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DISPOSAL OF HIGHER CHURCH PREFERMENT.
(Continued from p. 150.) Tue extracts that follow continue the history of Buckingham's administration. It is a chapter well worthy of attention in the annals of church patronage. It exhibits the prime minister, not merely exalted to that place in the royal favour from whence, as Lord Clarendon observes, he " entirely disposed of all the graces of the king, in conferring all the honours, and all the offices of three kingdoms without a rival,” but also, in the prospect of the decline of that favour, employing the patronage which had thus been put into his hands, as the means of setting up an independent despotism, established on a parliamentary majority, and holding the sovereign in the most abject slavery. To Buckingham seems to belong the “ bad preeminence of having been the first minister of the crowd who, for his own selfish ends, would have robbed it of all but the nominal exercise of its prerogative, and made popular appointments in the church the instrument of a democratic tyranny over the sovereign, to be exercised by the successful political adventurer of the day, backed by a subservient majority in the house of commons.
“Popular favour continued a while with the duke ; and now he was St. George on horseback, let the dragon take heed that stood in his way. The earl of Middlesex was removed, and he that presided over the great accounts did now stand for a cipher. The lord keeper perceived his turn was next.”*
“When all men talked jocularly upon the next session of parliament, appointed for April, they that were watchful for the duke's safety saw cause to fear lest the predestination of that session might turn to his grace's reprobation. The king his master was too politick to seem weary of him, now become the most affected of his son ; but half an eye might discern that he was not fond of him. ... and if the king should shrink from him, the peers and commons were like to receive him unkindly. His greatness, though it waned with the father, it increased with the son, and was like to flourish ever by this latter spring; but the more it grew, the less it was liked. .... It was come to pass that he only turned the key to all that were let in to the king or prince; and his multitudinous places compelled such a swarm of suitors to hum about him, that the train that continually jogged after him looked like the stream of a blazing star-fatal and ominous. Therefore it was studied, by the wisest of those that were upheld by his grace, and resorted most unto him, that either his lordship must hope in a war, and that speedily, or by flush of money, to be prodigal among the commanders ; or if he came to be tried in the furnace of the next session of parliament, he had need to make the refiners to be his friends.
“Here steps in Dr. Preston, a good crow to smell carrion, and brought conditions with him, to make his grace malleable upon the great anvil, and never break. This politic man, that he might feel the pulse of the court, had preferred himself to be chaplain to the prince, and wanted not the intelligence of all dark mysteries, through the Scotch especially, of his highness's bedchamber.”+
* Hacket's Life of Williams, p. 190.
Ibid. pp. 203.4.
"These gave him countenance more than others, because he prosecuted the endeavours of their countryman, Knox. To the duke he repairs. And be assured he had more skill than boisterously to propound to him the extirpation of bishops, remembering what King James had said in the conference at Hampton Court—No bishop, no king. Therefore he began to dig further off, and to heave at the dissolution of cathedral churches, with their deans and chapters—the seminary from whence the ablest scholars were removed to bishoprics. At his audience with the duke, he told him he was sorry his grace's actions were not so well interpreted abroad as godly men thought they deserved. That such murmurings, as were but vapours in common talk, might prove to be tempests when a parliament met. That his safest-way was to anchor himself upon the love of the people. And let him persuade himself he should not fail to be master of that achievement, if he would profess himself not among those that are protestants at large, and never look inward to the centre of religion, but become a warm and zealous Christian, that would employ his best help strenuously to lop off from this half-reformed church the superfluous branches of Romish superstition that much disfigured it. Then he named the quire-service of cathedral and collegiate churches, with the appennages, which were maintained with vast wealth, and lands of excessive commodity, to feed fat, lazy, and unprofitable drones. And yet all that chanting and pomp hindered the heavenly power and simplicity of prayer ; and furthered not the preaching of the gospel. And now, says he, let your grace observe all the ensuing emoluments, if you will lean to this counsel. God's glory shall be better set forth, (that's ever the quail-pipe to bring worldlings into the snares of sacrilege :) the lands of those chapters escheating to the erown, by the dissolution of their foundations, will pay the king's debts. Your grace hath many alliances of kindred, all sucking from you; and the milk of those breasts will serve them all, and nourish them up to great growth with the best seats of the nation. Lastly, your grace shall not only surmount envy, but turn the darling of the commonwealth, and be reverenced by the best operators in parliament as a father of a family. And if a crum stick in the throat of any considerable man that attempts to make a contrary part, it will be easy to wash it down with manors, woods, royalties, tithes, &c., the large provent of those superstitious plantations."*
“The chaplains that attended monthly at the court were not ambitious of preaching over-often, and so a combination was agreed on for preachers before the king, whenever he should lie within twelve miles of Cambridge. The king did not despair of making scholars his, and therefore used all endeavours to oblige them. ... . Young men, he knew, would preach themselves :
Omnis oratio docet aut rem, aut animum dicentis.' He should learn either things or persons.
