Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

is worse, received for the most part their infor. Itween the King and the Parliament, and mations and advertisements from clergymen took part emphatically and passionately for who understand the least, and take the worst the King; and this although, in the earlier measure of human affairs of all mankind that

part of his career, he was as well aware as can write and read.

any one of the existence of great abuses

which required a remedy. All study of It is easy to trace in this celebrated pas- that period leads to the conclusion that the sage the inward satisfaction with which real question was the question of sovereignClarendon contrasted his own social advan- ty. Was the King or the Parliament to be tages with the somewhat narrow education the substantive or the adjective ? Clarenof Laud. His own temper apparently had don took the Royal side, perhaps, all the something of the same sort of roughness in more warmly because he had sufficient it, for he continually boasts of his habitual faith in it to wish to reform collateral abusplainness of speech. The following account es, like the Courts of the Earl Marshal and of himself is one of the oddest passages that those of the President of the North, and the ever were written :

Council of Wales. He appears really and

honestly to have believed that it was an evHe was in his nature inclined to pride and erlasting divine decree that the King and passion, and to a humour between wrangling the Bishops should direct, substantially and and disputing, very troublesome; which good really, all the temporal and spiritual affairs company in a short time so much reformed and of the nation, and that it was in the highest mastered, that no man was more affable and courteous to all kinds of persons ; and they degree morally wicked, and even impious, who knew the great infirmity of his whole to try to alter this arrangement. Nothing family, which abounded in passion, used to say

is more difficult for us, at this distance of he had much extinguished the unruliness of time, to realize than the view which in that fire. That which supported and rendered those days a man like Clarendon took of a him generally acceptable was his generosity man like Hampden. What Hampden (for he had too much a contempt of money), thought of Clarendon we do not know, but and the opinion men had of the goodness and Clarendon obviously considered Hampden justice of his nature which was transcendent in him, in a wonderful tenderness and delight as a wicked man, a rebel, a traitor, and a in obliging. His integrity was ever without hypocrite. In a curious summary of his blemish, and believed to be above temptation. life with which the book concludes, he says, He was firm and unshaken in his friendships ; in language too ample for quotation, that and though he had great candour towards oth- he began by “so great a tenderness and ers in the differences of religion, he was zealous- love towards mankind” that he believed ly and deliberately fixed in the principles both every one to be virtuous, but that his .Parof the doctrine and discipline of the Church. liamentary experience soon taught him that

upon whose ingenuity and probity he Few men have sung their own praises with would willingly have deposited all his consuch calm assurance. A person who says, cernments of this world ” were “totally “ Upon mature reflection, I pronounce my- false and disingenuous;" that “

“ religion self to be a man of transcendent goodness was made a cloak to cover the most impious and justice, wonderful tenderness, unblem- designs, and reputation of honesty a strataished integrity, a firm friend, and as candid gem to deceive and cheat others who had as I am strict in my religious views," must no mind to be wicked.” It is true that he really be a sort of phenomenon. In every adds that the Court was “ as full of murmurpart of his autobiography Clarendon shows ing, ingratitude, and treachery against the a solid, deliberate admiration of himself, best and most bountiful master in the world which it seems hardly fair to call vanity, | as the country and the city; " but scores of because it is so calm and grave, but which, passages might easily be quoted from his so far as we know, is unrivalled by any oth- works which show that he was utterly uner writer.

