Imatges de pàgina

letters; making his admission at last in the hurried manner of an unwilling witness. The decisive words, however, were at length extorted from him, “WHEN IT CEASES TO BE A SECRET, I KNOW NOBODY WILL BE GLAD OF IT, BUT MR Milton. Wagstaffe argues this question as if Gauden's letters were to be considered as a man's assertions in his own cause ; without appearing ever to have made the very obvious observation, that they are not offered as proof of the facts which they affirm, but as & claim which circumstances show to have been recognised by the adverse party.

The course of another year did not abate the solicitations of Gauden. In the end of 1661 and beginning of 1662, the infirmities of Duppa promised a speedy vacancy in the great Bishopric of Winchester, to which Gauden did not fail to urge his pretensions with undiminished confidence, in a letter to the Chancellor, (28th December 1661), in a letter to the Duke of York, (17th January 1662), and in a memorial to the King, without a date, but written on the same occasion. The two letters allude to the particulars of former communications. The memorial, as the nature of such a paper required, is fuller and more minute: it is expressly founded on a private service,' for the reality of which it again appeals to the declarations of Morley, to the evidence of Duppa, ( who (says Gauden) encouraged me in that great work, ') still alive, and visited on his sick-bed by the King; and to the testimony of the Duke of Somerset, who, though he died on the 24th of October 1660, must have lived two or three months after Gauden's first communication to the King, which is fixed by the memorial to have been before the King's Speech to Parliament on the 13th of September 1660: * For,' says Gauden, soon after (his con

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* Doc. Supp. 30. We have no positive proof that these two letters were sent, or the memorial delivered. It seems (Doc. Sup. 27.) that there are marks of the letters having been sealed and broken open; and it is said to be singular that such letters should be found among the

papers of him who wrote them. But as the early history of these papers is unknown, it is impossible to expect an explanation of every fact. A collector might have found them elsewhere, and added them to the Gauden papers. An anxious writer might have broken open two important letters, in which he was fearful that some expression, was indiscreet, and afterwards sent corrected duplicates, without material variation. Gauden might have received information respecting the disposal of Winchester and Worcester, or about the state of parties at Court, before the letters were dispatched, which would render them then unseasonable. What is evident is, that they were written VOL. XLIV. NO. 87.


versation with Morley), 'I acquainted your Majesty through • the Duke of York's mediation; after this, your Majesty told • the world, that nothing became Kingly Majestie more than • to requite extraordinary services with extraordinary rewards'words which were used by Charles in that speech. To this memorial we owe the important information, that the first claim was made when there was time and opportunity to consult the Duke of Somerset, who thus becomes a witness in support of Gauden's pretensions. It also shows that Gauden had applied to the King for Winchester as soon as it should become vacant, about or before the time of his appointment to Exeter.

On the 19th of March 1662, it appears that Gauden was complimented at Court as the author of the Icon, by George Digby, second Earl of Bristol, a nobleman of fine genius and brilliant accomplishments, but remarkable for his inconstancy in political and religious opinion. The bond of connexion between him and Gauden seems to have been their common principles of toleration, which Bristol was solicitous to obtain for the Catholics, whom he had secretly joined; and which Gauden was willing to grant, not only to the Old Nonconformists, but to the more obnoxious Quakers. On the day following (20th March) Gauden wrote a letter to him, in which it is supposed that the Grand Arcanum' was disclosed to him by the King or the Royal Duke.' In six days after he writes again, on the death of Duppa, to urge his claim to Winchester. His third letter (27th March) to the same person is more important. He observes, with justice, that he could not expect any extraordinary instance of • his Majesty's favour on account of his signal service only, be

cause that might put the world on a dangerous curiosity if he • had been in other respects unconspicuous;' but he adds, in . effect, that his public services would be a sufficient reason or pretext for the great preferment to which he aspired. He appeals to a new witness on the subject of the Icon, Dr Sheldon, then Bishop of London,-thus, once more, if his story were untrue, almost wantonly adding to the chance of easy, immediate, and private detection. His danger had indeed been already enhanced by the disclosure of the secret to Lord Bristol, who was very intimately acquainted with Charles I., and among whose

with an intention to send them; that they coincide with his previous statements; and that the determination not to send them was not occasioned by any doubts entertained by the Chancellor of his veracity; for such doubts would have prevented his preferment to the Biskopric of Worcester one of the most coveted dignities of the Church.

good qualities discretion and circumspection cannot be numbered.' The belief of Bristol must also be considered as a proof that Gauden continued to be believed by the King and the Duke, from whom Bristol's information proceeded. A friendly correspondence, between the Bishop and the Earl, continued till near the death of the former, in the autumn 1662.