“ By this means it came to Master Preston's turn to preach before the king at Royston. Master Preston had some at the court that were solicitous as well as he, and they told him it would give very great content, if he would take some occasion in the sermon, to shew his judgment, as he had done before, about set-forms. Doctor Young,t dean of Winchester, did then attend, and when the king came in and sat down in the chair, he told him who it was that preached, and said, he hoped he would give content. I pray God he do, said the king .. The king sat all the while as quiet as could be, and never stirred nor spake to anybody, but by his looks discovered he was pleased. . . . . Great haste was made to bring in dinner, and the king was very pleasant all the time ; had his eye continually upon Master Preston, and spake of divers passages in the sermon with much content.
But as soon
• Hacket's Life of Williams, pp. 204-5. t" An honest Scotchman, that was dean of Winchester.” Clarke, p. 87. cf. sup. Brit. Mag. vol. xi. p. 631. Vol. XII.- Sept. 1837.
as ever he was retired, the Marquis Hamilton* kneeled down and besought him that he might commend the preacher to him for his chaplain ; protested he did not so much as know him, but that he was moved by the weight and strength of that he had delivered ; told him, he spoke no pen-and-inkhorn language, but as one that comprehended what he said, and that he could not but have substance and matter in him. The king acknowledged all, but said it was too early; remembered Newmarket business,t and was reserved.
“Sir Ralph Freeman, one of the masters of requests, had married a kinswoman of the Duke of Buckingham's, and was a kinsman unto Master Preston; he makes relation of the business unto the duke, and told him, if now he would appear in favour of his cousin Preston, he might oblige the puritans, and lay a ground work for his own security, if tempests should arise ; assured him that Master Preston was ingenuous, and might be made ; that the king and all the court were taken with the sermon, and did approve it. The Duke of Buckingham was a wise man, and, apprehensive of what Sir Ralph suggested seasonably, saw those they called puritans were growing, and in the parliament were thought considerable; knew that the king's affections might cool, and he might need friends, and took Sir Ralph's discourse into his most serious thoughts. An honest man, one Master Parker, was then his secretary, and he set on what Sir Ralph Freeman had suggested, and so it came unto a resolution, that Master Preston should be owned; and the duke commanded Sir Ralph Freeman to go to Master Preston from him, and acquaint him with his good opinion of him, and desire to see him; and, indeed, there was such a concurrence and concentring of opinions and desires among the courtiers, that it was assured Master Preston he might be chaplain unto whom he would, and that was now the deliberation which of these offers he should accept, and whom he would acknowledge his patron and protector for the time to come. There was not so few clergymen at court at any time, and so no kind of opposition; yet the king himself hung back, and would do nothing hastily; he was not reconcileable unto the puritans, and so desired not in that respect for to engage him ; but he desired to deprive them of Master Preston, and to divide him from them, and would do anything that might drive that on; and considering how many he had won, that Master Preston was a young man and might be drawn on, he would not hinder nor oppose; so it was the joint opinion of all his friends, that the best preferment was to be the prince's chaplain, who then was grown and had an household. This, therefore, was represented unto Sir Ralph Freeman, and his opinion required, who quickly yielded and proposed it unto the duke. ... Then to court he goes, where the duke presents him to the prince, and so he was made and admitted chaplain to the prince in ordinary.”I
