« EelmineJätka »
mosity with which it was associated; by a striking impropriety in dress; by a total absence of all dignity in demeanour, and by manners at once illiberal and ungracious. "I shall leave him dressed for posterity," says a caustic writer," in the colors I saw him in the next progress after his inauguration; which was as green as the grass he trod on; with a feather in his cap, and a horn instead of a sword by his side. How suitable to his age, calling, or person, I leave others to judge from his pictures."
Notwithstanding all these his eminent disqualifications for acting the part of sovereign before the eyes of a people accustomed to the unrivalled performance of queen Elizabeth, James continued to be borne along with the full tide of popularity; the charms of novelty atoning, as it appears, for every deficiency. Such, in fact, was the excess of obsequiousness every where exhibited, that an honest, plain Scotsman who attended him, surprised at a mode of reception so new both to himself and his master, could not refrain from breaking out into the "prophetical expression," as it is called by Wilson,
This people will spoil a gude king!" Vol. I. pp. 97-9.
James's first act, on entering his newly acquired kingdom, was to commit to prison a seminary priest, who delivered him a petition from the Catholics. His second was, to hang a cutpurse taken in the fact, without the formality of a trial by jury. No resistance,' it is said, was made on any part, to this needless violation of the laws of England, and of the first principles of all civilized government; but it appears to have made a deep impression." I hear our new king hath hanged one man before he was tried,' writes Sir John Harrington; 'tis strangely done; now, if the wind bloweth thus, why may not a man be tried before he hath offended?' In the course of the royal progress to the metropolis,
"his majesty passed in state to master Oliver Cromwell's house, where his majesty and all his followers, with all comers whatsoever, had such entertainment as the like had not been seen in any place before, since his first setting forward out of Scotland. There was such plenty and variety of meats, such diversity of wines, and those not riff-ruff, but ever the best of the kind, and the cellars open at any man's pleasure. And if it were so common with wine, there is little question but the butteries for beer and ale were more common.' "As this bounty was held back to none within the house, so, for such poor people as would not press in, there were open beerhouses erected, wherein there was no want of bread and beef for the comfort of the poorest creatures.-Neither was this provision for the little time of his majesty's stay; but it was made ready fourteen days, and after his highness' departure distributed to as many as had mind' for it." The personage by whom James was received with this magnificence of hospitality, was a loyal and jovial gentleman who lived high, spent the greater part of his estate, and died the oldest knight in England, one and fifty years afterwards, during the protectorate of
his nephew and godson, of whom he never deigned to beg a favour. Besides all his good and costly cheer, master Cromwell at parting presented the king with many gifts ; as, a large gold cup, fine horses, deep-mouthed hounds, and hawks of excellent wing; he likewise divided fifty pounds amongst his officers. Horses richly caparisoned were presented to James by others of his loyal entertainers.
Vol. I. pp. 105, 106. Little did the King dream that the godson and namesake of his host, should usurp the throne he was now proceeding
to occupy, and sign the death-warrant of his unhappy son. The anecdote shews the absurdity of the calumny, adopted by Hume, which ascribes to the Protector a mean origin.
James had been seated on the throne of England nearly a twelvemonth, ere he condescended to call a parliament. The pestilence which had raged in the metropolis was made a pretence for the delay; but that was surely a very insufficient reason, since a parliament might have been summoned to meet at a safe distance from London, as, in the reign of Henry VIII.,
а the abbey.church of St. Alban's was used for that purpose, and as Charles I. summoned the commons to meet at Oxford.
In his proclamation for the calling of the parliament, the king took upon him to instruct the electors what kind of persoas they should choose or reject for their representatives; and he even went so far as to threaten, that any notorious contravention of the meaning of this his royal edict, should be visited upon the cities or boroughs with forfeiture of their liberties, and upon the persons elected, with fine and imprisonment;-by what law, or in what court of judicature, it were superfluous to inquire. In the house of lords the cause of prerogative might be expected to triumph uncontrolled; the bench of bishops, with not more than one or two exceptions, were its devoted partisans; and amongst the temporal peers, the new creations alone would
go far towards securing it from defeat; the number of these already amounting to nineteen out of eighty-eight, at this time the sum total of the baronage of England, including the two attainted lords Cobham and Grey of Wilton. The fact may be worth stating, that only nine peers of the creation of Elizabeth sat in the first parliament of her successor,' .
