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1622

RECALL OF WESTON.

345

Mansfeld should be prevented from attacking Spain under the orders of the Prince of Orange, he could only say that the King of England was quite ready to mediate a treaty between Philip and the Dutch.1

Baffled and discontented, Weston had for some time been earnestly pleading for his recall. His denunciations of the His dissatis- Infanta's perfidy were loud enough to please the faction. stoutest Puritan in England. He had gone to Brussels under the impression that he had an easy task before him. He had shared with many of his countrymen the belief that Spain was everything and Germany was nothing; and he could not conceive it to be possible that the destinies of he Empire were determined at Vienna rather than at Madrid.

call.

On the 15th, Weston had his last audience of the Infanta. He had orders, he said, to return home unless either the siege Weston's re- of Heidelberg were raised, or the suspension of arms granted. He was again made to understand that he was asking for that which it was no longer in her power to accord. The King of England, the Infanta said, 'had deserved a crown of palm by his royal carriage;' and she would never cease to do all that she could to give him satisfaction.2

Character of

tion.

The long negotiation was at last brought to an end. That the Infanta was earnestly desirous to conduct it to a better termination cannot be doubted for an instant. As his negotia- late as August 27 she had written again, to press the Emperor to abandon his design of transferring the Electorate. James, however, had never been sufficiently alive to the absolute importance of guaranteeing the Empire against anarchy. His own inability to provide pay for his sonin-law's army, Frederick's rash words at Darmstadt, and the ravages of Mansfeld, had by this time thoroughly confirmed Ferdinand's conviction that peace was only to be obtained by the establishment of the absolute supremacy of his own party in the Empire. To this conviction James had nothing to

1 Weston's Reply, Sept. 12, in his Report, fol. 19, Inner Temple MSS. vol. 48.

2 Weston to Calvert, Sept. 16, S. P. Flanders.

oppose. He had no watchword by which to rally the North German Protestants. He had no real power over his son-inlaw's actions, still less over those of Mansfeld. All that he could do was to bluster about keeping Mansfeld quiet by force; and when he found that no credit was given to his protestations, he had no other resource but to call upon Spain to help him out of the mire into which his blunders had so hopelessly plunged him.

The months during which the comedy was being played out at Brussels had brought increasing exasperation to the English people. Even if the whole truth had been August. English feel- laid before them, there would have been more than ing. enough to cause the most serious disquietude amongst all with whom the interests of Protestantism were worth a moment's consideration. It was impossible to deny that, wherever the blame was to be laid, the very existence of Protestantism was seriously endangered over a large part of the Continent. In reality, the great mass of Englishmen knew very little of the real facts of the case. Of Frederick's helplessness and vacillation, of Mansfeld's atrocities, of the abominable anarchy which was certain to be the result of the victory of such allies, they were utterly and hopelessly ignorant. What they saw was only a new phase of the eternal conflict between virtue and vice, between freedom and tyranny; and, imperfect as this view of the case undoubtedly was, they were at least clearsighted enough in marking the evil which had arisen from their Sovereign's faults. It was only in the pulpit that these feelings, freely expressed in private conversation, could find vent in public, and it is no wonder that a man like James, in his dislike at the free language which was springing up around him, took refuge in sending the obnoxious preachers ment of to prison. Dr. Everard, who had been committed. in the preceding year to the Gatehouse for abusing the Spaniards in a sermon, now found his way into the Marshalsea. Another preacher, Mr. Clayton, was sent to prison for reproducing Coke's scurrilous allusion to the introduction of the scab by sheep imported from Spain; and a third, Dr. Sheldon, was thought lucky to have escaped with a reprimand

Imprison

preachers.

1622

CLERICAL ACTIVITY.

347

for some harsh reflections upon the people who worshipped the beast and his image.1

Calvinists and Arminians.

Nor was it only against abuse of Spain that James had decided upon making war. He was now disquieted, as many wiser men than he have often been disquieted, by the bitterness of theological polemics. Arminianism, silenced in Holland, had taken firm root in England, and had been welcomed by those who were most under the influence of the reaction against Puritanism. Of necessity, the new views were received with deep distrust by all who attached value to the Calvinistic theology. In every corner of the land, the pulpits rang with declamations on predestination and the final perseverance of the saints. Till lately, at least, James had regarded with favour the doctrine in which he had been educated. But he hated turmoil, and he thought, in spite of Barneveld's example; that he might succeed in laying the storm by directing Abbot to issue a few well-meant instructions Directions to to the preachers. From henceforth, no one under preachers. the degree of a bachelor of divinity was to 'presume to preach in any popular auditory the deep points of predestination, election, reprobation, or of the universality, efficacy, resistibility or irresistibility of God's grace; but leave those themes to be handled by learned men, and that moderately and modestly, by way of use and application rather than by way of positive doctrine, as being points fitter for the schools and universities than for simple auditories.' "

