« PreviousContinue »
paced politician,—while the third gives us some notion of the degree of respect for religion entertained by this pretended patron of the Protestant faith. We find abundant proofs in the collection of the Clarendon State Papers, published at Oxford in 1786, of the connivance of the chancellor in the bloody designs of some of the more unprincipled cavaliers to murder Cromwell. Indeed, it appears that a regular account of the proceedings of these ruffians was sent to him, and that they were incited by him to persevere in them. It is not by any means impossible that he may even have been himself the author of some of these brilliant schemes. The death, by natural means, of Oliver Cromwell, on the 3d of September, 1658, prevented the chancellor from assisting in the perpetration of the crime, which it is proved by these documents, he had concurred in meditating. The guilt of intention, however, rests with him in the clearest and most satisfactory manner.”
These are grave charges ; but it seems due to Clarendon's memory to admit that there exists no positive proof of his ever having engaged in the assassination plot. As to Charles' popery, we have already noticed the fact of Clarendon's being informed of it; and there can be no doubt that he unhesitatingly sacrificed principle to policy in the measure which he adopted to conceal the real state of the king's sentiments on this point.
A perplexing and painful incident in Clarendon's life, was the marriage of his eldest daughter to the duke of York. She had been one of the maids of honour to the princess royal Henrietta, while in exile ; and it was while in this situation that the duke first conceived a passion for her, and ultimately married her privately in 1659. Clarendon notices this affair, as if he had been wholly unconscious of the transaction until it blazed abroad. When he heard of his daughter's pregnancy he says that he “ broke out into a very immoderate passion against her wickedness; and said, with all imaginable earnestness, that as soon as he came home he would turn her out of his house as a strumpet, to shift for herself, and would never see her again.” When he heard that she was married, the case was ten times worse. “He fell”—as he himself expresses it—“ into new commotions, and said, if that were true, he was well prepared to advise what was to be done; that he had much rather his daughter should be the duke's whore than his wife ; in the former case nobody could blame him for the resolution he had taken, for he was not obliged to keep a whore for the greatest prince alive. But if there were any reason to suspect the other, he was ready to give a positive judgment, that the king should immediately cause the woman to be sent to the Tower, and to be cast into a dungeon, under so strict a guard, that no person living should be permitted to come to her; and then, that an act of parliament should be immediately passed for the cutting off her head, to which he would not only give his consent, but would very willingly be the first man that should propose it." Something of this sort was strongly enough suggested by the situation in which Clarendon was placed: but who, besides a practised hypocrite, would have acted the part in such perfection ? Or who could have acted the abject creature, so pleasing to kings, in a purer style than he did, a short time after, when the king was prepared to sacrifice him to the public indignation, which he had richly deserved ? "I am
so broken under the daily insupportable instances of your majesty's terrible displeasure, that I know not what to do, hardly what to wish
.... God knows I am innocent as I ought to be. But alas ! your majesty's declared anger and indignation deprives me of the comfort and support even of my own innocence, and exposes me to the rage and fury of those who have some excuse for being my enemies; whom I have sometimes displeased, when (and only then), your majesty believed them not to be your friends. I should die in peace (and truly I do heartily wish that God Almighty would free you from further trouble by taking me to himself) if I could know or guess at the ground of your displeasure . . ... As I have hope in heaven, I have never willingly offended your majesty in my life, and do, upon my knees, beg your pardon for any over bold or saucy expression I have ever used to you ; which, being a natural disease in old servants who have received too much countenance ..... I hope your majesty believes that the sharp chastisement I have received from the best natured and most bountiful master in the world, and whose kindness alone made my condition these many years supportable, has both enough mortified me as to this world, and that I have not the presumption, or the madness to imagine, or desire, ever to be admitted to any employment or trust again.” The conclusion is worthy of the rest. He prays the king that he may be allowed to spend the small remainder of his life in some parts beyond the seas, never to return, where he may pray for the king, and never suffer the least diminution in his duty or obedience. This is a most extraordinary passage, and sets the chancellor in a very despicable and ridiculous light.
