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lowed by all to be "sharp and sententious," | drily inserted. Thus maintaining the usewill not by all be reckoned "audacious with- lessness of the habit, among learned divines, out impudency," where Selden says of of running to the text for something done Church Councils: "They talk, but blas- among the Jews, that nothing concerns Engphemously enough, that the Holy Ghost is land, 'tis just, he says, if a man would have president of their general councils, when the a kettle, and he would not go to our brazier truth is, the odd man is still the Holy Ghost." to have it made as they make kettles, but he Or this fling at popular preachers of that day would have it made as Hiram made his brass-and not of that day only: "To preach work, who wrought for Solomon's Temple. To long, loud, and damnation, is the way to be quote a modern Dutchman, he says, where cried up. We love a man that damns us, you may use a classic author, is as if you were and we run after him again to save us" to justify your reputation, and for that end which doctrine he enforces by a homely illus- were to neglect all persons of note and qualtration of his own sort. Such plain-spoken ity that you know, and bring instead the paragraphs, too, as that on divine "Judg- testimonial of the scullion in the kitchen. ments, that on long sermons, &c., must Ceremony, he shrewdly observes (and seahave grated on many a seventeenth-century sonably withal), keeps up all things: 'tis like ear, at least of the crop-eared party; thus: a penny-glass to a rich spirit, or some excel"We cannot tell what is a judgment of God; lent water; without it the water were spilt, 'tis presumption to take upon us to know. In the spirit lost. Talking of political turncoats, time of plague we know we want health, and affirming that if a man be weak enough and therefore we pray to God to give us to change once, he will change again, he health. . . . . Commonly we say a judgment remarks: your country-fellows have a way falls upon a man for something in him we to try if a man be weak in the hams, by can not abide. An example we have in King coming behind him and giving him a blow James concerning the death of Henry IV. of unawares; if he bend once, be will bend France: one said he was killed for his wench- again. To the text of "Old friends are best," ing, another said he was killed for turning his illustration is, that King James used to his religion. No, says King James, who could call for his old shoes; they were easiest for not abide fighting, he was killed for permit- his feet. Moralizing on the changes which ting duels in his kingdom." Preaching," had affected the court of England, he pleassaid Selden, in the palmy day of preaching, antly says, that as, at a solemn dancing, first "is for the most part the glory of the preacher, you had the grave measures, then the coranto show himself a fine man. Catechising toes, and the galliards, then "Frenchmore," would do much better." And in the day of and the cushion-dance, and then the dance of obtrusiveness in "religious conversation," he all the company without distinction-lord and made bold to object: "King James said to groom, lady and kitchen-maid,-so in the the fly, have I three kingdoms, and thou English court of Elizabeth's time, gravity and must needs fly into my eye? Is there not state were kept up; in King James's time enough to meddle with upon the stage, or in things were pretty well; but in King love, or at the table, but religion ?" It must Charles's time, quoth he, "there has been nobe owned that Selden's "reasons at dinner" thing but French-more and the cushion-dance, on these and cognate topics are latitudinarian omnium gatherum, tolly polly, hoite come enough; and that, both in the spirit and in toite"-an almost Rabelaisian façon de parlor the letter, they, together with miscellaneous on the part of Mr. John. The King (Charles) remarks in which he is hardly "pleasant calling his friends from the Parliament, bewithout scurrility," or at least coarseness, cause he had use of them at Oxford, is, saith "show cause" for the testimony of Usher our table-talker, as if a man should have use and Hale. of a little piece of wood, and he runs down into the cellar, and takes the spigot; in the meantime all the beer runs about the house: so, his friends being absent, the king will be lost. On the thesis, "They that govern most make least noise," the illustration is: you see when they row in a barge, they that do drudgery work, slash, and puff, and sweat; while he that governs, sits quietly at the stern, and scarce is seen to stir. Upholding, as with consistency and sagacity he was for
To listeners with an ordinary palate, and normal digestive power, table-talk without illustration or anecdotage were as bad as pudding without plums. The plums are not forgotten, not sparsely inlaid either, in Selden's pudding; but are plentiful as blackberries, and have often a racy flavor, fresh and fruity. Selden loves to give zest to his grave discourse by some familiar allusion, aptly introduced, or smart figure of speech,
