H́nh ảnh trang
PDF
ePub

should be granted to the English troops, but that powerful succours should also join them in their march towards the palatinate. In England all these professions were hastily interpreted to be positive engagements. The troops under Mansfeldt's command were embarked at Dover (December); but, upon sailing over to Calais, found no orders yet arrived for their admission. After waiting in vain during some time, they were obliged to sail towards Zealand; where it had also been neglected to concert proper measures for their disembarkation; and some scruples arose among the states on account of the scarcity of provisions. Meanwhile a pestilential distemper creeped in among the English forces, so long cooped up in narrow vessels. Half the army died while on board; and the other half, weakened by sickness, appeared too small a body to march into the palatinate. And thus ended this ill-concerted and fruitless expedition; the only disaster which happened to England during the prosperous and pacific reign of James.

That reign was now drawing towards a conthe king. clusion. With peace so successfully cultivated, and so passionately loved by this monarch, his life also terminated. This spring he was seized with a tertian ague; and when encouraged by his courtiers with the common proverb, that such a distemper, during that season, was health for a king, he replied, that the proverb was meant of a young king. After some fits, he found himself extremely weakened, and sent for the prince, whom he exhorted to bear a tender affection for his wife, but to preserve a constancy in religion; to protect the church of England; and to extend his care towards the unhappy family of the palatine." With decency and courage he prepared himself for his end; & Franklyn, p. 104. Rushworth, vol. 1. p. 154. Dugdale, p. 24.

b Rushworth, vol. 1. p. 155.

Death of

a

His character.

and he expired on the 27th of March, after a reign over England of twenty-two years and some days; and in the fifty-ninth year of his age. His reign over Scotland was almost of equal duration with his life.

In all history, it would be difficult to find a reign less illustrious, yet more unspotted and unblemished, than that of James in both kingdoms.

No prince, so little enterprising, and so in

offensive, was ever so much exposed to the opposite extremes of calumny and flattery, of satire and panegyric. And the factions, which began in his time, being still continued, have made his character be as much disputed to this day, as is commonly that of princes who are our contemporaries. Many virtues, however, it must be owned, he was possessed of; but scarce any of them pure, or free from the contagion of the neighbouring vices. His generosity bordered on profusion, his learning on pedantry, his pacific disposition on pusillanimity, his wisdom on cunning, his friendship on light fancy and boyish fondness. While he imagined that he was only maintaining his own authority, he may perhaps be suspected in a few of his actions, and still more of his pretensions, to have somewhat encroached on the liberties of his people: while he endeavoured, by an exact neutrality, to acquire the good-will of all his neighbours, he was able to preserve fully the esteem and regard of none. His capacity was considerable; but fitter to discourse on general maxims than to conduct any intricate business : his intentions were just; but more adapted to the conduct of private life, than to the governmentof kingdoms. Awkward in his person and ungainly in his manners, he was ill qualified to command respect; partial and undiscerning in his affections, he was little fitted to acquire general love. Of a feeble temper more than of a frail judgment: exposed to our ridicule from his vanity: but exempt from

а.

our hatred by his freedom from pride and arrogance. And upon the whole, it

may

be pronounced of his character, that all his qualities were sullied with weakness and embellished by humanity. Of political courage he certainly was destitute; and thence chiefly is derived the strong prejudice which prevails against his personal bravery: an inference, however, which must be owned, from general experience, to be extremely fallacious.

He was only once married, to Anne of Denmark, who died on the 3d of March 1619, in the forty-fifth year of her age; a woman eminent neither for her vices nor, her virtues. She loved shows and expensive amusements; but possessed little taste in her pleasures. - A great comet appeared about the time of her death; and the vulgar esteemed it the prognostic of that event. So considerable in their eyes are even the most insignificant princes.

He left only one son, Charles, then in the twentyfifth year of his age; and one daughter, Elizabeth, married to the elector palatine. She was aged twentynine years. Those alone remained of six legitimate children born to him. He never had any illegitimate ; and he never discovered any tendency, even the smallest, towards a passion for any mistress.

The archbishops of Canterbury, during this reign, were Whitgift, who died in 1604; Bancroft, in 1610; Abbot, who survived the king. The chancellors, lord Ellesmore, who resigned in 1617; Bacon was first lordkeeper till 1619; then was created chancellor, and was displaced in 1621: Williams, bishop of Lincoln, was created lord-keeper in his place. The high-treasurers were, the earl of Dorset, who died in 1609; the earl of Salisbury, in 1612; the earl of Suffolk, fined and displaced for bribery in 1618; lord Mandeville, resigned in 1621; the earl of Middlesex, displaced in 1624;

[ocr errors]

the earl of Marlborough succeeded. The lord-admirals were, the earl of Nottingham, who resigned in 1618; the earl, afterward duke of Buckingham. The secretaries of state were, the earl of Salisbury, sir Ralph Winwood, Nanton, Calvert, lord Conway, sir Albertus Moreton.

The numbers of the house of lords, in the first parliament of this reign, were seventy-eight temporal peers. The numbers in the first parliament of Charles were ninety-seven. Consequently James, during that period, created nineteen new peerages above those that expired. · The house of commons, in the first parliament of this reign, consisted of four hundred and sixty-seven members. It appears, that four boroughs revived their charters, which they had formerly neglected. And as the first parliament of Charles consisted of four hundred and ninety-four members, we may infer that James created ten new boroughs.

APPENDIX

TO THE REIGN OF JAMES 1.1

Civil government of England during this period—Ecclesiastical

government-Manners-Finances---Arms-Navy--Commerce

-Manufactures-Colonies--Learning and arts. It may not be improper, at this period, to make a pause; and to take a survey of the state of the kingdom with regard to government, manners, finances, arms, trade, learning. Where a just notion is not formed of these particulars, history can be little instructive, and often will not be intelligible.

This history of the house of Stewart was written and published by the author before the history of the house of Tudor. Hence it happens that some passages, particularly in the present Appendix, may seem to be repetitions of what was formerly delivered in the reign of Elizabeth. The author, in order to obviate this objection, has cancelled some few passages in the foregoing chapters.

Civil go

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

We may safely pronounce, that the English vernment government, at the accession of the Scottish of England.

line, was much more arbitrary than it is at present; the prerogative less limited, the liberties of the subject less accurately defined and secured. Without mentioning other particulars, the courts alone of high-commission and star-chamber were sufficient to lay the whole kingdom at the mercy of the prince.

The court of high-commission had been erected by Elizabeth, in consequence of an act of parliament passed in the beginning of her reign; by this act, it was thought proper, during the great revolution of religion, to arm the sovereign with full powers, in order to discourage and suppress opposition. All appeals from the inferior ecclesiastical courts were carried before the high-commission; and, of consequence, the whole life and doctrine of the clergy lay directly under its inspection. Every breach of the act of uniformity, every refusal of the ceremonies, was cognizable in this court; and during the reign of Elizabeth, had been punished by deprivation, by fine, confiscation, and imprisonment. James contented himself with the gentler penalty of deprivation; 'nor was that punishment inflicted with rigour on every offender. · Archbishop Spotswood tells us, that he was informed by Bancroft, the primate, several years after the king's accession, that not above fortyfive clergymen had then been deprived. All the Catholics too were liable to be punished by this court, if they exercised any act of their religion, or sent abroad their children or other relations, to receive that education which they could not procure them in their own country. Popish priests were thrown into prison, and might be delivered over to the law, which punished them with death; though that severity had been sparingly exercised by Elizabeth, and never almost by James. In a word, that liberty of conscience, which we so highly and so justly value at present, was totally

« TrướcTiếp tục »