unpleasant treatment from the population if they paid the customs. The trade of the country was at a standstill. How entirely matters were altered after five years of Weston's strict and watchful administration! Peace was concluded and maintained; the counties freed from the soldiers quartered on them; the customs regularly levied; at least half of the old debts paid off; English commerce developed into the most flourishing and productive in the world, if for no other reason, because the continent, and all the neighbouring seas, were distracted with war.
Richard Weston had attained a certain reputation among legal circles in the Middle Temple, and in embassies of the second grade: he had then been engaged by Buckingham in higher political affairs, and after the death of the latter had to a certain extent stepped into his place. His policy however was altogether different. The active desire for war was replaced by a readiness for peace at any price. Weston informed the French that even in the service of his King he loved their interests. If, in spite of this, he had dealings with the Spaniards, the French had no fears on that score: they found that he would never break either with them or with their opponents, because his thoughts, as well as those of the King, were directed solely to the maintenance of neutrality in foreign affairs43, and in domestic affairs to economy and the avoidance of a Parliament. Weston himself did not long remain the pliant and complaisant person which he had formerly been. He now appeared inaccessible, close, rude, imperious44. He was always careful to have a sum of money in hand, of which he could dispose: in order to avoid expenditure he stopped the despatch of a foreign mission: the most rigid barriers were erected round the royal generosity. After the fashion of the statesmen of that period, he did not forget his own interests: he was made Earl of Portland, and by the marriage of his son with a lady of the house of Lennox, he became related to the royal family. All who enjoyed a certain importance in the kingdom were on his side, Arundel?, Cottington?, Wentworth?, as well as James Hay?, Earl of Carlisle, among the Scots who had come over with James the only one who knew how to make himself at home in England: he was regarded as the man who understood the position of foreign affairs better than any one in England. Weston could not but have rivals and adversaries. At their head was Henry Rich?, Earl of Holland, who had taken a considerable share in the negotiations for bringing the Queen home, and who since then had always adhered to her. He appeared the most brilliant and, owing to the favour shown him by both of the royal pair alike, the most prosperous member of the court. For a time he had a good prospect of becoming Buckingham's successor in the admiralty as well as in the royal favour. But neither he himself, nor his friends, were of such importance as to become dangerous to the Treasurer. When Cottington returned from Spain, efforts were made to separate him from Weston. He was advised to attach himself immediately to the Queen, who was no friend of that minister; but Cottington preferred his old political connexion, which secured him greater prospects. Weston knew how to obliterate all unfavourable impressions in the King's mind, and to regain his confidence, which once or twice seemed to waver. Besides this, it was a principle of the King to bestow his chief confidence upon one man alone, and to cling to him, and let people say against him what they would; for he thought that the nature of political life was such that every one attacked the possessor of authority45.
Taxes levied without a grant of Parliament.
Economy did not suffice to secure for the government complete independence in administration: means had therefore to be adopted to increase the receipts. Tonnage and poundage, the amount of which had in a few years increased by £80,000, offered the principal resource for effecting this object. But when old records were searched, other crown rights of earlier date were discovered which had fallen into oblivion, and might be revived with advantage.
How many persons, it was said, had been bound by old usage to appear at the King's coronation, in order to be knighted!
The government called to account all who had incurred the guilt of neglecting this duty, in order that a pecuniary fine might be levied on them46. Another feudal right of royalty had a still wider application. In April 1633 the Earl of Holland, who sometimes took part with the government although he did not love it, was seen driving through London in a royal carriage to Stratford in Essex, in order to hold his court there as Lord Forester in the fashion of the twelfth century. He cited all those who had built within the borders of the ancient royal forests to appear, that he might investigate their titles. The occupants in vain affirmed that the claims of the crown against them had long ago been redeemed by purchase: as they had no documentary proof of this, they were compelled to pay a sum in acquittance, which in Essex alone amounted to £300,00047. Lord Holland opened his court in August at Winchester, to try cases connected with the New Forest: in September, attended by five judges, he went into Northamptonshire to the site of those same woods, which had once served as a refuge for the Britons, and then as a hunting-ground for the Norman kings, that he might exact penalties for encroachments on the forest of Rockingham. Some of the leading nobles, the Earl of Westmorland?, Lord Peterborough?, Lord Newport?, and the Earl of Salisbury?, were condemned, the last-named on account of an estate which had been presented to his father, Robert Cecil?, by Queen Elizabeth48. And these claims were constantly being stretched further: it appeared as if the greater part of England would soon be considered as having been forest-land in former days. Even the government now felt itself in a critical position from the agitation kindled by this conduct, and suspended proceedings for a moment49.
In spite of so many declarations made to Parliament, monopolies of different kinds were again granted by the crown, especially to associations which were formed for the exclusive prosecution of some branch of trade, and which were regularly invested with the rights and constitution of companies with governor, assistants, and society. They were obliged to purchase their title by yearly payments, but in return were then supported in those vexatious regulations which they made to enforce it. Other sovereign rights furnished an opportunity of levying considerable taxes on separate articles50. It is calculated that up to the year 1635 Charles I had raised his income from £500,000 to £800,000.
The King, says Correro? the Venetian, moves among the rocks by which he is surrounded, slowly but surely. The judges explain the laws in his favour, as there are no Parliaments to contradict them: and his subjects do not then venture to withstand him. 'With the key of the laws he seeks to open the entrance to absolute power51.'
By far the most important and remarkable of all his claims was the demand for ship-money.
Those were times in which he thought it necessary to oppose the resistance of a powerful navy to the maritime encroachments of the Dutch and French. We have seen that for this purpose he asked for subsidies from Spain, but was unable to obtain them. In the embarrassment into which he was thrown in consequence, a very welcome prospect of assistance was held out, when some of his supporters who were learned in the law maintained that he had the right to demand the aid of the country for this object even without the assent of Parliament. As by English usage the duty of defending the country and of guarding the sea was laid on him, this duty, it was said, carried with it also the right of making the necessary dispositions for that purpose. They adduced a series of precedents, according to which monarchs on their own authority, without the support of Parliament even when it was sitting, and only with the consent of the Privy Council, had issued the requisite proclamation for equipping naval armaments, and had met with obedience down to the end of the reign of Edward III. To the objection that this was more than two centuries and half ago, the King's supporters replied, that the continuance of an opposite usage for any length of time could not cancel the right of the sovereign, and that even in the most recent times an instance had occurred, for that the whole warlike preparations by which the attack of the Spanish Armada had been repulsed in the year 1588, had been set on foot at the sole order of Queen Elizabeth52. At the present moment, when the old sovereignty of England over the seas was contested by the neighbouring powers, a similar proceeding appeared peculiarly justifiable. Not only were the seaport towns summoned to furnish the King with a specified number of ships of a certain tonnage for a period of six months, but the obligation was extended to the inland counties and towns, and in their case the ships were commuted for an assessment of money, which was to be raised in the same way as a subsidy. There was even a design entertained of having a number of men embodied for the defence of the coast.
Much agitation had been caused by the previous renewal of old claims; and it was naturally doubled by this last claim, because it was the most comprehensive, and might be renewed at pleasure. The loudest remonstrances were heard. The official interpreters of the laws however came forward on the side of the crown, and acknowledged its right. In November 1634 the Judges gave sentence that the inland as well as the seaboard towns might be called upon for the defence of the coasts. This judgment did not contain a declaration that Parliament need not be consulted in the matter; but in February 1636 a decision on this point also followed53. It was declared by a sentence of the Judges, that if the kingdom were in danger, and the king thought it necessary, he had the right of ordering his subjects under the Great Seal of England to equip as large a number of ships as seemed to him necessary; and that in case they should refuse to do so, the law gave him perfect right to compel them. The judges could not have delivered a more important decision: it is one of the great events of English history. The King commanded that it should be entered in the records of the Star Chamber, and of the Courts of Justice at Westminster, and that all possible publicity should be given to it, in order that every one who had doubted the King's right might be taught to know better. But even the sentence of the Courts of Justice had no longer absolute authority in England, where they were now deemed subservient or even corrupt. A gentleman of Buckinghamshire, John Hampden?, who had there a very old family estate, refused to pay the sum for which he had been assessed, twenty shillings, not because of the amount, which was only trifling, but in order to bring the matter once more publicly under discussion. When he was cited before the Star Chamber to answer for it, he requested to hear the writ. After it had been read, he denied that it had any legal authority over him. The King, who thought himself perfectly certain of his right, had no objection that the question should once more be publicly discussed. Nor did he order others also who refused payment to be visited with penalties of real severity: the sheriffs in each case merely seized possession of property to the amount which they had to raise from each according to the assessment. They met with no resistance in this; but men refused to acknowledge the claim by voluntary payment. 'They stick to their laws,' writes one of our Venetian informants, 'and allow legal proceedings to be taken, solely to make it known that the laws are violated, and that they are compelled to pay by force54.'
But what a state of affairs hereupon set in! The whole administration of the state depended on the receipt of tonnage and poundage, the payment of which Parliament declared illegal, while the government insisted on it, on the ground that it had been made to the earlier kings; and all refusals of payment were overridden by the coercive power of the state. All other fiscal measures as well were considered wanton attacks on the fully acknowledged rights of private property, or as illegal. People gave way, but only in the expectation of better times. The opposition between what the government and what the nation or the Parliament thought legitimate, was presented in the sharpest outlines, when it led to acts of personal oppression. The members of Parliament, against whom the King had claims, refused to be brought to trial before the Courts of Justice before which they were summoned; for they affirmed that Parliament alone had the right to pronounce judgment on their conduct. They were condemned however, and the most resolute of them, Sir John Eliot?, was treated with a severity bordering on cruelty: he died in the Tower55.
At times however the King's indulgence and mercy in turn appeared illegal, especially when they were extended to Catholics. This had so important an influence in the life of the King, that we must devote to it a closer examination
Charles the First's relations with Catholicism.
The old severe laws of Parliament against priests and Jesuits still existed, but, as the King had promised in his marriage-contract, they were no longer enforced. It was not only that the bloody executions of former times could not now be thought of, but even the pecuniary fines incurred by non-attendance at Protestant worship were reduced to half their amount, or redeemed in perpetuity by compositions allowed under the Great Seal. The spies who had formerly forced their way into houses, in order to look for priests who were thought to be hidden there, no longer showed themselves; and steps were taken under the influence of the Queen altogether to annul their authority to do so. The English Catholics affirmed that they had never enjoyed so much repose and security as under King Charles56. Yet they felt anxious, because the existing laws could legally be revoked only by Parliament. The King certainly thought the power of dispensing from them an essential part of the prerogative; but public opinion took a different view, and the adherents of Parliamentary authority, especially the Puritans, on the contrary insisted that the laws must be as strictly enforced on this point as on any other.
And had they not in fact some ground for feeling anxious lest Catholicism in this way should again obtain the ascendancy in the country? In the Netherlands, in France, in Spain, and at Rome, those seminaries were still flourishing, from which in former times young and zealous priests had been sent to England. At that time there might be counted in England five hundred secular priests, about three hundred ecclesiastics belonging to the great orders, and about a hundred and sixty Jesuits. Most of them were entertained in the principal families in the country, who secretly or even openly professed Catholicism, and in the houses of the rich proprietors, nobles, and gentry. In countless places the Catholic service was celebrated, but with most splendour in the residences of the ambassadors, where men vied with one another, especially in keeping Holy Week with devout pomp, with sensuous representations and musical services. On high festivals the Queen and her court appeared in her public chapel, which was served by Capuchin monks in the dress of their order: besides this she had a private chapel. Just as an agent of the Queen had gone to Rome, so now an agent of the Papal See, although under another pretext, appeared at the English court. Even there Catholicism found rich and powerful patrons. At the head of these was Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel?, who now, as has been mentioned, stood high at court: the King's ministers, Weston and Cottington, and Windebank, the Secretary of State, belonged to this party. The opinion had spread, and is still constantly echoed, that King Charles also shared in these tendencies, and sought to bring back his kingdom to Catholicism.
We are in possession of the copious letters of the Pope's agent Cuneo?—a Scot whose real name was Con, but whom we shall speak of under the Italianised form of his name—from which we may gather with certainty how far the opinion was true, and how far it was not.
The negotiations on which Cuneo was engaged principally concerned the form of oath by which King James had long ago wished to ensure the loyalty of the Catholics. By the wording of the oath as adopted by Parliament, the doctrine that the Pope could absolve subjects from their obedience to their prince, was not only rejected, but expressly termed heretical57. The first archpriest who had the supervision of the Catholic clergy in England? was induced, as we have seen, to take this oath; and many missionaries, among whom were even some of the regular clergy, the Benedictines especially, followed his example. Others thought that the scruple would be removed by a declaration that the King required obedience only in civil matters. The Jesuits, following the example of Bellarmin?, rejected every expedient of this sort, and zealous believers sided with them. This point however, according to Charles's views, was one of great importance. He seldom caused the oath to be tendered; but when he had once done so, he required it to be taken; if it were not, the objector was put under a sort of civil excommunication. The matter had been already mentioned by Giorgio Panzani? in a former mission, and the Papal court had empowered Cunio to prevail on the King to alter the oath58. The inadmissibility of the present form was put especially on the ground that no one could call a doctrine heretical, until it had been declared so by the Church: it was demanded that the King should lay down such a formula as would only affect the obedience of his subjects in temporal matters, without touching the spiritual question. And a very earnest endeavour was made to find such a formula. It was proposed to say nothing about a 'damnable doctrine,' but only to speak of the conviction of each individual: and Cuneo assured the King that no Catholic would refuse to take such an oath, if only at the same time he were relieved from the other. Against this the King had two objections. He called Cuneo's attention to the fact that the oath had been prescribed by Parliament; that for its removal it would be necessary to call Parliament together and to lay the alteration before it—a proceeding which might have very unpleasant consequences, most of all for the Catholics. 'Sire,' broke in Cuneo, 'we Catholics hold that your Majesty is superior to Parliament59.' The King thought that even here he might invoke his dispensing power: but to put a new formula in the place of the old, and merely to drop the enforcement of a law, were quite different things. The former course was neither congenial to the King, nor could have been ventured on by his ministers, who in their departure from parliamentary government still kept always within a line which they did not overstep. But besides this the King would not deviate from his own doctrine, viz. that the right of kings was a divine right, and could not be superseded by any man, not even by the Pope60. The opposition between the Papal and the Royal power might perhaps be smoothed over in practice, but could never be adjusted in theory. People at Rome were not content with the proposals of Cuneo, which were rejected by Charles.
In the course of these negotiations, or perhaps in the course of friendly conversation, a further step was made. Something was said of the necessity of a closer political, and of the possibility of a closer religious approximation. Cuneo set before the King the prospect that in the event of an union with Rome, which still formed a great centre of European politics, he would have as much power as any continental potentate: and the King might well feel tempted to enter the lists at Rome as elsewhere against Spain and France. But Cuneo did not go so far as to make a real attempt to convert him. The amiable ecclesiastical diplomatist and courtier felt far too strong a conviction that he could not venture on this. At times the prevailing controversies between the two churches were touched upon in conversation. The King did not conceal that, from all that he had seen in Spain, or even heard from theologians there, an impression of estrangement had been left on his mind61. His Anglican heart rejected the adoration of saints and the invocation of the Virgin, and was completely repelled by other forms of popular worship. Cuneo once asked him what he held to be true besides Holy Scripture62. Charles answered that he held the three creeds and the decrees of the first four councils; and he expressed his astonishment that any one could put the decrees of the Council of Trent on a level with those of the old councils. Once, after a decision had been given in favour of the Catholics, Cuneo fell on his knee and kissed his hand. 'You will, nevertheless,' said the King, 'not make a Papist of me.' On one matter Charles would have been glad to hear the expression of the Pope's sentiments, namely, on the divine right of bishops, on the assumption of which the constitution of the English Church, and the ecclesiastical policy of the English kings mainly rested. But that was a very serious question for the Pope, who wished neither to outrage the convictions of the King, nor to lead the Catholic bishops to renew their former claims. Pope Urban VIII avoided expressing even a personal opinion on the subject.
A very lively impulse was given to the spiritual movement of the seventeenth century by the attempts to reunite the two communions. It had become clear as a result of a worldwide conflict again and again repeated, that Protestantism could not be overpowered. The inroad of the Swedes into Germany, the revival of the Protestant credit which was connected with it, the alliance of France with the Protestant powers, all gave a shape to European affairs in presence of which the hope of effecting a restoration of Catholicism must have appeared a cobweb of the brain. This led naturally to a revival of the old plans for bringing to pass some kind of reconciliation between the opposing churches. We meet with them in France, in Germany, in Poland, over the whole Continent. They were cherished by well-intentioned kings, powerful ministers, and learned writers of the first rank.
In England there was in each of the two great parties a fraction which closely resembled the corresponding fraction on the other side. In the one party there were found many who took the oath of allegiance without hesitation, who acknowledged the supremacy of the crown, and attended Anglican churches, who made a figure in high places, and then perhaps after all declared themselves Catholics on their deathbeds. We might almost suspect that, from a superstitious opinion of the saving power of ceremonies, or because it was the safest course, they kept priests in their houses only for this last hour. But even among the Protestants we discover not a few who sought to strengthen the resemblances to Catholicism which were retained in the English Church. This was done principally out of dislike to the Puritans, who declared that the Pope was the Antichrist foretold by Scripture; while the others were inclined to recognise in him the true Patriarch of the West, if he would only admit some moderation in the exercise of his power. From this point of view they had publicly condemned the schism in sermons, at which the King and the court were present. They praised auricular confession and the bowing of the knee at the sacred name or before the crucifix63. Even in the local arrangements of churches the innovations of the Reformers were done away. Everywhere the communion table had again to give way to the altar. Laud?, Archbishop of Canterbury, acknowledged that the Church of Rome had an uncorrupted tradition on the main points of the Christian faith. He avoided the harsh expressions of controversial theologians about that Church, and loved to speak of a reunion between the divided members of the whole body of the Church. But he was by no means a Papist. Like the King he condemned the popular worship, especially the invocation of saints: in the adoration of the sacrament, the refusal of the cup, and the doctrine of purgatory, he also saw error, or superstition, or both. When, after his appointment, the question was put to him whether he would not be willing to become a cardinal of the Roman Church, that was only an attempt to kindle his ambition, and to open negotiations, which might have had further consequences: but he did not fall into the snare. After a time people on the contrary spoke of the probability that Cuneo might be raised to this dignity, which he hoped to achieve by the aid of the Queen, and that he might then remain in England wearing the purple. The Roman court was apprehensive lest a violent ecclesiastical quarrel for precedence might thus be raised. Between Cuneo and Laud, who outside the English court were considered allies, harmony by no means prevailed: they did not get beyond the external forms of ordinary politeness to one another. From the beginning Laud could not endure that another ecclesiastical influence should exist at court beside his own. Cuneo's letters to Rome show an ill-feeling towards the Archbishop64 which is mingled with bitterness, and even with a kind of contempt. Cuneo declares him incapable of contributing in the least to the removal of the English schism. With absolute certainty we can pronounce that the statement which was then made, that Charles in connexion with Cuneo and Laud designed to bring back the English nation to Catholicism, is erroneous. The supposed allies were personally bitter antagonists. The King, with his Archbishop, adhered to the point of view of the Anglican Church, which they only endeavoured to raise to complete supremacy.
