Imatges de pÓgina

guish the scholar, than he was to supply him with that know ledge of men and things wbich are indispensable for a Sovereign : and it is to this peculiarity in his early instruction that we should be disposed to ascribe the fondness for literary display, and the ignorance of human character and motives for wbich he was remarkable in after life. Had it been the object of the Scottish Regents to train a well disciplined schoolmaster-had James been destined to wield the ferala instead of the sceptre, the selection of Buchanan as bis instructor would have been entitled to praise : but the babits, the temper, nay, the attainments of this learned person, were much better adapted to educate a pedant than they were to develope the faculties and form the character of a prince. The literary affectation, therefore, which James displayed on so many occasions, was the natural and unayoid. able result of that exclusive devotion to grammatical subtilties to which his youth was condemned by his pedantic instructor. That James entertained a foolish and overween ing conceit of his literary acquirements is a circumstance which even his eulogists will not undertake to deny. - They may however maintain that it was a failing which did no injury to the public ; and that, considering the turn of the age in wbich he lived, it does not merit the sarcastic severity with which it has been generally visited. It was at least the foundation of that attention to literary merit which formed a noble trait in the character of this Prince, and which prompted him to afford a generous and willing countenance to men who needed and deserved his protection. One of the most respectable and pleasing features of James's character was his attachment to learning, and his kind and munificent patronage of learned men : whatever diversity of opinion may exist as to the advantages which the world derived from bis literary labours, it will not be denied, that to these he was indebted for the most creditable occupation and the solace of bis leisure hours; and that to his taste for letters, the most eminent scbolars both of Great Britain and the continent were indebted for the notice which cheered, and the bounty which sustained them.

In the train of Sir Charles Percy, brother to the earl of Northumberland, and one of the messengers dispatched by the privy council to announce to James his accession to the English Crown, appeared a gentleman of the name of Davies, concerning whom the king immediately inquired, whether he was the author of a poem on the immortality of the soul, entitled, " Nosce teipsum; and being answered in the affirmative, he embraced him and promised him his favour and protection. James performed his promise to Davies, who was a lawyer as well as a poet, by appointing him his solicitor-general for Ireland, where he afterwards sat as a judge of assize. In 1607, he was knighted. His standard work, entitled a a discovery of the causes why Ireland was never entirely subdued and brought under obedience to the Crown of England until the beginning of his majesty's happy reign," appeared in 1612. In this excellent performance, no less remarkable for the elegance and purity of the style in which it was written, than useful for the accuracy of the statements which it contained, and the solidity of the reasonings which were founded upon them, Sir John Davies had the merit of prevailing upon his master to adopt with respect to Ireland a liberal and conciliating system of government, as the means most likely to succeed in civilizing that wild and turbulent country. Ireland indeed seems to have been in all ages the rock on which speculative politicians have been destined to split. James and his council appear to have done every thing that could have been effected by public laws; and that his measures of conciliation did not prove more efficient, is to be ascribed to the difficult and almost impracticable nature of the task which he had undertaken, rather than to any want of resolution or perseverance on the part of the agents whom he employed in carrying into execution the regulations which he had planned. Sir John Davies returning after some years to England was raised to the Bench : and in the year 1626, having just received the appointment of Lord Chief Justice, he was cut off by an apoplexy in the 57th year of his age.

Dr. Donne was another individual whom his literary acquirements recommended to the notice of James. Donne's early prospects were dark and gloomy : attached to the Cątholic religion, in which he had been brought up by his fa

ily, he was compelled to quit the university without a degree ; for some years he studied the law as a member of Lincoln's Inn, when the death of his father put him in possession of 30001. a fund which he seems to have considered inexbaustible. The publication of love verses abounding in strange conceits and far-fetched allusions, which, through the unaccountable perversion of the public taste, had become popular, introduced him to the society of the dissipated and gay, where he exhausted his patrimony and stored up ample matter of penitence for his graver years.

In the years 1596 and 7, Donne attended the Earl of Essex in his expedition to Cadiz, through whose intercession, it is not improbable, that on his return he obtained the place of secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton, keeper, afterwards Lord Chancellor and Baron Ellesmere, by whom he was highly favoured and marked out for further promotion. But an attachment to a niece of Lady Egerton, whom he clandestinely married, blighted for ever these fair prospects. The father of the lady, Sir George Moore, lieutenant of the Tower, was so violently enraged at this proceeding, that he never ceased to importune the lord keeper till he had wrung from him the dismissal of Donne, at the end of a service of five years. It does not appear when or by whom Donne was first introduced to the king. James, however, was immedidiately struck with his parts and learning, and was supposed to have destined him for preferment: but when urged to bestow upon him a civil office, he constantly refused, having predetermined in his own mind to prevail upon him to take orders. Finding the royal will on this point invincible, he consented, after some struggles with himself, to take orders: was admitted by royal mandate to a doctor's degree at Cambridge, and became one of the king's chaplains.

