« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
CHARACTER OF KING JAMES.
sisted that he was and would be the father of their CHAP. country."
Dissimulation is the vice of those who have nei- 1603. ther true judgment nor courage. King James, from his imbecility, was false, and sometimes vindicated his falsehood, as though deception and cunning had been worthy of a king. But he was an awkward liar, rather than a crafty dissembler.” He could, before parliament, call God to witness his sincerity, when he was already resolved on being insincere. His cowardice was such, that he feigned a fondness for Carr, whose arrest for murder he had secretly ordered. He was afraid of his wife ; could be governed by being overawed; and was easily intimidated by the vulgar insolence of Buckingham. In Scotland, he solemnly declared his attachment 4 to the Puritan discipline and doctrines ; but it was from his fear of open resistance. The pusillanimous man assents from cowardice, and recovers boldness with the assurance of impunity.
Demonology was a favorite topic with King James. He deinonstrated with erudition the reality of witchcraft; through his solicitation it was made, by statute, a capital offence; he could tell “why the devil doth work more with auncient women than with others; " and hardly a year of his reign went by, but some helpless crone perished on the gallows, to satisfy the vanity and confirm the dialectics of the royal author.
King James was sincerely attached to Protestantism.5 He prided himself on his skill in theological learning, and challenged the praise of Europe as a subtle con
MOUS man as
i Cobbett's Parl. Hist. v. 1. p. 4 Calderwood's Church of Scot1504.
land, 286. 2 Hallam's England, i. 404.
5 Bentivoglio, Relazione di Fi. 3 Clarendon's Rebellion, i. 16. andra, parte ii. c. iii. Op. Storiche, Hume, c. xlix.
i. 206, 207.
LORD BACON'S TOLERANT PHILOSOPHY.
CHAP. troversialist. With the whole force of English diplo
in macy, he suggested the propriety of burning an Ar1603. minian professor of Holland, while he, at the same
time, refuted the errors of the heretic in a harmless tract. He indulged his vanity in a public discussion, and, when the argument was over, procured himself the gratification of burning his opponent at the stake. His mind had been early and deeply imbued with the doctrines of Calvinism ; but he loved arbitrary power better than the tenets of Knox; and, when the Arminians in England favored royalty, King James became an Arminian. He steadily adhered to his love of flattery and his love of ease; but he had no fixed principles of conduct or belief.
Such was the king of England, at a period when the limits of royal authority were not as yet clearly defined. Such was the man to whose decision the Puritans must refer the consideration of their claims. Would he be faithful to the principles in which he had been educated ? He had called the church of Scotland - the sincerest kirk of the world ; " he had censured the service of England as 66 an evil said mass." 3 Would he retain for Puritans the favor which he had promised ?
There were not wanting statesmen whose more profound philosophy favored a liberal toleration. Lord Bacon, in whose vigorous mind the truths of political wisdom had been sown by Burleigh in deep furrows, cherished the established worship, and yet advised concessions,“ regarding the church as the eye of Eng
1 Winwood's Memorials, iii. 290. 3 Calderwood, 286, year 1590. 293. 295. 298. 316. 339. 357, and 4 Bacon's Works, ii. 541. Hume, other places. Rapin’s England, ii. in Appendix to James l., and Gra179, 180.
hame, i. 253, charge Bacon with in2 Lingard's England, ix. 217, 218. tolerance; as I think, most unjustly. Prince, 127.
LORD BACON'S TOLERANT PHILOSOPHY.
land, in which there might yet be a blemish. The CHAP. divisions in religion seemed to him a less evil than the violent measures of prevention. The wound, said he, 1603 is not dangerous, unless we poison it with our remedies.—The wrongs of the Puritans may hardly be dissembled or excused. The silencing of ministers for the sake of enforcing the ceremonies, is, in this scarcity of good preachers, a punishment that lighteth upon the people. The bishops should keep one eye open to look upon the good that those men do.-On subjects of religion, he says of himself, he was always for moderate counsels. Nor did he fear inquiry; for he esteemed controversy - the wind by which truth is winnowed.”
