cried up.

lowed by all to be “sharp and sententious,” | drily inserted. Thus maintaining the usewill not hy all be reckoned “audacious witb- 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 th: 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 bave 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

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

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 To listeners with an ordinary palate, and into the cellar, and takes the spigot; in the normal digestive power, table-talk without meantime all the beer runs about the house: illustration or anecdotage were as bad as so, his friends being absent, the king will be pudding without plums. The plums are not lost. On the thesis, “ They that govern most forgotten, not sparsely inlaid either, in Selmake least noise," the illustration is : you den's pudding; but are plentiful as black- see when they row in a barge, they that do berries, and have often a racy flavor, fresh drudgery work, slash, and puff, and sweat; and fruity. Selden loves to give zest to bis while he that governs, sits quietly at the grave discourse by some familiar allusion, stern, and scarce is seen to stir. Upholding, aptly introduced, or smart figure of speech, as with consistency and sagacity he was for

[ocr errors]


ward to do, the use of liturgical forms in from the Table-talk will suffice as samples of prayer, though allowing occasional instances the talker's irreverent style: “Of all people, of gifted extemporisers, Selden adds: there ladies have no reason to cry down ceremony, were some mathematicians that could with for they take themselves slighted without it. one fetch of their pen make an exact circle; And were they not used with ceremony, with is it therefore reasonable to banish all use of compliments and addresses, with legs and the compasses ?—now set forms are a pair kissing of hands, they were the pitifullest of compasses:

On the same subject : 'tis creatures in the world.” Whether what he hoped, says he, we may be cured of our adds to this insolence be in mitigation or in extemporary prayers, the same way the gro aggravation of its guilt, let the aggrieved cer's boy is cured of eating his plums, when fair decide: “But yet methinks to kiss their we have had our bellyful of them. And hands after their lips, as some do, is like litsimilarly of extempore preaching: preaching tle boys, that after they eat the apple, fall to by the spirit, as they call it, he says is most the paring, out of a love they have to the esteemed by the common people, because apple.” Perhaps Mr. John had tasted wothey can not abide art or learning, which they man's hand after another guess sort, and was have not been bred up in :-just as in the tingling under the infliction, when he thus business of fencing, if one country-fellow discoursed. A withered old Apple-John he amongst the rest has been at the school, the deserved to be called, for his apple-sauce. rest will undervalue his skill, or tell him he Again—à propos of clerical pretensions : "the wants valor: "you come with your school clergy would bave us believe them against tricks ; there 's Dick Butcher has ten times our own reason, as the woman would have more mettle in him ;" so they say to the had her husband against his own eyes : preachers, “ you come with your school- • What! will you believe your own eyes belearning ; there 's such a one has the spirit." fore your own sweet wife ?'”. Once more On the quæstio vexata of Convocation, he in (and then a jam satis superque) : “ 'Tis reasists on the presence of laymen in the synod, son a man that will have a wife should be at to overlook the clergy, lest they spoil the civil the charge of her trinkets, and pay all the work: just as when the good woman puts a cat

scores she sets on him. He that will keep a into the milkhouse to kill a mouse, she sends monkey, 'tis fit he should pay for the glasses her maid after the cat, lest the cat should he breaks."* Given the monkey, we need up .

, not in this bear. talking of the rather anomalous position is "He was tolerably impartial, al but the society of a bishop's wife,-plain Mrs. this very partial will admit, in bis opposition to or that-he says : you shall see a monkey "spiritual despotism,” whether invested in sometimes, that has been playing up and scarlet, or lawn, or black Geneva gown. down the garden, at length leap up to the Popery, prelacy, presbyterianism,—none of top of the wall, while his clog hangs a great them escaped his satire. Now he ridicules way below on this side: the bishop's wife is the notion of a curse entailed on lay proprielike that monkey's clog; himself is got up tors of abbey lands—now the papal jurisdicvery high, takes place of the temporal bar- tion—now the divine right of episcopacy. ons, but his wife comes a great way behind.* Equally he scouts the divine right of presbyThis last unkindest cut of all is only too terianism. As with priest, so with puritan. characteristic of Selden's brusque and even As with malignant, so with roundhead. As bearish treatment of souls feminine.

with high-church bigot, so with parliamentFor, it must be owned, Mr. John Selden arian fanatic. And after all, he evidently was habitually ungallant; and if not a con- prefers, as English gentleman and tenıperate firmed woman-bater, at least a pronounced thinker, the via media of prelacy to the low woman-mocker. This is in keeping with the level of the sects. Denouncing episcopal undue development in his nature of what is pretensions, he get opposes those who are bard, dry, coarse-grained and radically pro- for abolishing episcopacy. If he is strong saic. Little inkling had he of how divine a against firebrands within the pale of Anglithing a woman may be made. " The sex" canism, he is stronger against more vulfound in bim a satirist as bluff as Monkbarns, gar firebrands without.