State of Opinion in the Church of England at this time.
The controversy which then most busily engaged men of active minds,did not concern the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism. Only as to the frontiers of the spiritual and temporal power were opinions still wavering: on all other points every man had already taken his side. Even the old dispute between Lutherans and Calvinists about the Lord's Supper, although it still went on, attracted no special attention. The questions, which are properly traced to the spirit of the age, were fought out within the domain of the Reformed Church. They concerned the doctrine of election by grace, which determined the system of dogmas, and the influence in spiritual affairs appertaining to the temporal power, which was of decisive importance for the constitution of the Church. The Synod of Dort derived widespread importance from its adherence to the strict Calvinistic doctrines of unconditional election by grace, and of the independence of the Church. It condemned the Arminians, who were inclined to less rigid views on both questions: they were expelled from their offices in the Netherlands.
At an earlier period James I also had condemned Arminianism as promoting tendencies towards Catholicism. But the theories of this sovereign were always thrust into the background by his interests; and when the decrees of this synod, in which some English theologians had also taken part, though to a very slight extent, roused controversies in England which threatened to disturb the repose and even the system of the Church of England, it no longer commanded his sympathies. He forbade the theological question to be discussed publicly in the pulpits; just as in the articles of the English Church it had already been handled with great caution. Still more repugnant to him was the article in the conclusions of the Synod of Dort, in which equal authority was ascribed to all ministers of God's Word, whatever position they might hold65. The English members of the Synod, who looked upon this as an indirect condemnation of the constitution of the Church of England, protested against it, of course without obtaining a hearing. But how obnoxious must this article have been to the sovereign, who designed to found his state upon the alliance of the Protestant mitre with the sceptre! His Presbyterian opponents now acquired the support of an assembly which, by its very strictness on other points, gained for itself great authority in the Reformed Church. What was termed Puritanism was, strictly speaking, the combination of the dogmatic decrees of the Synod of Dort with resistance to episcopacy. So far as we know, the Archbishop of Spalatro, Marcus Antonius de Dominis?, who at that time had taken refuge in England, was the first who used word in this sense66.
There could be no more hearty admirer of the Anglican Church than this foreign Archbishop. His works on this controversy, which although voluminous are written with learning and candour, have contributed to maintain the reputation of the constitution of the English Church in the eyes of the literary and theological world67.
In August 1633 a great alteration took place in the state of the English Church. George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury was removed by death; a man who himself inclined to Puritanism, for he was a zealous Calvinist, and in the exercise of ecclesiastical authority displayed an amount of indulgence and clemency that brought on him the reproaches of many. He had long ago ceased to influence the court, or the relations which the church and the crown bore towards each other. Charles I reposed his whole confidence in William Laud, at that time Bishop of London, whose opinions agreed with his own, or at any rate were in harmony with his tendencies. But in regard to doctrine Laud's Arminianism went even beyond that of Arminius; and the combination witnessed at Dort, of strict Calvinistic opinions, which he rejected, with resistance to episcopal government turned him completely into a declared opponent of the Synod. For his own part he considered episcopacy a divine institution, and contested the Christian character of all those churches which were not episcopally organised. And just because this institution was so deeply rooted in Christian antiquity, he endeavoured in every respect to return to the oldest usages. Before his eyes and those of the King floated the vision of an episcopal church independent of the Papacy, which, purified from all human additions, should embrace the whole world. Laud was very highly educated, and showed an appreciation of universal learning: he did much for the printing of Greek, for the acquisition of Arabic and Persian manuscripts, and for the promotion of Oriental studies in general. He was blameless in private life, and extremely beneficent: out of his ecclesiastical revenue he always set aside a considerable portion for the poor. But he was one of those men in whom the temper of persecuting orthodoxy seems to be innate. Even in his youth he noticed chiefly those passages in the lectures of professors which ran counter to the Anglican system, of which he early formed a high conception. In this temper he read the writings which were called forth by the controversies of the day, and then invoked the vengeance of the temporal and spiritual power on the deviations from accepted formulas which he noticed in them. In the disputes between the Government and the Parliament he lent his pen to the service of the former with vigour and not without success; and Buckingham, with whom he was most closely connected, promoted him to the see of London. After Buckingham's death the King transferred to the Bishop a portion of the confidence and favour which he had bestowed upon the Duke. Laud might be considered his ecclesiastical favourite. On the first intelligence of Abbot's death, Charles I saluted the Bishop of London as Archbishop of Canterbury. For what could be nearer to his heart than to transfer the authority of Primate of England to the man who fully shared his point of view? On this the Anglican zealot stepped into an official position which opened the widest sphere of action for his ecclesiastical tendencies. He was a man of comprehensive energy, which operated in all directions, and at the same time retained its ardour. With large general designs he united indefatigable attention to details68. But all defects which Laud observed in the Church he attributed to the indulgence of his predecessors, especially of the late Archbishop, George Abbot: he had resolved to take an opposite course, and to suffer no departure from the law of the Church and from rigid obedience. Such deviations were punished in the bishops when they made any resistance to the institution of ceremonies, as in the case of Williams, Bishop of Lincoln69; how much more in the Puritans, whom he regarded as the most dangerous adversaries of the orthodox system. Woe to the man who ventured to bring forward a controverted point in the pulpit, when once it had been forbidden there: the smallest hint of it was fatal. Laud set himself against even the religious strictness of the Puritans. In the Sabbatarian controversy, which was then being set on foot, he advocated the Sunday amusements of the people as warmly as the King. An ordinance issued by him on the subject roused disapprobation even among clergymen who conformed in other respects. The Archbishop appears to have thought that by this indulgence he would attract the people to his side. But even in this matter he went to work with an intolerance that could not fail to alienate men's sympathies from him. We know how zealously the Puritans condemned theatrical representations, which just at that time, when French actresses were introduced, appeared doubly obnoxious. William Prynne?, of Lincoln's Inn, who wrote a copious book called Histriomastix, suffered in consequence the most degrading penalties; he was branded and lost his ears. The same punishment was inflicted on Bastwick?, a physician, who on his return from travelling related much that was discreditable to foreign bishops, and which might be unfavourably applied to the English bishops also. The theologian Burton, who blamed as novelties some alterations that were introduced into the Church, fared no better. These were educated men, and belonged to the upper classes; and their exposure in the pillory, which was intended to disgrace them was turned into a kind of triumph. Laud indeed intended to establish for ever the unassailable authority of the ecclesiastical jurisdiction, just as he had emancipated afresh the ecclesiastical courts from the influence of the temporal: but without doubt he undermined it; for no one has ever insulted natural human feelings with impunity. His idea was conformity at any price, subordination of the people to the clergy, subordination of these latter to their own chiefs, and of all to the King.
It is not quite clear whether he consciously cherished the design which is attributed to him of expanding the archbishopric of Canterbury into a patriarchate of the British Islands, and of holding this dignity himself: but his efforts aimed without any disguise at giving the episcopal system and the usages of the Anglican Church the supremacy in the other two kingdoms as well as in England.
We know how zealously James I had struggled to obtain this end in Scotland; and we shall soon see what further advances were made on his footsteps. In England itself conformity of all individuals, in Scotland conformity with English institutions, was the most prominent motive of everything which was done in regard to the Church. In Ireland also the same attempt was made.
When colonies were established in Ireland, in which many Scots took part, articles for the Irish Church, which might satisfy the Scots as well as the English, were accepted in that country. They were introduced by James Usher?, who at that time was Provost of Trinity College, Dublin, and afterwards Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of Ireland. But little was said in them of the necessity of the episcopal constitution, although it was retained. The difference between presbyters and bishops was passed over in silence. The Pope, after the example of the Synod of Gap, was termed Antichrist: the observance of Sunday as though it were the Jewish sabbath was ordained; and many distinctive Calvinistic tenets were accepted. King James, it is true, once called Doctor Usher to account for this; but at all events he confirmed the articles just at the time when he himself was maintaining strict Calvinistic opinions, owing to his connexion with the Prince of Orange. Now however under Charles I these opinions were no longer to be tolerated; for the King felt that the variety of Protestant opinions was a scandal in the eyes of the Irish Catholics, and that their conversion was hindered by the violence of the contrast presented by Calvinism. And it is evident that the consolidation of perhaps the most zealous adherents whom the Pope had in the world into one single state, such as Charles I contemplated, with those who declared him to be Antichrist, was impossible. Consistently with the prevailing policy, the Lord Deputy, Thomas Wentworth, in the Parliament of 1634 undertook to procure the abrogation of the Irish articles in substance if not in form. The Lower House of the Convocation of the Irish Protestant Church made the canon-law of the English Church the subject of free discussion, and a committee of Convocation had already framed a canon which insisted on the maintenance of the Irish articles, even under pain of excommunication. Wentworth regarded this as a sort of revolt. In severe language he pointed out to the Convocation its presumption and want of subordination in wishing to pronounce judgment on laws of the English Church. He himself drew up a canon, in which assent to the Thirty-nine Articles in general was promised. The Archbishop of Armagh, who could not act inconsistently with his former behaviour, but at the same time could not resist the plans of the government, proposed a less stringent form: but Wentworth insisted upon his canon, and had the pleasure of seeing it carried in Convocation almost without opposition, in the very form in which he had drawn it up; for the members were one and all enchained by his sovereign will. This is perhaps the last canon drawn up for the Irish Church as such, which was thus inseparably united with the English70. Wentworth gave Archbishop Laud triumphant tidings of his unexpected success.
Further designs of the Government.
The Irish Parliament, which stood side by side with this Convocation, was the same which made the general administration of Wentworth famous. It was composed partly of Catholics and partly of Protestants; for his main object was to unite both creeds in one community: but in disputed questions the Protestants had the preponderance, and among the Protestants the Anglicans. In the Upper House the bishops as a rule had the decision in their own hands. Parliament was induced to grant supplies by which a well-ordered government of the country was for the first time rendered possible.
What a vital union is here displayed between the elements of spiritual and temporal obedience! Wentworth adds to the information above mentioned the remark, that in Ireland the King was as absolute as any other sovereign in his own country, provided only that he had as his representative a man of insight and loyalty, whose hands were not tied. The Lord Deputy can be as little accused as the King or the Archbishop of wishing to pave the way for Catholicism: Wentworth was known as a very staunch Protestant. Their thoughts were only directed to the development of Anglicanism expressed in its most rigid form, and administered without indulgence. What James I had already intended and attempted to carry out, but with vacillation and with fresh concessions to the other side, Charles I and his statesmen undertook in earnest. They wished to make episcopacy one of the chief foundations of the monarchy.
Did they entertain the thought of sweeping away the English Parliament altogether, or at least of not calling it together again? This is not likely. King Charles affirmed on more than one occasion that it lay with him to summon or not to summon Parliament, and a resolution had been formed to issue no fresh summons as long as the royal authority was not firmly established on its own foundation. The Archbishop once said at a later time, that Parliament was intended to maintain the power and greatness of the crown, but that nothing in the world was more lamentable than the corruption of what was good: that Parliament had once ventured to depose a king, but that it never ought to be allowed to proceed to this length again: that for his part he had never thought of setting aside Parliamentary government; though he had perhaps thought it right, in cases of urgent necessity, to collect taxes which had not been granted by Parliament.
We become still more accurately acquainted with the direction in which affairs were moving, through a letter from Wentworth to the King. After the miscarriage of Arundel's mission, much was said of the expediency of again forming a connexion between England and France and the States-General, of imposing certain conditions on the Spaniards, and then exacting their performance even by force of arms. Wentworth declared himself most decidedly opposed to the scheme, and that not only because he preferred the alliance of Spain to that of France on general grounds, but most of all, as he states at full length, because the power of the King was not sufficiently confirmed in Ireland, much less in England, to allow him to interfere decisively in European affairs. Whatever weight might attach to the declaration of the courts of justice that the King was entitled to levy ship-money, yet he considered this decision far from sufficient. If a war were to break out, he thought that the tax would be refused, and that the government would have less power to exact it: what would happen then if any disaster occurred? It would certainly be necessary in that case to summon Parliament, and to claim its assistance—a course which under the present circumstances no one could wish to adopt. So long as it had not been decided that the King had the same right to raise an army which he now enjoyed with regard to the navy, Wentworth thought that his authority had only one foot, and that he must be put in a position to raise forces for service on land, which he could lead into foreign countries according to his own judgment, like the old kings of England; that this state of things must be brought about first in England, and then step by step in Scotland; and that till then the goal could not be reached, and no great undertaking could be hazarded71.
On principle Wentworth was as little opposed to a Parliament in England as in Ireland; but he wished to have only such a Parliament as would be subservient. He thought of making the government and the royal power independent of grants of Parliament in great affairs, such as peace and war and foreign enterprises generally. The King was no longer, as in the late sessions, to be compelled to make concessions in order to maintain his proper position in European affairs. His immediate intention was to uphold the decision of the Judges with regard to the payment of ship-money, and to obtain a similar authorisation in regard to the support of the army.
It is apparent however what would have been the significance of such a decision. The political importance of Parliament had arisen from the power of granting the money required for the purposes of war: if the latter were taken away, how could the former endure? The King had not only an acknowledged right of judging whether the kingdom was in danger, but it was laid down as his duty to forestal such a contingency. If he were now authorised to call out the military and naval forces of the kingdom in case he thought fit, how could he be refused the needful resources for keeping them up when called out? Parliament would have played a very inferior part; and, in England as on the Continent, the monarchy would have taken the form of a military administration.
Among the King's advisers there was no lack of men of ability to connect the ascendancy of the monarchy with the great interests of the country and with their furtherance.
Wentworth bequeathed to the Irish no contemptible monument of his autocratic sway. He founded their linen manufacture, in the first instance at his own expense, with the definite expectation that it would form an inexhaustible source of wealth for the country72, just as wool and woollen manufactures were for England.
The English had their factories at Alexandria, Aleppo, and Constantinople, as well as in Persia and India: for their cloth was in request all over the East. Among the motives in Charles I's mind for entering on friendly relations with the Pope, one was the intention of opening the harbour of Civita Vecchia? to his subjects.
The arrangement concluded with Spain was of immense value for commerce, which was carried on in a very peculiar manner during the continuance of the general war. The Spaniards sent their gold and silver to England, from which country their payments could be made in Flanders and Germany through the bills of English houses which enjoyed good credit on the continent. The precious metals were sent from Spain in bars: the English crown thus gained the advantage of coining them. The transport of goods, and even of the necessaries of war, between Spain and the Netherlands, was carried on in English merchantmen, or under English escort. The Portuguese kept up their intercourse with their American colonies under the English flag, which assured them against the attacks of the Dutch; and they were glad to hire English ships, which were better armed than their own73.
The construction of the English vessels aroused the admiration of experts: the ships of the East India Company by their solidity and their provision for every possible requirement, appeared to carry off the palm from all others.
As the King's policy contributed to the extension of commerce, so the religious disputes contributed to the extension of the colonies. To those who would not submit to Laud's ordinances New England offered a refuge: we shall return to the circumstances under which the colonies were planted there. But even for the toleration of Catholics in England there was no legal security. The first attempt at an ecclesiastical order of things, in which Episcopalianism came to terms with Catholicism on fixed principles, was made on the other side of the Atlantic, in Maryland. This may be the reason why this colony received a constitution that was to a great extent independent of the mother country. Maryland was peculiarly the creation of Charles I: the name it bears is derived from the Queen of that sovereign. A scheme was entertained at that time of colonising Madagascar in the interest of a Palatine prince.
As yet the colonies had no towns: London was the market to which they resorted for their supplies, and for the sale of their products: under these circumstances she began to be the emporium of the general trade of the world.
The cultivation of English commerce was almost a matter of personal care with the King. Not only the administration of his state, but even the maintenance of his court, rested upon the proceeds of the customs; and the court was still suitably and brilliantly kept up74. And however little Charles may have thought of endangering the repose of his kingdom for the sake of the Palatinate, yet he had never been loath to provide for the necessities of his sister and nephews.
But besides this he loved to support literature and art. He directly offended the scruples of the Puritans by attending the theatre. A splendid and costly masquerade, which the four Inns of Court combined to exhibit in the Carnival of the year 1633, was counted as a proof of their loyalty. They drove from Ely House through Chancery Lane and Whitehall in their carriages surrounded by torches; and the King sent to request them to take a route that would enable him to see the spectacle twice. The ladies and gentlemen of the court mustered in their richest dress, and later in the evening the Queen mingled with the dancers. Shirley?, who was in the Queen's service, Massinger, and old Ben Jonson? still prevented the English stage from degenerating: Cymbeline, Richard III, and other plays of Shakespeare were favourite pieces with the public. Ben Jonson lived till 1637: from time to time he had the opportunity of celebrating the generosity of Charles I, of which he was greatly in need. In his later writings, such as his 'Discoveries made upon Men and Matter,' a ripe and lively feeling for literary culture and for culture generally is displayed which does honour to the age.
