Imatges de pÓgina

der, which rests only upon the malignant representations of a disappointed partizan.

The remainder of James's reign from the rise of Buckingham to the king's death is singularly barren of events which fall properly within the province of the memoir writer. Nothing occurred to interrupt the pacific tenor of this monarch's days with the exception of the prince's romantic and ill-advised journey to Spain, and the quarrels which he had with the few and short parliaments convened by him. The absence of his baby Charles, " under the indiscreet guidance of his bumble slave and dog Stenny" as Buckingham always signed himself, seems to have filled the king with the alarm natural to a ķind and indulgent father; and the joy which his return ipspired made him forget, at least for a time, the disappointment excited by the final rupture of the negociation for marrying him to the Infanta. When Charles was on the point of quitting Spain in anger or despair at the securities for spiritual articles which were required of him, Cottington, by the advice of the Earl of Bristol, was dispatched with a report from the prince and duke which called forth from the kind old king the following affectionate reply; which if it does not impress us with the idea of a great prince will we are persuaded find its excuse in the kindred feelings of every affectionate parent:

“ My sweet boys, “ Your letter by Cottington hath stricken me dead; I fear it will very much shorten my days, and I am the more perplexed that I do not know how to satisfy the people's expectation here, neither do I know what to say to our council, for the fleet that stayed upon a wind this fortnight. Rutland and all aboard might now be stayed, and I know not what reason I shall pretend for the doing of it; but as for my advice and directions that ye crave, in case they will not alter their decree, it is in a word, to come speedily away, if you can get leave, and give over all treaty. And this I speak without respect of any security they can offer you, except ye never look to see your old dad again, whom I fear ye

shall never see, if ye see him not before winter. Alas! I now repent me sore that I ever suffered you to go away. I care for match nor nothing so I may once have you in my arms again : God grant it, God grant it, God grant it; Amen, Amen, Amen! I protest ye shall be as heartily welcome as if ye had done all things ye went for, so that I may once have you in my arms again, and God bless you both, my only sweet son, and my only best sweet servant, and let me hear from you quickly with all speed, as ye love my life; and so God send you a happy and joyful meeting in the arms of your dear dad.”

“ From Greenwich, the 24th of June 1623."

In his contests with his parliaments, James betrays, it is true, on many occasions, that lofty tone of prerogative in which, at least in speculation, he loved to indulge. But the harsh and parsimonious refusals with which these assemblies met his demands of reasonable supplies are not easily justified: they drove him to pursue measures to which his nature, when not vexatiously thwarted, was not inclined, and which under a prince of more energetic and persevering temper would in all probability have confirmed those abuses which they wished to redress. It would we think be difficult even for the renowned disciple of Cocker, who advocates economy in our days, to give any valid reasons for the hard-hearted parsimony which the parliaments of this reign evinced : the extraordinary grants during the whole of it did not exceed 630,0001. which, divided among twenty-one years, makes 30,0001. a year. In this estimate are not included the supplies, amounting to 300,0001. which were granted to the king by his last parliament. These were paid in to their own commissioners ; and the expenses of the Spanish war were much more than sufficient to exhaust them. The distressed family of his daughter was a great burden on James during a part of his reign. The detractors of this prince say, that he did not possess a frugality proportioned to the extreme narrowness of his finances, and tax him in loud terms with extravagance and profuse liberality. Those however who bring this charge against his memory should, in fairness, adyert to the very narrow limits of his revenues: they should also remember, that in his personal habits he was remarkably frugal, was fond of no magnificence and addicted to no expensive pleasures : for hunting, to which he was particularly devoted, cannot surely, in the case of a monarch, be described as an amusement unreasonably and injuriously expensive. His expenses indeed were the effects of his liberality rather than of luxury. On himself personally he expended nothing ; bis treasury never very full, was exhausted in the gifts which he bestowed upon others : gifts it is true, insignificant when compared with those of other arbitrary monarchs, but fatal to a prince so impoverished as James.