able to believe that the Parliamentary party The great blemish of the early part of could have any conscientious belief at all in the Memoirs is that they throw very little their own principles. This intense zeal is light either upon the logical groundwork of the more difficult to explain because he Clarendon's earlier life or on the nature of stood almost alone in it. Falkland, for inhis change. Perhaps the most plausible stance, was obviously in great doubt as to guess

for, after all, it is little more that the course which he had taken; but percan be made - as to his frame of mind, is haps the most curious case was that of Sir that he was one of the very few who clearly Edmund Verney, the standard-bearer. On understood the nature of the struggle be- the march to Edge Hill he complimented

men «

Hyde on his cheerfulness, adding that, for extreme minuteness into most of the points his own part, he could not be cheerful: on which his impeachment was grounded,

and to show, step by step, how unreason“You,” said Verney, “ have satisfaction in able they were, and how hardly he was your conscience that you are in the right; that used. This he does successfully enough, the King ought not to grant what is required but at wearisome length to a modern readof him

but for my part, I do not like er. One only of the personal scenes of the the quarrel, and do heartily wish that the King book is curious enough to be worth particuwould yield, and consent to what they desire. lar reference. It is the one in which he

. I will deal freely with you. I have describes his behaviour on hearing of his no reverence for the Bishops for whom this quarrel subsists."

daughter's private marriage to James II. When informed of the fact by the Marquis

of Ormond and the Earl of Southampton, Clarendon's intense partisanship for the

at the desire of Charles II., he behaved in King and the Bishops, wherever he got it,

a manner which it takes him two pages to certainly went a very long way, for it made describe, the nature of which is sufficiently him thoroughly disingenuous in his subse indicated by the marginal notes which illusquent account of the transactions in which trate them. “ The Chancellor struck with he was concerned. No one would ever it to the heart” is the summary of about guess from his writings that he had voted half a page ; “and breaks out into a very for Strafford's attainder, or for the Bill for immoderate passion” is the of the

summary perpetual Parliaments.

Other instances remainder. It is a most appropriate one, of great forgetfulness.or deceitfulness have been exposed elaborately by Mr. Forster, style of which are in strange contrast to

for the concluding sentences, the stately in his Life of Eliot. It ought, however, to their character, are:be observed that both his History and his Life are exceedingly imperfect. He omits

He hoped their Lordships would concur with many matters which ought to have found a him that the King should immediately cause place in his writings. For instance, he the woman to be sent to the Tower, and to be does not even allude to the Act for abolish- cast into a dungeon, under so strict a guard ing feudal tenures.

that no person living should be permitted to In the second stage of his life — the civil come to her; and then that an Act of Parliawar, and the years of exile which followed ment should be immediately passed for the cutit - the autobiography adds little to the ting off of her head, to which he would not History of the Rebellion except a certain only give his consent, but would very willingly number of personal anecdotes. The most knew the man will believe that he said all this

be the first man to propose it; and whoever interesting relate to his residence at Jersey,

very heartily. where he employed himself, between 1646 and 1648, in writing his History. As usual, He also observed “ that he had much rahe commends his own industry with that grave, measured self-esteem which was pe-whore than his wife,” as, in the first case,

ther his daughter should be the Duke's culiar to him:

he might turn her out of doors, and have

done with her; whereas, in the second, his He seldom spent less than ten hours in the duty as a loyal subject, and as first Minister day (amongst his books and papers), and it can of the Crown, would be to get her head hardly be believed how much he read and writ there; inasmuch as he did usually compute cut off. This story is often told as a proof that during his whole stay in Jersey, which was of the passionate, bigoted loyalty of Clarsome months above two years, he writ daily endon. We agree with Lord Campbell in little less than one sheet of large paper with thinking that his lordship did protest too his own hand.

much, and that in truth he was by_no

means so angry as he professed to be. The Creditable enough, but nothing to make a worst part of his whole character- and marvel of, one would think.

the fault is illustrated in endless ways- is The third part of Clarendon's Life stands his frequent insincerity. No doubt the alone, relating as it does, to a period sub- events of his life afforded much excuse for sequent to the termination of his History. it, but it shows itself continually, and al. It relates to the first years of the reign of most always in the same form. "He keeps Charles II. It is a good deal occupied with continually saying, almost in so many words Clarendon's own personal affairs, which but at all events indirectly — "I am a have now fallen much out of date. He rough, honest, passionate, plainspoken man, finds it necessary, for instance, to go with proud of my sincerity, perhaps too secure

in my good conscience. My frank harsh- | disposal.” Clarendon would, no doubt, ness of manner was the cause of all my have liked the Parliament to have greater misfortunes.” The slyness which lurks purity and less power. Charles felt that under this sort of roughness is the s\'est the Parliament could never again recede to thing in the whole world.