Charles I developed not only a preference, but a real appreciation, for art. Inigo Jones?, whom many consider as the man of the greatest artistic talent whom England on the whole has produced, and in whose works we perceive a steady progress from an overcharged romantic style to purer forms, was one of his personal friends. It is easy to see why a man of architectural genius should attach himself to the court, for which he built chapels and banqueting halls, and to Archbishop Laud, who undertook to restore churches in the style of Christian antiquity, rather than to the Puritans who looked for salvation in the bare gospel. Among the King's servants we find Vandyke?, who in his incomparable portraits has preserved for us the forms of those who moved in high society; and Rubens?, who reconciled his political commissions with constant practice of his art. On him as on others the obstinacy of the popular resistance with which Charles came into collision in his last Parliament produced an unfavourable impression. He blames the learned Selden? for getting him involved in this confusion, to the prejudice of his art75. But as for the rest he was astonished by the zeal for study displayed by the English, and by the richness of their collections of works of art. The Arundel marbles were already rousing the attention of students of antiquity: Kenelm Digby procured for the King himself some of the finest monuments of ancient Greek art from the Levant. From Italy and Spain there was brought to him, as one of his contemporaries says, a whole troop of emperors and senators of ancient Rome, which he himself took pains to arrange in their chronological order: and he was capable of showing impatience if any one disturbed him in his task. He may be regarded as one of the best connoisseurs of art that has ever sat on a throne: he was able after short consideration to distinguish with delicate and certain judgment between those Italian masters who are closely allied in style and touch. There was no surer road to his favour than bringing him a picture of some celebrated master as a present, or pointing one out for purchase, which could still be effected with remarkable ease. The catalogues of his property show nine Correggios, thirteen Raphaels, forty-five Titians—among which are some of the greatest works of these masters, such as 'The Education of Love,' by the first; 'The Holy Family,' known under the name of 'The Pearl,' by the second; and among others by the third, 'The Venus of the Prado.' These catalogues present a many-sided interest in the history of art: they enumerate 400 works in sculpture, and 1400 in painting. Inigo Jones built a gallery for them: the King wished to have the principal works about him in his chambers at Oatlands, Hampton Court, St. James's and Whitehall76. In the gardens of York House he put up the figures of Cain and Abel, by John of Bologna, the imitator of Michael Angelo, one of the finest groups by that master, a present from Philip IV of Spain. It was the intention of Charles I to adorn the squares and public gardens of London in general with works of artistic merit.
It is worth while to remark the connexion between these efforts in favour of art and poetry, and the social cultivation, the general tendencies in favour of toleration, of ecclesiastical ceremony, and of antiquity, and the cosmopolitan sympathies, which mark the ascendancy of royal authority. Could Charles I ever have succeeded in leading the English mind in this direction, and in instigating it to produce works of its own? We may feel ourselves tempted to agree with those who have at all times made it the bitterest reproach of the Puritans, that they opposed these intentions, and even frustrated them. But in the struggles between different tendencies, which give the tone to an age, the question in dispute cannot be settled by the encouragement which they afford to this or that branch of culture. They are like the forces of nature, which create but at the same time destroy. The other party also had its rights, its ideas, and, if we regard the general state of the world and of the time, a still greater destiny in the field of universal history.
If we adhere to the view that the Latin and Teutonic nations, in the development which they have reached under the influence of the Western Church, make up a great indivisible community which furthermore appears as an unit in the world; and if we further look for the characteristic features by which this system of nations is distinguished from all other growths of world-wide historical importance, we find that they are principally two; the close connexion between Church and State involving a constant struggle between these two principles; and next the mixture of monarchical with representative institutions in each single country and the internal conflicts thence arising. At times republican formations made their appearance; yet they were hardly able to emancipate themselves from aristocratic and even from monarchical forms. At times absolute monarchy obtained the upper hand; but, if we consider the governments which are most conspicuous in this respect, we find that the supreme will of the sovereign was hardly ever able to prevail over the great obstacles presented by provinces and individuals. So there have been centuries in which the great monarchies appear to have been broken up or oppressed by the hierarchy: but even the Papacy met with opposition; the authority of those self-same popular bodies, which were perhaps originally allied with it, in later times was opposed to it. The characteristic life of the West, the continuity of its development, and its ascendancy in the world, are due to this conflict between ecclesiastical and political influences, between the tendencies towards monarchical and those towards representative government, and to the mutual action of independent nationalities, within an unity which embraced all, but yet was never complete, and was rather ideal than actually realised.
The great secession from Rome which came to pass in the sixteenth century did not break up this system of nations. The more remote were brought at times into closer relations with one another by the universal opposition and struggle, which in turn very materially affected the shapes into which the domestic relations of the individual states were thrown.
If Protestantism contributed to strengthen the power of the sovereigns under whose lead it was carried out, yet the temporal estates also shared the gain which accrued from the defeat and curtailment of ecclesiastical interests; for by this means their own power became more firmly established. The restoration of Catholicism at a later period had a very different effect. The concessions which the Papacy voluntarily made to secure it, redounded mainly to the advantage of the sovereigns. The Popes themselves, in order to revive their ecclesiastical authority in every country, employed all the pecuniary resources which could in any way be raised in their newly conquered state, which now for the first time was entirely reduced to obedience. In Italy they created for themselves a new Grand Duchy, by the erection of which the rights of the municipalities comprised within it were entirely destroyed. The Spanish monarchy, which in this epoch played the most important part, had not, it is true, annihilated, but had kept down the independence of the provinces in the Italian as well as in the Spanish peninsula, which in earlier times had been so powerful; and as by the aid of American gold it had obtained a power independent of the good will of the Estates, the authority of the sovereign was asserted far and wide. These two agencies reacted most powerfully upon Germany. Even before the Thirty Years' War the territories of the ecclesiastical and Catholic princes followed the example of Rome. During the war, and by means of it, the house of Austria brought into subjection the representative constitution of the kingdoms and countries belonging to it which had attached themselves to the principles of Protestantism. Frederick Elector Palatine stood at the head of these independent bodies, but they did not understand how to support him effectively. They fell with him. The same thing then happened in the central districts of Germany, where the combinations between sovereigns and estates were so weak from their rivalry with one another that they went to ruin.
In France Catholicism had once helped the Estates in their struggle against the monarch, but this alliance could not be maintained. After the hereditary sovereign had reached the throne by the going over to Catholicism, he still based his authority upon the maintenance of an equilibrium between the two religious parties. But for his successors this policy was no longer necessary. The Catholic portion of their subjects attached themselves to them without any regard to a title conferred by the Estates; and though the magnates then sought for safety principally in an alliance with Protestant interests, the result was that ecclesiastical and political independence sustained a common defeat at the hands of the sovereign and of the Catholic party. The power of the state assumed a deeper Catholic colour the more it aimed at absolutism.
The principle of monarchy combined with Catholicism now appeared in different forms in three great kingdoms. In that of Spain it was intolerant of Protestantism, but was surrounded by provincial assemblies of estates, whose action, although subdued, was not altogether annihilated: in the French monarchy it appeared more tolerant of the Protestants even on its own ground, but was master of the Estates, which just at this period were completely subdued: in the Austrian monarchy it was intolerant both towards the Protestants who were persecuted and ejected, and towards the Estates which had just been conquered. The struggle which had broken out between France on the one side, and Spain combined with Austria on the other, caused the two latter kingdoms to adopt, or at least to try to adopt, the principle of unity under an absolute monarch which had been carried out in the former. There is a very peculiar difference in the relations of the three powers with the German Protestants, who were saved from utter ruin by the intervention of the King of Sweden. The French sought to make the Protestant Estates of the Empire as independent as possible of Austria: Spain at that time was willing to tolerate their faith, but wished to bring them back under the control of the Emperor: at the Imperial court itself there was a tendency prevailing, at least for a time, to suppress both their belief and their independence.
Thus the Western world at this epoch was pervaded by a threefold hostility: by the religious dispute between the two great parties, in which the Catholic party had obtained an immeasurable superiority: by the great opposition in regard to foreign policy between France and the Austro-Spanish power; and by a third antagonism in regard to domestic affairs. The monarchical had become more than ever supreme over the constitutional principle.
Let us now sum up the position which England under the Stuarts occupied in these great questions.
From the posterity of Mary Stuart, who at the same time were the successors of Queen Elizabeth, and to whom the alliances of both queens descended, nothing else could be expected than that they should interfere but little in the religious struggles of the continent. They sought to keep on good terms, and even in alliance with both parties. They had certainly been implicated in the great struggle by the affair of the Palatinate: Charles I had on one occasion even taken up a position at the head of the Protestant party; but he had suffered a defeat in that character. This connexion had even turned out ruinous to the Protestants: henceforward he left them to shift for themselves as far as the principal question was concerned, and followed only his private end, the restoration of his nephew, the Elector Palatine.
In his disputes with the two great continental powers, James I had carried out still further the policy for which Elizabeth had paved the way. He had contributed to the emancipation of the Republic of the Netherlands from Spain, for the ascendancy of this monarchy by land and sea was obnoxious to James himself. But he would go no further. It was altogether contrary to his wish and intention that he was involved at the end of his days in a quarrel with Spain. As in the religious, so also in the political conflict, the Stuarts did not wish, properly speaking, to take the side either of France or Spain. From this radical tendency of their policy they sometimes deviated, but always returned to it again.
In both those great questions in fine which decided the future of the world, Charles I, after his interference had once resulted in failure, no longer took a pronounced and independent part. We saw what was the issue of his wish to be the ally at the same time of Sweden and of Spain. In domestic affairs on the contrary he had fixed his eyes upon a definite aim. Here, although the questions which were agitated might be altogether native to the English soil and atmosphere, his policy had some analogy with that which prevailed on the continent. He also, like the great Catholic sovereigns, sought to crush the pretensions of the Estates in political affairs; and he, like them, endeavoured to strengthen the royal power by means of the attributes of the spiritual.
It was not that Charles I had thought of subjecting himself to the Papacy. We know how far his soul was averse to this: he could not come to an understanding with the Pope even about the formula in which the Catholics were to promise their obedience, in order to make their toleration possible for him. The English crown could not be strengthencd, as was the case with other powers, by en-couraging the ideas of Catholicism: on the contrary, it was rather supported by the authority which it had wrested from the Papacy. The royal supremacy over the Church was intended, by means of the closest alliance with the Protestant bishops, to become, in the hands of the supreme power, a weapon which should be employed in all three kingdoms. The bishops were confirmed in their possessions and dignity; moreover the common opposition to their opponents, who had been hated by the Stuarts before they left Scotland, united the bishops as closely as possible with the sovereign, whose cause they defended as their own. When the crown found that its interest lay in sparing the Catholics and suppressing the Puritans, an extraordinary effect followed; the ecclesiastical power which had grown out of the Reformation proved more favourable to the adherents of the old creed than to the zealous champions of the new.
This was completely in harmony with the position of the Stuarts when they received their crown. They wished to be Protestants, but to avoid the hostility of the Catholics and, if possible, to annihilate Puritanism. Their relation with the Episcopal Church was on the whole the same with that which Elizabeth had established; but it differed from it, inasmuch as the Queen persecuted the Catholics with decided hostility and tolerated the Presbyterians as her indispensable allies in this conflict, while the Stuarts hated the Presbyterians, and wished to grant toleration to the Catholics.
The hereditary right of the Stuarts, which was acknowledged by both religious parties, had been the ground of the union between Scotland and England, and of the greater obedience of Ireland: it was therefore natural that the Parliaments should appear to these monarchs to be subordinate provincial bodies, which had only a limited influence on the government of the whole monarchy. They thought themselves fully warranted in enforcing the rights which the monarchy derived either from the abstract idea they had formed of it, or from the customs of their predecessors, without regard to the Parliaments. They regarded them as assemblies of counsellors which they might consult or not at their discretion, and whose duty it was to support the crown, without the right of dictating to it in any way, or of obstructing it in its movements.
The whole system arose out of the views, experiences, and intentions which James I brought with him to the English throne. But this sovereign was as skilful in practice as he was aspiring in theory. Incessant oscillation between opposite parties had in him become a second nature. He avoided driving the adversaries with whom he contended to desperation: He never pushed matters to an extremity. He never lost sight of his end for a moment, but he sought to effect his designs if necessary by circuitous paths, and by means of clever and pliant tools; he had no scruple about sacrificing any one who did not serve his purpose. Charles I deemed it important to avoid this vacillation. He loved to be served by men of decided tone and colour, and thought it a point of honour to maintain them against all assaults. He adhered without wavering to those maxims and theories which he had received from his father, and which he considered as an heir-loom. He always threw himself directly upon the object immediately before him. In the world which surrounded him, Charles I always passed for a man without a fault, who committed no excesses, had no vices, possessed cultivation and knowledge to the fullest extent, without wishing to make a show in consequence: not indeed by nature devoid of severity, which however he tempered with feelings of humanity;—for instance, he could hardly be brought to sign a sentence of death. Since the death of Buckingham he appeared to choose his ministers by merit and capacity, and no longer by favouritism: even his queen seemed to exercise no political influence over him. But this calm, artistic, religious sovereign, certainly did not add to his qualities the cleverness which marked the administration of his father. James could never be really affronted: he put up with everything which he could not alter. Charles I had a very lively and irritable sense of personal honour: he was easily wounded and sought to revenge himself; and then perhaps he committed himself to enterprises, the scope of which he did not perceive. He wanted that general sense of the state of affairs which distinguishes what is attainable from what is not. He prosecuted the quarrels in which he was involved as zealously and as long as possible, and then suddenly renounced them. People compared him to a miser, who turns over every penny, as we say, before he parts with it, but then suddenly throws away a large sum. Yet still when Charles I made concessions, he never made them unconditionally. This trustworthy man could bring himself to balance the promises he made in public by a secret reservation which absolved him from them again. With Charles I nothing was more seductive than secrecy. The contradictions in his conduct entangled him in embarrassments, in which his declarations, if always true in the sense he privately gave them, were only a hair's-breadth removed from actual and even from intentional untruth. His method of governing the State was in itself of an equivocal character, inasmuch as he declared that he wished to uphold the laws of England, and then notwithstanding made dispositions which rested on obsolete rights and ran counter to what all the world deemed lawful: he affirmed that he did not wish to encroach upon Parliamentary government, and then nevertheless did everything to relieve himself for a long period from the necessity of summoning Parliament. Notwithstanding all the forbearance from shedding human blood which he had imposed on himself, yet he had the severest punishment inflicted upon the opponents of his system, by which even their lives were endangered. For his political aim outweighed all other considerations, and he did not hesitate to employ any means to attain it.
The system of Charles I consisted in making the royal prerogative the basis of government. He had no military forces however which he could employ to secure that object, such as at this time were used in France to maintain the supreme authority: on the contrary, foreigners were surprised to see how completely the King was in the hands of his people; that there were hardly any fortresses to which he could fly for safety in time of need; that everything depended on the laws and their interpretation. This was just what gave importance to the fact that some of the heads of the judicial body, and those too the very men who had formerly belonged to the Parliamentary party, such as Noy? and Littleton?, now became champions of the prerogative. Their change may have been due to altered convictions and lawyer-like attachment to one side, as there was much found in the laws which could be urged in favour of their present view; or it may have arisen from slavish ambition, animated by the desire to obtain the highest offices. Many persons in England as well as in France, and with the same zeal which was shown in that country, espoused the idea of the sovereignty of the crown; they thought that it was older than all Parliaments, and was acknowledged in the laws. From the duty of defending and ruling the kingdom they inferred the right of the King to demand from his subjects the means of fulfilling that duty. All the provisions of Magna Charta, or of the laws of Edward I to the contrary, or the doctrines of law-books, which in fact contained much that was indefinite and dependent upon the circumstances of the time, were of no account in their eyes in comparison with this right. And while the advocates of these views thus had a position which could be regarded as legal, the administration had already found in the Lord Deputy of Ireland a man who had the will and the capacity to develop government by prerogative to its full proportions. And the Archbishop of Canterbury, who had never wavered for a moment, so conducted the government of the Church as to uphold the King's prerogative of supremacy in ecclesiastical affairs. He appeared to aim at establishing, or rather, properly speaking, already to possess in substance a British patriarchate, such as that which long ago in Constantinople had stood beside the throne of the Greek emperors, and had promoted their views. Although different in procedure, and in the foundation on which they rested, these efforts had a general coincidence with the policy which was being carried out in other great monarchies in the name of the sovereign by ambitious ministers, obsequious tribunals, and devoted bishops. Where in England was the power which could have resisted it?
In order to realise the dull dissatisfaction and the despair of the mother-country which was spreading in consequence, we must recollect that the colonisation of New England was due to emigration from English shores. Even at an earlier time a troop of exiled believers, who termed themselves pilgrims, and who in fact were seeking a refuge in Virginia, had been driven further north, where they founded New Plymouth. After existing for ten years, the colony reckoned no more than three hundred members, and it still lacked legal recognition. But the increasing ecclesiastical oppression which prevailed in England now impelled a number of families of some property and position in Suffolk, Rutland, Lincolnshire, and Northamptonshire, to turn their steps in the same direction. Their principal object was to erect a bulwark in these distant regions against the kingdom of Antichrist, which was being extended by the Jesuits77. For they thought that they had to fear lest the English Church also should fall a victim to the ruin which had overtaken so many others. How much better, they imagined, would the faithful in the Palatinate and in Rochelle have done, if they had seized the right moment to secure an asylum for the exercise of their religion on the other side of the ocean! That country in which they could best serve God seemed to them their fatherland. As it conduced to their safety that they should not cross the sea as fugitives without rights, they obtained for themselves a transfer of Massachusetts Bay and the neighbouring territory, drawn up according to the forms of English law. But even this was not enough to satisfy them, for they did not wish to be governed from England, after the fashion of other colonies. They did not decide on transplanting themselves until they had received by charter the right of transferring the government of the colony to the other continent. John Winthrop, if not in wealth, in which some others surpassed him, yet in descent and position the most distinguished among those who conducted the enterprise was the first governor of the society and of the colony. In the year 1630 the emigrants, numbering about 1500, crossed to America in seventeen ships, sailing from different ports. But year by year other expeditions followed them78. For on this side of the water the pre-eminence accorded to the English Church was constantly becoming more decided, while on that side Presbyterianism, in the strict form in which it was now embodied, had free scope. In the year 1638 the colonists were reckoned at 50,000,and they had already established a number of settlements in the country.