He scorns thie without Monkbarns' latent kindness and his clap-trap of those who charge on churchsweet blooded humanity. A passage or two men things that they know not; be is above

• Table-talk, pp. 20, 30, 31, 32, 74, 95, 97, 167, 161, 164, 165, 201, 226.

* Ibid., pp. 31, 41, 227.


the ignorant zeal which is intent on getting for his freedom of speech in the House of up a cry. "We charge the prelatical clergy, Commons--which he entered a year or two says he, “ with popery to make them odious, before the death of James I., as member for though we know they are guilty of no such Lancaster, and in which he subsequently had thing.” Speaking of the Trinity, he says, a seat for Great Bedwin, and also for the that if the second Person is made of a piece University of Oxford—but he was too reof bread by the papists, the third Person is flective, and not sufficiently einseitig, to be a made by the roundhead of his own phrensy, thorough; neither intellectually malice, ignorance, and folly. “One the bak- nor morally, neither by conviction nor by er makes, and the other the cobbler ; and temperament, was he shaped for a revolubetwixt the two, I think the first Person is tionary leader. “In a troubled state," he sufficiently abused.” The frequent occasion says at table, we must do as in foul weather he takes to uphold the liturgy against ex- upon the Thames, not think to cut directly temporaneous effusions is also observable ; through, but rise and fall as the waves do, and so are his repeated sarcasms on Sabbat- give as much as conveniently we can.' arians, on proxlixity in preaching and prayer, lived to see the waters abated, and the vessel on the private interpretation of the word, and of the State making way in comparative the vaunted right of private judgment, calm, under the pilotage of Cromwell; but upon which the sectaries laid so much stress. how far he was sanguine of his country's

Naturally it was the same with Selden's weal under such a steersman, and with what politics. He was a middle-man. Ultras of degree of approval he watched the dictator's either side he eschewed. His was not the policy, or what tokens of stability his prospirit of a martyr, nor, reformer though he phetic eye recognized in the protectorate, we was, of an enthusiast in reform. He was in- should be glad to find in his Table-talk," deed again and again committed to custody I but find pot.

"* He


CHEVALIER WIKOFF.—A strange story has of a little work named, “My Courtship and its been brought to light in the course of the Consequences.” The author is said to be one last week. Lord Palmerston, it is said—and Nichoff. It is stated that this man Nichoff strong documentary evidence is produced in is a Russian agent, employed to write Russian support of the assertion—in the course of the articles in the

New York Herald. For some year 1850 hired the services of a certain per- reason or other, this worthy personage ceased son, who, in return for his pay, was to to give satisfaction to his employers, or they make known clearly through the medium of ceased to have occasion for his services. Due the French and the United States' press, the notice was given to him by Mr. Addington that liberal, and especially the pacific character, at the end of June, 1852, his engagement of the policy of Her Majesty's government.” with the English Foreign-office was to be The words quoted form part of a letter said considered as terminated, and it was brought to be addressed by Mr. H. U. Addington, in to a conclusion accordingly. It may be as the name of Lord Palmerston, to the author well to state that Nichoff, the Russian agent

on one authority, is by another stated to be

a citizen of the United States. It is added, Some affect to descry in Selden's “easy conscience" the key to his certainly very "easy cir

from his own account, that he was sentenced cumstances.” How Selden got together his money, by a criminal court at Genoa to fifteen is not altogether clear; but neither need any mys- months' imprisonment for a scandalous outtery be made of it, considering his profession as a

rage upon a lady. The two assertions are conveyancer and chamber counsel, and his oppor far from incompatible. Nichoff, the Russian tunities from connection with the Kent family. To his wealth, as conjoined in a rare degree with re

agent, may well be a Russian by birth, natmarkable learning, the witty Fuller probably al- uralized in America, the agent of the British ludes, in bis dry way, when he says : "Mr. Seiden Foreign-office, the Russian spy, the hero of had some coins of the Roman emperors, and

the criminal outrage at Genoa, the corregreat many more of our English kings.” At least, it would not be like Fuller if there were no such spondent of Mr. H. U. Addington, and the sub-surface meaning in the sentence, but only the author of "My Courts and its Conseliteral one obvious to very literal readers.


[ocr errors]

From Fraser's Magazine.

Ꮪ .

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

« VorigeDoorgaan »