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temerity, and of an active temper; yet free from tur bulance and vain ambition. On the other hand, as » queen, she was rigid to her people, imperious to her courtiers, insincere in her professions, and often a hypocrite in her public measures; as a woman, she was suspicious, jealous, and cruel. She was intemperate in her anger, insatiable in her desire of admiration, and, with all her excellent sense, continually the dupe of flattery.

Few sovereigns succeeded to the throne of England in more difficult circumstances, and none ever conducted the government with more uniform success and felicity; but, in fact, there never was a sovereign who carried the notions of her prerogative higher than Queen Elizabeth, or had so thorough a disregard for her people's liberties. Those engines of arbitrary power which, in the hands of her successors, excited that indignant spirit of the people which ended at length in the destruction of the constitution, were employed by this politic queen without the smallest murmur on the part of her subjects. The tyranny of the courts of Star chamber, and of High Commission, which we shall see the cause of those violent ferments in the time of Charles I., was most patiently submitted to under Elizabeth. The tone of the queen to her parliament was, "I discharge you from presuming to meddle with affairs of state, which are matters above your comprehension." So distant was the condition of the subjects in those so much vaunted days of Queen Elizabeth from that degree of liberty which we at present enjoy-a consideration, this, which ought to produce at least a respect for that improved constitution which has secured to us that valuable blessing, and a patriotic desire to preserve this constitution inviolate, and to maintain its equal balance, distant alike from the tyrannical encroachments of arbitrary power, and the insatiable claims of popular faction.


GREAT BRITAIN, in the Reigns of JAMES I. and CHARLES I.— Accession of James VI. of Scotland to the throne of England-Change of popular feeling on the rights of the subject-Gunpowder Plot-His unworthy favourites-Pacific reign-Death-Charles I.-Differences with his first Parliament- Petition of Rights-Religious innovations attempted in England and Scotland augment the discontents -The National Covenant-Proceedings of Charles's last Parliament--Impeachment and Execution of StraffordBill passed declaring Parliament perpetual-Catholic Religion in Ireland made a pretext for the Parliament levying an Army-Bench of Bishops impeached and imprisonedKing impeaches five members of the House of Commons -Civil War-Solemn league and covenant-Scots cooperate with Parliament-Cromwell--Battle of NasebyCromwell turns the Army against the Parliament-Trial and Execution of Charles-Reflections.

UPON the death of Elizabeth, the crown of England passed with great tranquillity to her successor, James VI., king of Scotland, whose right united whatever descent, bequest, or parliamentary sanction could confer. If James mounted the throne with the entire approbation and even affection of his English subjects, it is certain that he did not long preserve them. He was unpopular from his manners, which were pedantic and austere, from his preference to his Scottish courtiers, and still more so from his high notions of an uncontrollable prerogative, which he was continually sounding in the ears of his subjects, both in his parliamentary speeches and in the works which he published; a bad policy, which, giving occasion to men to examine into the ground of those pretensions, served only to expose their weakness. The vigour of Elizabeth's government scarce left room to scrutinize its foundation, but her successor was fond of such disputes, and was never so happy as when engaged in a learned argument upon the divine right of kings. About this period, the minds of men throughout all Europe seem

to have undergone a very perceptible revolution. The study of letters began to be generally cultivated. Philosophy led to speculative reasonings on laws, on government, on religion, and on politics. In England, especially, which, in point of science, possessed a higher reputation at this period than any of the European kingdoms, these studies had a sensible influence on the current of public opinion. The love of liberty, which is inherent in all ingenuous nations, acquired new force, and began to furnish more extensive views of the rights of the subject than had prevailed in any former period of the constitution.

James, though of no mean capacity, was yet so blinded by self-conceit, and by the prejudices of educution, that he failed to perceive this revolution, so dangerous to absolute or despotic power.* His reign was, therefore, a silent but a continued struggle between the prerogative of the crown and the rights of the people. The seeds were sown of that spirit of resistance, which, though it did not break out in his time into acts of violence, proved afterward fatal to his successor.