And this colony even then appeared a place of refuge for political exiles. We must certainly reject as unfounded what has been so often related and repeated, that Hampden? and Pym? were hindered by the government itself from going to America: but it is true that they had entertained the thought of going. Their names are found on the list of those to whom the Earl of Warwick assigned as a settlement a large tract of coast which he had acquired79.
The catalogue of these names is also remarkable in other ways. We find on it the names of Lord Brook?, and of Lord Say and Seale?, who, like the Earl of Warwick? himself, were among those members of the aristocracy who offered the most decided opposition to the designs of Charles I and of his ministers. They passed for opponents of Weston? and of the Spaniards, and for friends of Holland and even of France. Another special bond of union was the Presbyterian interest which was, as it were, the element in which the colony lived and moved. Lord Warwick, one of the largest proprietors in England and America, was one of the principal patrons of the colony. His mother's? name is conspicuous among those of the benefactors of the new plantation.
But the nobility in general were by no means upon the side of the King. Their influence indeed had been already felt in the attacks directed by the Lower House against the rising power of Buckingham. If the King abstained from convening another Parliament, they would thus lose the principal influence upon public affairs which they possessed. The English aristocracy did not share the fiery impulses of the French; as it did not at once rise in insurrection, it did not incur those chastisements for disobedience with which the other was visited by an inaccessible power in the State. It waited for a convenient season to come forward.
Like the great nobles, and even in a higher degree than they, the landed gentry felt themselves threatened and endangered by the revival of laws which had fallen into abeyance, and claims to rights which had been forgotten. The extension of the forest-laws was effected without their participation by juries of foresters, wood-rangers, and other persons interested in the advantages which were to be expected from such an extension: their verdict was afterwards confirmed by judges discredited by the suspicion of partiality.
The displeasure of other circles was roused by the degrading penalties which the ecclesiastical courts inflicted on men of no mean position. Very few might find pleasure in Prynne's attack upon the drama; but to crop his ears for some words which referred to the Queen appeared an affront to his University degree and to the barrister's robe which he wore.
And how deeply was public feeling humiliated when the sentence of the judges followed affirming the royal claim to ship-money: men were seen passing one another in silence with gloomy looks. Even those who did not grudge the King a new source of revenue, and esteemed it necessary, were yet alarmed that it could be assured to him without grant of Parliament. The doubtful legality, to say the least of it, of this proceeding inspired anxiety lest the untrustworthy, morally contemptible and covetous men who contended for the claims of the crown, should become masters of the government, without any possible expectation of a Parliament to instil into them some fear and respect.
Such however was now the condition of affairs: no one had a position which enabled him to raise his voice to remonstrate; and any free expression of opinion involved the extremest danger. The authority of the Church and of the judges, supporting itself on its own interpretation of the laws, now governed England. This system was extending itself over Scotland by the agency of the friends and adherents of Laud: in Ireland a resolute will drew the reins as tight as possible. It seemed likely in fact that the union of monarchical and ecclesiastical power, which prevailed in the rest of the Teutonic and Latin world, would also take possession of England, and would thus gain a complete ascendancy. The foreign policy of England was fairly in keeping with these tendencies in domestic affairs. The great Anglicans and champions of the prerogative showed little ardour for the cause of European Protestantism. On the other hand the adherents of Parliament, and the Nonconformists, regarded the cause of this creed as almost identical with their own:—opposite views which were found even at court, but threw the nation most of all into confusion, and were the main cause why the efforts of the King encountered a resistance which by degrees proved insuperable.
The great struggle began in Scotland.
Not one of the governments of Protestant countries had had so little share in carrying out the reform of the Church as that of Scotland. The change had taken place in opposition to Mary Stuart, or the representatives of her rights. James I had accepted it, so far as doctrine was concerned; but he had from the first shown a dislike for the ecclesiastical constitution in which it was embodied.
His ancestors had always found support in their connexion with the hierarchy; and in the same way we have noticed that this prince, induced in the first instance by the relations of the different elements in the state, had sought to restore episcopacy. Political reasons were supported by considerations of a strictly religious character, but above all by the example of England. The establishment of episcopacy appeared to him the principal step towards effecting the union of both countries: he regarded it as one of the great tasks of his life.
Properly speaking the revival of episcopacy passed through two different stages of development during his reign.
So long as George Gladstane? was Archbishop of St. Andrews (1607-1615), the Scottish episcopate remained pretty nearly what it was originally intended to be—a superintending body such as had previously existed. Gladstane showed great indulgence in the exercise of his archiepiscopal rights themselves. He tolerated everywhere the ecclesiastical usages which had been imported from Geneva, and which allowed much freedom to the minister. Among learned theologians a school was developed, principally by Cameron's action in opposition to Melville?, which reconciled itself to the episcopal system in this shape, and many ministers adhered to it. A sensible addition was made to the strength of Anglican and episcopal tendencies when, in the year 1615, John Spottiswood? became Archbishop of St. Andrews, and thereby primate and metropolitan of the Scottish Church: he was one of the three bishops who had received their episcopal ordination from English bishops, and had in consequence espoused the theory of apostolical succession. Even Spottiswood did not go so far as to wish to take the legislative power of the Scottish Church out of the hands of the General Assembly of the clergy: on the contrary he himself, in conferring with the King, opposed a scheme of legislation which aimed at this object; but, while he reserved the rights of the Assembly he thought himself justified in using it to promote the reception of episcopal authority, and to bring about a nearer approach to the Anglican system. In this he sided with the King, even if he was personally not convinced of the necessity of a change. He cherished the opinion that obedience must be shown to the King in everything which was not in contradiction to the faith; and he asserted this principle in the Assembly of Perth in the year 1618,with such success that the King's proposals were accepted by a considerable majority.
These proposals were embodied in the decrees known under the name of the Five Articles of Perth. They decided various points, among which the practice of kneeling at the reception of the Lord's Supper, and the observance of high festivals were the most important.
But whilst the Archbishop satisfied the King, he provoked the hostility of those zealous Presbyterians who looked upon the conclusions of the Assembly, which they affirmed to have been this time influenced by the bishops, as a falling away from former laws, and were ready to urge many objections to them on the ground of doctrine. The practice of kneeling at the reception of the Lord's Supper was objected to by them, because no mention was made of it in the words of institution. They met the demand that they should observe high feast-days with the assertion that they contained points of agreement with heathenism; as for instance Christmas Day was only another form of the Norse Yule Feast80: and they laid the greatest stress on keeping Sunday strictly as the Sabbath. The rest of the Articles of Perth were almost entirely disregarded, and these two, the most important of them, were very imperfectly carried out81.
The distinction between active and passive resistance in regard to the will of the sovereign, which appears at this moment, is significant of the state of affairs. The ministers did not wish to resist the King, for they were still doubtful whether such conduct was reconcilable with the Divine commands; but they refused on their part to follow ordinances which they deemed unlawful and inconsistent with the established religion. This obedience which they refused would be active obedience: merely to abstain from resisting they also considered obedience, and this they denominated passive obedience, and believed that they might satisfy their duty by paying it82.
James I had no desire to go further, and resisted the demands of those who urged him to do so; for, as he said, he knew his people, and did not wish to fall out with them as his mother had done.
In the first years of his reign Charles I also allowed toleration to prevail. When the preachers who had been appointed before the introduction of the Articles of Perth neglected to obey them, he overlooked their omission. The affairs of the Scottish Church were left in the hands of Spottiswood, who, in spite of all counter-influences, conducted them peacefully, with foresight, and with a certain moderation. But when, after the conclusion of peace with France and Spain, the system of combining ecclesiastical with political authority began to prevail in England, affairs assumed another aspect in Scotland as well. The vacant bishoprics, which had hitherto been filled up according to the recommendation of the Scottish bishops, were now disposed of according to the wishes of William Laud, whom the King made his counsellor in the affairs of the Scottish Church as well as of the English. He, however, selected young men who concurred with him in his hierarchical and theological opinions. A new system, the Laudian, later indeed also called the Canterbury system, found acceptance in regard to the constitution and dogmas of the Church. General assemblies of the Church were as carefully avoided in Scotland, as Parliaments in England; and that with the definite object of concentrating ecclesiastical power entirely in the hands of the bishops, on which subject the testimony of the early Church was collected and put forward. At the same time favour was shown to those Arminian opinions which ran counter to the common feeling of the country in favour of Calvinism, that had been strengthened and advanced by the Synod of Dort. When Charles I came to Edinburgh in the year 1633, he was attended by Laud; and his design of introducing into Scotland the external forms of divine service in use in the Anglican Church was displayed without any disguise. In the royal chapel their introduction was attended with no difficulty; but elsewhere no one would hear of it. In Parliament the King met with opposition in his attempt to determine the most purely external matter of all,—the dress of the clergy. In proportion as the government favoured the introduction into Scotland of usages similar to those of the Anglican Church, zeal for Presbyterianism, which in contrast with these usages was identified with Puritanism, gained the upper hand. In May 1633 an address was presented to the King, in which the absence of binding force in the Articles of Perth was again pointed out, and a restoration of independent ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and of the old constitution in general, was demanded. It was urged that a General Assembly of the clergy ought to be held every year; that the prelates called to a seat in Parliament were bound by the instructions of the Assembly, and were responsible to it. What the petitioners desired to restore was the old independence of the Scottish Church as established on its first erection, free from all encroachments of the crown, and with a merely nominal episcopate such as that established by the statutes of 1592 and 1597, which the King was requested to restore.
Under the pressure of encroachments, which increased notwithstanding these manifestations of opinion, a peculiar form of opposition grew up in the Scottish Church, which at any rate went perceptibly beyond the bounds of passive obedience83. The ministers hit upon the institution of private meetings, which were held with the faithful who were in agreement with them. At the beginning of every quarter notice of these meetings was secretly given, and every member prepared himself for them beforehand by fasting. The assembled congregation then set itself to take into consideration the danger which threatened the true Church from the action of the bishops. Prayer was made to God that He would put an end to this danger by wholesome means84. At times there were even conflicts in those congregations whose ministers had submitted to the ordinances of the government. When meetings, instituted after the model of Geneva, were held before the Communion for putting an end to all mutual complaints, the ministers were called to account by some members of the congregation. People would no longer receive the Lord's Supper at their hands, nor according to the prescribed ceremonies; but they sought for men who observed the old ritual, or else they abstained altogether from communicating. To the official church of the King and the bishops, almost as in former times, when the revolt from the Papacy took place, a secret worship was opposed which united men's hearts in inward resistance to the attempts of the government.
And on this as well as on the former occasion the opposition spread to the highest circles in the country.
The Stuart kings of Scotland had striven from the beginning to break down the importance of the great vassals, which was due to the old clan relationship, but especially to wrest from them the administration of justice. King James on his last visit had instituted public discussions about questions of this sort, and with an air of triumph had announced to the chieftains the joy he felt when he vindicated his claims on these occasions. But Charles I now assailed the position which the nobles at that time occupied with regard to property. The collection of tithes had given the nobles great authority over the proprietors themselves and over the clergy who were interested in them, although only to a small extent: these he now made redeemable. He attempted to take back, either in the interests of the crown or for the endowment of bishoprics, a part of the property of the Church which had passed into the possession of the nobles during the tumultuous times of the Reformation. Even this occasioned great agitation, especially as it was intended to carry out the measure without giving compensation. Lord Nithisdale?, who attempted to enforce it in the name of the King, ran a risk of losing his life in consequence. The violence of feeling was still further increased by the favours granted in political matters to the Protestant hierarchy85. Controversies about precedence arose between the temporal dignitaries of the state and the bishops, who were reinstated and, arrayed in silk and velvet, rode to Parliament in the midst of the nobility with all the old ecclesiastical pomp. At the coronation of 1633 the King wished that the Archbishop and Primate should take precedence of the Chancellor for that one day only. The Chancellor Hay, Earl of Kinnoul?, answered that, so long as the King left his office in his hands, he would retain it with all its privileges, and that no man in a stole should walk before him. But not rank and honour alone, but very substantial elements of power, were at stake in this dispute. Among the thirty-two Lords of Articles, upon whom in Scotland the previous discussion of all resolutions to be laid before Parliament devolved, the eight bishops were the chief: they nominated the eight noblemen, and these latter the sixteen other members. It is plain that by this means they exercised a very active influence upon the deliberations of Parliament. But the ecclesiastical jurisdiction which was set up was still more burdensome to the Lords. In Scotland, as well as in England, a High Commission based upon this supreme jurisdiction of the King was instituted, in order to bring before the tribunal all transgressions of ecclesiastical ordinances, and even those persons who were only suspected of transgressing them. The Privy Council, which exercised the power of the King in Scotland, was commissioned to enforce its sentence. The clergy and the men of learning first felt the pressure of this authority, but neither birth nor rank were a defence against its proceedings. The Scots affirmed86 that the tribunal outdid even the Spanish Inquisition in harshness and cruelty. While in this way bitter feelings were raised by the collision between the high nobility and the bishops, the most disagreeable impression of all was made on the former when King Charles introduced a number of bishops into the Treasury-board, into the temporal courts of justice, and into the Privy Council. In old times the seals of the kingdom had been for the most part in the hands of learned clergymen, because from their experience in canon as well as in civil law they could best advise the King: following this practice, Charles I in the year 1635,after the death of Kinnoul, nominated an ecclesiastic, no other than Archbishop Spottiswood himself, to the Chancellorship of the kingdom87. This dignity had been latterly an object of emulation and ambition among .the temporal lords; and they felt themselves aggrieved when a clergyman, who thereby combined the supreme spiritual with the supreme temporal authority, was preferred to them. The person most mortified was Archibald Lord Lorne, afterwards Marquess of Argyle?, a man who thought that he had a definite claim to the office, and who indisputably possessed all the capacity required for it. The aspiring Bishop Maxwell? roused the jealousy of the treasurer, Lord Traquair?, who suspected an intention of dispossessing him of his place, and investing the bishop with it.
In this way the advancement of the ecclesiastical element had already roused various antipathies of a political and religious nature. The nobles feared for their possessions and for their jurisdiction, especially as some well-grounded objections might be made to the latter; principally however for their share in the authority of the state, which seemed doomed to pass into the hands of the clergy. The country clergy cherished anxiety for their independence, and the people for the accepted ecclesiastical usages with which religion itself appeared to them to be bound up. Yet all this would hardly have led to an open outbreak of discontent. Meanwhile, however, the King and Archbishop Laud again took up an old plan which had been formed by James I, had been long ready for execution, and had only been postponed on account of the difficulties into which the King had feared to fall in consequence,—the plan of fortifying the episcopal power in the Scottish Church by issuing a new book of canon law, and at the same time of binding Scotland more closely to England by bringing the Church service of that country into conformity with the English. A similar attempt on the part of the Lord Deputy had just succeeded in Ireland: why should not such a measure be forced through in Scotland? The majority of the Scottish bishops held out hopes of success.
The Book of Canon Law was first brought out. It was drawn up by three English bishops, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Bishops of London? and Norwich?, who belonged to the prevailing school of opinion. It was sent to Edinburgh, there amended, ratified in this shape by the King, in May 1635, and promulgated in the year 1636.
It stands in sharply-defined contradiction to the ecclesiastical customs and to the opinions of the Scots.
The Scottish Church had always opposed the royal supremacy:
but in the new law-book this was laid down and enforced on
pain of excommunication against all who should
resist it, on the ground that it had been exercised by the
Christian emperors of the first age. The Scots had originally
claimed an independent legislative authority for their Church
assemblies: the new law not only ordained that they must be
summoned by the King, but also that even the bishops should
not be authorised to introduce any alteration without the
previous consent of the King. Single ordinances, as for
instance those which prescribed the form of prayer in the
Church, or the consequences of divorce, ran directly counter
to Scottish usage. But the authority of the bishops, which
all the measures aimed at securing, gave the greatest
offence. The bishops alone were to have the right of
expounding the Scriptures; private meetings of ministers for
this purpose were to be forbidden; no one was to be allowed
to controvert the opinion of another minister of the same
diocese from the pulpit without permission of the bishop;
without this permission no one was to give instruction either
in public or in private; the bishops were to inflict
punishment at their discretion when any publication
appeared in print without the approval of the censor88.
It is plain that these provisions put the whole internal
life of the Church in regard to opinion and doctrine into
the hands of the bishops. And was not the constitution of
the Scottish Church virtually abolished when canons which
made so thorough a change were to be introduced without the
participation of the General Assembly? This was an affront
to the national feeling of the Scots.
Supposing it were true,
that the Scottish Kirk belonged to the province
of York (as was formerly pretended), yet more than the bare
warrant of the King would be required to introduce ordinances
which affected the life of the Church collectively. The laws
enforced beforehand, and that under threat of the severest
penalties, the acceptance of a liturgy which had not yet
In October 1636 this liturgy was proclaimed by the King, and the order to conform to it was promulgated amid the sound of trumpets. No one had yet seen it. But a rumour circulated to the effect that to the English ritual, which already retained too much of Roman Catholicism, it added still further ceremonies of a decidedly Popish tendency. It was to be introduced at Easter 1637: at last it made its appearance, at any rate in single copies.
