Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

ley (who was Clarendon's most intimate friend) had acknow. ledged some extraordinary service done by Gauden to the Royal Family, which had been made known to the Chancellor; though that nobleman avoided a direct acknowledgment of it to G. before the Bishop left London. Gauden appears soon after to have written to Sir E. Nicholas, Secretary of State, a letter of so peculiar a character as to be read by the King; for an answer was sent to him by Nicholas, dated on the 19th January 1661, in which the following sentence deserves attention.

• As for your own particular, he desires you not to be discouraged at the poverty of your Bishopric at present ; and if that answer not the expense that was promised you, His MAJESTY WILL TAKE YOU $0 PARTICULARLY INTO HIS CARE, that he bids me to assure

you

shall have no cause to remember Bocking.

These remarkable words by no means imply that Gauden did not then believe the nature of his extraordinary service,' to be before known to the King. They evidently show his letter to have consisted of a complaint of the poverty of his bishopric, with an intelligible allusion to this service, probably expressed with more caution and reserve than in his addresses to the Chancellor. What was really then first made known to the King was not his merits, but his poverty. On the 21st January, the importunate prelate again addressed to Clarendon a letter, explicitly stating the nature of his services, probably rendered necessary in his opinion by the continued silence of Clarendon, (who it should seem) did not answer his applications till the 13th March 1661. From this letter the following extract is inserted.

• All I desire is an augment of 500l. per annum, y if cannot bee at present had in a commendam, yet possibly the King's favor to me will not grudge mee this pension out of the first fruits and tenths of this diocese, till I bee removed or otherwayes provided for. Nor will y' Lordship startle at this motion, or wave the presenting of it to his Majesty, yf you please to consider the pretentions I may have BEYOND ANY OF MY CALLING, not as to merit, but duty performed to THE RoyAll Family. True, I once presumed y' Lordship had fully known that arcanum, for so Dr Morley told mee, at the King's first coming ; when he assured me the greatnes of that service was such, that I might have any preferment I desired.f This consciousness of y' Lordship (as I supposed) and Dr Morley, made mee confident my affaires would bee carried on to some proportion of what I had done, and he thought deserved. Hence my silence of it to yri Lordship : as to the King and Duke of York, whom before I came away I acquainted with it, when I saw myself not so much consider: ed in my present disposition as I did hope I should have beene, what trace their Royall goodnes hath of it is best expressed by themselves; nor do I doubt but I shall, by yr Lordship’s favor, find the fruits as to

* Docum. Sup. 11. + Twice mentioned in twenty-five days.

something extraordinary, since the service wasboe; not as to whaT WAS KNOWN to the world under my name, in order to vindicate the Crowne and the Church, BUT WHAT GOES UNDER THE LATE BLESSED KING's NAME, TAE eixày OR PORTRAITURE OF HYS MAJESTY IN HYS SOLT. TUD ES AND SUFFERINGS, THIS BOOK AND FIGURE WAS WHOLIY AND ONLY MY INVENTION, MAKING AND DESIGNE; IN ORDER TO VINDICATE THE KING'S WISDOME, HONOR AND PIETY. My wife indeed was conscious to it, and had an hand in DISGUISING THE LET• TERS OF THAT COPY WHICH I SENT TO THE KING IN THE ISLE OF Wight, by favor of the late Marquise of Hertford, which was delivered to the King by the* now Bishop of Winchester : hys Majesty graciously accepted, owned, and adopted it as hys sense and genius ; not only with great approbation, but admiration. Hee kept it with hym; and though hys cruel murtherers went on to perfect hys martyrdome, yet God preserved and prospered this book to revive hys honor, and redeeme hys Majesty's name from that grave of contempt and abhorrence or infamy, in which they aymed to bring hym.