“Some of the fellows of Emanuel college were very eminent for parts and learning, yet clouded and obscured (as they thought) by an opinion that lay upon the college, that they were puritans. They thought, therefore, if they could prevail with Dr. Chaderton, their present master, to resign, who was established in it by the founder, and named in the statute, but was grown very old, and had outlived many of those great relations which he had before, they might, perhaps, procure that Master Preston might succeed him, and bring the college into reputation; being a good man, and yet a courtier, the prince his chaplain, and very gracious with the Duke of Buckingham. But this was sooner said than done: the old doctor was exceeding wary and jealous, not only of his own disparagement, but especially of the good and welfare of that brave foundation that had grown and flourished under his government so
* Commonly called the “temporal head" of the puritan party.
† Comp. Clarke, p. 84–87.
long. . . . . But Master Preston quickly eased the old man of all these fears, by procuring a letter from the Duke of Buckingham in these words :
• Sir,—I have moved his majesty concerning Master Preston's succeeding of you in the mastership of Emanuel college, who is not only willing, but is graciously pleased to recommend him to the place in especial manner before any other; so that, in making this way for him, you shall do a very acceptable thing to his majesty, as also to the prince his master, of which I am likewisa to give you notice. . .
• I rest, your very loving friend, * Theobalds, September 20, 1622.'
"G. BUCKINGHAM.' “This news ran swiftly all the kingdom over, and was received as men were affected. The courtiers made full account that he was theirs, and would mount up from one step to another, until he were a prelate; especially the Duke of Buckingham, who, from this time, seemed sincerely to affect him-'multum fuit ad amorem, dedisse beneficium,' thought he had given earnest and could not be defrauded of the purchase. The Earl of Pembroke, and the Countess of Bedford, had a great interest in him, and he in them; and all men looked on him as upon a rising man, and respected him accordingly.”*
He" was offered any bishoprick he would resolve on, and told at Royston, by. the Duke of Buckingham, that the bishoprick of Gloucester was then void. . The duke laboured in him to win and gratify the puritans, whose power in parliament was now grown very formidable ; and, therefore, when nothing else would content him, he was confirmed lecturer at Trinity church.”+
“ The duke had now obliged doctor Preston in the judgment and opinion of all the honest party, and much displeased the prelatical; and he saw apparently that King James approved not his siding with him, yet he was more express than ever in his affections to him, and freeness with him. He had, indeed, a very happy and rare composure of sweetness and solidity . . . . saw clearly the affections of the king were fading, which the puritans (though never 80 much his friends) could not repair, and therefore eyed and adored the rising sun, who now was grown and fit for marriage, but no preparations to find a consort for him. He knew the Spanish match was but a colour, and a treaty dandled between Bristol and King James, to fool the prince off, and shut his ears against the French proposals. This he discovers to the prince ; tells him kings did not love an heir apparent, how near soever; that the daughter of Spain was designed to a monastery, and kept for a reserve unto the house of Austria; that, in France, there was a lady much before her; that, if he pleased, he would wait upon him into Spain in a disguise, and take the French court in their way,t and see that lady, and so discover Bristol's and his father's juggling. The prince resents and hugs this overture. . . . The king saw who had ploughed with his heifer, feared (as he was wont to do) a checkmate. . . . . But they persisting, he signs a warrant with his own hand, for Jack Smith and Tom Smith, and each of them a servant, and their horses, to go beyond sea.