The introduction into the Scottish Church of the English Prayer-book in its entirety had been originally contemplated, and in no other way can the arguments be explained which are given in the preface. The union of Christian churches in one system of doctrine and under one ritual was therein stated to be the most desirable end possible, which, as the authors lamented, could not be universally attained, but must be striven for in those countries which obeyed the same sovereign. The Scottish bishops, however, had thought that the book would meet with a better reception in their country, if it were not simply the English Prayer-book. Draughts of alterations were more than once forwarded from England to Scotland, and sent back again from the latter country: the King himself had a personal share in them. For the most part they were attempts to return to ancient rituals that had existed before those ages which could properly be called hierarchical. If the choice lay between Protestant forms of expression, the older were accordingly preferred to the more recent. The greatest stir was made by the formula which was prescribed for the administration of the Lord's Supper. The selection of this was connected with the differences between the first Book of Common Prayer of the year 1549, and the second of 1552, which was drawn up at a time when Swiss doctrinal conceptions exercised a stronger influence. The first form clings to the doctrine of the Real Presence: the second corresponds more nearly to the idea of a commemorative meal. Under Queen Elizabeth, who believed in the Real Presence, both formulae had been combined; in the Scottish Liturgy Laud returned to the first. Nothing is there said about Transubstantiation: the formula could not be called Catholic but Lutheran. But it was at any rate a departure from Calvinistic conceptions,.which regarded Lutheran views as far too nearly allied to Roman Catholic: popular comprehension interchanged the one with the other. But nothing more was wanting to give prevalence to the opinion, for which the way had already, been sufficiently prepared, that the Liturgy was to pave the way for the re-introduction of Catholicism.
Neither Charles I nor Archbishop Laud had any such design. But could any one be surprised that they were charged with entertaining it? The toleration which the King allowed the Catholics to enjoy, and from which the Catholic element received fresh life in the neighbouring kingdom of Ireland; his connexion with the Catholic powers; his dilatoriness in the affair of the Palatinate; his inclination to Spain, which was constantly re-appearing; the presence of a Papal envoy at the English court; the authority which men professing Catholicism acquired in the administration of the State,—all these considerations might well supply reasons why this anxiety might be felt without any discredit to those who entertained it; though rumour exaggerated their importance. Further indications were supplied by the book of Canon Law, which gave to the power of the bishops an extension corresponding with Catholic rather than with Protestant ideas; and even if fears were not exactly entertained about the further existence of Protestantism, yet the introduction of Anglican forms into Scotland could not fail to create general excitement. Tidings had just come of the shocking punishments which were inflicted in England upon the opponents of hierarchical tendencies: were men to be exposed to a similar procedure in Scotland? An instance had already been furnished of the lengths to which ecclesiastical tendencies could lead when supported by the laws against high treason, so extraordinarily severe in Scotland, Lord Balmerino? had been condemned to death for the share which he had taken in drawing up, or even in merely spreading about, the Puritan address before referred to: he owed his life solely to the mercy of the King.
The introduction of the Canons and of the Liturgy was not due to fondness for ceremonies nor to a passing fancy, but it was the keystone of the system which James I had all his life kept in view without carrying it out. Charles I took steps to bring it into execution. The Liturgy would not have had much importance without the Canons: with the latter it completed the edifice of political and ecclesiastical subordination, which for the first time reduced Scotland to complete subjection. Properly speaking the whole country was against it: it was opposed by the Presbyterian element, nowhere stronger than there, by the native government itself, and by the great nobles, who felt themselves specially threatened and alarmed by the precedent established.
Not precisely on Easter Day, but soon afterwards, the introduction of the Liturgy was begun. It did not appear in print till April, when the arrangement by which every parish was to be supplied with two copies, could be carried out. Here and there divine worship after the new form was introduced, for instance in Galloway. Opposition indeed showed itself even during service, but it was treated as a disturbance of outward order, and had no further effect.
As people delayed to purchase copies the Privy Council renewed its ordinances, threatening the refractory with the pains of rebellion. On this the bishops thought that they could no longer delay in the capital, although the murmurs were loudest there. They appointed the last Sunday before the end of the regular session of the courts of justice for introducing the new Liturgy, in the hope that people on their return home would spread over the whole land the tidings of its introduction in the capital, and that this example would be followed. They perceived a sullen movement under their feet which they hoped to put an end to by prompt and consistent action.
But the adversaries of the Liturgy would not allow matters to go so far. The execution of the measure in the capital must have been followed by so great an effect, that they deemed it necessary to resist it.
Immediately before the day appointed, a number of proud nobles and ministers zealous for the faith were seen assembling in Edinburgh. Tradition affirms, although as often happens the statement is not fully attested, that the opposition which was then offered was excited and prepared by them.
On the 23rd of July, 1637, the dignitaries of Church and State had assembled in the great church of St. Giles in Edinburgh. The Chancellor-Archbishop?, many bishops, among whom the Bishop of Edinburgh? did not fail to appear, the members of the Privy Council, although these were not all there, the members of the High Court of Justice, and the magistrates of the town, were there; they wished by their presence to give authority to this solemn proceeding. But the Dean had hardly opened the book when fierce cries arose from the midst of the assembled audience, which were redoubled when, at a signal from the Bishop, he began to read. Abusive epithets were directed against both, giving utterance to the opinion that they were lending themselves to an anti-Christian proceeding, for the sake of their own personal advantage; that the book was papistical, nay Satanic, and that Satan was already introduced into God's house. The women of the lower class who were present showed that rough impetuosity which characterises them in their personal behaviour: they rose up and threw their stools at the heads of the Bishop and the Dean?. It was necessary to remove the tumultuous crowd before the Liturgy could be read or the sermon preached: even then this was done only amid noises at the doors and showers of stones discharged against the windows. The Bishop was attacked on his way home, and was saved only by the escort and protection of a temporal lord89. And so lively and powerful was the excitement, that the lawless and seditious proceedings which had taken place could not be punished.
On the 28th of July the Provost and Baillies of the town promised to provide for the peaceful introduction of the Liturgy on the next Sunday, and for the security of the persons concerned in it. The Privy Council wished for an assurance on the part of the citizens, over whom the magistrates had not complete power. The arrangements made for this purpose were thereupon to be proclaimed with beat of drum, but the repugnance to the measure exhibited itself so strongly that no one ventured to stir it up to fresh outbreaks. On Saturday, July 29, the Archbishop and Bishops saw reason to propose that the use of the new Book of Common Prayer in Edinburgh should be postponed until the King should make known his pleasure in respect of the punishment of the tumult which had occurred, and should have taken measures for its peaceful execution. Meanwhile neither the old nor the new Liturgy was to be enforced, but only the sermon was to be delivered by obedient and compliant ministers90. The Privy Council assented to this.
The civic authorities took a fatal step when they gave way to an outbreak of the seditious feeling of the capital, and claimed the immediate interference of the distant sovereign in its behalf. In order to explain the commotion, people compared the noisy crowd with Balaam's ass, which was obliged to speak because men held silence: an expression in the Biblical phraseology of the time, which however may intimate the silent agreement of the upper ranks with the masses. They had been told that the Liturgy would destroy the old faith and bring back Popery. But what is more popular among great Protestant peoples than hatred of Popery? The ministers had from the first aimed at teaching the people that in matters of religion no blind obedience was due to the ruling powers, but that God must be obeyed rather than men. And with this doctrine on the present occasion an uprising of the multitude in the town against the magistrates was immediately connected, like those which had accompanied religious excitement on countless occasions, especially in the sixteenth century. The magistrates would have been glad to conform; but the populace held out and carried the day.
The public peace in the kingdom of Great Britain rested upon the undisturbed observance of the ordinances introduced, and on the customary obedience paid to constituted authority: the monarchy as we have seen was without weapons. But if order was to prevail anywhere, it must be disturbed nowhere. If a breach occurred in any one place, as at this time in Edinburgh, it affected the whole country. The capital of the second of the two kingdoms had, by throwing aside its spiritual, at the same time thrown aside its temporal obedience.
After this first step in resistance, a second and more
definite one was immediately taken. Some zealous ministers in
Fife met the repeated summons to introduce the book by a
demand that they might be allowed to prove it first,
especially as it had not been laid before the General
Assembly, which was the representative body of the Church.
The Bishop of Ross replied to them that they were mistaken;
that the representation of the Church was in the hands of the
bishops. But this question was the great question of the day.
The ministers, who insisted upon their old established
claims, presented a petition to the Privy Council which, amid
all this commotion, thought it expedient to hold a session on
August 23, in the middle of the vacation. In this petition
they based their request for a suspension of the order issued
to them simply on the ground that the Liturgy had not been
confirmed either by the General Assembly, which since the
Reformation had always, they said, had the management of
Church affairs, or by Parliament91.
This Church, they
is a free and independent Church, just as the
kingdom is a free and independent kingdom. They thought that
as the patriots should decide what was best for the kingdom,
in the same way the pastors should decide what was best for
the Church, They held that the Romish Church, to which this
book brought them nearer, was just as idolatrous,
superstitious, and anti-Christian now as at the moment when
they had separated from it. The expressions which the
speakers used were echoed back from all parts of the country.
The Privy Council remarked with astonishment, that even those
who had hitherto obeyed the will and the laws of the King,
made common cause with his opponents. The Council thought that
it was justified in suspending all further steps for
introducing the Liturgy until the King had again taken the
matter into consideration, and had expressed his will
And in truth there could never perhaps have been a more opportune moment for seriously weighing the position of affairs, for investigating the causes of the discontent, and for meditating how to remove them. If any one had called to mind by what means James I had once succeeded in quelling the rebellion of the town of Edinburgh, he would have found that his success had been principally due to the King's agreement with the nobles of the country. If it had been asked how he had achieved so much in ecclesiastical matters, it would have been seen that the scale was turned in his favour, because among churchmen too he always had a party on his side, and knew how to avoid steps which would excite prejudices universally felt. But on the present occasion there were found, even among the bishops, some who resisted the introduction of the Liturgy, so that the Archbishop of Canterbury himself expressed a wish to learn the objections which were made against certain articles, and showed an inclination to pay heed to them. But it is quite clear that the matter could now no longer be settled in this way. Men's minds had been seized by anxiety lest their old native Church with which the independence and freedom of the country were bound up, should be brought to an end. This fear could no longer be dispelled by the surrender of one or two controverted points of theology. The King, dissatisfied with the Privy Council, which had not, as he thought, done all that lay in its power to enforce the two books, and extremely incensed by the tumult in the Scottish capital, demanded the punishment of the disorder, and the performance of divine worship according to the prescribed form92. He did nothing to calm either the nobles or the clergy; his declaration was not calculated to meet the existing state of affairs, of which the disturbances were symptoms, but rather the symptoms themselves, which he regarded as manifestations of a disobedience which the weight of his authority would soon suppress. But while he entertained this hope, he was forced to learn by experience that the cause of resistance and disobedience received almost universal support in Scotland.
Expectations were rife that an answer from the King would shortly be communicated to the people; but at the same time fears were entertained lest an attempt should be made to introduce the Liturgy in Edinburgh by force on the arrival of the Earl of Lennox?, who was on his way from his ancestral castle to the English court. At this juncture some of the more eminent among the great nobles, such as the Earls of Sutherland?, Rothes?, and Dalhousie?, a great portion of the gentry, especially from the neighbouring counties, such as Fife, where hardly any remained at home, some deputies from the boroughs, and about a hundred ministers, assembled in Edinburgh in order to prevent the enforcement of any obnoxious measures, and to defend the ministers informed against by giving them free support in the Scottish fashion. When the reasons urged by these ministers had been stated, the assembled body declared that the introduction of the Liturgy would disturb the peace of men's consciences and the harmony of the country. They called upon the Privy Council to represent to the King the importance of the matter, which they said he ought not to regard as an ordinary tumult, and to prevail upon him not to tamper with the religion they professed. The Privy Council accepted the petition, which had the assent of its lay members; Lord Traquair had himself looked through the petition, and had softened some harsh expressions in it. The Earl of Lennox promised to do everything at court to put the King into a frame of mind favourable to it.
Thus the King's designs were met by a demonstration on the part of the most distinguished Scots, and indeed of almost the whole country itself; and it is clear into what embarrassment he must have been thrown by it, between the desire to give effect to his will, and the wish to continue at peace with the land of his birth. But from the first moment the opposition between them was too strong to be controlled by such considerations as these.
The cause of Presbyterianism in Scotland was also the cause of the Presbyterians in Ireland and England. We hear of violent pamphlets which arrived from England and poured oil upon the flame. The greatest activity was displayed by the ministers who had been banished from the Scottish colonies in Ireland. Unable to offer further resistance in that country to the ordinances of Wentworth? and of the Irish bishops, they sought refuge in Scotland: and as they found there a spirit like their own ready to meet them, they threw themselves with ardent and unbounded zeal into opposition to the progress of that episcopal authority which had compelled them to retire from Ireland. That discipline and subordination which had hitherto been maintained in Scotland had been broken up by the course of affairs above mentioned. All obstacles had thus been removed from their path in that country: the injustice which they had suffered doubled their hatred of the system of Charles I and his ministers; and they exercised an incalculable influence upon the excitement of Puritan and Calvinist feelings prevailing in Scotland93.
But the cause of the Scots appeared to be at the same time the cause of Protestantism in general, which had been everywhere placed at a disadvantage in consequence of the defeat of Nordlingen. In the year 1637 the arms of the Catholics asserted their supremacy on the Rhine and in the Netherlands. The Swedes were driven back to the coast of the Baltic, and were not disinclined to accept a pecuniary indemnity. The Peace of Prague, which united the interests of the Emperor and of Spain with those of certain powerful princes of the empire, but did not satisfy the just demands of the Protestants, appeared destined to become an inviolable law of the empire. By this superiority of the Austro-Spanish power, France, which the year before was obliged to withstand a most dangerous invasion from the side of the Netherlands, felt herself threatened. We shall return hereafter to the political complication in the midst of which France and the other powers defended themselves against this ascendancy. They believed that by so doing they were at the same time defending Protestantism. It would have seemed very damaging to that cause if King Charles, to whom all the world ascribed an inclination in favour of Spain, had succeeded in carrying out his designs in Scotland. But, even apart from this, the advance which Catholicism was once more beginning to make roused the Protestant spirit to the utmost vigilance. From the Protestant point of view, the reestablishment in a Protestant country of institutions resembling the old form of worship and the old constitution appeared exceedingly dangerous. This is the true reason why people detected a tendency towards Catholicism in the introduction of the Liturgy. It was not found in the words, but the general tone which was felt to pervade it led men to this interpretation. The Scottish troops which served under the Swedish flag, their connexion with their native country, and their movements backward and forward, were the means through which the common feeling for Protestantism at large was kept alive in their country. If the fear lest the great religious struggle should have an unsuccessful issue was in the minds of so many Englishmen one of the principal motives for emigrating to America, how could the same cause fail to act upon the Scots as well? They thought that, supported by their ancient rights and laws, they could offer resistance without incurring on this account the guilt of rebellion.
The 17th of October was the critical day for the course which they afterwards adopted.
The harvest had now been gathered in, and a still larger number of persons than before had assembled in Edinburgh, with the intention of moving the capital, where the magistrates still adhered to the side of the King, to join in the petition which had been presented; and at the same time they wished to await there the answer of the King. A courier had already brought one, which was made known on the evening of that same day. It had not exactly the character of a refusal, but rather that of a postponement94. The King declared that he could not yet give instructions on account of the disturbances which had not yet been suppressed. For this reason he suspended the competence of the Privy Council in church-matters as the first step, and caused orders to be given that all who had come to the town should leave it within twenty-four hours. In order to remove the Privy Council from contact with the excited multitude, he ordered its sittings to be transferred from the capital to Linlithgow. In this manner he thought to check the influence of popular excitement upon legislation and government. But it would be impossible to describe what a storm broke out at this announcement among the assembled people. They saw in it the intention and will of the King to carry out the introduction of the Liturgy, at any rate as soon as he should find an opportunity, in spite of the wishes of his people to the contrary. One of the ministers present, himself a Presbyterian and an opponent of the Liturgy, expresses his astonishment nevertheless at the violent agitation by which his countrymen were seized: he says that it could not have been greater if any one had wished to force upon them the Mass-book itself95. In this frame of mind they were not satisfied with repeating and enlarging the petition, but a project began to gain ground which gave its whole tone to the movement in Scotland. Not content with standing on the defensive against the Liturgy and the Book of Canon Law, the assembled people resolved to go further and to attack those to whom, in their opinion, the attempt to introduce them must be ascribed, on the ground that the measure was contrary to law. They resolved to make a formal charge against the bishops. For they thought that the bishops were the original promoters of both these books by which the doctrine and constitution of the Church established by law was to be upset; that it was intended to bring back the country to superstition and idolatry; that the King issued these commands at their instigation; and that the people were thrown into the unfortunate dilemma of being obliged either to suffer prosecutions and excommunication, or else to break their covenant with God; that every one, in fact, must endure either the vengeance of God or the wrath of the King. The nobility, the gentry, and the clergy, held separate meetings: each order had its own subjects for deliberation. However much the clergy might be divided into different schools, comprising adherents of Melville?, of Gladstane?, and even of Spottiswood?, who sought to adjust their differences, they all agreed in opposing the present innovations. The complaint was first proposed and resolved upon among the clergy, then among the gentry, then among the nobility. Before the close of the evening a commission from the three orders was appointed to draw it up, and executed a draught of it without delay96. In this the reasons assigned were first set out. It was therein said that the petitioners, as in duty bound, addressed their complaints against the prelates and bishops, to God, the King, and the country, and prayed to be heard against them before a legal tribunal. Next morning this document was signed by twenty-four lords and three hundred gentlemen, and in the afternoon by all the ministers present. To many the expressions seemed too harsh; others thought the whole proceeding too violent: but it was the only step from which they promised themselves any result. A skilful lawyer, Archibald Johnstone, the advocate, who combined zeal for the cause with a capacity for finding amid the flames of legal controversy forms which could be justified, had principally influenced the assembly at this moment, and had led them to think of a petition. They were wise in taking his advice, for what they required was not a manifestation of feeling, but the certainty of firm ground in the further conflicts that were to be expected. People felt that they would be brought to account for what had happened, and that the petition submitted to the King would be an object of judicial proceedings. The complaint against the bishops was first of all intended to put them in the position of parties concerned, and to prevent them from being able any longer to sit or to give judgment in the court of justice from which a sentence of condemnation might emanate. But this complaint had also a more comprehensive scope. Its authors did not intend to oppose the King as such, but to oppose the combination of temporal and spiritual authority, which constituted the essence of the form of state government he intended to set up. While the leaders of the movement recurred to the old laws, and considered the anti-hierarchical usage of the country as the foundation of all legality, and as that which above all must be represented in independent courts, an opportunity was gained for attacking the existence of episcopal power, whether in its present extension or under any form at all. From the existing order they went back to the circumstances of the time when Presbyterianism was in its vigour as the only legal state of things.