The first open attack upon Lord Clarendon was made by the earl of Bristol, who, in 1663, exhibited a charge of high treason against him in the house of lords. The charge was made in a fit of personal resentment, and issued in the discomfiture of its author. Not so, the displeasure of Buckingham and Lady Castlemaine. His refusal to allow his wife to visit the latter, had given mortal offence both to Charles and his mistress ; and from that moment she readily conspired with Buckingham to work his ruin. An opportunity soon presented itself. When the Dutch fleet rode victorious in the mouth of the river, Clarendon had advised the king to dissolve the parliament, and support his troops by forced contributions. This counsel was now represented as
plan to govern the kingdom by a standing army and without a parliament. The imputation fired the public mind, and the flame was nursed by insinuations of venality and ambition, artfully directed against Clarendon. At last seventeen charges were framed by a committee of the lower house, upon which Clarendon was impeached at the bar of the house of lords. The bishops and many of the peers supported him; and after several animated debates, the impeachment was dismissed. But the commons held to their point; and the king himself having resolved to get rid of him, he was compelled to yield to his fate, and secretly withdrew to France. He bore with impatience the tedium of exile, and often petitioned for leave to return home; but the king was inexorable, and allowed his devoted servant to breathe his last in a foreign land. He died at Rouen in Normandy, in 1674.
“ It is not easy,” says a writer to whom we have been greatly indebted in the course of this article,—“ It is not easy to ascend from
particulars to any general estimate of the character before us, as no philosophical or moral oasis appears in the life of Clarendon uninvaded by the blinding dust and hot breath of faction. Neither his futile efforts to philosophise upon events which he only viewed through a microscopic and discoloured medium, nor his affected equanimity in adverse affairs, which is belied by traits of bitter spite and vain anticipation, give any evidence of reflective and well-centred existence. Yet we cannot withhold our pity from the poor diseased old man, cast off by royal gratitude and by foreign hospitality ; while we admire that force of self-delusion which led him, as he says, “not to reflect upon any one thing he had done of which he was so much ashamed as he was of the vast expense he had made in the building of his house,' and that impotence of mind which laid him prostrate (to employ his own words,) so broken under the daily insupportable instances of bis majesty's terrible displeasure, that he knew not what to do, hardly what to wish. Alas for human nature! that such helpless debasement should be compatible with a rule of life which many still panegyrise as a pattern of the highest morality. Alas for mankind ! that if such instances affect them with a feeling of indignant amazement, that emotion rarely penetrates to the origin of the evil in the absence of some grand and guiding principle of action. There was a moment in our history when the civic wreaths of yore seemed interwoven with the mild domestic life of later ages. But it is past; and even youth deserts the school-themes of antiquity, and the monuments of old English patriotism, for the perplexed and tortuous paths of modern practical politics. Many a mind that would have spurned the slavish lessons of prerogative is poisoned with the lore of balances, influences, and compromises,-many an eye that would have kindled in the star-chamber sinks beneath the satire of some frivolous circle,_many a heart that would have sympathised and bled with Hampden's, learns to idolise human power, in the example of Cromwell ; to disbelieve in human virtue, on the authority of Clarendon.”
Sir William Morice.
BORN A. D. 1602.-DIED A. D. 1676.
Sir William Morice was born at Exeter in the year 1602. His father, Dr John Morice, was chancellor of the diocese of Exeter. After the preliminary course of education, young Morice was entered of Exeter college, Oxford, where he had for tutor the learned Nathaniel Carpenter. Such was the diligence manifested by the young student, that Dr Prideaux used to say of him, “ that though he was but little of stature, yet, in time, he would come to be great in the state." Having commenced bachelor of arts, he retired to his paternal estate, where he devoted himself to study. Prince, in his Worthies of Devon,' says that, in his younger years, he "was very much addicted to poetry and apothegmatical learning." He took no part in those convulsions of the state which now commenced, though it is highly probable that he was a moderate royalist in sentiment. In 1645 he was chosen to represent his native county in parliament,-an honour wholly unsolicited on his part; but he refused to take his seat in the house, till the members excluded by the army-faction were restored by Monk. In 1651, he was appointed high-sheriff of Devonshire.
It is generally agreed that Morice was the only person in Monk's confidence as to his real intentions between Richard's abdication and Charles's arrival. He also received a letter from Charles, urging him to use all his influence towards effecting the Restoration, and Clarendon represents him as one of the principal agents in bringing about that event. To render his co-operation more effective, Charles appointed him his secretary of state, and Monk made him colonel of a regiment of infantry, and governor of Plymouth. He was one of those gentlemen who welcomed the restored king to Dover, where he received from him the honour of knighthood. Shortly after this he was chosen a privy-councillor. After having honourably filled the office of secretary of state for more than seven years, Sir William retired, in 1668, to his estate at Warrington, in Devonshire, where he died in 1676. His eldest son was created a baronet in 1661.