When it cameout, just upon the King's death; Good God! what shame, rage and despite, filled hys murtherers! What comfort hys friends! How many ennemy's did it convert ! How many hearts did it mollify and melt! What devotions it raysed to hys posterity, as children of such a father ! What preparations it made in all men's minds for this happy restauration, and which I hope shall not prove my affliction ! In a word, it was an army, and did vanquish more than any sword could. My Lord, every good subject conceived hopes of restaura. tion ; meditated revenge and separation. Yr Lordship and all good subjects with hys Majesty enjoy the reall and now ripe fruites of that plant. O let not mee wither who was the author, and ventured wife, children, estate, liberty, life, and all but my soule, in 80 great an atchievement, which hath filled England and all the world with the glory of it. I did lately present my fayth in it to the Duke of York, and by him to the King ; both of them were pleased to give mee credit, and owne it as a rare service in those horrors of time. True, I played this best card in my hand something too late, else I might have sped as well as Dr Reynols and some others; but I did not Jay it as a ground of ambition, nor use it as a ladder. Thinking myselfe secure in the just value of Dr Morely, who I was sure knew it, and told mee yr Lordship did soe too ; † who, I believe, intended mee something at least competent, though less convenient, in this preferment. All that I desire is, that y' Lordship would make that good, which I think you designed, and which I am confident the King will not deny mee, agreable to hys royall munificence, which promiseth extraordinary rewards to extraordinary services. Certainly this service is such, for the matter, manner, timing and effi

* Duppa.

+ It is not to be inferred from this and the like passages, that G. doubted the previous communication of Morley to Clarendon. He uses such language as a reproach to the Chancellor for his silence,

cacy, as was never exceeded, nor will even be equalled, yf I may credit the judgment of the best and wisest men that have read it ; and I know y' Lordship, who is so great a master of wisdome and eloquence, cannot but esteem the author of that piece; and accordingly, make mee to see those effects which may assure mee, that my loyalty, pains, care, hazrad and silence, are accepted by the King and Royall Family, to which y Lordship's is now grafted.'

The Bishop wrote three letters more to Clarendon on the 25th January, 20th February, and 6th March. At last the Chancellor wrote a letter to him on the 13th March 1661, which is subjoined, and which evidently appears, by the apologies for delay, to be the first answer received by the Bishop. March 13. 1661. The Lord Chancellor to the Bishop of Exter.

• My LORD—I doe assure you upon my creditt all your letters make a deep impression on me, though it is not possible for me to acknowledge them particularly, as I ought to do, being not only oppressed with severe weight of business, but of late indisposed in my health. I am heartily gladd that wee are like shortly to meete and conferr togither, and then I doubte not but that I shall appeare very faultless towards you, how unfortunate soever I have beene in contributing somewhat to your uneasinesse, which I was far from pressinge upon you when I once founde the overture was unacceptable to you. I'do well remember that I promised you to procure any good commendam to be annexed to that sea, which I heartily desyre to do, and longe for the opportunity; and likewise that you should be removed nearer to this towne with the first occasion, for which undertakinge I have likewise good authority : If the Bishops who have been made since the King's returne, feel no other content than from the money they have yet received from their revennew, I am sure all with whom I am acquainted are most miserable, they havinge not yett received wherewith to buy them breade. I shall be very gladde to finde when we meet, that it is in my power to contribute

any thing to your Lordship's content. In the mean time, I do assure you I am more afflicted with you, and for you, than I can expresse ; and the more sensibly, that it is the only charge of that kind is laid upon me, which in truth I do not think I doe deceive. The particular which you often renewed, I do confesse was imparted to me under secrecy, and of which I did not take myself to be at liberty to take notice ; * and truly when it ceases to be a secret, I know nobody will be gladd of it but Mr Milton; I have very often wished I had never been trusted with it. My Lord, I have nothinge to enlarge; all I have to say being fitter for conference than a letter ; and I hope shortly to see you, when you shall find me very ready to serve you, as my Lord,

Y' Lorp"
Most affectionate Serv!,

Edw. Hyde, C.