But if everything now depended on maintaining the legal ground, no inconsiderable obstacle appeared to arise from the inability of the Privy Council to adopt the new petition and complaint;—for this reason if for no other, that according to the last mandate of the King its commission in ecclesiastical affairs had been withdrawn. Manifestly therefore it could not take any legal action. Nothing else could be expected than that the spiritual courts, especially the High Commission, should begin proceedings against the petitioners.
The danger was increased by the fact that Edinburgh was not only still liable to punishment for the old offence, but that it exposed itself to still heavier penalties by fresh tumults. While the three orders were pursuing their deliberations there, a rush was made in the town upon the council-house. The magistrates were actually compelled to pass their word that another petition in accordance with the prevailing temper should be sent up on the part of the town, deprecating alterations in the Church97. The nobles exerted their influence in this tumult in order to check acts of extreme violence, to which the people themselves appeared greatly disposed. But at all events, public order had been disturbed afresh by this means; and people felt that they must make up their minds that the government would do everything to chastise this fresh of act of insubordination.
In order to meet this twofold danger, the assembled nobles and others, to whom on their request permission had been given to remain four-and-twenty hours longer in the capital, adopted a second resolution, which like the first entailed very wide consequences. This took place at a supper of the nobility, at which deputies from the clergy and the gentry also appeared. They agreed in refusing to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the High Commission, in case it should summon such as then signed or should afterwards sign the petitions against the two books, and to support one another in common in this refusal. By this means they not only secured themselves, but also the citizens of Edinburgh, who joined in supporting the petition, and who were expressly allowed to do so.
These were the events of October 17 and 18, 1637. If we consider merely the tumults in Scotland, they appear, as in so many other cases, to be the chance result of momentary ebullitions; but if we look at the legal steps which were coupled with them, we perceive connexion and consistency in the leading ideas. The Scots had now won a position, which they secured by mutually engaging to resist all steps which the government was expected to take immediately, and which might be detrimental to those who had shared in the resistance. At the same time, by means of the petition, the way was paved for a return to the old condition of the country, which had preceded the establishment of episcopacy; and the widest prospect was opened in consequence. The petitioners already came forward as a great association embracing the whole country.
In a new assembly which was held in the middle of November, but which was appointed at the earlier date just mentioned, an additional step was taken which imparted a certain organisation to this association.
This assembly had a different character from the preceding. All tumult was carefully avoided: those who were present were hardly noticed in the street. Conferences about the petition and the acceptance of the complaint were held with Traquair, who had come with two of his colleagues from Linlithgow to the town for this object; but the importance of the day was derived from another feature.
Those who were assembled set up a claim to be allowed to leave behind in Edinburgh representatives invested with full powers, assigning the very plausible reason that this would conduce to the general tranquillity, as they would then not be obliged to return frequently and in great numbers. It did not escape the Privy Council how obnoxious these representatives in their turn might also become: but another learned lawyer, none other than Thomas Hope, the King's Advocate, declared himself in favour of the scheme. It is affirmed that he had been in the secret of the whole movement, and had directed the steps taken from the beginning, and especially those of the nobility. He gave it as his judgment that it was lawful to choose representatives not only for Parliament, and extraordinary assemblies of the Estates, but also for every other public matter. On this the Privy Council could offer no opposition. It was determined that two members of the gentry from each county, a minister from every presbytery, and a deputy from every borough, with as many nobles as might choose to come, should constitute the representative body, but that besides these a smaller committee also, presided over by some nobleman, should sit in Edinburgh, and have immediate management of affairs98.
And into this great league the town of Edinburgh also was now admitted. For it was said that what the common people there had been guilty of in the days of the excitement amounted to nothing more than such outcry and as suppliants might oppose to the intended alteration in religion. The committee was charged to be on the watch lest anything should be done to injure them, and to take care that no attempt was made to introduce the Liturgy into the town by a surprise.
Thus the party which took the name of petitioners, came forward united in an organisation embracing the whole country. From the general body went forth the elected representatives, and from these the committee, in which the most enterprising magnates and the most zealous ministers were united. They formed a league to repel every movement on the part of the authority of the State, which might be made towards carrying out the King's policy. The most experienced lawyers, among whom was the King's Advocate himself, were on their side.
Matters had gone thus far, when in the beginning of December the Earl of Roxburgh? entered Scotland with a reply from the King. Properly speaking it did not contain a formal answer to the earlier petition. The delay was excused on the score of the disturbances in the capital, by which the honour of the King was declared to have been insulted: but, while Charles I reserved to himself the right of punishing these offences, he sought to quiet men's feelings in the matter of religion. He declared in express terms that he loathed the superstition of the Papacy from his very soul, and that he would never do anything which ran counter to the religious confession or the laws of his kingdom of Scotland. The Privy Council did not delay for a moment to have this declaration everywhere proclaimed to the sound of trumpets, and as it produced a very soothing impression, it led them to hope that they might effect an adjustment of affairs on this basis. They said that the King manifestly gave up the introduction of the Liturgy: what more, they asked, could be expected from so kind and gentle a sovereign? Traquair said that a symptom of submission on the part of the capital, a single prostration on the part of its representatives, the deliverance of their charter into the King's hands, would content the King, for that he was most interested in preventing foreigners from believing that his authority was despised by his own people.
But the united petitioners were not to be satisfied so easily.
They wished to be assured of the withdrawal of the Liturgy not
by equivocal expressions, but in distinct and final terms.
Above all, moreover, they wished to uphold the view that
theirs was the truly legal mode of proceeding. They had taken
counsel afresh with the most eminent advocates—the
names of five of them are given—how the movements that
had been begun, on the part of the town as well as on their
own, might be justified by their aim, which was the
restoration of the laws; and how on the other hand, the
illegality of the spiritual tribunals might be proved. They
showed signs of an intention to institute legal proceedings
against those who calumniously asserted that their behaviour
had been seditious. They upheld the complaint against the
bishops with unabated zeal. Traquair had already at the
meeting in November held out to them a prospect of reaching
their end, if they would take their stand on the rejection
of the two books alone. They answered that so much damage
had been done to the constitution of Church and State, and
to the freedom of the subject in regard to person and
property by the bishops and the High Commission, that they
could not be tolerated: that if the Privy Council would not
receive the complaints against them, it might at least
allow an information to be laid before it in regard to
these questions. The Privy Council at any rate did entirely
reject this proposal: it declared itself disposed
to receive both petition and information, in case the
King's answer, when it came, should fail to satisfy the
petitioners. But this had now actually happened. The
confederate Scots demanded with impetuosity the acceptance
of the petition and complaint. The Privy Council long
refused to accede to the demand; it required that at least
some violent and offensive expressions should be moderated;
but as these affected the gist of the matter, the
petitioners remained immovable. On their threat that if
their demands were refused they would betake themselves
immediately to the King with their petition, the
magistrates, who did not wish to be passed over, resolved
to receive the petition as it stood (December 21, 163799).
Lord Loudon, after the fashion which prevailed in the
courts in Scotland, appended to it (in the name of all) a
declinatory, that is, a repudiation of every judicial
sentence, which the bishops might take part in drawing up,
on the ground that they were the accused, and that they
would, if they sat, be judges of their own cause.
Thus what was clearly in itself a struggle against the will and intention of the King acquired the appearance of a legal controversy with the holders of episcopal power: the resistance in both cases was based on the same principle. For both attacks aimed at setting up again the old Kirk, so bound up with the independence of the country, as the only legitimate Church.
But all was not yet complete till the King had accepted the complaint against the bishops. Traquair set out for the court with the petition in which the complaint was embodied, with the declinatory of the petitioners and all other documents. He hoped, by giving thorough information about the state of affairs in Scotland, to induce the King to grant yet further indulgence beyond that of which Roxburgh had held out hopes.
King Charles did not really require new information about the particulars of what had occurred in Scotland; he was only too well informed of each and every circumstance by his adherents, especially by the bishops. The petitions and complaints had been given him to read before they had yet been addressed to him: he knew who had drawn them up, what exceptions had been taken to them, how they had at last been adopted: he knew the behaviour of each individual, and liked or disliked him accordingly. Traquair set before him, most of all, the power of the opposition, which he thought it was no longer possible to break down; he said that the King would require an army to procure acceptance for the book of the Liturgy: that in Scotland, now at all events, people would not allow the national Church to be governed by any one in England: that they would not submit to the influence of the Archbishop of Canterbury: that they demanded a parliament in order to bring controversial questions to a decision in the country itself; and that people would give way to such a body alone100. At least he himself affirmed that he had expressed these views. But Traquair was not a man whose statements could be accepted without reserve. He was himself one of the opponents of the bishops: he, as little as the other Scottish statesmen, wished to see them politically powerful: but at the same time, while he was aiming at acquiring importance in the estimation of the people, in order to increase his importance in the eyes of the sovereign, he fell into an equivocal position: no one trusted his assurances entirely. Other representations had also been made, according to which nothing but resolution and quiet perseverance were needed to revive the wonted obedience of the people. What a demand, it was said, was made when the King was asked to receive a complaint against the bishops who had been leagued with him in the same enterprise! He would by compliance have declared his own conduct illegal, and have broken up the constitution, which had been founded in Scotland at the cost of so much trouble by himself and his father.
The decision which he gave was the opposite of that which had been expected from him. In order once for all to avert the blow which threatened the bishops, Charles I took upon himself the responsibility of everything which had been laid to their charge. He met the suspicions which had been thrown upon the Liturgy by the assertion that it was only intended to serve as a means of strengthening true religion and of dispelling superstition: he took praise to himself for the trouble which he had personally taken in its composition: he said that there was no word in it which he had not approved: he continued firm in his resolve that it must and should be accepted. He still adhered to his point of view on church matters with a full sense of his dignity. He said that if meetings had been held and petitions forwarded to him in opposition to the book, he would ascribe this conduct rather to mistaken zeal than to intentional disobedience, and that he would pardon it; but that for the future he forbade every assembly of this kind under threat of the penalties inflicted on treason.
James I had always succeeded in keeping alive the idea of the obedience that was due to him. Following his example, Charles I came forward personally, as it were, in defence of his cause: was it not likely, he thought, that the disturbance would be kept within bounds on this occasion also by the interposition of the supreme authority? Would men refuse to seize the means of escape afforded by the amnesty which the King offered, and prefer to break with him instead?
But already during the last tumult astonishment had been excited by the slight effect which the name of the King had produced. We read in a contemporary letter that any one wishing to take King Charles's part would have endangered his life, that a demoniacal frenzy possessed the people, that men had now a notion that Popery was at their doors, and would not let it go. Baillie expresses his fear lest they should be forced to drink the dregs of God's cup which had been so bitter for the French and Dutch, and his apprehension not merely of a schism in the Church, but of a civil war.
The King had been supposed, from his previous declaration, to disapprove of the innovations attempted; for he had then said that he would maintain the laws, to which these innovations were plainly seen to be opposed: if nevertheless he now approved them, this change was also regarded as the work of the bishops only, by whom the name of the King was thought to be abused. But people could never bow to this, and allow the bishops in any way to resume those powers of which they were thought to have been virtually deprived. As the royal proclamation declared all previous assemblies and their resolutions, supplications, and petitions to be null and void, it was thought necessary, before it was received throughout Scotland, to forestal it by a protestation, and in this way to keep the declinatory in force. Measures were taken with this object at the Castle of Stirling, in Linlithgow, and above a11 in Edinburgh, where the main body of petitioners now again appeared. In order to keep them together, and to enable those who resisted the royal proclamation to take up an imposing position, a still more universal demonstration seemed requisite. More than half a century before, when the Western world was most violently shaken by the conflict between Catholicism and Protestantism, and the Scots feared that they had secret adherents of Catholicism present among them, they had set up a confession of faith in which all leanings in that direction were abjured in harsh terms (March, 1581). This confession, which King James had approved, had been considered as a covenant of the nation with its own members and with God, for it was sworn to in the high name of God. A design was now embraced not only of renewing it, which had been done more than once, but of giving it a fresh and immediate importance by adapting it to the prevailing tone of affairs. Alexander Henderson? and Archibald Johnston? the lawyer, who were the leaders and pioneers of every step of the movement, were commissioned to draw out the alterations, which they then laid in the first instance before Lords Rothes, Loudon and Balmerino. It was not altogether an easy matter to find a formula with which not only those who had previously conformed would be contented, but those also who from the beginning had placed themselves in opposition: at last however one was arrived at. The gist of the declaration drawn up lies in the identification of the King's efforts to reduce them to Anglicanism with the hostile movements of the Catholics in former times. It was laid down that the religious abuses noticed in the last petitions and declarations might be looked upon in the same light as if they had been condemned in the old confession: every one pledged himself to withstand them with all his might as long as he lived, and in so doing to defend each man his neighbour against every one: whatever was done to the meanest among them on this account was to be considered as affecting each and all of them in their own persons. On February 28, 1638, this agreement—of all which bear the name of Covenant the most famous—was read in the church of the Black Friars at Edinburgh from the original parchment on which the clerk had written it, and after the scruples which some few ventured to express had been easily set aside, was at once signed. The first who then and there appended his name was the Earl of Sutherland?: a whole series of the most distinguished names in the country followed his: then the members for the counties and the gentry signed, and the day after, the citizens and the clergy. The document was spread out on a tombstone in the churchyard. Many are said to have opened a vein in order to sign it with their blood; others added to their names words which gave additional force to their\ signature. With the religious enthusiasm of those who signed—for in fact people thought that they were opposing an insuperable barrier to Popery, and were establishing for ever the prevailing faith—the feeling found vent that only in this way could they secure themselves against the hostility of the bishops and the strong arm of the King. But this was more important for the inhabitants of Edinburgh than for any one else. The original document was carried through the streets of the town attended by women and children who cheered and wept at the same time.
Every one still avoided mentioning the King's name with any feeling of hostility in these proceedings: they asserted on the contrary, that they were contending for God and for the King. But who could have failed to perceive that the current of the agitation would be turned against the King himself, in proportion as he declared that the cause of the bishops was identical with his own? He had once more solemnly proclaimed the old policy of an alliance between hierarchical principles and the monarchy. But the Scottish petitioners, in a meeting which he declared .to be treasonable, set before him demands which aimed at dividing the sceptre and the mitre for ever. They explicitly stated that the recall of both books would not content them: they demanded the withdrawal of the High Commission, the origin of which they said was illegal, on the ground that powers such as it possessed could only be conferred by the General Assembly and by Parliament. They demanded, not exactly the abrogation of the Articles of Perth, for they had been adopted in Parliament, but the abolition of the penalties annexed to their infringement, for which no such authority was found. They did not in so many terms desire the removal of bishops, but asked for the restoration of the restrictions under which they had formerly been appointed: they adhered to their demand that the bishops should be called to account for their transgression of the laws of the land, and that before the Presbyterian General Assembly, by virtue of the statute of 1610: they wished that this should be summoned yearly for the future: that the Church should be secured by statute of Parliament, so that no alteration affecting it should ever be introduced unless the General Assembly had been previously informed of it101.
It was Henderson and Johnston who put these demands into shape, as well as the preceding: they were laid before the King almost as conditions of peace from which no abatement could be made.
Charles I was surprised, affected, and deeply mortified. What he had undertaken was nothing new, nor strictly speaking arbitrary. He felt himself free from any real inclination towards Catholicism. All that he had set his heart on was the close union of Scotland with England, the removal of oppressive aristocratic privileges, and the strengthening and confirmation of the monarchy. His ordinances were but a fresh step along the path on which his father had entered. But downright crying acts of violence are not needed to call forth violent and general storms. What stirred men's feelings and provoked opposition on this occasion was the stronger pressure which the King thought himself entitled to use, but which the people and the great nobles feared would effect the completion of a detested system. Taking their stand on the ancient laws of the country, which they expounded in a popular and Presbyterian sense, the Scots set themselves with logical consistency to curtail the importance of the monarch. From defensive they passed to offensive measures. King Charles thought it almost mockery in them to set the new Covenant on a level with the old102: for although in both the duty of mutual defence had been set forth, yet in the old steps were to be taken under the lead of the King; in the new, on the contrary, they were directed against every one, without excepting even the King, and therefore under certain circumstances even against him: and he thought that the man who entered into such a League could be no good subject. The demands moreover which were laid before him at the same time, ran directly counter to the principles with which he started: they annihilated the power of inflicting punishment, which had hitherto been based upon the co-operation of royal with episcopal authority, and transferred it to the General Assembly, which at the same time retained an extremely strong lay element. This power of inflicting punishment however, combined with the interpretation of the laws, constitutes in a non-military state perhaps the most important attribute of the sovereign. The idea of divine right and power from above to which Charles I adhered, was speedily and boldly met by another theory, which, although it did not reject monarchy, yet in substance undertook to build up the edifice of Church and State from beneath.
King Charles thought that the Scots wished to give him somewhat of the position of a Venetian Doge, but that he would not yet be reduced to the necessity of complying. He was confident that he still had a party of his own in Scotland.