the position which it had occupied in the The general view which the latter part of early part of the century, and that the the Life affords of the state of the country only chance of maintaining his power was at the Restoration is exceedingly interesting. by the use of influence. The honester man When attentively read, it shows what an of the two was less favourable to freedom immense change had been made by the than the other. A remarkable summary civil war in the position of Royalty, not- of Clarendon's own views is given in the withstanding the eagerness with which latter part of the book : Charles was welcomed back in the first instance. It has been usual to represent

He did never dissemble from the time of his Clarendon as the grave Mentor, the parti- return with the King, whom he had likewise san of decency and order, who was driven prepared and disposed to the samo sentiments, into exile by the gross ingratitude and whilst His Majesty was abroad, that his opinion wickedness of a King who could not bear was that the late rebellion never could be exhis own vices to be reproved, and of a King's regal and inherent power and preroga,

tirpated and pulled up by the roots till the Court which was the natural enemy of all tive should be fully avowed and vindicated, and decency and gravity. In all this there is a till the usurpations in both Houses of Parliagood deal of truth, but it is not quite the ment, since the year 1640, were disclaimed and whole truth. There are many indications made odious; and many other excesses which which it is impossible to mistake, though it had been affected by both before that time, unwould be difficult to exhibit them at full der the name of Privileges, should be restrained length in a moderate compass, that, apart

or explained. from and over and above the offence given This was the leading idea of all his policy, by Clarendon's well-deserved rebukes of Charles and his vices, Charles perceived

and it is to be traced, in a variety of minute that he did not enter into the spirit of the ways, in all that he has to say on the subtimes, but belonged to a different age. ject of the management of public atfairs. Throughout the whole of his book he speaks He could not forgive Charles for being less of the Presbyterian party in a tone of

of a Tory than himself: rancorous moral condemnation. They had,

The King had in his nature so little reverhe says in one place, no title to their lives

ence or esteem for antiquity and did, in truth, except the King's mercy. All his policy so much contemn old orders, forms, and instiwas in the same direction. Ile never could tutions, that the objections of novelty rather look upon any of the doings of the Long advanced than obstructed any proposition. Parliament with toleration. For instance, the Triennial Act was then as much a part There are a good many incidental reof the law of the land as any other; yet marks in Clarendon's Life which throw Charles said, in so many words, apparently light on the manners of the age which he with the full concurrence of his Chancellor, describes. He gives an account, for inthat he would never permit a Parliament stance, of his way of spending his time to assemble under its provisions, because when he began to get business at the Bar they were derogatory to the Royal power. i. e. at some period being between 1630 So Clarendon continually tried to get the and 1640. How he spent his mornings King to dissolve the Parliament elected does not appear; but he saw his friends at after his return the second Long Parlia- dinner, in the middle of the day. The ment, as it was called. This seemed, and afternoons “ he dedicated to the business of perhaps in some respects actually was, a his profession,” and he read“ polite learnconstitutional measure, but Charles's rea- ing" at night. “ He never supped for many sons for not doing so show what the real years before the troubles brought in that issue between himself and his Chancellor custom.” His vacation he passed in study,

He refused to dissolve the Parlia- except two months in the summer, when ment because he thought he could govern he went out of town. He afterwards through it. His other counsellors told him speaks of the House of Commons rising at " that he would never have such another four as a “disorderly hour," and refers to Parliament, where he had near one hundred dinners given by the popular leaders after members of his own menial servants and the House had risen. Probably this is their near relations, who were all at. his what he means by the troubles bringing in

was.