The King's speech to his parliament was characterised by its prolixity, its high unconstitutional pretensions, and its offensive impolicy. It stigmatised the Puritans as novelists and disaffected persons, whose impatience to suffer any superiority • maketh their seats insufferable in any well-governed com
monwealth, while it avowed a readiness on the part of the Monarch to meet the Catholics half-way. James had already, in the Hampton-court conference, given an appalling specimen of his notions of royal prerogative in matters either civil or ecclesiastical. A petition from upwards of a thousand clergy
men of the Puritan persuasion, praying for a reformation in • the church-service, ministry, livings, and discipline,' had been 'obtruded on the reluctant notice of James in his pro• gress to the capital.' In Jan. 1604, the divines were summoned to Hampton-court. On the first day, a select number of the bishops and deans were admitted to a private conference with the King, none of the petitioning party being present. At the next meeting, four ministers only, nominated by the King, appeared for the Puritan divines; and the conference began in the presence of the privy council and a throng of courtiers, the King himself presiding as moderator. The following is the account of the proceedings given by an eye-witness, Sir John Harrington, who was certainly, Miss Aikin remarks, neither a Puritan himself, nor a friend of Puritans.
"" The bishops came to the king about the petition of the puritans. I was by, and heard much discourse. The king talked much Latin, and disputed with Dr. Reynolds at Hampton ; but he rather used upbraidings than argument, and told the petitioners that they wanted to strip Christ again, and bid them away with their snivelling.
..The bishops seemed much pleased, and said his majesty spoke by the power of inspiration. I wist not what they mean; but the spirit was rather foul-mouthed. I cannot be present at the next meeting, though the bishop of London said that I might be in the ante-chamber : it seemeth the king will not change the religious observances. There was much discourse about the ring in marriage and the cross in baptism; but if I guess aright, the petitioners against one cross will find another."?
According to Rapin, who follows chiefly Echard and Spottiswood, the Puritan ministers were over-awed at finding the King take upon himself to reply to them, sometimes with reasons, sometimes with threats.' Seeing the King become their ad
versary, which they did not expect, they chose to be silent • and feigned to be satisfied.' The points they insisted upon, were, he tells us, “1. That sufficient care was not taken to
plant good and learned pastors in the churches, to the great prejudice of the people. 2. That subscription was required
to the Common Prayer Book, wherein they saw several things • which their conscience would not suffer them to receive. • 3. That the clergy were liable to the censures of lay
men, by means of the High Commission. 4. They objected against the cross in baptism, the ring in marriage, the surplice, with some other things which they looked upon as super• stitious.' Their spokesman was Dr. Reynolds, who has the merit of having suggested the expediency of a new translation of the Scriptures, which the King promised to have carried into execution.). And this, which was the only good result of the
mock-conference, forms the brightest action of the Monarch's reign. The other Puritan ministers were, Dr. Spark, Mr.. Knewstubb, and Mr. Chaderton. Archbishop Whitgift was the prelate who declared that he verily believed the King. spoke by the spirit of God.' Dr. Welwood says, that the conference was but a blind to introduce Episcopacy into Scotland.' All the Scotch noblemen then at court were directed to be present; and others, both noblemen and ministers, were called up from Scotland by the King's letter to assist at it. The King's pointed and angry allusions to the Scotch Presbyterians, in the course of the conference, and his subsequent measures in Scotland, afford some countenance to the supposition. They shew at least that he had already taken his resolution with regard to Episcopacy. If you aim at a Scotch presbytery,' he told the ministers, it agrees as well with monarchy as God and the devil.' And he concluded the conference by saying: If this be all your party hath to say,
I will make them conform themselves, or else harrie them
out of the land, or else do worse.'