The signature of the Scottish Covenant had run the natural course of a great political party movement. The universal bias of men's minds, the esteem in which a few great names were held, the insistence of active leaders, made up for any lack of conviction. A number of copies on parchment, to which were appended the most influential names, were set in circulation in the provinces: noblemen and important landed proprietors canvassed for the signature of their friends: certain objections were silenced by assurances of loyal intentions: here and there recourse was had to threats, and even to active measures against recalcitrants. Yet there were still many who refused to sign. They felt themselves repelled by the violent character and method of the proceeding, by the absence of higher authority, and by the comparison of Anglican with Popish institutions; or else they had some regard for the King: many indeed thought that Episcopalianism would still gain the upper hand. The learned school of Aberdeen called attention to a statute of 1585, which forbade all associations of which the King had not been previously informed. One at least among the great nobles, George Gordon, Marquess of Huntly?, who had adopted the doctrines of the episcopal system at the court of James I, adhered to the side of the crown in spite of all incentives to the contrary. He said that his house had always been connected with the royal family, and that it should stand or fall with it103. And though the Privy Council had at first promoted the movement by its connivance, it immediately withdrew it, as soon as it was perceived that the centre of gravity of ecclesiastical and political life was to be placed in the General Assemblies independently of the government: from that time most official persons severed themselves from the leaders of the nobility. They thought that they would be able to resist the anti-monarchical alliance which had been formed between the aristocracy and the popular and religious elements, and to defeat it, if only the King would show discretion at the right moment. They acted consistently with their original position in asking him to do away with the two books in which his system had reached its culminating point, and to modify the Court of High Commission: as for the rest they only wished that he should promise himself to take the grievances of the country into consideration, and so remove them in accordance with the laws. Traquair and his friends by no means wished for a General Assembly with such extensive powers as the Covenanters demanded: they had reached a point beyond which they did not mean to go.
Charles I at that time, to use an expression current even in England, had formed a Junta to deliberate on the affairs of Scotland. It consisted of Arundel, Cottington, the Secretaries Coke and Vane, and a few Scots of high rank, the Duke of Lennox, the Earl of Morton and the Marquess of Hamilton. Archbishop Laud was only now and then admitted to take part in it, for the embarrassment of affairs in Scotland had already entered on a stage in which principles at once episcopal and monarchical were no longer a safe guide. Even in this Junta the views of the Scottish statesmen asserted themselves: one of their number, the Marquess of Hamilton?, was selected, and undertook to go to Scotland as Lord High Commissioner representing the King, and to make an attempt to compose the disturbances on the basis of concessions to be made by the King in accordance with the views of the Scottish Privy Council.
Hamilton had lived at the English court from his youth. Early in life he had married a niece of Buckingham, and, supported by this connexion, in consequence of which his wife filled an important office at court, had been brought into the closest relations with the royal family. The King bestowed on him his unreserved confidence. He had once been warned against Hamilton, who had an hereditary claim to the crown of Scotland: the effect of this warning was that, the very next time he saw him, he invited him to share the same sleeping apartment with himself on the following night. Hamilton had given no special attention to study, but he possessed natural gifts; a keen and solid understanding, sound judgment, and imperturbable calmness in discussion: his counsels had the greatest influence upon the King. In his political and even in his personal attitude, he as well as the King was dependent upon the change of circumstances. His mind had a natural tendency to conciliation and compromise, in consequence of which he had supported John Dury, who travelled about promoting with unwearied zeal the union of the Protestant confessions. Devoted to the King, popular with the Scots, averse from all extremes, he appeared to be the man best fitted to stem the further progress of the quarrel that was every day becoming more dangerous104.
In May 1638 James Marquess of Hamilton set out for Scotland. The royal declaration seemed very well calculated to further his design. He communicated it privately in the first instance, in order to found his negotiations on it; and in the beginning of July he made it known publicly. In it the King reasserted in the strongest terms that he would adhere to Protestantism, and would not attempt to introduce any innovation in Church and State in Scotland; that he would no longer insist upon the reception of the Liturgy and of the Rook of Canons; that he would bring the High Commission into harmony with the laws of Scotland, and would summon a General Assembly and a Parliament at his earliest convenience105. The Scottish government expressed its thanks to the King for his assurances, and he hope that his subjects would as was proper show themselves well satisfied with these concessions.
In fact these concessions corresponded to the original intentions which still prevailed in many quarters. Had the King's instructions appeared on the memorable 17th of October, things might have taken another turn. But they could not satisfy those who on that day had revived their complaint against the bishops with fresh vehemence, and had thereupon signed the Covenant. They observed that the two books and the High Commission were not actually abolished by the King's concessions, still less the Articles of Perth; that moreover no mention of their petition was made by the King; that no notice was taken of the guilt of the bishops, and that the time of summoning a General Assembly was left unsettled.
Hamilton offered the malcontents to call an Assembly and a Parliament at once, if they would renounce their Covenant and would deliver up the original document. But how was it likely that that condition should be secured? The zealous Scots declared that they would rather forswear their baptismal obligations than the Covenant, the best document that had been drawn up in Scotland since the fabulous days of Fergus. They affirmed that it was a mistake on the King's part to think that it threatened his authority. They said that they acknowledged that their weal depended on the weal of the King, who was set over them as God's vicegerent, to uphold religion and to administer justice.
In order to satisfy the religious zeal which was still coupled with loyalty to the King, the Scottish Council hit upon the plan of setting up in opposition to the Covenant of February another which should emanate from the King himself. In this the clauses referring to the latest measures of the government and to the hostile feeling they had aroused, or implying the possibility of offering resistance to the King himself, were to be left out, but the anti-Catholic tone of the first was to be retained, and to be as prominent as ever. The Scottish statesmen affirmed that if the two books and the Articles of Perth were then recalled, the High Commission dissolved, and the General Assembly acknowledged, there was ground for entertaining not merely a hope but a confident expectation that general contentment would revive in the nation, and that all opposition would be put down at home: for that the movement in the nation had been caused by anxiety about innovations opposed to Protestantism, not by any feeling of disloyalty.
On the advice of the highest officials in Scotland and of his friend Hamilton, the King conceded all these points. He consented to the proposal for renewing the old Covenant of his father's time: he wished this to be signed at his own injunction, and a proclamation making new concessions was published in Edinburgh on the 20th of September106. The Privy Council expressed its agreement with this proclamation, which it characterised as the only thoroughly sufficient means of securing Church and State. They thought that the King's subjects should prove their gratitude to him by hearty obedience, and that whoever henceforth should venture to disturb the peace of the realm ought to be chastised with all severity. The old Covenant was signed by the members of the Privy Council, and was then transmitted to the King in proof of re-established harmony. Proclamation was made with his sanction that a free General Assembly should be held on the 21st of November following at Glasgow, and a Parliament at Edinburgh in the May of the next year. And in the nation these measures were received with hearty approval in many quarters. The provost, baillies and town council of Glasgow voted the Lord High Commissioner an address of thanks for his exertions, with which the clergy expressed their concurrence in glowing terms. The University of Aberdeen had always condemned the Covenant of the Lords, because it had been entered into without the consent of the King. Its members signed the old Covenant without scruple; certain restrictions were attached it is true, but such as betrayed a leaning to episcopal government, and an aversion from the claims of the national assemblies of the Church. Of the fifteen Judges of Session who had been brought back again to Edinburgh by Hamilton's means, nine affixed their signature to the old Covenant. Even the Lord Advocate?, who had at first assisted the opposition by his advice, now affirmed that the King's declaration was the greatest piece of good fortune which had befallen the Church of God since the Reformation.
And certainly from the point of view of religious controversy this appeared to be the case. The King's concessions only needed to be maintained and to be confirmed in the popular assemblies appointed to be held, in order to constitute a firm foundation for the freedom of the Church and for that of the State, which was closely connected with it. Charles I in these negotiations cannot be accused of obstinate adherence to a foregone system. He granted everything which the Scots had originally demanded.
This compliance however did not content them; and we cannot be very much surprised that it did not. It is ever the rule that when political parties are repelling an injury done them, peculiar tendencies of more general application grow up in them. The development of strength, which was necessary for obtaining some end, feels capable of asserting itself in a yet wider sphere. Individual positions, which the holders will not surrender, obligations to which those who undertook them will not prove false, contribute to the same result. In Scotland at that time, Lord Rothes, a man of easily excited popular and enterprising nature, found himself, to his infinite satisfaction, at the head of a powerful and constantly increasing party whose reverence he enjoyed. Lord Loudon?, who had not long left the schools, felt a natural satisfaction at the scholastic element in the controversy, at the opposition of ideas, and the subtle distinctions and syllogisms which it presented. The conflict which had been opened offered the widest scope to his ambition, which had been repressed by his feelings of loyalty107. Hamilton represented to these noblemen that, after the King had done so much for them, they also were bound to do something for him. He thought that he might arrange with them what should be brought forward and decided in the assemblies appointed to be held. He demanded from them, if they would not go so far as to sign the old Covenant, at least such a modification of the new Covenant as the King could accept. But they declared that they would thus be themselves condemning the oaths which they had taken, and induced others to take: they did not deny that it would have been desirable for them to have had the King's authorisations for those signatures and oaths; but they added that the less authority they had had, so much the less hypocrisy, and so much the more truthfulness and freedom there had been. Extensive alterations had followed from the acceptance of the Covenant: in the presbyteries the moderators appointed under the influence of the bishops had been again ejected: in an assembly of burghs the resolution had been taken to retain no magistrate who had not signed the new Covenant. They asked whether they were again to destroy what they themselves had founded, and to break up the alliance which made them powerful, and which gave them a better security than all the proclamations of the King? For his concessions appeared only to have been extorted by circumstances; they expected that when circumstances altered, they would again be withdrawn.
And, moreover, the Scottish Covenanters had not yet reached their ultimate aim. The design of abolishing episcopacy, of which they had always been accused, but which they had hitherto, perhaps with truth, disclaimed, was now become their conscious intention. The main reason of their protest against the King's proclamation was, that they might not appear pledged to maintain the institution of episcopacy. They now applied their whole influence to prevent the signature of the royal Covenant.
It is worth noticing how completely aristocratic and religious interests were blended on this occasion. In counties in which the great lords were most powerful the Covenant of the King did not receive a single signature. A prophetess arose, who declared this Covenant to be made by Satan, the people's Covenant to be given from Heaven: and her utterances found credit. The latter Covenant was indeed a logical result of the great commotion, and conducted to further extremes the enthusiasm out of which this commotion had arisen: the former was a resource taken up under the pressure of circumstances, and gained no confidence.
These influences had their effect on the elections to the General Assembly which now came on. The committee of the Covenanters which sat in Edinburgh exercised the greatest influence over them. Their instructions to the presbyteries are extant, in which they caution them to elect no one who had shared in the institution of bishops or in the proceedings of the High Commission, or had acquiesced in the imposition of the Liturgy: but on the other hand, to make provision in the proper place for the election of members of the nobility and gentry belonging to their party108; and generally to prepare carefully for the elections, in order that the votes might not be split up. Even before this time a dominant influence had often been exerted in the election of representatives, for instance, in France, in the constitution of the Assemblies of the League; but this was perhaps the first occasion on which popular elections had been conducted by a committee with such precise instructions. In the elections the adherents of the Covenant of the nobles were completely victorious.
The Assembly of the Church which was opened on November 21, 1638, in St. Mungo's Cathedral, at Glasgow, presented a very extraordinary spectacle. On the floor of the church the lords and gentlemen were seen sitting at a long table as the elected elders of the Church; but their spiritual capacity did not prevent them from wearing swords at their sides and daggers in their belts. Behind them on benches, which rose as in an amphitheatre, sat the preachers: separate galleries were erected for the public, for the nobility, and the commons.
Hamilton had hoped to sever the interests of the ministers from those of the lay elders, and to enlist the former body on the side of the King. This sight was enough to teach him how greatly he had deceived himself. He still thought that the elections most obnoxious to him, which had not unfrequently been conducted in a disorderly manner, might be set aside on a scrutiny. In fact, some elections were declared invalid: but these were only cases in which men not partisans of the Covenant had been chosen. The Assembly constituted itself entirely in accordance with the views of the Covenanters. Henderson was nominated moderator: Johnston who, as secretary of the Edinburgh Committee, had had the greatest share in conducting the elections, was nominated secretary of the Assembly.
Charles I had hoped that the General Assembly would be constituted according to the forms in use when it had last met under his father, when hardly anything had been heard of the lay elders. In that case it might have been expected that episcopacy would be maintained, even if it were made subject to the general representative body of the clergy. But without applying to him for permission, an elder had been elected to represent every presbytery, and that without regarding whether the elder so elected was resident in the presbytery or not. The leaders of the movement, who were the original promoters and subscribers of the Covenant rejected by the King, and declared by him irreconcilable with the duty of a subject, now confronted him as the most prominent members of an Assembly invested with undefined right.
Everything had been already prepared beforehand in the Assembly for taking the decisive step against the bishops. Just at the time of the elections it had been recommended that proofs of their guilt should be collected, and preparations made for an abstract discussion on the nature of their office. The bishops now handed in a declinatory on their part also, in which they especially insisted on the point that an assembly composed for the most part of laymen, had no longer an ecclesiastical character, and by the ancient usages of the Church was incapable of sitting in judgment on bishops. But in the prevailing state of opinion, how could any regard be paid to this objection? The Moderator put the question to the Assembly, whether they did not consider themselves nevertheless as the legally-constituted tribunal for judging the bishops. The Lord Commissioner would have allowed judicial proceedings to be taken against the bishops, but only in a General Assembly summoned according to the forms usually adopted of late, not in this Assembly, against which he had protested from the beginning, and which every one knew to be contemplating the entire abolition of episcopacy. He thought that he could not await the issue of the voting. He once more explained why he was obliged to declare the composition as well as the claim of the Assembly to be illegal; and he then pronounced its dissolution in the name of the King. But the Assembly was now in a humour which mocked at the exercise of any authority on the part of the crown. Henderson said that the Lord Commissioner might uphold the prerogative of his master as much as he pleased; but that there was yet another prerogative, that of the Church of God, and the General Assembly must take care of this. He first put the question to the Assembly whether, in spite of the declaration which they had heard from the Commissioner, they thought of proceeding with their deliberations. Only some ten votes were given in the negative. Then he returned to his former question, whether the Assembly regarded itself as the tribunal which had jurisdiction over the bishops; and this was answered unanimously in the affirmative109. This took place in the seventh session of the Assembly, on November 28, 1638. On the 29th a proclamation from the King was read in the Market-place of Glasgow, by which all further meetings of the members of the illegal Assembly were forbidden, and all resolutions which it might draw up were declared null and void. The Assembly made answer on the same spot by means of a protestation, in which they refused to allow this dissolution to take effect. One of their reasons was the necessity in which they found themselves of rejecting the Royal Covenant and of maintaining their own. The members of the Privy Council had all of them signed the King's proclamation: only one name was missing, that of Lord Lorne?, now Earl of Argyle, one of those ambitious and capable men, who with sure instinct attach themselves to the power which is strongest. He had chosen this moment for passing over from the side of the royal Covenant to that of the Covenant of the nobles and the people.
Thus these elements, whose previous struggles had still left a hope of reconciliation, now opposed one another face to face in open and irreconcilable hostility.
The intention originally professed was only that of abolishing the arbitrary innovations of King Charles, and of returning to the ordinances which James I had carried out in the General Assemblies and Parliaments after his accession to the throne of England. But it had always been the opinion of the staunch presbyterians, who dated the decay of the Church from the rise of the royal influence, that even this course should be opposed: and the ruling thought of the Assembly at Glasgow was directed to the same end. Everything was there declared invalid, which had been enacted in the Assembly of Linlithgow in the year 1606 and in subsequent Assemblies. The two Books, the High Commission, and with them also the Articles of Perth were not merely rejected: it was declared a crime to have taken part in their composition or introduction. Episcopacy was not only abolished on the ground that it had no warrant in God's Word, but it was abjured. Upon the Bishops who had taken part in the ecclesiastical enactments of the last ten years, sentence of excommunication and deposition was pronounced; upon the others sentence of deposition alone. And how could bishops and lay elders even exist side by side? The former exhibit the authority of the Church as hierarchical; the latter exhibit it as democratic in principle. The chief obstacle that prevented the Kings from establishing the authority of the bishops was in truth the independent origin of the Scottish national Church, and the correspondence which existed in consequence between its fundamental arrangements and this origin. The institution which they had wished to make the basis of their influence over the Church was now shattered and annihilated. The most important agencies affecting the state of affairs were involved in the opposition between the bishops who supported the crown. and the lay elders whose rights were bound up with the congregation and with the subordinate temporal authorities.
We shall not, I think, go too far if we consider the Scottish General Assembly at Glasgow, notwithstanding its original ecclesiastical purpose, as nevertheless affording at the same time a type of subsequent national assemblies which had a purely political aim. In the conflict of opposite tendencies a party has here grown up which enjoys general sympathy to a wide extent, and aims at effecting a thorough transformation of the whole condition of Church and State: the supreme authority is compelled by it to assent to the meeting of an assembly able to bring about this result: this party controls the elections, and by a definite organisation brings to pass a result wholly in accordance with its wish: its leaders themselves are thus invested with a public character: they obtain a position in which they proclaim their intentions as the desire and will of the nation, above all of the national Church, and are able to force them upon the sovereign, whose ecclesiastical authority they repudiate. The moment at which Henderson refused to dissolve the Assembly at the demand of the King's Commissary, however widely the circumstances may differ in other respects, may well be compared with the first steps by which, a century and a half later, the newly-created French National Assembly for the first time withstood the commands of its King. The Assembly of Glasgow held its sittings, carried on its deliberations, and drew up resolutions after it had been dissolved by the King, and its continued existence had been declared an act of treason. People realised quite well what this state of things meant110. Into the world, already filled with various fermenting elements, another was introduced which, not only from its inherent nature, but from the method in which it asserted itself, had, both here in Scotland and everywhere else, a boundless prospect open before it.
1 Aluise Contarini, 20 Agosto 1628: 'Essendo trattenuto ben quatro hore a disputar, risolver et adomesticar il negotio: sempre coll' assistenza di Carleton che in questo fatto si è portato egregiamente.'
2 'Tutto è vero, ma il mio honor più.'
3 'That they should hazard for the relief of the town all his ships, that he purposed not to have it left re infecta, whatever it might cost.' Mead to Stuteville, in Ellis iii. 269.
4 Contarini, Nov. 18. 'Non può con doppio dishonore et parlare et perdere.'
5 Contarini to Zorzi: 'Mi manda a dire in molta confidenza che non vorrebbe disgustar il re interessandosi troppo in questo affare.'