But what relation could subsist between such philosophy and the selfish arrogance of King James ? The tolerant views of Bacon were disregarded in his own time; like L'Hopital and Grotius, he scattered the seeds of truth, which were not to ripen till a late generation. The English hierarchy had feared, in the new monarch, the approach of a “ Scottish mist;” but apprehension was soon dispelled. The borders of Scotland were hardly passed before James began to identify the interests of the English church with those of his prerogative. “No bishop, no king” was a maxim often in his mouth. Whitgift was aware that the Puritans were too numerous to be borne down; “I have not been greatly quiet in mind,” said the disappointed archbishop, “the vipers are so many.” But James was not as yet fully conscious of their strength. While he was in his progress to London, more than seven hundred of them presented the “millenary pe
1 Bacon, Of Church Controver- Apothcgms. Works, ii. 516. 541. sies. Of the Pacification of the 517. 462. Church, first published in 1604. 2 Neal's Puritans, ii. 30.
CONFERENCE AT HAMPTON COURT.
CHAP. tition " for a redress of ecclesiastical grievances. He
was never disposed to favor the Puritans; but a decent respect for the party to which he had belonged, joined to a desire of displaying his talents for theological debate, induced him to appoint a conference at Hamp
ton Court. 1604. The conference was distinguished on the part of Manie the king by a strenuous vindication of the church of 18. England. Refusing to discuss the question of the
power of the church in things indifferent, he substituted authority for argument, and where he could not produce conviction, demanded obedience. “I will have none of that liberty as to ceremonies; I will have one doctrine, one discipline, one religion in substance and in ceremony. Never speak more to that point, how far you are bound to obey." 2
The Puritans desired permission occasionally to assemble, and at their meetings to have the liberty of free discussions; but the king, prompt to discover that concessions in religion would be followed by greater political liberty, interrupted the petition :6 You are aiming at a Scot's presbytery, which agrees with monarchy as well as God and the devil. Then Jack, and Tom, and Will, and Dick, shall meet, and at their pleasures censure me and my council and all our proceedings. Then Will shall stand up and say, It must be thus; then Dick shall reply and say, Nay, marry, but we will have it thus; and therefore, here I must once more reiterate my former speech, and say,
1 Hume's England, c. xlv. Neal's the king and bishops than they dePuritans, ii. 31, 32.
served." Hallam, i. 404. See Nu2 Barlow's Sum and Substance gæ Antiquæ, i. 180, 181, 182, for of the Conf. at Hampton Court, 71. an account more disgraceful to I chiefly follow this account, which James. Yet Harrington was a I find in the New England Library friend to the church. ot' Prince, though more favorable to
CONFERENCE AT HAMPTON COURT.
Le roi s'avisera; the king alone shall decide.” Turn- CHAP ing to the bishops, he avowed his belief, that the hierarchy was the firmest support of the throne. Of the 1604 Puritans he added—“I will make them conform, or I will harry them out of the land, or else worse,» 2 6 only hang them; that's all.” This closed the day's debate.
On the last day of the conference, the king defended Jan. the necessity of subscription, concluding that, “ if any would not be quiet and show their obedience, they were worthy to be hanged." The high commission and the use of inquisitorial oaths equally found in him an advocate. He argued for despotic authority and its instruments. A few alterations in the book of common prayer were the only reforms which the conference effected. It was agreed that a time should be set, within which all should conform; if any refused to yield before it expired, they were to be removed. The king had insulted the Puritans with vulgar rudeness and indecorous jests; 5 but his self-complacency was satisfied. He had talked much Latin ;6 he had spoken a part of the time in the presence of the nobility of Scotland and England, willing admirers of his skill in debate and of his marvellous learning; and he was elated by the eulogies of the churchmen, who paid full tribute to the vanity of their royal champion. “ Your majesty speaks by the special assistance of God's spirit,” said the aged Whitgift. Bishop Bancroft, on his knees, exclaimed, that his heart melted for joy, “because God had given England such a king as, since Christ's time, has not been ;"7 and, in a fool
1 Barlow, 79. Neal's Puritans, ii. 43, 44. Lingard, ix. 30. Hume, c. xlv.
2 Barlow, 83.
VOL. 1. 38
5 Neal's Puritans, ii. 45.
6 Nuge Antique, i. 181. Montague, in Winwood, iii. 13—16.
7 Barlow, 93, 94. Lingard, x 32. Neal's Puritans, ii. 45.