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While he imagined that he was only maintaining his own CHAP. authority, he may perhaps be suspected, in a few of his XLIX. actions, and still more of his pretensions, to have somewhat encroached on the liberties of his people: while he endeavoured, by an exact neutrality, to acquire the goodwill of all his neighbours, he was able to preserve fully the esteem and regard of none. His capacity was considerable; but fitter to discourse on general maxims, than to conduct any intricate business; his intentions were just; but more adapted to the conduct of private life, than to the government of kingdoms. Awkward in his person and ungainly in his manners, he was ill qualified to command respect; partial and undiscerning in his affections, he was little fitted to acquire general love. Of a feeble temper more than of a frail judgment: exposed to our ridicule from his vanity; but exempt from our hatred by his freedom from pride and arrogance. And upon the whole, it may be pronounced of his character, that all his qualities were sullied with weakness and embellished by humanity. Of political courage he certainly was destitute; and thence chiefly is derived the strong prejudice which prevails against his personal bravery: an inference, however, which must be owned, from general experience, to be extremely fallacious.
He was only once married, to Anne of Denmark, who died on the 3d of March, 1619, in the forty-fifth year of her age; a woman eminent neither for her vices nor her virtues. She loved shows and expensive amusements; but possessed little taste in her pleasures. A great comet appeared about the time of her death; and the vulgar esteemed it the prognostic of that event. So considerable in their eyes are even the most insignificant princes.
He left only one son, Charles, then in the twenty-fifth year of his age; and one daughter, Elizabeth, married to the Elector Palatine. She was aged twenty-nine years. Those alone remained of six legitimate children born to him. He never had any illegitimate; and he never discovered any tendency, even the smallest, towards a passion for any mistress.
The archbishops of Canterbury, during this reign, were Whytgift, who died in 1604; Bancroft, in 1610; Abbot, who survived the king. The chancellors, Lord Ellesmore,
CHAP. who resigned in 1617; Bacon was first lord-keeper till 1619; then was created chancellor, and was displaced in 1621 Williams, Bishop of Lincoln, was created lordkeeper in his place. The high treasurers were, the Earl of Dorset, who died in 1609; the Earl of Salisbury, in 1612; the Earl of Suffolk, fined and displaced for bribery in 1618; Lord Mandeville, resigned in 1621; the Earl of Middlesex, displaced in 1624; the Earl of Marlborough succeeded. The lord admirals were the Earl of Nottingham, who resigned in 1618; the Earl, afterwards Duke, of Buckingham. The secretaries of state were, the Earl of Salisbury, Sir Ralph Winwood, Nanton, Calvert, Lord Conway, Sir Albertus Moreton.
The numbers of the House of Lords, in the first Parliament of this reign, were seventy-eight temporal peers. The numbers in the first Parliament of Charles were ninety-seven. Consequently James, during that period, created nineteen new peerages above those that expired.
The House of Commons, in the first Parliament of this reign, consisted of four hundred and sixty-seven members. It appears, that four boroughs revived their charters, which they had formerly neglected. And as the first Parliament of Charles consisted of four hundred and ninety-four members, we may infer that James created ten new boroughs.
REIGN OF JAMES I."
NIES.-LEARNING AND ARTS.
CIVIL GOVERNMENT OF ENGLAND DURING THIS PERIOD.-ECCLESIASTICAL GOVERN-
Ir may not be improper, at this period, to make a pause; Appendix. and to take a survey of the state of the kingdom with regard to government, manners, finances, arms, trade, learning. Where a just notion is not formed of these particulars, history can be little instructive, and often will not be intelligible.
We may safely pronounce, that the English govern- Civil go. ment, at the accession of the Scottish line, was much more of England. arbitrary than it is at present; the prerogative less limited, the liberties of the subject less accurately defined and secured. Without mentioning other particulars, the courts alone of high commission and star-chamber were sufficient to lay the whole kingdom at the mercy of the prince.