Sir William may be considered as one of the last of the lay-puritans, -a character that almost ceased with the act of conformity. That act, obliging those who had, in the former times of episcopacy, been moderate in their service, and who, with some dislike to a few ceremonies, yet retained so much affection to the establishment as to dislike separation still more, now to act a more decided part, a stronger line was henceforward drawn between the episcopalians and the nonconformists,—a line which has continued to this day, and which still acts as a barrier between the two parties. In his doctrinal sentiments, Sir William was a moderate Calvinist. His views on church-government are not so easily ascertained. He was not an episcopalian ; he was not a presbyterian ; still less was he an independent. Perhaps an episcopacy modified according to Usher's plan was that system of church-government which most nearly coincided with his own views. His work on the Lord's Supper evinces his almost universal reading and profound learning.
BORN A. D. 1605.-DIED A. D, 1676.
BULSTRODE WHITELOCKE, son of James Whitelocke, a learned English lawyer, was born on the 6th of August, 1605, in Fleet-street, London. He was educated at Merchant-tailors' school, and from thence went to St John's college, Oxford. Laud, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, was president of St John's at the time, and being the intimate friend of young Whitelocke's father, treated him with much kindness. He left the university without a degree, and went to the Middle Temple, where he commmenced the assiduous study of law, and soon entered upon the practice of that profession.
In 1640, Whitelocke was chosen burgess for Marlow in Buckinghamshire. He acted as chairman of the committee appointed to manage Strafford's impeachment, and bore himself in that office with great firmness and dignity. He had early acquired the reputation of a
good common lawyer; in so much so, that Hampden is said to have frequently consulted him on the subject of ship-money; and to his professional reputation was soon added that of being a good parliamentary speaker, and an adept in the technicalities and forms of the house. His early conduct was marked by moderation, and an apparent desire to soothe and conciliate the contending parties; but as soon as hostilities had actually commenced, he adhered closely to the parliament, and accepted under them the office of deputy-lieutenant of Bucks and Oxford. In January, 1643, he acted as one of the commissioners for treating with the king ; soon after, he sat as one of the lay-commissioners in the Westminster assembly of divines. Charles appears to have reposed more confidence in Whitelocke and Hollis than in most others of their party. He even condescended to solicit their advice in framing an answer to the propositions which they had themselves been the bearers of from the parliament. Whitelocke hesitated at first to comply with their request, but before leaving the king he made a hasty memorandum of what he judged might form the substance of an answer to the parliament's proposals, and left it upon the table of the king's withdrawing room. For this transaction, both he and Hollis were impeached in 1645, but after a long and severe scrutiny, the commons acquitted them of all blame in the transaction.
Whitelocke was now one of the leading men of the commonwealth, and he used his influence to restrain and moderate the excessive intolerance of the presbyterian party, especially in respect of their claim to the divine right of their order of church government. In the year 1645, the house of commons ordered all the books and manuscripts of the lord-keeper Littleton, whose estate had been sequestered, to be given to Whitelocke. In his · Memorials,' Whitelocke alluding to this, says, “ he undertook this business, as he had done others of the like kind, to preserve these books and manuscripts from being sold, which the sequestration would have done, but he saved them, to have the present use of them, and resolving, if God gave them a happy accommo. dation, to restore them to the owner, or to some of his family.” On.several other occasions, Whitelocke showed his regard to the interests of literature, particularly in preventing the sale of the king's library and collection of medals.“ Being informed," he says, “of a design in some to have them sold, and transported beyond seas, which I thought would be a dishonour and damage to our nation, and to all scholars therein ; and fearing that in other hands they might be more subject to embezzling, and being willing to preserve them for public use, I did accept of the trouble of being library-keeper at St James's, and therein was encouraged and much persuaded to it by Mr Selden, who swore that if I did not undertake the charge of them, all those rare monuments of antiquity, and these choice books and manuscripts would be lost : and there were not the like of them, except only in the Vatican, in any other library in Christendom."
Cromweli gave Whitelocke more of his confidence than might have been expected, seeing that the fact was known that he had been consulted by Essex's party on the subject of impeaching Cromwell. It does not, however, appear that Whitelocke used any great efforts to return and secure the confidence of so important a personage. When the trial of the king had been decided upon, he was named one of the