ward to do, the use of liturgical forms in |
For, it must be owned, Mr. John Selden was habitually ungallant; and if not a confirmed woman-hater, at least a pronounced woman-mocker. This is in keeping with the undue development in his nature of what is hard, dry, coarse-grained and radically prosaic. Little inkling had he of how divine a thing a woman may be made. "The sex" found in him a satirist as bluff as Monkbarns, without Monkbarns' latent kindness and his sweet blooded humanity. A passage or two
from the Table-talk will suffice as samples of the talker's irreverent style: "Of all people, ladies have no reason to cry down ceremony, for they take themselves slighted without it. And were they not used with ceremony, with compliments and addresses, with legs and kissing of hands, they were the pitifullest creatures in the world." Whether what he adds to this insolence be in mitigation or in aggravation of its guilt, let the aggrieved fair decide: "But yet methinks to kiss their hands after their lips, as some do, is like little boys, that after they eat the apple, fall to the paring, out of a love they have to the apple." Perhaps Mr. John had tasted woman's hand after another guess sort, and was tingling under the infliction, when he thus discoursed. A withered old Apple-John he deserved to be called, for his applesauce. Again-à propos of clerical pretensions: "the clergy would have us believe them against our own reason, as the woman would have had her husband against his own eyes: 'What! will you believe your own eyes before your own sweet wife?" Once more (and then a jam satis superque): ""Tis reason a man that will have a wife should be at the charge of her trinkets, and pay all the scores she sets on him. He that will keep a monkey, 'tis fit he should pay for the glasses he breaks."* Given the monkey, we need not in this instance look far for the bear.
* Table-talk, pp. 20, 30, 31, 32, 74, 95, 97, 157, 161, 164, 165, 201, 226.
He was tolerably impartial, all but the very partial will admit, in his opposition to "spiritual despotism," whether invested in scarlet, or lawn, or black Geneva gown. Popery, prelacy, presbyterianism,-none of them escaped his satire. Now he ridicules the notion of a curse entailed on lay proprie tors of abbey lands-now the papal jurisdiction-now the divine right of episcopacy. Equally he scouts the divine right of presbyterianism. As with priest, so with puritan. As with malignant, so with roundhead. As with high-church bigot, so with parliamentarian fanatic. And after all, he evidently prefers, as English gentleman and tenperate thinker, the via media of prelacy to the low level of the sects. Denouncing episcopal pretensions, he yet opposes those who are for abolishing episcopacy. If he is strong against firebrands within the pale of Anglicanism, he is stronger against more valgar firebrands without. He scorns the clap-trap of those who charge on churchmen things that they know not; he is above
* Ibid., pp. 31, 41, 227.
the ignorant zeal which is intent on getting up a cry. "We charge the prelatical clergy,' says he, "with popery to make them odious, though we know they are guilty of no such thing.' Speaking of the Trinity, he says, that if the second Person is made of a piece of bread by the papists, the third Person is made by the roundhead of his own phrensy, "One the bakmalice, ignorance, and folly. er makes, and the other the cobbler; and betwixt the two, I think the first Person is sufficiently abused." The frequent occasion he takes to uphold the liturgy against extemporaneous effusions is also observable; and so are his repeated sarcasms on Sabbatarians, on proxlixity in preaching and prayer, on the private interpretation of the word, and the vaunted right of private judgment, which the sectaries laid so much stress. Naturally it was the same with Selden's Ultras of politics. He was a middle-man. either side he eschewed. His was not the spirit of a martyr, nor, reformer though he was, of an enthusiast in reform. He was indeed again and again committed to custody
for his freedom of speech in the House of
CHEVALIER WIKOFF.-A strange story has, been brought to light in the course of the last week. Lord Palmerston, it is said-and strong documentary evidence is produced in support of the assertion-in the course of the year 1850 hired the services of a certain person, who, in return for his pay, make known clearly through the medium of the French and the United States' press, the liberal, and especially the pacific character, of the policy of Her Majesty's government.' The words quoted form part of a letter said to be addressed by Mr. H. U. Addington, in the name of Lord Palmerston, to the author
of a little work named," My Courtship and its
From Fraser's Magazine.
