Page images
PDF
EPUB

Et laxi crines et tot nova nomina vestis, Petr. « Loose hair, and many new found names of clothes."

The serious men groaned for a parliament; but, the great statesmen plyed it the harder, to complete that work they had begun, of setting up prerogative above all laws.

The lord Wentworth (afterward created earl of Strafford for his service in that kind) was then labouring to oppress Ireland, of which he was deputy; and to begin that work in a conquered kingdom, which was intended to be afterward wrought by degrees in England ; and indeed he had gone very far and prosperously in those ways of tyranny, though very much to the endamaging and setting back of that newly established kingdom,

He was a man of great parts, of a deep reach, subtle wit, of spirit and industry to carry on his business, and such a conscience as was fit for that work he was designed to. He understood the right way, jand the liberty of his country, as well as any man; for which, in former parliaments, he stood up stifly, and seemed an excellent patriot. For those abilities he was soon taken off by the king, and raised in hoņour, to be employed in a contrary way, for enslavipg of his country, which his ambition easily drew him to undertake. To this man, in my opinion, that

[merged small][ocr errors]

character which Lucan bestows upon the Roman Curio; in some sort may

suit:

Haud alium tanta civem tulit indole Romo,
Aut cui plus leges deberent recta sequenti :
Perdita tunc urbi nocuerunt secula, postquam
Ambitus et Luxus, et opum metuenda fucultas,
Transverso mentem dubiam torrente tulerunt,
Momentumq; fuit mutatus Curio rerum.
“ A man of abler parts Rome never bore,
Nor one to whom (whilst right) the laws owed tore :
Our state itself then suffered, when the tide
Of Avarice, Ambition, factious pride,
To turn his wavering mind quite cross began,
Of such high moment was one changed man.”

The court of England, during this long vacancy of parliaments, enjoyed itself in as much pleasure and splendor, as ever any court did.

The revels, triumphs, and princely pastimes, were for those many years kept up, at so great a height, that any stranger which travelled into England, would verily believe a kingdom that looked so cheerfully in the face could not be sick in any part.

The queen was fruitful, and now grown of such an age, as might seem to give her privilege of a farther society with the king, than bed and board, and make her a partner of his affairs and business ; which his

VOL. 111.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

extreme affection did more to encourage her to challenge. That conjugal love, as an extraordinary virtue of a king, in midst of so many temptations, the people did admire and honour.

But the queen's power did by degrees give privilege to papists, and among them, the most witty and jesuited, to converse under the name of civility and courtship, not only with inferior courtiers, but the king himself, and to sow their seed in what ground they thought best; and by degrees, as in compliment to the queen, nuntios from the pope were received in the court of England, Panzani, Cor, and Rosetti, the king himself maintaining in discourse, that he saw no reason why he might not receive an ambassador from the pope, being a temporal prince. But those nuntios were not entertained with public ceremony, so that the people in general took no great notice of them; and the coure, tiers were confident of the king's religion, by his due frequenting prayers and sermons.

The clergy, whose dependence was merely upon the king, were wholly taken up in admiration of his happy government, which they never concealed from, himself as often as the pulpit gave them access to his ear; and not only there, but at all meetings, they discoursed with joy upon that theme; uffirming confidently, that no prince in Europe was so great a friend to the church, as king Charles; that religion

flourished no where but in England; and no reformed church retained the face and dignity of a church but that: many of them used to deliver their opinion, that God had therefore so severely punished the palatinate, because their sacrilege had been so great in taking away the endowments of bishopricks.

Queen Elizabeth herself, who had reformed relie gion, was but coldly praised, and all her virtues forgotten, when they remembered how she cut short the bishoprick of Ely.

Henry the Eighth was much condemned by them, for seizing upon the abbeys, and taking so much out of the several bishopricks as he did in the 37th year of his reign. To maintain therefore that splendoun of a church, which so much pleased them, was become their highest endeavour ; especially after they had gotten, in the year 1633, an archbishop after their own heart, doctor Laud; who had before for divers years ruled the clergy in secession of archbishop Abbot, a man of better temper and discretion; which discretion or virtue to conceal, would be an injury to that archbishop. He was a man who wholly followed the true interest of England, and that of the reformed churches in Europe, so far as that in his time the clergy was not much envied here in England, nor the government of episcopacy much disfavoured by protestants beyond the seas. Not only the pomp of ceremonies were daily increased, and innovations of great scandal brought into the church ; but in point of doctrine, many fair approaches made towards Rome; as he that pleaseth to search may find in the books of bishop Laud, Mountague, Helyn, Pocklington, and the rest; or in brief collected by a Scottish minister, master Bailey. And as their friendship to Rome increased, so did their scorn to the reformed churches beyond the seas; whom, instead of lending that relief and succour to them which God had enabled this rich island to do, they failed in their greatest extremities, and instead of harbours, became rocks to split them, &c. &e.

« PreviousContinue »