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would have kept him in total dependence. And thus the negotiation was protracted, till the battle of Lutzen, where the Swedish monarch perished in the midst of a complete victory which he obtained over his enemies.
We have carried on these transactions a few years beyond. the present period, that we might not be obliged to return to them, nor be henceforth.interrupted in our account of Charles's court and kingdoms.
When we consider Charles as presiding in his court, as associating with his family, it is difficult to imagine a character at once more respectable and more amiable. A kind 'husband, an indulgent: father, a gentle master, a steadfast friend to all these eulogies' his conduct in private life fully entitled him. As a monarch too, in the exterior qualities, he excelled; in the essential, he was not defective. His address and manner, though perhaps inclining a little towards stateliness and formality, in the main corresponded to his high rank, and gave grace to that reserve and gravity which were natural to him. The moderation and equity which shone forth in his temper seemed to secure him against rash and dangerous enterprises : the good sense which he displayed in his discourse and conversation, seemed to warrant -his success in every reasonable undertaking. Other endowments likewise he had attained, which, in a private gentleman, would have been highly orna. mental, and which, in a great monarch, might have proveä extremely useful to his people. He was possessed of an excellent taste in all the fine arts; and the love of painting was in some degree his favorite passion. Learned beyona what is common in princes, he was a good judge of.writing in others, and enjoyed himself no mean talent in composition. any
other age or nation, this monarch had been secure of a prosperous and a happy reign. But the high idea of his own authority, which he had imbibed, made him incapable of giving way to the spirit of liberty which began to prevail among his subjects. His politics were not supported by such vigor and foresight as might enable him to subdue their pretensions, and maintain his prerogative at the high pitch to which it had been raised by his predecessors. And, above all, the spirit of enthusiasm, being universally diffused, disappointed all the views of human prudence, and disturbed the operation of every motive which usually influences society.
* Franklyn, vol. i. p. 416.
But the misfortunes arising from these causes were yet remote. Charles now enjoyed himself in the full exercise of his authority, in a social intercourse with his friends and courtiers, and in a moderate use of those pleasures which he most affected.
After the death of Buckingham, who had somewhat alienated Charles from the queen, she is to be considered as his chief friend and favorite. That rustic contempt of the fair sex which James affected, and which, banishing them from his court, made it resemble more à fair or an exchange than the seat of a great prince, was very wide of the disposition of this monarch. But though full of complaisance to the whole sex, Charles reserved all his passion for his consort, to whom he attached himself with unshaken fidelity and confidence. By her sense and spirit, as well as by her beauty, she justified the fondness of her husband; though it is allowed that, being somewhat of a passionate temper, she precipitated him into hasty and imprudent measures. Her religion likewise, to which she was much addicted, must be regarded as a great misfortune ; since it augmented the jealousy which prevailed against the court, and engaged her to procure for the Catholics some indulgences which were generally distasteful to the nation.*
In the former situation of the English government, when the sovereign was in a great measure independent of his subjects, the king chose his ministers either from personal favor, or from an opinion of their abilities, without any regard to their parliamentary interest or talents. It has since been the maxim of princes, wherever popular leaders encroach too much on royal authority, to confer offices on them, in expectation that they will afterwards become more careful not to diminish that power which has become their own. These politics were now embraced by Charles ; & sure proof that a secret revolution had happened in the constitution, and had necessitated the prince to adopt new maxims of government. But the views of the king were at this time so repugnant to those of the Puritans, that the leaders whom he gained, lost from that moment all interest with their party, and were even pursued as traitors with implacable hatred and resentment. This was the case with Sir Thomas Wentworth, whom the king created, first a baron, then a viscount, and afterwards
* May, p. 21.
+ Sir Edw. Walker, p. 328.
earl of Strafford; made him president of the council of York, and deputy of Ireland ; and regarded him as his chief minis.er and counsellor. By his eminent talents and abilities, Strafford merited all the confidence which his master reposed in him : his character was stately and austere ; more fitted to procure esteem than love: his fidelity to the king was unshaken; but as he now employed all his counsels to support the prerogative, which he had formerly bent all his endeavors to diminish, his virtue seems not to have been entirely pure, but to have been susceptible of strong impressions from private interest and ambition. Sir Dudley Digges was about the same time created master of the rolls; Noy, attorney-general; Littleton, solicitor-general. All these had likewise been parliamentary leaders, and were men eminent in their profession.*
In all ecclesiastical affairs, and even in many civil, Laud, bishop of London, had great influence over the king. This man was virtuous, if severity of manners alone, and abstinence from pleasure, could deserve that name. He was learned, if polemical knowledge could entitle him to that praise. He was disinterested; but with unceasing industry he studied to exalt the priestly and prelatical character, which was his own. His zeal was unrelenting in the cause of religion; that is, in imposing by rigorous measures his own tenets and pious ceremonies on the obstinate Puritans, who had profanely dared to oppose him. In prosecution of his holy purposes, he overlooked every human consideration; or, in other words, the heat and indiscretion of his temper made him neglect the views of prudence and rules of good manners.