An amusing trait in the character of James is the earnestress which on all occasions, the king evinces to restrain the propensity of the nobility and gentry to flock to London which had increased with the increasing gaiety and luxury of the capital. In his proclamations and star-chamber speeches he inveighs warmly against the growth of new buildings in the suburbs, and advances a variety of reasons ļo persuade the landed proprietors to reside in those mansions where their ancestors had exercised hospitality from generation to generation. “One of the greatest causes, " says this uncourtly monarch,“ of all gentlemen's desire that have no calling or errand to dwell in London, is apparently the pride of the women; for if they be wives, then their husbands, and if they be maids, then their fathers must bring them


to London; because the new fashion is to be had no where but in London: and here, if they be unmarried, they mar their marriages, and if they be married, they lose their reputation, and rob their husband's purses. It is the fashion of Italy--that all the gentry dwell in the principal towns, and so the whole country is empty: even so now in England, all the country is gotten into London, in a short time England will be only London and the whole country left waste; for as we now do imitate the French in fashion of clothes, and lacquies to follow every man, so have we got the Italian fashion, in living miserably in our houses and dwelling all in the city: bat let us in God's name leave these idle foreign toys, and keep the old fashion of England.” “ Therefore” he concludes, " as every fish lives in his own place, some in the fresh, some in the salt, some in the mud, so let every one live in his own place, some at court, some in the city, some in the country ; specially at festival times, as Christmas and Easter, and the rest." . We do not think that James's literary publications deserve all the contempt with which it has been the fashion to treat them. There are some passages in his Busilicon Doron which appear to us both correct and forcible, when reference is made to the period in which they were written : addressing Prince Henry, he says, " Take heed, therefore, my son, to the puritans, very pests in the Church and commonweal, whom no deserts can oblige, neither oaths nor promises bind; breathing nothing but sedition and calumnies, aspiring without measure, railing without reason, and making their own imaginations, (without any warrant of the word) the square of their conscience. I protest before the great God, and since I am here as upon my testament, it is no place for me to lie in, that he shall never find with any Highland or Border thieves, greater ingratitude and more lies and vile perjuries than with these fanatic spirits ; and suffer not the principals of them to brook your land, if ye like to sit at rest : except ye would keep them for trying your patience, as Socrates did an evil wife." His speeches and writings are not free from the blemishes by which the literature of the age was tainted, although his opening addresses to his parliament will appear to advantage, if compared with the speeches of the Speaker of the House of Commons, who was always some eminent and learned lawyer. No one was more skilful in starting objections and foreseeing dangers and difficulties; and the event frequently gave a character of prophetic truth to his warnings, which must have been the result of genuine sagacity. To his exposition of the views and objects of the Puritans just adverted to, we shall subjoin another instance of foresight wbich places his sagacity in the strongest light. Lord Clarendon speaking of the impeachment of the Lord Treasurer who was become obnoxious to Buckingham, says, that " when this prosecution was entered upon and that the king clearly discerned it was contrived by the duke and that he had likewise prevailed with the prince to be well-pleased with it: bis majesty sent for them, and with much warmth and passion dissuaded them from appearing further in it; and conjured them to use all their interest and authority to restrain it, as such a wound to the crown as could not easily be healed. And when he found the duke deaf to all his arguments, entreaties and commands, he said in great choler, “ By God, Stenny, you are a fool, and will shortly repent this folly, and will find that in a fit of popularity, you are making a rod with which you will be scourged yourself;" and turning in some anger to the prince, he told him “ that he would live to have his belly full of parliament impeachments; and when I shall be dead, you will have too much cause to remember how much you have contributed to the weakening of the crown by the two precedents, you are now so fond of: intending as well the engaging the parliament in the war, as the prosecution of the Earl of Middlesex."

We take our leare of Miss A. and her present work in perfect good humour: she must perceive by the space which we have devoted to the consideration of its contents that we do not hold her book in low estimation: if it is less interesting than her memoirs of Queen Elizabeth, this must probably be ascribed rather to the character of the monarch whose court she has undertaken to describe than to any want of skill or industry on her part in the selection and arrangement of her materials. If she had curtailed or omitted altogether the details of public or domestic transactions which are to be found in every historian, and with which all our readers must be familiar; and supplied their place with a more copious selection of anecdotes respecting the manners and habits of domestic life, we are sure that she would have presented her readers with a not less agreeable, and certainly a more useful publication.


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