The court of high commission had been erected by Elizabeth, in consequence of an act of Parliament, passed in the beginning of her reign: by this act, it was thought proper, during the great revolution of religion, to arm the sovereign with full powers, in order to discourage and suppress opposition. All appeals from the inferior ecclesiastical courts were carried before the high commission; and, of consequence, the whole life and doctrine of the
a This History of the house of Stuart was written and published by the author before the history of the house of Tudor. Hence it happens, that some passages, particularly in the present Appendix, may seem to be repetitions of what was formerly delivered in the reign of Elizabeth. The author, in order to obviate this objection, has cancelled some few passages in the foregoing chapters.
Appendix. clergy lay directly under its inspection. Every breach of the act of uniformity, every refusal of the ceremonies, was cognizable in this court; and, during the reign of Elizabeth, had been punished by deprivation, by fine, confiscation, and imprisonment. James contented himself with the gentler penalty of deprivation; nor was that punishment inflicted with rigour on every offender. Archbishop Spotswood tells us, that he was informed by Bancroft, the primate, several years after the king's accession, that not above forty-five clergymen had then been deprived. All the Catholics too were liable to be punished by this court, if they exercised any act of their religion, or sent abroad their children or other relations, to receive that education which they could not procure them in their own country. Popish priests were thrown into prison, and might be delivered over to the law, which punished them with death; though that severity had been sparingly exercised by Elizabeth, and never almost by James. In a word, that liberty of conscience, which we so highly and so justly value at present, was totally suppressed; and no exercise of any religion, but the established, was permitted throughout the kingdom. Any word or writing, which tended towards heresy or schism, was punishable by the high commissioners, or any three of them: they alone were judges what expressions had that tendency: they proceeded not by information, but upon rumour, suspicion, or according to their discretion: they administered an oath, by which the party cited before them was bound to answer any question which should be propounded to him. Whoever refused this oath, though he pleaded ever so justly, that he might thereby be brought to accuse himself, or his dearest friend, was punishable by imprisonment: and, in short, an inquisitorial tribunal, with all its terrors and iniquities, was erected in the kingdom. Full discretionary powers were bestowed with regard to the inquiry, trial, sentence, and penalty inflicted; excepting only that corporal punishments were restrained by that patent of the prince which erected the court, not by the act of Parliament which empowered him. By reason of the uncertain limits which separate ecclesiastical from civil causes, all accusations of adultery and incest were tried by the court of high commission; and
every complaint of wives against their husbands was there Appendix. examined and discussed". On like pretences, every cause which regarded conscience, that is, every cause, could have been brought under their jurisdiction.
But there was a sufficient reason, why the king would not be solicitous to stretch the jurisdiction of this court: the star-chamber possessed the same authority in civil matters; and its methods of proceeding were equally arbitrary and unlimited. The origin of this court was derived from the most remote antiquity; though it is pretended, that its power had first been carried to the greatest height by Henry VII. In all times, however, it is confessed, it enjoyed authority; and at no time was its authority circumscribed, or method of proceeding directed by any law or statute.
We have had already, or shall have, sufficient occasion, during the course of this history, to mention the dispensing power, the power of imprisonment, of exacting loans and benevolence, of pressing and quartering soldiers, of altering the customs, of erecting monopolies. These branches of power, if not directly opposite to the principles of all free government, must, at least, be acknowledged dangerous to freedom in a monarchical constitution, where an eternal jealousy must be preserved against the sovereign, and no discretionary powers must ever be entrusted to him, by which the property or personal liberty of any subject can be affected. The kings of England, however, had almost constantly exercised these powers; and if, on any occasion, the prince had been obliged to submit to laws enacted against them, he had ever, in practice, eluded these laws, and returned to the same arbitrary administration. During almost three centuries before the accession of James, the regal authority, in all these particulars, had never once been called in question.
We may also observe, that the principles in general,
b Rymer, tom. xvii. p. 200.
e Rushworth, vol. ii. p. 473. In Chambers's case, it was the unanimous opinion of the court of king's bench, that the court of star-chamber was not derived from the statute of Henry VII., but was a court many years before, and one of the most high and honourable courts of justice. See Coke's Rep. term Mich. 5 Car. I. See further, Camden's Brit. vol. i. Introd. p. 254. edit. of Gibson.
During several centuries, no reign had passed without some forced loans from the subject.