James was the first king of England to whom the inappropriate title of sacred majesty was applied.'
James's first English favourite was Philip Herbert, whom he created Earl of Montgomery. The comeliness of his person, and his skill and indefatigable industry in hunting, (the King's favourite amusement next to polemics,) are assigned by Clarendon as the cause of his advancement. He pretended to no other qualifications than to understand horses and dogs very well; which his master loved him the better for, being, at his first coming into England, very jealous of those who had the reputation of great parts.' Violence of temper and profligacy of manners were afterwards this favourite's prominent characteristics. His nuptials with the daughter of the Earl of Oxford, which were entirely managed by the King, were celebrated at court with all possible magnificence and festivity. The brutal
sports of the cockpit, disused and even prohibited by Elizabeth, were revived, and served to divert the King twice a week in the intervals of hunting.' The manners of the court of James are more fully described in Sir John Harrington's account of an entertainment given at Theobalds by the Earl of Salisbury to the royal Dane, who in 1606 visited this country. Christian IV., we are told, was not less addicted to deep carouses than his illustrious predecessor, the uncle of prince • Hamlet,'
"In compliance with your asking, now shall you accept my poor account of rich doings. I came here a day or two before the Danish
king came, and from the day he did come until this hour, I have been well-nigh overwhelmed with carousal and sports of all kinds. The sports began each day in such manner and such sort as had well-nigh persuaded me of Mahomet's paradise. We had women, and indeed wine too, of such plenty as would have astonished each sober beholder. Our feasts were magnificent, and the two royal guests did most lovingly embrace each other at table. I think the Dane hath strangely wrought on our good English nobles; for those whom I never could get to taste good liquor, now follow the fashion and wallow in beastly delights. The ladies abandon their sobriety, and are seen to roll about in intoxication. In good sooth, the parliament did kindly to provide his majesty so seasonably with money, for there hath been no lack of good living; shows, sights and banquetings from morn to
"One day a great feast was held, and after dinner, the representation of Solomon his temple and the coming of the queen of Sheba was made, or, I may better say, was meant to have been made before their majesties, by device of the earl of Salisbury and others.-But alas! as all earthly things do fail to poor mortals in enjoyment, so did prove our presentment hereof. The lady who did play the queen's part, did carry most precious gifts to both their majesties, but, forgetting the steps arising to the canopy, overset her caskets into his Danish majesty's lap, and fell at his feet, though I rather think it was in his face. Much was the hurry and confusion; cloths and napkins were at hand to make all clean. His majesty then got up, and would dance with the queen of Sheba; but he fell down and humbled himself before her, and was carried to an inner chamber and laid on a bed of state; which was not a little defiled with the presents of the queen which had been bestowed on his garments; such as wine, cream, beverage, cakes, spices, and other good matters. The entertainment and show went forward, and most of the presenters went backward, or fell down; wine did so occupy their upper chambers. Now did appear in rich dress, Faith, Hope, and Charity: Hope did essay to speak, but wine rendered her endeavours so feeble that she withdrew, and hoped the king would excuse her brevity: Faith was then alone, for I am certain she was not joined with good works, and left the court in a staggering condition: Charity came to the king's feet, and seemed to cover the multitude of sins her sisters had committed; in some sort she made obeisance and brought gifts, but said she would return home again, as there was no gift which heaven had not already given his majesty. She then returned to Faith and Hope, who were both sick.... in the lower hall. Next came Victory in bright armour, and by a strange medley of versification did endeavour to make suit to the king. But Victory did not triumph long; for, after much lamentable utterance, she was led away like a silly captive, and laid to sleep in the outer steps of the antechamber. Now Peace did make entry, and strive to get foremost to the king; but I grieve to tell how great wrath she did discover unto those of her attendants; and much contrary to her semblance, most rudely made war with her olive branch, and laid on the pates of those who did oppose her coming.