As mere advice, no exception can be taken against such words as these. But, coming as they did, as an attempt to enforce silence on the great religious question of the

Their effect. day, they only served to embitter the quarrel which they were meant to calm. Left to itself, the tendency of the age was undoubtedly in favour of the Arminians. For whatever may be the theological or philosophical value of their opinions, they were doing the same work in the domain of

'Chamberlain to Carleton, Aug. 10, S. P. Dom. cxxxii. 91. Mead to Stuteville, Sept. 14, Harl. MSS. 389, fol. 228.

2 Hacket, 89. The King to Abbot, Aug. 4; Abbot to the Bishop s Aug. 12, Sept. 4, Wilkins's Concilia, iv. 465.

thought which Digby with his doctrine of territorial sovereignty was doing in the domain of practical politics. They were finding a middle course, which might put an end to that violent opposition which existed between the contending churches. It was to the decrease of theological virulence that they owed their existence as a school of thinkers. It was to their habits and modes of thought that the growth of a spirit of toleration would be mainly due. The greatest service that could be done to them was to allow them to win their way by argument. The greatest injury that could be done to them was to enable them to silence their adversaries by force. Men who could preach about nothing but predestination, and who could use no language better than coarse invective, were no doubt a great pest to the community; but, after all, liberty of thought is better in the end than correctness of reasoning or moderation of expression, and it is impossible for anyone external to the modes of a preacher's thoughts to judge of the intimate connection which exists in his mind between the abstract doctrines which he professes and the practical lessons which he desires to enforce. The great battle of the sixteenth century had been waged between Catholicism and Protestantism. The great battle of the seventeenth century, as yet felt rather than understood, was to be waged on behalf of mental and personal liberty. It was the great misfortune of James's character, that, whilst both in his domestic and foreign policy he was far in advance of his age in his desire to put a final end to religious strife, he was utterly unfit to judge what were the proper measures to be taken for the attainment of his object. Unfortunately it lay in his power to a great extent to decide whether the Arminians should range themselves, on the whole, on the side of the advancing or of the retrograde party amongst their countrymen. Laud, disputing with a Jesuit or a Calvinist, was a true Protestant, a genuine successor, according to the altered conditions of the age, of Luther and of Knox. Laud, entrusted with power to silence his opponents, to forbid the study of books which he considered objectionable, and to restrain the preaching of sermons which he held to be mischievous, would be upon the side of the Jesuits and the Pope.

1622

New in

ARMINIANS AND PURITANS.

349

It was thus that James's efforts at repression resulted, against his will, in giving new life to Puritanism. Invigorated by the restraints under which he placed it, it rose up once vigoration of more with giant strength to suffer and to dare in the Puritanism. name of law and of religion. It gained the alliance of many a man who had no sympathy with the narrowness of its tenets, but who found, in the lofty and noble spirit by which it was pervaded, the strength which would enable him to shake off the weight which pressed so heavily upon the energies of the nation.

Release of

prisoners.

Little as the English people knew of what was passing at Rome and at Madrid, they were well aware that James had lowered the dignity of the English crown till the laws the Catholic of England had been made a subject of treaty with foreign statesmen and foreign priests. In the eyes. of his contemporaries he had been guilty of sacrificing the national independence, the great cause of which Henry VIII. and Elizabeth had been the champions. In the eyes of posterity, he is guilty of defiling the sacred cause of religious liberty by making bargains over it for Spanish gold and Spanish aid. Even now an act, with which in itself no one can possibly find fault, had been contaminated by the mode in which it was accomplished. Writs were issued in August to set free from prison crowds of Catholics, who were suffering for their religion.' In defence of the act thus done, Williams was able to produce the most admirable arguments, and to plead the wisdom of showing mercy to the Catholics, at a time when the King was demanding mercy for Protestants abroad. Yet all his arguments fell flat on the world, because men knew that the prisoners owed their release to Gondomar's intercession,3 and that it was likely to be a prelude to a long series of favours to be granted to Spain. Never, wrote the Venetian ambassador about this time, was the Catholic religion more freely exercised in England But the Spaniards were not content. They wanted to have everything or nothing.4

1 Williams to the Judges, Aug. 2, S. P. Dom. cxxxii. 84.

2 Williams to Annan, Cabala, 269.

3 Ciriza to Aston,

June 27 S. P. Spain.
July 7'

4 Valaresso to the Doge, Aug. 2, Venice MSS.

19'

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