It is seldom we can trace with exact pre- 1 yearly submits his budget to the House of cision the source of a great river. We see Commons, and the House of Commons furthe high land whence it has descended, the nisbes Her Majesty with supplies for carryplain below enriched by its full stream, but ing on the Russian war. we fail to mark the exact spot where first The second chapter of Parliamentary Histhe infant waters trickle from the earth. So tory has Simon de Montfort for its hero. it is often with the origin of great institutions This man was one of the many foreigners
-so it is with that greatest of modern whose arrival in England, during the reign of European institutions, the British Parliament. Henry III., gave great offence to the country. It is scarcely possible to say exactly when Hated by the people, Simon de Montfort, and how it took its origin. It is certain that Earl of Leicester, was a favorite with the when that event took place, which is often king, and was allowed to marry Henry's own regarded as the origin of Parliament, the sister. The wedding took place in the presigning of Magna Charta, the word itself, cincts of the Royal Palace, in that sanctuary though doubtless with a sufficiently different which Stephen had built in troubled times, signification from that which it now bears, and which was now used as an appendage to was in common use. Still that event is not the Westminster Palace-in St. Stephen's improperly chosen as the heading for a chap- Chapel. ter on Parliament; it was the Barons of Little thought Simon de Montfort, as he Runnymede, headed by those true patriots, stood at the east end of that oblong chamber, Stephen Langton and Richard Earl of Pem- that his actions during the next years of his broke, who wrested from King John that life were to make it the focus of English hisgreat concession which still forms one of the tory ; that the room in which he was marry. fundamental props of our present constitution ing a king's daughter would be the scene of -viz., that the king shall raise no money those contests which would limit the power of from his people without the sanction and the the king's posterity. De Montford, soon after aid of Parliament.
his marriage, quarrelled with Henry III., and Through this first great Act of Parliament put himself at the head of the hostile barons. frequent attempts were made to drive a coach A few victories made him virtual king of and six, as has been done through so many England; but he knew that Englishmen of its successors. But the principle was loved not usurpers; he used his power in then announced on a summer day in 1215, the king's name to effect a silent orderly revand has never since been quite forgotten.olution : the writs which for the first time Often was this great wall of liberty sorely summoned two knights from each shire and breached by able, vigorous, and despotic two burgesses from each borough to serve Plantagenets; by haughty, impetuous, and the king in Parliament, were issued, indeed, wilful Tudors; by wily, treacherous, and im- by De Montfort, but signed in due order by perious Stuarts: but again and again were King Henry III. Thus two great steps tothe breaches built up, in repeated confirma- wards a parliamentary constitution were tions of the Charta, in the Provisions of accomplished. The first we owe mainly to a Oxford, in the Petition of Right: it was to be Norman baron and an English priest; the cemented with blood, to be maintained at second to one, who in days when the Norman any cost: change of dynasties, the death of Government itself had not altogether lost its kings, the pains of civil war, all were to be foreign character, was still more a foreigner : endured rather than abandon the principle the same free infusion of foreign elements that taxation rests not upon the will of the which has so strengthened and enriched our sovereign, but the law of the land; the prin- language, was destined also to widen and ciple, in obedience to which Mr. Gladstone strengthen the basis of our constitution; it
is to the Saxons, the Danes, the Normans, ) ileges. In the days of the Commonwealth the Alfreds, the Canutes, the De Montforts, it was the glory and the blessing of England that the rich concrete, the English, owes its that the Parliamentary system did not perish. existence.
