Imagens das páginas
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

the Chancellor, died. Since the Reformation laymen had ever been appointed to the office; but now it was thought significant of the prevailing policy, that John Spottiswood, Archbishop of St Andrews, became also Lord High Chancellor. The king thus gave the Churchmen, in a substantial shape, the precedence, which, according to an anecdote current at the time, the old Chancellor, Kinnoul, had resisted.1

It was of more moment to Scotland, however, than the appointment of a clerical chancellor or the erection of a new diocese, that presently after the king's return to England, William Laud was made Archbishop of Canterbury. Heretofore he had meddled in the affairs of Scotland: he now dictated the ecclesiastical policy of the country; and with him the ecclesiastical policy was supreme over the civil. He evidently entertained no project for asserting the ecclesiastical supremacy of the Archbishop of Canterbury over the hierarchy of Scotland. He was the king's minister, adviser, and organ as to ecclesiastical affairs, those of Scotland included; and he acted as a statesman rather than a prelate. His function was like that of a colonial secretary, who communicates the instruc

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

1 The story was, that the king had required by warrant that the Primate should have precedence over the Lord Chancellor, and he especially desired that effect should be given to this order at his coronation. As the settling of the precedence was in the Lord Lyon's department, the story will be best told in his own words : “I remember that King Charles sent me to the Lord Chancellor the day of his coronation, in the morning, in anno 1633, to show him that it was his will and pleasure—but only for that day-that he would cede and give place to the archbishop; but he returned by me to his majesty a very bruisk answer, which was, that since his majesty had been pleased to continue him in that office of Chancellor, wlich his worthy father of happy memory had bestowed upon him, he was ready in all humility to lay it down at his majesty's feet; but since it was his royal will that he should enjoy it with the known privileges of the same, never a stoled priest in Scotland should set a foot before him as long as his blood was hot.” The king took this with an easy good-humour not habitual to him in matters of the kind, which were of vital moment in his eyes: “When I had related this answer to the king, he said, • Weel, Lyon, let's go to business. I will not meddle further with that old cankered gouty man, at whose hands there is nothing to be gained but sour words.'”-Balfour's Works, ii. 142.

[ocr errors]

Euriana the

ng to the

and the esides the he wick

[ocr errors]

tions of the home government to the governor of a colony. In a long dictatorial letter to the Archbishop of St Andrews, we have his plan for checking all local action about ecclesiastical matters in Scotland until he shall have been informed of what is suggested, so that he may send down instructions for the guidance of all concerned. The arrangement is thus explained:

“You are immutably to hold this rule, and that by his majesty's strict and most special command-namely, that yourself, or the Lord Ross, or both of you together, do privately acquaint the Earl of Traquair with it before it be proposed in public, either at the council-table, or the Exchequer, or elsewhere; and the earl hath assured the king in my presence that he will strictly observe and hold the same correspondency and course with you; and fur. ther, that he will readily do all good offices for the Church that come within his power, according to all such commands as he shall receive, either immediately from the king, or otherwise by direction of his majesty from myself. And if at any time your lordships and my Lord Traquair shall upon any of the forementioned business so differ in judgment that you cannot accord it among yourselves, let it rest, and write up either to his majesty, or to myself to move his majesty, for further directions, which, once received, you are all to obey.” But under this high dictatorial tone there is a consciousness of danger to those who thus plotted to supersede the responsible government of Scotland ; and there comes this further instruction : “His majesty precisely commands that this mutual relation between the Earl of Traquair and you be kept very secret, and made known to no other person, either clergy or laity." I

Another specimen of Laud's dictatorial dealing with the Scots prelates has an interest in itself, as rudely handling a point that was becoming very tender among the English Puritans and their sympathising brethren among the Presbyterians of Scotland. This point was the ascetic observance of Sunday or of the Lord's Day. A thing had

1 Rushworth, ii. 314, 315.


occurred which, as he said, had “displeased the king, and not without very just cause : ” “ The new Bishop of Aberdeen hath given way to and allowed a public fast throughout his diocese to be kept upon the Lord's Day, contrary to the rules of Christianity and all the ancient canons of the Church. I was in good hope that Church had quite laid down that ill custom; but since the new Bishop of Aberdeen hath continued it, and perhaps others may follow his example if this pass without a check, therefore his majesty's express will and command to your grace is, that you and my Lord Glasgow take order with all the bishops in your several provinces respectively, that no man presume to command or suffer any fast to be upon that day, or indeed any public fast upon any other day, without the special leave and command of the king, to whose power it belongs, and not to them.”

