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to the Tower, where he was kept a close prisoner between three and four years, till he was released by the Long Parliament. Meanwhile he was, in other respects, treated with excessive severity. He petitioned that his fine might be
taken up by 10001. yearly, as his estate would bear it ;” but Kilvert, a pettifogging attorney, and an infamous tool of his persecutors, was sent down to Buckden with an immediate execution for the 10,0001., -seized all his furniture, plate, and books,-felled his timber,--slaughtered his deer,--sold for five pounds pictures which had cost him 4001.,—and continued revelling for several years in the palace without accounting for the monies he received, or paying any part of the fine.
Laud, not yet satiated, in the spring of 1639 caused another information to be filed against Williams, along with Lambert Osbaldeston, one of the Masters of Westminster School, “ for divulging false news and lies to breed a disturbance between the late Lord Treasurer Weston and the Archbishop himself; for giving them nicknames, and for contriving to work the Archbishop's ruin.” This charge was founded on certain private letters of the defendants, in which they had reflected on some of the measures of the Lord Treasurer, and had called the Archbishop " the great little man.” Being found guilty,
the sentence upon the Bishop of Lincoln was, that
he should be fined 50001. to the King, and 30001. to the Archbishop; imprisoned during the King's pleasure, and acknowledge his fault. He was supposed by his judges to be rather leniently dealt with; for Osbaldeston had a similar sentence, with the addition of standing in the pillory and having his ears nailed to it.
When it was thought that the ex-Lord Keeper's spirit was broken by these proceedings, an offer was made to liberate him on his giving up his bishopric and all his preferments in England, and taking a bishopric in Ireland. He answered, " that it were a tempting of God to part with all he had willingly, and leave himself no assurance of a livelihood; that his debts, if he came out of the Tower, would cast him into another prison ; that he would never hazard himself into a condition to beg his breal; and as to going into Ireland, that as he was imprisoned here under the King, he plainly saw he should soon be hanged there under the Lord Deputy.”.
| Hacket, part ii. 136. According to Cla- in Ireland there was a man (meaning the rendon—" he had much to defend himself Earl of Strafford) who would cut off his head against the Archbishop here; but if he was within one month."
So he resolved to exercise his patience, and wait a better day.
His deliverance arrived much sooner than could then have been expected. The parliament which was assembled in the beginning of 1640, upon the Scottish invasion, was abruptly dissolved before Williams could apply to it for redress; but the November following was the memorable era of the meeting of “the Long Parliament.” He now hoped for his own liberation, and vengeance on his oppressor. About this time he said to Hacket, his biographer, “ I am right sorry for the King, who is like to be forsaken by his subjects. But for the Archbishop, he had best not meddle with me, for all the friends he can make will be too few to save him.”
In a few days after the commencement of the session he presented a petition to the House of Lords, praying that he might be set at liberty, and that a writ of summons might be sent to him as a Peer. This was opposed by Finch, the Lord Keeper, and by Archbishop Laud; but the Lords agreed on an address to the King in his favour, and sent their own officer, the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, to the Tower to deliver him out of custody. He was brought to Westminster forthwith, and, in the midst of many congratulations, took his seat on the Bishops' bench.
He could not refrain, at first, from launching out rather violently against those who had persecuted him, but after this ebullition he conducted himself with moderation ; showing himself a friend to the monarchy and the church ; and, were it not for the Jesuitical advice which he gave to Charles, about assenting to the execution of Strafford, his subsequent conduct must be applauded by all parties in the state. Some Peers, to whom chiefly he owed his liberation, having spoken with personal disrespect of the King, who was still residing at Westminster in the full exercise of the royal functions, he sharply rebuked them,-pointing out how the use of such language was contrary to the duty of good subjects, and was inconsistent with all notion of kingly government. They exclaimed, “We have conjured up a spirit, and would we could lay him again.” Clarendon relates, that now preaching before the King in his turn as Dean of Westminster, when mentioning the Presbyterian discipline, he said, “it was a government only fit for tailors and shoemakers and the like-not for noblemen and gentlemen,"—which giving great scandal to his patrons," he reconciled himself to them by making merry with certain
sharp sayings of the Court.” But the noble historian had such a spite against Williams, that this representation must be received with some suspicion.”
From whatever cause,—the King, pretending to approve of his conduct, sent for him one evening, had a conference with him that lasted till after midnight, and, as a token of a full pardon, ordered the records of all the proceedings against him in the Star Chamber to be cancelled.
To some of his more respectable opponents Williams said, “ If they had no worse foes than him, they might fear no harm, and that he saluted them with the charity of a Bishop;' but when Kilvert, who had behaved so abominably at Buckden, came to crave pardon and indemnity, he said passionately, “ I assure you pardon for what you have done before ; but this is a new fault, that you take me to be of so base a spirit as to defile myself with treading on so mean a creature. Live still by pettyfogging, and think that I have forgotten you.”
