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The tendency to become more strenuous as to certain rituals and forms, increased on the one hand in proportion to the disposition manifested by others to depart from all forms in religious worship, and to be guided wholly by spiritual influences. But inasmuch as the soul of man requires guards and checks, such license proves dangerous to fierce and obstinate natures ; hence the excesses of the Independents in the civil war which brought Charles I. to the scaffold.
The pencil of Vandyke has immortalized the noble lincaments of this ill-fated sovereign. high intellectual brow, an eye indicating subjective thought, and a inouth where beauty is combined with firmness, the whole cast of countenance indicates pensiveness, if not actual sadness. Our impression respecting the portrait of Charles I., may be decpened by a knowledge of his fate. “Charles the Martyr," as he has been termed by his admirers, was in truth no cominon man, nor would he have been, if born in humble circumstances. Ilis character and conduct are of course differently represented by historians, according to their own opinions respecting the great questions of absolutism or liberty, high-church prerogative, or religious toleration. We shall not attempt to enter upon these great questions which are still under discussion among the politicians and thcologians of Europe; for which Garibaldi is in arms in Italy, and which, like "learen hid in meal," are upheaving the incumbent weight of arbitrary power in Russia and Turkey, nay, cven in the Celestial and Japanese empires.
Henry, the eldest son of James I., called Prince of Wales, died young, leaving Charles heir to the crown.
It is not strange that imagination loves to linger over the youth and early promise of Charles I. ; but history has a duty to perforn. It is her province to unravel the tangled web of affairs which led to the unhappy events that signalize his restless life and tragic death. We have suggested some of the causes which led to these events, causes which, thởugh in a degree latent during the reign of James I., were stimulated into action by the decided measures of Charles, who, rising in the supposed majesty of his divine right as sovereign, sought to put down by force what the drivelling James had merely deferred by his temporizing policy. The influence of Buckingham, who had been selected by his father for his guide and companion, proved in the outset of his public life most un
fortunate for Charles, learling him into a romantic and fruitless expedition to Spain, to sir. personally for the hand of the Infanta, contrary to all the forms of Royaletiynette : and afterwards urging him into pleasures which were most distasteful to his subjects. Although it is said that the visit of Charles to Spain caused him to detest Popery more than ever before, and that there were objections to the pranislı marriage, on the ground of the Romislı religion, yet such did not prereut his alliance wiil IIenrietta Varia, of France, third anghter of Henry the Great, and sister of Louis XIII., reigning King of France. I'lcles were secretly given by James, and supposed to be known and sanctioned by Charles, that the children of this marriage shoull be clucated in the Roman Catholic faith. Thus it vis, that the two sons, Charles II., and James II., were secretly of illis religion, while England claimed to be a Protestant country, and was jealous of any leaning towards Popery, or indnlgence shown to its adherents.
The attempt to break down the kirk and Covenanters in Scotland, and force upon the Scots the Episcopal form of religion, caused revolt und war in that quarter. Arbitrary and highhanded measures, with the parliament in England, awoke the slumbering spirit of opposition, and Charles became surrounded with difficulties at home and abroad.
The Spanish war terminated in disgrace; a war with France, into which Charles was plunged, to gratify the private resentment of Buckingham, and a disastrous expedition to assist the Huguenots of Rochelle, all tended to fill up the measure of popular discontent. The doctrine of passive obedience to the king, injudiciously insisted upon by Laud, then Bishop of London, and others, met with determined hostility from the Commons and people at large. By the assassination of Buckingham, Charles was freed from an unhappy influence, to which may be traced many of his misfortunes ; but it was too late to restore public confidence, though Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, who was made minister, succeeded partially in doing so. But new unconstitutional exactions for obtaining money, and continued persecutions of the Puritans, kept alive the spirit of resistance. Stratford, in the beginning of his public career, had favored the cause of the opposition, consequently he was an object of especial abhorrence to the parliamentary reformers. By Pym, Cromwell, and others of that stamp, Le was denounced as the most dangerous man in England. He was
impcached and tried before the House of Lords as a traitor to his country, as seeking to establish despotism in England, and en. slave the law by military force. The dignity of his appearance in his defence, his cool and well-arranged arguments, and thrilling appeal to the compassion of his peers, as a husband and father, are still regarded as models of cloquence. But his fate was pre-determined, and contrary to the solemn promise of the king, that he should not, for his devotion to him, "suffer in life, honor, or fortunc," Strafford was condemncil and executed. Charles, forced to sign the order for his execution, exclaimed: “ My Lord of Strafford's condition is more enviable than mine.” Three years after this event, Archbishop Laud, then over seventy years of age, was tried, and condemned to die. Strafford had contended for the superiority of the king over the constitution ; Laud had sought to subject to episcopacy alike the church of Scotland and the sectaries of England. To exalt and aggrandize the church, he had resorted to the most cruel persecutions and appalling severities. Strafford, when Lord-Deputy of Ireland, in a curious correspondence with this primate, who had complained of being checked in his high-handed measures, by legal restraints, replies : “I know no reason but you may as well rule the common lawyers in England as I, poor beagle, do here" (in Ireland); "and yet what I do I will do, in all that concerns my master, even at the peril of my head.” But even the most partial historians of the opposition, or rebel party, as the liberals in those days were called, blush and falter when they come to the bloody acts which crowned their opposition to monarchical and ccclesiastical usurpation. Such, indeed, seems to be the tendency of the human mind, in the rebound from one set of evils, to pass over the line of moderation and conservatism. Hallam, in his constitutional history, though in general an apologist for the popular party, says of the violent death of Archbishop Laud : “Though he had amply merited punishment for his abuse of power, his cxccution, at the age of seventy, without the slightest pretence of political necessity, was a far more unjustifiable instance of it than any that was alleged against him.”