He was in this respect happy, that all his enemies were also imagined by him the declared enemies to loyalty and true piety, and that every exercise of his anger by that means became in his eyes a merit and a virtue. This was the man who acquired so great an ascendant over Charles, and who led him, by the facility of his temper, into a conduct which proved so fatal to himself and to his kingdoms.
The humor of the nation ran at that time into the extreme opposite to superstition; and it was with difficulty that the ancient ceremonies to which men had been accustomed, and which had been sanctified by the practice of the first reformers, could be retained in divine service : yet was this the time which Laud chose for the introduction of new ceremo
* Whitlocb e, p. 13. May, p. 20.
nies and observances. Besides that these were sure to dis. please as innovations, there lay, in the opinion of the public, another very forcible objection against them. Laud, and the other prelates who embraced his measures, were generally well instructed in sacred antiquity, and had adopted many of those religious sentiments which prevailed during the fourth and fifth centuries; when the Christian church, as is well known, was already sunk into those superstitions which were afterwards continued and augmented by the policy of Rome. The revival, therefore, of the ideas and practices of that age, could not fail of giving the English faith and liturgy some resemblance to the Catholic superstition, which the kingdom in general, and the Puritans in particular, held in the greatest horror and detestation. Men also were apt to think, that, without some secret purpose, such insignificant observances would not be imposed with such unrelenting zeal on the refractory nation; and that Laud's scheme was, to lead back the English by gradual steps to the religion of their ancestors. They considered not, that the very insignificancy of these ceremonies recommended them to the superstitious preláte, and made them appear the more peculiarly sacred and religious, as they could serve to no other purpose. Nor was the resemblance to the Romish ritual any objection, but rather a merit with Laud and his brethren; who bore a much greater kindness to the mother church, as they called her, than to the sectaries and Presbyterians, and frequently recommended her as a true Christian church; an appellation which they refused, or at least scrupled to give to the others.* So openly were these tenets espoused, that not only the discontented Puritans believed the church of England to be relapsing fast into Romish superstition: the court of Rome itself entertained hopes of regaining its authority in this island ; and, in order to forward Laud's supposed good intentions, an offer was twice made him in private of a cardinal's hat, which he declined accepting. His answer was, as he says himself, “ That something dwelt within him, which would not suffer his compliance, till Rome were other than it is."
." } A court lady, daughter of the earl of Devonshire, having turned Catholic, was asked by Laud the reason of her conversion : 6 'Tis chiefly,” said she, “because I hate to travel in a
* May, p. 25.
crowd.” The meaning of this expression being demanded, she replied, “I perceive your grace and many others are making haste to Rome; and therefore, in order to prevent my being crowded, I have gone before you.” It must be confessed, that though Laud deserved not the appellation of Papist, the genius of his religion was, though in a less degree, tho same with that of the Romish: the same profound respect was exacted to the sacerdotal character, the same submission required to the creeds and decrees of synods and councils the same pomp and ceremony was affected in worship; and the same superstitious regard to days, postures, meats, and vestments. No wonder, therefore, that this prelate was every where among the Puritans regarded with horror, as the forerunner of Antichrist.
As a specimen of the new ceremonies to which Laud sacrificed his own quiet and that of the nation, it may not be amiss to relate those which he was accused of employing in the consecration of St. Catharine's church, and which were the object of such general scandal and offence.
On the bishop's approach to the west door of the church, a loud voice cried, “Open, open, ye everlasting doors, that the king of glory may enter in !”, Immediately the doors of the church flew open, and the bishop entered. Falling upon his knees, with eyes elevated and arms expanded, he uttered these words : " This place is holy; the ground is holy: in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I pronounce it holy."
Going towards the chancel, he several times took up from the floor some of the dust, and threw it in the air. When he approached, with his attendants, near to the communion table, he bowed frequently towards it; and on their return, they went round the church, repeating, as they marched along, some of the psalms; and then said a form of prayer, which concluded with these words: “ We consecrate this church, and separate it unto thee as holy ground, not to be profaned any more to common uses.
After this, the bishop, standing near the communion table, solemnly pronounced many imprecations upon such as should afterwards pollute that holy place by musters of soldiers, or keeping in it profane law-courts, or carrying burdens through it. On the conclusion of every curse, he bowed towards the east, and cried, “Let all the people say, Amen."
The imprecations being all so piously finished, there were