Domestic events were such as chiefly signalized the reign of James I. He was scarcely seated on the throne, when he became the object of at least an alleged conspiracy, in which Lord Cobham, Lord Grey, and Sir Walter Raleigh were associated. Cobham

* "It appears," says Hume, "from the speeches and proclamations of James I., and the whole train of that prince's actions, as well as his son's, that he regarded the English government as a simple monarchy, and never imagined that any considerable part of his subjects entertained a contrary idea. This opinion made those monarchs discover their pretensions, without preparing any force to support them; and even without reserve or disguise, which are always employed by those who enter upon any new project, or endeavour to innovate in any government. The flattery of courtiers further confirmed their prejudices; and above all, that of the clergy, who, from several passages of Scripture, and these wrested too, had erected a regular and avowed system of arbitrary power."-Essay on the Protestant Succession.

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and Grey were pardoned. Raleigh underwent a trial, which, though the issue declared him guilty, leaves the mind in a state of absolute skepticism, with regard to the reality of this conspiracy, or of his con cern in it. Raleigh's sentence was suspended for the course of fifteen years, during most of which time he was confined in the Tower, where he employed himself in the composition of his History of the World, a work excellent in point of style, and in many branches valuable in point of matter. In the last year of his life he received the king's commission of admiral to undertake an expedition for the discovery of some rich mines in Guiana. This which, if not law, humanity at least ought to have interpreted into a pardon of his offence, was however not so understood by the monarch, whose heart had no great portion of the generous feeling. Raleigh's expedition was unsuccessful; the court of Spain complained of an attack which he had made upon one of their settlements. James wished to be at peace with Spain, and Raleigh at his return was ordered to be beheaded on his former sentence.

In the second year of this reign was framed another plot of a more dangerous nature, and one of the most infernal that ever entered into the human breast to conceive the Gunpowder Treason. The circumstances of this conspiracy, which had for its object to cut off at one blow the king and the whole body of the parliament, are so generally known as to need no detail. It had originated from the disgust and disappointment of the Catholics, who, on the accession of James, the son of a Catholic, had formed to themselves illusive hopes of the establishment of their religion. It was discovered from a circumstance of private friendship; for, strange as it may appear, such hellish designs are not always incompatible with a degree of the social and benevolent affections. The conduct of the king in the punishment of this conspiracy was an instance of moderation, if not humanity. The ma

jority of his people would have glad y seen an utter extinction of the whole Catholics in the kingdom. But James confined the vengeance of the laws to those only who were actually engaged in the plot-a measure which was by a great part of his subjects construed into his own tacit inclination to favour the Popish superstitions-an idea of which the absurdity was yet greater than its illiberality.

It was perhaps the small share which James had of the affections of his people that produced his attachment to particular favourites. Robert Carr, whom he had created Earl of Somerset, had no other pretensions to recommend him but a graceful person and a good address. He was a weak and an unprincipled man. He fell from the king's favour on conviction of his being guilty of a crime for which he should have suffered an ignominious death-the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury. Somerset had married the countess of Essex-a most debauched women, who, to accomplish this marriage, had procured a divorce from the Earl of Essex, in which she had found a chief obstacle in Sir Thomas Overbury, a confidant of Somerset. This flagitious woman now prevailed on her husband, Somerset, to have Overbury removed by poison, which they accomplished in a most barbarous manner, by feeding him daily for some months with poisoned victuals, while confined, through the means of Somerset, in the Tower. For this murder Somerset and his countess were condemned to suffer death, but they both received the king's pardon.* His place was supplied by George Villiers, afterward Duke of Buckingham, on whom the king, in the space of a few years, lavished all possible honours; yet this man

*State Trials, Vol. i. ; and Sir Fulke Greville's Five Years of King James, in the Harleian Miscellany, vol. vii. Mallet, in his life of Bacon, takes up the calumnious report, which was spread by some of the king's enemies, that James was privy to the murder of Overbury: but the circumstances of presumption which he mentions are quite inconclusive.

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