The battles of Marston-Moor and of Nascby, established the power of Cromwell and his friends. Charles I. having thrown himself upon the protection of the Scottish army, was sold to the Court of Commissioners, who lield him as their prisoner, occasion
ally remoring him from place to place, as policy dictated. The collection of original letters to be found in Vaughan's “Protectorate of ('romwell," and Carey's “Great Civil War," give a picture of those times true to nature ; the men who are appointed to guard the king's person are most minute in their reports to the Commissioners, most cautious as to exceeding their powers in granting him any indulgences, as whether he shall be allowed the attendance of his chaplains, whether he may drive or walk out under suitable guard, whether he may be permitted to write any letters to his wife and children, cte. We sympathize with the royal sufferer under this tyranny, and are ready to ask his conquerors to put an end to his sufferings; and this they did, on the 30th of January, 16-19), after a trial before a special court appointed for the purpose, on the charge of high treason against the liberties of the people.
Those in Yew England who are now advancing into years, may remember of hearing, in their childhood, whispers of the "regicide judges" Gofle and Whalley, who, after the restoration of the Stuarts, fled thither, and lived in mysterious secresy, among the descendants of those Puritans who, doubtless, thought that, in condemning Charles I. to die, his judges acted i just and noble part. But looking back through the vista of time, we see that tragedy as a dark spot upon English history. Whether we regard the victim as il martyr, for the cause of the church, and the rights of the sovereign, or as a misguided man, led by circumstances to act contrary to the dictates of his own principles ; yielding to "necessity" as an excuse for violating his solcmn engagements; and disappointing his devoted friends by acts in opposition to his professions, we deplore his unhappy fate, and pity the infatuated subjects who imagined themselves fulfilling a duty in their regicidal act. Cromwell, it is said, ever regarded with horror the fate of the king, even to the degree of a monoinania, which at times possessed him. Scott has availed himself of this historical fact in the scene between Wildrake and the Protector, in the first volume of Woodstock, when a sight of King Charles's portrait brings the spell upon Cromwell.
We linger over this part of our subject; the first half of the seventeenth century is closing with the death of the king. Volumes have been written upon the events which cluster around this period, important in themselves, and as the germs of succeeding
events. The persecution of the Puritans drove them to the New World, which was waiting for the hand of cultivation, and for the influence of the Christian religion. True, this religion had been abased by the corrupt and evil passions of man, but it was nevertheless the only agent upon carth which could restrain and purify those passions. In the land of the heathen, worshippers of Christ gathered themselves together, and sought to worship God in simplicity and truth, far away from the persecutions and formalities which harl driven them from their native land. Alas ! could they in turn become persecutors ? Let the history of the Separatists and Quakers, who sprang up among the stern Puritans of New England, answer the question. A wonderful man was Cromwell. We look at different likenesses, taken at various periods of his eventful career; one shows a man of middle agegrave even to serenity, and essentially wanting in refinement of character. It was about the period when he had, through John Hampden's influence, obtained a seat in parliament. “One day," says the biographer of llampden, "meeting with Lord Digby going down the parliament stairs, Pray,' said his lordship, 'who is that sloven, for I see he is on our side, by his speaking so warmly to-day.' "That sloven,' said IIampden, 'who hath no ornament in his speech ; that sloven, I say, if lie should ever come to a breach with the king, which, God forbid ! in such a case, I say, that sloven will be the greatest man in England." We
SCC, in another portrait of Cromwell (dating 1658), that change in countenance and bearing which success, the habit of command ing, and a consciousness of high station, often make in physiognomy, as well as manners. The Protector, clad in robes of purple, lined with crmine, with a sceptre in his hand, receiving homage of foreign ambassadors and the highest dignitaries, with his lofty, intellectual forehead, and deep searching oyo, las little the appearance of the “sloven," with uncombed locks, and an air of perfect disregard to what may be thought of him by others. Few persons have been more vilified by enemies, and extolled by friends, than Oliver Cromwell. Ile wished to emigrate to America, but was kept back by the interference of that government of whose overthrow he was destined to be the chief instrument. In quiet times he would, doubtless, have proved a good citizen, yielding loyal obedience to just laws; so much are the characters of men formed by the circunstances which surround then..