· Evidently by Morley,

It is proper here to remark, that all the letters of Gauden are still extant, indorsed by Lord Clarendon, or by his eldest son. In the course of three months then, it appears that Gauden, with unusual importunity and confidence, with complaints which were disguised reproaches, and sometimes with an approach to menaces, asserted his claim to be richly rewarded, AS THE AUTHOR OF THE Icon. He affirms that it was sent to the King by the Duke of Somerset, who died about a month before his first letter, and delivered to his Majesty by Dr Duppa, Bishop of Winchester, who was still alive. He adds, that he had acquainted Charles II. with the secret through the Duke of York, that Morley, then Bishop of Worcester, had informed Clarendon of it, and that Morley himself had declared the value of the service to be such, as to entitle Gauden to choose his own preferment. Gauden thus enabled Clarendon to convict him of falsehood (if his tale was untrue) in three or four circumstances, differing indeed in their importance as to the main question, but equally material to his own veracity: A single word from Duppa would have overwhelmed him with infamy. Some of the communications were made before the Duke of Somerset's death, on the 24th of October. * How easy was it for the Chancellor to ascertain whether the information had been given to the King and his brother! Morley was his bosomfriend, and the spiritual director of his daughter, Anne Dutchess of York. How many other persons might have been quietly sounded by the numerous confidential agents of a great minister, on a transaction which had occurred only twelve years before! To suppose that a statesman, then at the zenith of his greatness, could not discover the truth on this subject, without a noise like that of a judicial inquiry, would betray a singular ignorance of affairs.

Did Clarendon relinquish, without a struggle, his belief in a book, which had doubtless touched his feelings when he read it as the work of his Royal Master ? Even curiosity might have led Charles II., when receiving the blessing of Duppa on his deathbed, to ask him a short confidential question. To how many chances of detection did Gauden expose himself? How nearly impossible is it that the King, the Duke, the Chancellor and Morley, should have abstained from the safest means of inquiry, and in opposition to their former opinions and prejudices, yielded at once to Gauden's assertion, without any evidence of its truth!

The previous belief of the Royalist party in the Icon very much

* This is overlooked by Dr W. Doc. Supr. 23.

magnifies the improbability of such suppositions. The truth might be discovered by the parties appealed to, and conveyed to the audacious pretender, without any scandal. There was no need of any public exposure. A private intimation of the falsehood of one material circumstance must have silenced Gauden. But what, on the contrary, is the answer of Lord Clarendon? Let any reader consider the penult sentence of his letter, and determine for himself whether it does not express such an unhesitating assent to the claim as could only have flowed from inquiry and evidence. By confessing that the secret was imparted to him, he admits the other material part of Gauden's statement, that the information came through Morley:* It may be remarked, that Gauden, if his story was true, chose the persons to whom he imparted it both prudently and fairly. He dealt with it as a secret of which the disclosure would injure the Royal cause; and he therefore confined his communications to the King's sons and the Chancellor, who could not be indisposed to the cause by it, and whose knowledge of it was necessary to justify his own legitimate claims. Had it been false, no choice could have been more unfortunate. He appealed to those who, for aught he knew, might have in their possession the means of instantly demonstrating that he was guilty of a falsehood so impudent and perilous, that nothing parallel to it has ever been hazarded by a man of sound mind. How could Gauden know that the King did not possess his fathers MS., and that Royston the printer was not ready to prove that he had received it from Charles I., through hands totally unconnected with Gauden ? How great must have been the risk if we suppose with Dr W. and Mo Wagstaffe, that more than one copy of the MS. existed, and that parts of it had been seen by many ? It is without any reason that Dr W. and others represent the secrecy of Gauden's communications to Clarendon as a circumstance of suspicion; for he was surely bound, by that sinister honour which prevails in the least moral confederacies, to make no needless disclosures on this delicate subject.

Clarendon's letter is a declaration that he was converted from his former opinion about the author of the Icon. That of Sir E. Nicholas is a declaration to the same purport on his own part, and on that of the King. The confession of Clarendon is more important, from being apparently wrung from him, after the lapse of a considerable time: in the first part of which he evaded acknowledgment in conversation, while in the latter part he incurred the blame of incivility, by delaying to answer

* See Infra, p. 20.

« AnteriorContinua »