[ocr errors]

ers as

[ocr errors]

the custom of supping. During the civil the bookseller's calling from its condition war there was a rapid transport of de- in his younger days.

" Then,” he says, spatches, “when gentlemen undertook the " Little Britain was a plentiful and perpetual service, which they were willing enough to emporium of learned authors, and men do,” between London and York. Letters went thither as to a market, where they went out at twelve on Saturday night and seldom failed to meet with a greater conthe answer returned at ten on Monday versation. And the booksellers themselves morning: Clarendon, too, gives us the first were knowing and conversible men, with notice of newspapers :

whom, for the sake of bookish knowledge,

the greatest wits were pleased to converse. After he (the King] had read his several let- Thomas Guy, with whose memoir Mr. ters of intelligence, he took out the prints of Knight's book opens, was not one of these. diurnals, and speeches, and the like, which His life, however, was well worth telling: were every day printed at London.

The son of a Thames lighterman who died

when he was eight years old, he was apAfter the Restoration, he speaks of bank- prenticed in 1660 to a bookseller in Cheap

side. In 1668, just after the Great Fire, A tribe that had risen and grown up in Crom- master of a little shop“ near Stocks Mar

he began business on his own account as well's time, and never were heard of before the late troubles, till when the whole trade of ket,” at the corner of Cornhill and Lommoney had passed through the hands of the bard street. The office of King's printer, scriveners.

carrying with it a monoply in the printing of

Bibles, having continued in one careless He thinks it necessary to explain the word family for more than a century, the volumes 6 million

as often as he uses it, by adding, had come to be so “very bad, both in letin a parenthesis, “ Ten hundred thousand." ter and in paper,” that they were hardly

In concluding a notice of Clarendon's legible. Guy was the most enterprising of History of the Rebellion, some time ago, we several booksellers who started a profitable gave a specimen of his occasionalelo- trade in Bibles, printed in Holland. quence. We will conclude this notice of this trade,” says Maitland, “proving not his Life, which is far from being an eloquent only very detrimental to the public revenue, book, with a specimen of the wonderful but likewise to the King's printer, all ways clumsiness into which he habitually allowed and means were devised to quash the same; himself to slide when he wrote under no which, being vigorously put in execution, the special excitement. As a clue to the laby- booksellers, by frequent seizures and prosrinth, we may observe that Clarendon ecutions, became so great sufferers that meant that Lord Falmouth despised Pen, they judged a further pursuit thereof inconand that Mr. Coventry supported him :

sistent with their interest.” Guy found it

his interest to abandon the trade very early. The Earl of Falmouth and Mr. Coventry He made a compromise with the monopolwere rivals who should have most interest in ists and obtained leave to print Bibles in the Duke, who loved the Earl best, but thought London, with types imported from Holland. the other the wiser man, who supported Pen Thereby he soon grew rich. Mr. Knight (who disobliged all the courtiers), even against mistrusts the common stories of his stingthe Earl, who contemned Pen.

iness, and finds him guilty of nothing but Here are five " whos” in one sentence, and ly denies the other stories to the effect that

" the most scrupulous frugality" He boldeach refers to a different antecedent. namely, 1, Falmouth and Coventry; 2, buying as cheaply as he could the paper

he made a great part of his wealth by The Duke of York; 3, Coventry ; 4, Pen; with which it was the custom to pay and 5, Falmouth.

sailors, and then converting them into money at something like their real value. That, says Mr. Knight, was a practice of Charles the Second's

day, but not of Queen

Anne's. Guy doubtless enriched himself From the Examiner.

partly by the sale of Bibles, and yet more Shadows of the Old Booksellers. By Charles by investing the profits of that sale in the Knight. Bell and Daldy.

buying of Government stock and other

lawful ways of making money on 'Change. In his Lives of his three famous brothers, In 1720 he spent 45,5001. in buying South Roger North deplores the degradation of Sea stock at 1201. for the 1001. share. He is worse, received for the most part their infor-tween the King and the Parliament, and mations and advertisements from clergymen took part emphatically and passionately for who understand the least, and take the worst the King; and this although, in the earlier measure of human affairs of all mankind that part of his career, he was as well aware as can write and read.