He strongly advised Charles not to assent to the act which deprived him of the power of dissolving this parliament at pleasure, and which must be considered the foundation of the impending revolution. Long before the King's captivity, the House of Commons had become unpopular, so that there was a strong ieaction throughout the nation in his favour; and if he could have called a new parliament he would have been safe.
But Williams's conduct with respect to Strafford cannot be defended. In the first place, although the trial for the high treason was causa sanguinis,—he contended, contrary to the canons and immemorial usage, for the right of the Bishops to be present and to vote upon it, and that they ought to exercise this right."
The Bill of Attainder being passed, although he professed May, 1611.
to disapprove of it, he agreed to go with three other
prelates to try to induce the King to assent to it, and thus he stated the question :-"Since his Majesty refers his own judgment to his Judges, and they are to answer it, if
$ Hist. Rel), i. 536, 542, 548.
Strafford of their support; whereas Hacket t Hacket, part ii.
gives at full length a very long speech which u There is a striking instance of the in- Williams delivered, to prove that the Bishops accuracy of Lord Clarendon in relating this on trials for life and death were to sit and transaction. He strongly blames Williams vote like other Peers.--3 St. Tr. 823. 2 Parl. for denying the right of the Bishops to be Hist. 732. In capital cases the Bishops always present and to vote,- that he might deprive withdraw under protest.
MADE ARCHBISHOP OF YORK.
an innocent person suffers,—why may he not satisfy his conscience in the present matter, since competent Judges in the law have awarded that they find the Earl guilty of treason, by suffering the judgment to stand, though in his own mind he is satisfied that the party convicted was not criminous ?” The other three Bishops, trusting to his learning and experience, joined with him in sanctioning this distinction, in laying all the blame on the Judges, and in saying that the King, with a good conscience, might agree to Strafford's death. Clarendon mainly imputes Strafford's death to Williams's conduct on this occasion, saying that “ he acted his part with prodigious boldness and impiety." It is stated as matter of palliation by others, that Usher, the celebrated Archbishop of Armagh, was one of this deputation, and that Strafford, although aware of the advice he had given, was attended by him on the scaffold, and received from him the last consolations of religion.
Williams now visited his diocese, and tried to put down unlicensed preaching, which was beginning to spread formidably. On his return, being violently attacked in parliament for this proceeding, he ably defended himself in a conference between the two Houses, held in the Painted Chamber.
While afraid of the displeasure of the popular party, a new change of fortune awaited him. It was said he experienced almost as many vicissitudes as Marius, Consul toties exulque ; ex exule Consul. Instead of being sent to Newgate, as he expected by the influence of the Puritans whom he had protected,--he was made by the King Archbishop of York, and placed, de facto, at the head of the Church of England. Laud, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was under impeachment in the Tower, and the clergy of the establishment looked, as their last hope, to him who had been for years persecuted and imprisoned as their enemy.
CONCLUSION OF THE LIFE OF LORD KEEPER WILLIAMS.
WILLIAMS had scarcely taken his seat in the House of Lords as
Metropolitan when he had to defend the right of his
order to sit there. A Bill came up from the Commons to exclude the Bishops entirely from parliament, and to disqualify them for all secular employments. When it got into committee, he delivered a very long and able speech against it, which made such an impression on its supporters, that it was allowed to go to sleep for five months.* The King complimented him on this occasion, saying, “ My Lord, I commend you that you are no whit daunted with all disasters, but are zealous in defending your order.”—“ Please it your Majesty," replied the Arch-BISHOP, “I am a true Welshman, and they are observed never to run away till their general do first forsake them. No fear of my flinching whilst
Majesty doth countenance our cause.
But after the fatal attempt of the King to seize the five members in the House of Commons, all hope of a peaceable settlement was at an end. The cry against the Bishops was revived, and it was greatly exasperated by Williams having, as Dean of Westminster, gallantly defended the Abbey against a mob who wished to seize the regalia deposited there, and having put them to flight by an armed force. The Bishops were threatened with personal violence, and were prevented from entering the House of Lords.
Hereupon Williams drew up a protest, addressed to the King, which was signed by himself and eleven other Prelates. After dwelling upon their privileges as a constituent part of the Assembly and one of the estates of the realm,“
they humbly protest, before his Majesty and the noble House of Peers, that, saving unto themselves all their rights and interests of sitting and voting in the House at other times, they dare not sit or vote in the House of Peers until his Majesty shall further secure them from all affronts, indignities, and dangers.
X 2 Parl. Hist. 794.