“The duke even now was not unmindful of doctor Preston, but leaves order with the Duchess and Countess of Denbiyh, to be careful for him ; and Sir Ralph Freeman having a child to baptize, doctor Preston is entreated for to preach, and the duchess and countess were both gossips, who shewed to the doctor very great respect, and gave him hopes of doing good. . . . . Only he would relate, with much regret, that he often found doctor Laud, then bishop of St. David's, with them, and therefore doubted of the issue and event. ...
• Clarke's Lives of Divines, pp. 92-95.
+ Ibid. p. 97. This account seems to derive probability from the fact that the prince and Buckingham went first to Paris, “where they ventured to appear at court, and be present at a ball, where, though disguised, they ran some risk of being discovered.” Rapin's Hist. of England, anno 1622.
The doctor saw by the debates about the lecture at Trinity church" (which Buckingham had obtained for him, vid. sup.,) “ that he had enemies as well as friends at court; that the duke was mutable as well as mortal; knew that the king abhorred that journey into Spain, and would remember it, if able. ‘Dulcis inexperto cultura potentis amici, expertus metuit.' And, therefore, though now he were settled and assured in the university, yet would not leave his lecture at Lincoln's Inn; but thought it might be a good reserve, in case the naughty heads, or factions in the court, should fall upon him. And it was well he did, for the prince and duke returned the next October, highly offended with the Spanish gravity, and both they and all their train did nothing but tell stories of the Spanish baseness ; so a parliament was called, and the duke cried up by all the godly party in the kingdom ; : , and now the duke became the people's martyr. I have seen verses made in his defence and commendation ; and agents were presently
dispatched into France, to treat of that match. King James liked not this stuff, but the prince was able now to go alone, and especially when he had the duke for one of his supporters; all things are fairly carried for religion, and the Duke of Buckingham the prince's and the people's favourite. The people seemed now to have the better, and the court affairs for to decline and droop. Doctor Preston, like another Mordecai, was very great ; the prince, his master, and the courtiers' eyes upon him, because they saw he came not thither for preferment, as all men else did. His honours altered nothing in him, but gave encouragement to all the godly party; and his sermons at Lincoln's Inn much wrought upon the parliament. . . . . King James was in the evening of his glory; his party in the court under a cloud ; another sun almost in view, and the qúo popos, or day star, already risen.
• The duke having told tales out of school, and broken off the match with Spain, was much obliged to promote the French, which he did seriously excuse to doctor Preston upon this ground, that there was not any protestant for to be had; and for to marry with a subject had always been unlucky and fatal to the kings of England ; that the French would not be rigid in religious observances; but the doctor constantly opposed; only acknowledged this difference, that Spanish popery was an absolute ingredient to their intended western monarchy, but French was not so; and so this was less evil. But the French found out this obligation, and were untractable, unless the duke would aid the king of France against the Rochellers. This was a hard chapter for one so much obliged unto the puritans and doctor Preston, and he therefore declined all he could ; but nothing else would serve, and he knew king James lay ready to take advantages, so, in conclusion, eight ships were granted to oppose the Rochelle fleet, and many colours sought to cloud it, and hide it from the world; but from that time doctor Preston doubted of the saintship of the duke of Buckingham, whom otherwise he honoured and loved very
“Since the return of the prince and duke, the king no longer ruled ; all his affairs were managed by them, and he had nothing
to do but to execute their counsels. The king had not one man about him he could trust. All his officers, all his courtiers, were the duke's creatures, and the more firmly attached to him, as they saw him in great favour with the prince. In this condition the king saw no other remedy but to give himself up to them, and do whatever they pleased : whether he was afraid their boldness would increase by resistance, or that he waited for some favourable opportunity to throw off their yoke. There was not one good Englishman but what had all along looked upon the Spanish match as very prejudicial to the kingdom. ... The duke of Buckingham, not being ignorant of the people's aversion to the marriage, the breach whereof was not yet spread abroad, doubted not but he
* Ibid. pp. 97-99.