The king who justly thought himself bound in honour to provide for his doctor as he was fond of styling him, sent for him to attend his dinner on an appointed day. When his majesty was set down, before he had eat any meat, he said, after his pleasant manner,“ Dr. Donne I have invited you to dinner, and though you sit not down with me, yet I will carve to you off a dish that I know you love well; for knowing you love London, I do therefore make you Dean of St. Paul's; and when I have dined, then do you take your beloved dish home to your study, and much good may it do you." This.preferment satisfied all his wishes : he lived beloved and respected, and died generally regretted in 1631. Elegies were composed in honour of his memory, by Corbet, Carew, Jonson, and Lord Falkland.

We have selected these two individuals from among those to whom the patronage of James was extended to show that he manifested an anxiety to discover and reward literary merit, and to prove that in the protection and encouragement which he afforded to men of this character, he did not aet under the influence of that unaccountable caprice by which he was guided in the choice of his other favourites.

The temper of this prince though somewhat irascible, was only on great and repeated provocations susceptible of rancour and revenge: towards his courtiers and favourites he was affable and kind : and unfortunately both for himself and his family, he could deny them nothing: and his gennine love of humour always pleaded effectually in behalf of literary


offenders. Of the effect of wit in appeasing his resentment, we have the following instance in Howel's Letters: “As I remember, some years since, there was a very abusive satire in verse brought to our king; and as the passages were being read to him, he often said, that if there were no other men in England, the rogue should hang for it. At last, being come to the conclusion, which was, after all bis railing,

“ Now God preserve the king, the queen, the peers,

And grant the author long may wear his ears!” this pleased him so well, that he broke out into laughter, and said, By my soul, so thou shalt for me, thou art a bitter, but thou art a witty knave."

James's propensity to favoritism first displayed itself in the bounties which he was pleased to confer on Philip Herbert, brother of William, Earl of Pembroke. Osborn bas given an account of this personage which, on the face of it, betrays all the malice and exaggeration of a servant discarded for disgraceful misconduct. Lord Clarendon who may be safely trusted, states “ that the Earl of Montgomery being a young man scarce of age at the entrance of King James, had the good fortune, by the comeliness of his person, by his skill and indefatigable industry in hunting, to be the first which drew the king's eye towards him with affection. Before the end of the first or second year he was made gentleman of the king's bed-chamber, and Earl of Montgomery; which did the king no harm; for, besides that he received the king's bounty with more moderation than others who succeeded him, he was generally known, and as generally esteemed, being the son of one Earl of Pembroke, and younger brother to another who liberally supplied his expense, beyond what bis annuity from bis father would bear."

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 bad the reputation of great parts) and to be believed honest and generous, which made him many friends, and left him then no enemy." The indulgence of a violent and irregular temper exposed him however in after life to the hatred of many and the contempt of all men. While in the zenith of his favour and power be paid bis addresses to a daughter of the Earl of Oxford to whom “after song, love," he was contracted without the knowledge of friends on either side ; but the king, “ taking the whole matter


upon himself, made peace on all sid es." Crown lands to the amount of more than 10001. a year were settled on the bride: groom; and masks and revels in which no cost was spared gave splendour to the celebration of the nuptials. Sir Dudley Carleton, after describing the ceremony of the morning in which the king gave her away ; and “she in her tresses and trinkets brided and bridled it so bandsomely," tells us, that she indeed became herself so well, that the king said, if he were unmarried, be would not give her but keep her himself; he adds, that "at night there was a mask in the ball which for conceit and fashion was suitable to the occasion. There was no small loss that night of chains and jewels, and many great ladies were nade shorter by the skirts.” They were lodged in the councilchamber, when the king in his shirt and night-gown, gave tbem a reveille matin before they were up. No ceremony was omitted of bridecakes, points, garters, and gloves, which have been ever since the livery of the court.

Of the entertainments in which the king delighted, and in which his courtiers lavished their treasures for the amusement of his good cousin Christian, the king of Denmark, who seems to have loved deep carousals no less than his illustrious predecessor the uncle of Prince Hamlet; we have the folsowing animated description from the sarcastic pen of Sir John Harrington. He describes his reception at Theobald's then the seat of the Earl of Salisbury.

“ In compliance with your asking, now shall you receive my 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 carousals and sports of all kind. 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 troth, 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 éve."

« 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, and, 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

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