In the mean time, the Chancellor gave a still more decisive proof of his continued conviction of the justice of Gauden's pretensions, by the translation of that Prelate to Worcester in May 1662. The Chancellor's personal ascendant over the King was perhaps then somewhat impaired; But his power was still unshaken ; and he was assuredly the effective as well as formal adviser of the Crown on ecclesiastical promotions. The open rupture between him and Lord Bristol did not occur till the ensuing year. But it would be the grossest injustice to the memory of Lord Clarendon to believe it possible, that if, after two years' opportunity for inquiry, any serious doubts of Gauden's veracity had remained in his mind, he would have still farther honoured and exalted the contriver of a falsehood, devised for mercenary purposes, to rob an unhappy and beloved Sovereign of that power which, by his writings, he still exercised over the generous feelings of men. It cannot be doubted, and ought not to be forgotten, that a false claim to the Icon is a crime of a far deeper dye than the publication of it under the false appearance of a work of the King. To publish such a book in order to save the King's life, was an offence, attended by circumstances of much extenuation, in one who believed, or perhaps knew, that it substantially contained the King's sentiments, and who deeply deprecated the proceedings of the army and of the remnant of the House of Commons against him. But to usurp the reputation of the work so long after the death of the Royal Author, for sheer lucre, is an act of baseness perhaps without a parallel. That Clarendon should wish to leave the more venial deception undisturbed, and even shrink from such refusals as might lead to its discovery, is not far beyond the limits which good men may overstep in very difficult situations. But that he should reward the most odious of impostors by a second bishopric, would place him far lower than a just adversary would desire. If these considerations seem of such moment at this distant time, what must have been their force in the years 1660 and 1662, in the minds of Clarendon, and Somerset, and Duppa, and Morley, and Sheldon ? It was very easy to have avoided the elevation of Gauden to Worcester. He had himself opened the way for offering him a pension; and the Chancellor might have answered almost in Gauden's own words, that farther preferment might lead to perilous inquiry. Clarendon, in 1662, must either have doubted who was the author of the Icon, or believed the claim of Gauden, or adhered to his original opinion. If he believed it to be the work of the King, he could not have been so unfaithful to his memory as to raise such an impostor to a second bishopric. If he believed it to be the production of Gauden, he might have thought it an excusable policy to recompense a pious fraud, and to silence the possessor of a dangerous secret. If he had doubts, they would have prompted him to investigation, which, conducted by him, and relating to transactions so recent, must have terminated in certain knowledge.

Charles II. is well known, at the famous conference between the Episcopalians and Presbyterians, when the Icon was quoted as his father's, to have said, “ All that is in that book is not gospel.' Knowing as we now do, that Gauden's claim was preferred to him in 1660, this answer must be understood to have been a familiar way of expressing his scepticism about its authenticity. In this view of it, it coincides with his declaration to Lord Anglesea twelve years after; and it is natural indeed to suppose, that his opinion was that of those whom he then most trusted on such matters, of whom Clarendon was certainly one. To suppose, with some late writers, that he and his brother looked with favour and pleasure on an attempt to weaken the general interest in the character of their father, merely because the Icon is friendly to the Church of England, is a wanton act of injustice to them and to their not undeservedly unfortunate family, whose reigns are very little marked by those domestic animosities which frequently disturb the palace. Charles II. was neither a bigot, nor without regard to his kindred. The family affections of James were his best qualities,—though, by a peculiar perverseness of fortune, they proved the source of his sharpest pangs.

But to return to Lord Clarendon, who survived Gauden twelve years, and who, almost to the last day of his life, was employed in the composition of an historical work, originally undertaken at the desire of Charles I., and avowed, with honest partiality, to be destined for the vindication of his character and cause.

This great work, not intended for publication in the age of the writer, was not actually published till thirty years after his death; and even then not without the suppression of important passages, which it seems the public was not yet likely to receive in a proper temper. Now, neither in the original edition, nor in any of the recently restored passages, is there any allusion to the supposed Work of the King.* No reason of temporary policy can account for this extraordinary silence. However the statesman might be excused for the momentary sacrifice of truth to quiet, the historian could have no temptation to make the sacrifice perpetual. Had he believed that his Royal Master was the writer of the only book ever written by a dying monarch on his own misfortunes, it would have been unjust as an historian, treacherous as a friend, and unfeeling as a man, to have passed over in silence such a memorable and affecting circumstance. Merely as a fact, his narrative was defective without it. But it was a fact of a very touching and interesting nature, on which his genius would have expatiated with affectionate delight. No later historian of the Royal party has failed to dwell on it. How should he then whom it must have most affected be silent, unless his pen had been stopped by the knowledge of the truth ? He had even personal inducements to explain it, at least in those more private memoirs of his administration, which form part of what is called his Life. Had he believed in the genuineness of the Icon, it would have been natural for him in these memoirs to have reconciled that belief with the successive preferments of the impostor. He had good reason to believe that the claims of Gauden would one day reach the public; he had himself, in his remarkable letter of March 1661, spoken of such a disclosure as likely; his own acknowledgment contained in that letter, which he knew to be in the possession of Gauden's family, increased the probability. It was scarcely possible that such papers should for ever elude the search of curiosity, of historical justice, or of party spirit. But besides these probabilities, Clarendon, a few months before his death, had learned that ill people endeavoured to persuade the King

that his father was not the author of the book that goes by his name.' † This information was conveyed to him from Bishop Morley through Lord Cornbury, who went to visit his father in France in May 1674. On hearing these words, Clarendon exclaimed, · Good God! I thought the Marquis of Hertford had satisfied the King in that matter.'. By this message Clarendon was therefore warned, that the claim of Gauden was

* See the new edition, Oxford, 1826.

+ Who wrote Icon, &c. 103. Wagst. 46. The first letter of the second Earl of Clarendon to Wagstaffe in 1694, about twenty years after the event, has not, as far as we know, been published. We know only the extracts in Wagstaffe. The second letter, written in 1699, is printed entire in Wagstaffe's Defense, 37,

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