If it be asked how men holding a high position in Scotland were so treacherous to the old national spirit as to · submit to this dictation from their official brother in Eng

land, the answer is, that the Scots bishops were entirely in his power so long as he was right-hand man to the king. They had no public spirit or strong party to support them at home. If they resisted Laud, they must desert the prelatical party and go over to the enemy. A portion of his power, on which we must not lay uncharitable stress, was the ecclesiastical patronage. All who sought promotion in the higher grades of the Church must seek it through him; and we find him lecturing expectants, accordingly, much as a millowner or a merchant would let applicants for an advance know that their fortunes depend on their giving satisfaction to their employer. We would say that in these things Laud showed a vulgar mind, did we not know that it was a mind so engrossed in its own visions and projects that it was impervious to good taste as it was to discretion.2

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

i Rushworth, ii. 315.

2 Thus to Bellenden of Dunblane: “His majesty hath heard that there have been lately some differences in Edinburgh about the sufferings of Christ, &c., and that your lordship was some cause of them, We find the two archbishops and some of their brethren offering the following obeisance to their great patron, with, as it will be seen, a gentle hint not to drive them too furiously onward : “As we have found your grace's favour, both to our Church in general and ourselves in divers particulars, for which we are your grace's debtors, so we are to entreat the continuance thereof in this and our common affairs. We all wish a full conformity in the churches, but your grace knoweth that this must be the work of time. We have made, blessed be God, a farther progress than all have here expected in many years by his majesty's favour and your grace's help; and hope still to go farther if it shall please God to continue your grace in health and life, for which we pray continually.” 1

As the spirit of this restless priest has henceforward a distinct influence over the turbulent history of which we are now on the threshold, a word on his objects and tendencies may not be out of place. The feeling among the Scots Presbyterians and the English who leaned to Puritanism was, that he was working for the old Church

or at least such an occasion as might have bred much disturbance, if the late Bishop of Edinburgh his care and temper had not moderated it; and that his majesty is not well pleased with neither : and this hath been the cause, as I conceive, why his majesty hath passed you over in this remove; and you shall do very well to apply yourself better both to his majesty's service and the well ordering of the Church, lest you give just occasion to the king to pass you by when any other remove falls. I am very sorry that I must write thus unto you, but the only way of help lies in yourself and your own carriage ; and therefore, if you will not be careful of that, I do not see what any friend can be able to do for you.” Afterwards there are words of comfort for him : “I am very glad to hear your resolutions for the ordering of his majesty's chapel-royal, and that you are resolved to wear your whites, notwithstanding the maliciousness of foolish men. I know his majesty will take your obedience and care very well.” To Maxwell of Ross he says : “Whereas you write that some which have promised and protested fair to me concerning the Church, have in all judicatories since your last return gone against the Church, I pray you name them, for I am loath to mistake persons; and then I shall not spare to acquaint the king with what they do.”—Hailes's Memorials and Letters, Charles I., 6-16.

1 Prynne's Hidden Works of Darkness brought to Public Light, 146.

[ocr errors][merged small]

against the Reformation. This may be held so far to be correct, that he endeavoured to draw the Church towards Romanism, but not towards Popery. He seized his opportunity, as we shall find, to tinge the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England with those doctrines -such as the real presence and the efficacy of the intervention of saints — to which the Protestant spirit was antagonistic. He loved all the splendid pageantry and decoration in which the old Church luxuriated, and he left substantial memorials of his magnificence in ecclesiastical architecture and decoration. But he certainly had no desire to subject the Church of England to the Bishop of Rome. If a Pope reigned over spiritual England, it was to be from Lambeth, not the Vatican. One of the strange and unwelcome portents recorded in his Diary is that unpleasing dream that he was reconciled to the Church of Rome. The restoration of the Papal power was among the obvious dangers attending on his innovations. And when the dreams of indigestion visited his pillow, they brought the dreaded calamity home to him, as the Alpine wanderer dreams at night that he is slipping into one of the abysses which he has contemplated with admiring awe in the sunshine. 1

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

1 “March 8 (1627), Thursday, I came to London. The night fol. lowing I dreamed that I was reconciled to the Church of Rome. This troubled me much, and I wondered exceedingly how it should happen. Nor was I aggrieved with myself only by reason of the errors of that Church, but also upon account of the scandal which from that my fall would be cast upon many ancient and learned men in the Church of England. So being troubled at my dream, I said with myself that I would go immediately, and, confessing my fault, would beg pardon of the Church of England. Going with this resolution, a certain priest met me, and would have stopped me. But, moved with indignation, I went on my way. And while I wearied myself with these troublesome thoughts, I awoke.Close to this in his Diary he records another dream of the same physiological character, but differing widely in form: “I dreamed that I was troubled with the scurvy, and that on a sudden all my teeth became loose; that one of them-especially in the lower jaw-I could scarce hold in with my finger, till I called out for help,”' &c.

not see here are 20/miast

u are real is of food

care ret that seemed the Church ist the Ons, 2011

I do "

to Public

« AnteriorContinuar »