It is not the least weighty evidence of the soThe division of Parliament into two Houses bering and strengthening effect of representaappears to have existed as early as the reign of tive institutions, that in England the most efEdward I. They met both in one building, but fectual and thorough revolutions have been so in separate council, at the upper and lower little revolutionary. When the Puritan ferend of Westminster Hall; that is to say, vor was at its height, when the monarchy when the Parliament was held at London, was abolished and the House of Lords dis. for it still retained during many years its persed, the House of Commons sat on, headcharacter of a royal council, and followeded by the Speaker, in its own chamber-its the king wherever he might be, to Oxford, forms and etiquettes were rigidly observed ; York, or Carlisle. It was not till the reign its manner of proceeding differed little from of Edward III, that the accumulation of that of the present time; matters of cereparliamentary records and other documents mony were debated with an earnestness at Westminster suggested the propriety of scarcely inferior to that bestowed on the Parliament's becoming independent of the most important questions of State policy; migrations of the sovereign ; since that reign an earnestness which those will not be inonly fourteen Parliaments have been held clined to ridicule who regard it as evidence elsewhere, and most of those during the of that strong desire in the middle of change troubled times of the Stuarts.
to abide as much as possible by the ancient In 1377, the House of Commons were paths, which has given so noble an aspect removed from Westminster Hall to the to all English reform, which gives that perChapter House of the Abbey. Here they manence to progress, without which it rapremained till the reign of Edward VI., when idly becomes convulsion and ruin. When they removed to the Chapel of St. Stephen. Cromwell became virtually King of England The peers continued to use Westminster his keen sagacity saw how hard it was to Hall, nor does it appear clearly when they change the warp which had been so slowly began to occupy that chamber which Guy and so carefully worked into the English Fawkes designed to blow up, and which was constitution ; he knew on what seeming tripulled down at the commencement of the Ales great liberties depended ; how utterly present century.
unfitted was the genius of the English peoThat legislation could only be the joint ple for a republican, or indeed for any other work of King, Lords, and Commons, appears than a monarchical form of government. to have been first regarded as a fixed princi- With this view he did what he could to put ple—the third great step, we shall call it, in back ancient landmarks ; he restored the parliamentary progress--in the reign of Ed other House as much as possible on its forward III. In the reign of Richard II. we mer footing; he even tried to procure for it find the House of Commons for the first time the old name of House of Lords, a proceedchoosing their Speaker, and petitioning for ing from which the House of Commons, more that liberty of speech which is still sued for shy of the name than the reality, shrank in as a matter of form by the Speaker of each alarm. He desired that there should be a successive Parliament: in the reign of Hen- king, doubtless he would have himself acry IV. a fourth step was taken in the post-cepted the royal title when offered to him, ponement of subsidies as conditional on the bad he not known that his past career had redress of grievances : in the reign of Henry made this impossible for him in the eyes of VI. the fifth and sixth steps--viz., the asser- those whom he could not offend ; that he, tion and establishment by the House of Com- who had dealt so terrible a blow to kingship, mons of its exclusive right to initiate money could never become, in name at least, King bills, and the exchanging the process of of England. We know with what joy, as a Petition for that which still exists of Bill, bow unbent, all England threw itself into the brought the English Parliament to a form, movement which brought about the Restorasubject indeed to much extension, but not ma- tion. The monarchy was reëstablished ; it terially different from that in which it now found the Parliament, with its old apparatus exists.
all prepared at Westminster; the parliamentThe Pyms and Hampdens of the Civil ary records preserved in an unbroken series; War were nobly occupied rather in the vin. the old parliamentary terms not fallen into dication of old than the demand for new priv. I desuetude; the Chapel of St. Stephen duly