6 'S'il y a quelque chose à ajouter ou à diminuer, se fera de part et d'autre de gré à gré' Traité de paix fait à Suze, 24 Avril 1629, Art. iv. Dumont v. ii. 580.
7 Zorzi to Contarini, Jan. 20, 1629: 'Che la Francia non vorrebbe servirsene. che da sola apparenza senza sturbar il riposo del re et il gusto degli Inglesi.'
8 Contarini to Zorzi, Nov. 21: 'Questo parte (l'Inglese) piu non insiste d'esseme direttrice—punto grande guadagnatosi—ma vederebbe volentieri che Ugonotti non si dolessero da lei che li havesse abbandonati et il re vi ha riflesso.'
9 A. Contarini designates this view as 'la massima con la quale credo d'haver portato questo negocio.' (8 Giugno 1629).
10 Cp. Slange ii. I. 378. Schlegel's doubts are done away by the news which Anstruther gave to England about the 'abboccamento seguito tra il re di Danimarca e Suecia, et i buoni concerti stabiliti tra loro per difesa del mar Baltico.' Dispaccio Veneto 1 Mayo, 1629.
11 Aitzema: Saken van staet en orloogh i. 243. Contarini avers that the squadron, consisting of five ships, had gone in the direction of the Elbe.
12 'Istis locis nullam esse classem, deesse navigia, quibus bellum mari possit sustineri,—Danis in promtu esse classem quam indies Soeci, Angli, Batavi novis augeant subsidiis.' Extract from the report of the Generals in Adlzreiter, Ann. Boici iii. 1821.
13 Contarini, 29 Giugno: 'Per unir seco con qualche buon concerto tutto questo settentrione.'
14 Contarini, 2 Giugno 1628: 'La pace gridata a piena bocca dei popoli o con Francia o con Spagna o con tutti, rispetto a1 commercio.'
15 'Je ne doute pas, que Rubens n'ait declaré nettement ce que Gerbier lui a propose.' Lettre de l'Infante 1628.31 Mai (Gachet, Lettres de Rubens); so that it seems as if people in Spain had doubts about it.
16 'Che si confermi semplicemente l'ultima pace fatta col re Giacomo, lasciando il negotio del palatinato vergine senza parlarne, admettendosi nel resto in quel trattzto l'assistenza a stati et altri amici di questa corona.' Contarini (here our principal authority), 20 Luglio 1629.
17 According to Contarini (Aug. 3) we must date the decisive meeting of the Privy Council on July 19/29, 1629.
l8 There is an order to the vice-admirals extant, dated March 8, 1630, in which they are admonished to allow no rudeness or insolence to be shown to the ambassador of the King of Spain, who was expected to arrive shortly. Bruce, Calendar of State Papers 1630, No. 50.
19 Contarini gives us part of the contents of a note of Coloma to the King of England: 'Pienissima attestatione che nel cattolico sia vivo e cordiale desiderio de sodisfare a1 re della Gran Brettagne in tutto quello piu si possi—che per ridurre in stato di riuscita il negotio della restitutione del palatinato sia necessario che prima di tutte le cose segua la pace tra le due corone nella quale debbe esser incluse il principe Palatino.' (26 Aprile 1630).
20 'A writing under the King of Spain's own hand and seal, promising never to take off his hand from that negotiation, until the King our master should have entire satisfaction touching the restitution.' Windebank to Aston,in the Clarendon State Papers i. 780.
21 Letters from the King to the Queen. Rushworth ii 61.
22 'Though I am not much rejoiced at it, yet I am so confident on my dear brother's love and the promise he hath made me not to forsake our cause, that it troubles me the less.' (Elizabeth to Carlisle, June 1630, in Green's Princesses of England v. 482).
23 Roe to Henry Earl of Holland, in Bruce Calendar 1631-1633, Pref. x.
24 Report in Rushworth ii. 132.
25 Letter to Lechhausen, April 1632. Rushworth ii. 175
26 Chemnitz: Schwedischer Krieg ii. 87.
27 Gussoni, 27 Maggio 1633: 'Ha fatto vedere il secretario, che nell' estesa della scrittura, con avveduto riguardo dell' Armstruder a niente rimaneva impegnata l'Inghilterra,—il trattato si stipulò tra l'Oxistern et l'administratore solamente per mezzo di deputati di quel duca, il che qui piacque sommamente.'
28 Ib. 29 Luglio. 'Il motivo pare habbia risregliato nei sudditi nuovi susurri che no convenga esborso di danaro per altra via che per l'ordinaria del parlamento.'
29 Documents in the Clarendon Papers i. 57.
30 The French ambassador Seneterre writes on the 28th of April 1635. 'La grande liaison de Mes. les états avec le roy (de France) leur donne grande jalousie.'
31 Arundel to Windebank, in the Clarendon Papers i. 611: 'Onate confessed that the paper given My lord Cottington was never any ground of treaty, hut only as considerations of conveniency between the two crowns, which must fall to a fit consideration after.'
32 Parrafos de un papel del conde duque. 1613, Archives of Brussels.
33 Selden: Mare clausum. The title-page of the English translation contains the words: 'In the Second book is maintained, that the King of Gr. Br. is lord of the circumfluent seas.' The book was looked over by Charles I, and expressly sanctioned by the Privy Council, March 26, 1636.
34 Gussoni, Relatione 1635: 'É massima fondamentale di stato in Inghilterra d' invigilare sempre ad essere pià potente di tutti i suoi vicini sul mare.'
35 Coke says to the Venetian ambassador, who is speaking to him about the old alliance of the Union: 'Tutto sia bene, ma bisogna avvertire che le cose restino in fine nel proprio equilibrio e che la Lilancia non preponderi nè dall' uno nè dall altro canto.' (Gussoni, 16 Maggio 1634.)
36 The articles in Khevenhiller xii. 1696.
37 'Ubi ad tractatus ventum fuerit quoad dignitatem electoralem et reliqua petita. cum (S. C. M,) servatura sit modum, ut in iis quae aequis conditionibus concedi poterunt habeat cum serenissimus Britanniae rex, unde studium in se at bene-volentiam, tum supradictus quoque Palatinus propensam in se gratiam possit cognoscere.' Clarendon Papers i. 461.
38 Taylor to Windebank, March 3: Clarendon Papers i. 454.
39 Upon a confident assurancy of Tayler that H. Maj. shall have both the Emperors and King of Spains assurancy under their hands for a present restitution of the lower Palatinate and of the electoral dignity after the death of Bavaria, H. Maj. hath made choice of the Earl Marshall.' Windebank to Aston, ibid. i. 509.
40 'Foedus arctissimum,' out of which, in the letter of authorisation to the Emperor's plenipotentiaries, had grown a 'foedus tam offensivum qualm defensivum.'
41 The declarations exchanged are in Khevenhiller xii. 2103.
42 The King of Bohemia delivers his opinion that 'whereas owing to their unreasonable wishes either the crown of Spain and Electoral Bavaria, or England must be rebuffed, it were desirable to retain the old confidence and tried friendship of Spain and Electoral Bavaria, rather than to commit themselves to an untrustworthy alliance with England.' Khevenhiller xii. 2122.
43 Relation de Mr. Fontenay, 4 Juin 1634 'Le tresorier veut la paix et pour sa substance et par sa foiblesse: c'est pourquoy il demeure neutre entre France et Espagne'. Cp the instructions to the ambassador Poigny in the 4th vol of Avenel's Lettres du Cl Richelieu.
44 Gussoni. 'Gode la fortuna d'esser il piu autorevole e superiormente favorito di S.M.—sogetto di cupo e di sagace ingegno, benche nell'esteriore non di dimostii non amabile, anzi ruvido di natura '
45 A Contarini, Aug. 24, 1637: 'Ha saputo dar ad intendere a1 re' che tutti gli altri cerchino d' ingannarlo e che lui solo vole conservario nella sua autorità independente della volontià di parlamenti '
46 Summary in Rushworth ii. 71. Cp. Hallam, Constitutional History ii. 76.
47 A. Correro gives the sum (Relatione di 1637). Cp. Garrard to the Lord Deputy, in Strafford Letters i. 413.
48 Garrard to the Lord Deputy, in Strafford Letters ii. 117.
49 A. Correro: 'Per dubio che mettendosi in scompiglio tutte le provincie, non si sollevassaro.'
50 A. Correro mentions 'Imposte annuali perpetue in virtú della regalità nominatamente sopra abloni, che sono ingredienti per far la birra, vini, taverne, tabacco, carboni di terra, saponi e simili.'
51 Or, as he says again, 'havendo fatta strada all' autorità assoluta per la legale.'
52 Mr. Attorney General, his second day's argument (in Rushworth ii. 573): 'I find by the books that are kept in the council chamber, that the preparations were in October ao. 87; I find no parliament called that year; yet by the letters and orders from the council board these ships and defence that were made, was adsumpt of the subject.
53 The charges that were afterwards brought against individuals with regard to this transaction, and are still repeated at the present day, may be passed over. especially as the intentions of each person cannot be ascertained. There can be no doubt that Lord Coventry had a great share in it.
54 A. Correro, Relatione 1637: 'Stanno attaccati alle leggi come ad un asilo e litigano le cause sotto la loro protestatione con solo fine che le leggi si veggano violate ed essi costretti.'
55 Forster, Statesmen ii. 122.
56 Panzani, Relatione dello stato della religioine: 'Ognuno confessava che non mai si erano veduti tempi migliori: non e peró che l' uso della religione sia libero, essendo ancora vive tutte le leggi severissime, ni possono essere rivocate, se non da un parlamento.'
57 Ex registro literarum Georgii Cunei. Brit Mus. 15390.
58 Cuneo to Cardinal Franc. Barberini, Jan. 7, 1637.
59 Dispaccio 16 Settembre, 1636: 'Io dissi, Sire, noi (cattolici) teniamo Vra Maestà sopra il parlamento. Egli rispose che era vero, ma che bisognava pensare alla difficoltà grandissime.'
60 'I1 re dimando se non mi pareva che fosse opinione cattiva di supporre l' autorità regia ai capricci d'un uomo.'
61 12 Marzo 1637. 'S. Maestà mi contó discorsi passati tra lui ed il confessor del re di Spagna in materia di religione e del tutto S. M. mostró d'essere restata poco sodisfatta.'
62 Cuneo: 'Demandai a1 re, che dottrina teneva egli per buona, fuori quelle che era nella scrittura sacra. Il re me rispose, che credeva li primi quattro concilii ed i tre simboli.'
63 Conference with Fisher the Jesuit. History of the Troubles, 460.
64 Cuneo's Letters, June 5, 1637. 'I1 Cantuarense seguita en li soliti artificii a mostrarsi buon capo della chiesa Anglicana. Ho procurato di far tastare il Cantuarense, in ordine di levare lo scisma, ma egli è molto vario nel suo discorso ora mostrando di voler aderire alla dottrina delli primi 400 anni ed ora lameutandosi del concilio di Trento—timido ambicioso ed inconstante e poco abile all' imprese grandi.'
65 Ubi sint locorum verbi dei ministri eandem illi atque aequalem omnes habent tum potestatem, tum autoritatem, ut qui sint aeque omnes Christi unici illius episcopi universalis et capitis ecclesiae ministri. Art. 31.
66 Fuller, Church History x. 307.
67 De republica ecclesiastica. T. ii (1620), lib. vi.
68 Bruce's Calendar, 1633-4 furnishes in the preface and in the extracts which it contains, much new information about Laud.
69 According to Correro, Relatione 1637. his offence was 'd'aver parlato alla tavola contre il presente governo. La sua pena—ha eccitato le lingue quasi dell' universale alle maggiori exclamationi.'
70 Dated at Dublin Castle, December 16, 1634. Strafford Letters i. 344. The Canon in Collier ii. 763.
71 Considerations, in Strafford Letters ii, 60.
72 Forster's Statemen ii. 380.
73 Gussoni, Relatione 1635: 'Gli Inglesi navigano molto meglio armate di quelle caravelle Portoghesi, quali erano per la maggior parte preda degli Olandesi.'
74 Gussoni: 'Abonda con molta superfluità cosi per il numero d' offiziali et ministri d' ogni qualità, come per le assignationi del piatto quotidiano che si da lauto e splendido anche eccedentemente.'
75 Gachet, Lettres de Rubens, Guhl, Künstlerbriefe ii. 189.
76 Old Parliamentary History xix. 83; Waagen, Kunstwerke und Kunstler in England, i. 450.
77 From a letter of the younger Winthrop in Bancroft i.
78 In the year 1634 D'Ewes (Autobiography ii. 112) expresses his astonishment at the number of God-fearing people of both sexes who were resorting to that far-distant region, 'there to plant in respect of the doctrinal part one of the most absolutely holy orthodox and well-governed churches.'
79 In Hutchinson i. 64.
80 We know that the boar's head, which was eaten, conveyed an allusion to Gullinbursti, the bristly boar who signified the sun. Bede derives Easter from a German goddess Eostra.
81 According to a notice by Spottiswood 1627. Aiton, Life of Henderson 118.
82 Calderwood, the author of the history, put this distinction before the King himself, according to his account, vii. 263: 'We will rather suffer than practice. To suffer is also obedience'.
83 Grievances and petitions—presented by me, Mr. Thomas Hogge, minister of the evangell, in my aven name, and in name of others of the ministry. Balfour Annales, ii. 207. Among their complaints was one relating to the name Puritans. 'Pastors and people adhearing to the former professione and practisse are nick-named puritans.'
84 The Memoirs of Bishop Guthry 9.
85 From the report of the King-at-arms. Aiton, Life of Henderson, 129, 137.
86 'La quelle (it is said in an instruction of 1640) en rlgueur et cruauté surpasse l'inquisition d'Espagne, car en cette nouvelle cour les evesques seuls commandorent à la baguette, avec un pouvoir absolu—à l'encontre de toutes sortes de personnes, de quelque cond~tion et qualité qu'elles fussent.' Russel, Life of Spottiswood xliii.
87 Baillie, Jan. 1637. 'The last year (1636) our bishops guided all our estate, and became very terrible to our whole country.' A later petition (1638) of the Scottish Privy Council complains of 'the illimited power which the lords of the clergie in this kingdom have of late assumed—its unwarranted power.'
88 Canons and Constitutions Ecclesiasticall—ratified by H. Maj. royal warrant—and ordained to be observed: Aberdene, 1636. Cp. Collier, Eccl. Hist. ii. 762.
89 Account of the riots on Sunday, July 23, 1637. From Woodrow's Life of Lindsay, in Aiton, App. I.
90 The Clergie's report about the Service-book. Apud Edr. 29 Julii, 1637.
91 'Supplication of certain ministers of Fyffe, and Information given to several counsellers', in Baillie, App. i. 400.
92 A relation of proceedings concerning the affairs of the Kirk of Scotland from Aug. 1637 to July 1638, by John Earl of Rothes.
93 Spottiswood considers that it is most necessary to repress them by 'taking order with the deprived and exiled ministers of Ireland, that have taken their refuse hither, and are the common incendiaries of rebellioun, preaching what and where they please.' Letter to Hamilton: Baillie, App. i. 466.
94 The letter is given in Balfour ii. 236; the proclamation in Rushworth ii. 402.
95 Baillie to Spang: Letters and Journals i. 23. 'I think God, to revenge the crying sins, is going to give us over unto madness, that we may every one shoot our swords in our neighbours hearts.'
96 Supplication against the Service-book, with a complaint upon bishops; in Rothes 49.
97 Rothes: 'They might concur in the common way of supplicating against the Service-book.'
98 I do not find any confirmation of the definite statements of Aiton, Life of Henderson 207. according to which four noblemen, three lairds from the counties, &c., were said to have constituted this small commission. Rothes names only Sutherland and Balmerino, with six barons and some citizens (p. 34). Immediately afterwards (p. 34) six or seven noblemen appear as commissioners. The nobility had certainly a great amount of independence in the commission.
99 Rothes, p. 25; but it was intended that the King's consent should be obtained.
100 A. Correro, 5 Marzo, 1638: 'I1 regno di Scotia, rettosi per tanti secoli colle proprie leggi nel viver civile cosi bene come nel ecclesiastico soffirebbeio gia mai dichiararlo subordinato a questo, il che s'intenderebbe, quando quelle chiese ricevessero da questo arcivescovo di Canterbury le regole di laudar Dio.'
101 'The least that can be asked to settle this Church and Kingdom in a solid and durable peace.' Rothes 97. According to Balfour ii. 252 these demands are referred to the date of March 1638.
102 The King in one of his declarations characterised the difference between the old and new Covenant: the old required 'that they should mutually assist one another, as they should be commanded by the King or any entrusted persons'; but the new bond, which he repudiated, was made without our consent, and by it they swear mutually to assist one another, not excepting the King.' St. P.O.
103 Report of James Gordon, in Napier, Montrose and the Covenanters i. 153. 'Some were threatened and beaten who durst refuse, especially in great citys, as likewise in other smaller towns: namely at Edinburgh, St. Andrews, Glasgow, Lanark.'
104 Burnet: Memoirs of the Dukes of Hamilton 409.
105 Statuentes ex pio elga antiquum nostrum regnum affectu, ut omnia gratiose stabiliantur et instaurenter similiter adeo ac si nos in sacrosancta persona nostra ibidem adessemus.' Letters of Authorisation of May 20.
106 Articles of Advise offered to His Majesty, August 1638. They were signed by Hamilton himself, Traquair, Roxburgh and Southesk. Rushworth ii. 758.
107 Narrative of proceedings, in Rothes 220.
108 Note on the private articles: Baillie i. 469. Guthrie's assertion goes somewhat further: 'For the ruling elders, as there was but one from each presbytery, so they enjoined that he should be a well-affected nobleman, and failing there a well-affected gentleman; whereby it came to pass that all the noblemen who were furious in the cause were elected either in one presbytery or in the other.' (p. 46.)
109 Documents in Rushworth ii. 342. Aiton, Life of Henderson 358.
110 Cp. Laud to Strafford. Strafford Letters ii. 265.