any one of the existence of great abuses

which required a remedy. All study of It is easy to trace in this celebrated pas- that period leads to the conclusion that the sage the inward satisfaction with which real question was the question of sovereignClarendon contrasted bis own social advan- ty. Was the King or the Parliament to be tages with the somewhat narrow education the substantive or the adjective? Clarenof Laud. His own temper apparently had don took the Royal side, perhaps, all the something of the same sort of roughness in more warmly because he had sufficient it, for he continually boasts of bis habitual faith in it to wish to reform collateral abusplainness of speech. The following account es, like the Courts of the Earl Marshal and of himself is one of the oddest passages that those of the President of the North, and the ever were written:

Council of Wales. He appears really and

honestly to have believed that it was an evHe was in his nature inclined to pride and erlasting divine decree that the King and passion, and to a humour between wrangling the Bishops should direct, substantially and and disputing, very troublesome; which good really, all the temporal and spiritual affairs company in a short time so much reformed and of the nation, and that it was in the highest mastered, that no man was more affable and courteous to all kinds of persons ; and they degree morally wicked, and even impious, who knew the great infirmity of his whole to try to alter this arrangement. Nothing family, which abounded in passion, used to say is more difficult for us, at this distance of he had much extinguished the unruliness of time, to realize than the view which in that fire. That which supported and rendered those days a man like Clarendon took of a him generally acceptable was his generosity man like Hampden. What Hampden (for he had too much a contempt of money), thought of Clarendon we do not know, but and the opinion men had of the goodness and Clarendon obviously considered Hampden justice of his nature which was transcendent

as a wicked man, a rebel, a traitor, and a in him, in a wonderful tenderness and delight hypocrite. In a curious summary of his in obliging. His int blemish, and believed to be above temptation. life with which the book concludes, he says, He was firm and unshaken in his friendships ; in language too ample for quotation, that and though he had great candour towards oth- he began by “so great a tenderness and ers in the differences of religion, he was zealous- love towards mankind” that he believed ly and deliberately fixed in the principles both every one to be virtuous, but that his .Par. of the doctrine and discipline of the Church. liamentary experience soon taught him that

men “upon whose ingenuity and probity he Few men have sung their own praises with would willingly have deposited all his consuch calm assurance. A person who says, cernments of this world” were “totally “Upon mature reflection, I pronounce my- false and disingenuous;” that “religion self to be a man of transcendent goodness was made a cloak to cover the most impious and justice, wonderful tenderness, unblem- designs, and reputation of honesty a strataished integrity, a firm friend, and as candid gem to deceive and cheat others who had as I am strict in my religious views,” must no mind to be wicked.” It is true that he really be a sort of phenomenon. In every adds that the Court was “as full of murmurpart of his autobiography Clarendon shows ing, ingratitude, and treachery against the à solid, deliberate admiration of himself, best and most bountiful master in the world which it seems hardly fair to call vanity, as the country and the city;" but scores of because it is so calm and grave, but which, passages might easily be quoted from his so far as we know, is unrivalled by any oth- works which show that he was utterly uner writer.

able to believe that the Parliamentary party The great blemish of the early part of could have any conscientious belief at all in the Memoirs is that they throw very little their own principles. This intense zeal is light either upon the logical groundwork of the more difficult to explain because he Clarendon's earlier life or on the nature of stood almost alone in it. Falkland, for inhis change. Perhaps the most plausible stance, was obviously in great doubt as to guess — for, after all, it is little more that the course which he had taken; but percan be made as to his frame of mind, is haps the most curious case was that of Sir that he was one of the very few who clearly Edmund Verney, the standard-bearer. On understood the nature of the struggle be- the march to Edge Hill he complimented

« VorigeDoorgaan »