Page images

king's. They sue him, and so does all the nation whereof they are a part. What matter is it, then, what they preach or teach in the schools?

3. Kings are all individual, this or that king; there is no species of kings.

4. A king that claims privileges in his own. country, because they have them in another, is just as a cook, that claims fees in one lord's house, because they are allowed in another. If the master of the house will yield them, well and good.

5. The text, Render unto Cæsar, the things that are Cæsar's, makes as much against kings as for them; for it says plainly, that some things are not Cæsar's, But divines make choice of it, first in flattery, and then because of the other part adjoined to it, Render unto God the things that are God's, where they bring in the church.

6. A king outed of his country, that takes as much upon him as he did at home in his own court, is as if a man on high, and I being upon the ground, used to lift up my voice to him, that he might hear me, at length should come down, and then expects I should speak as loud to him as I did before.

Selden was a man of very extensive learning; he is styled, even by the learned Grotius,

"the honour of the English nation;" a compliment, which from the literary celebrity of the bestower, he is said to have prized above all other marks of consideration.

But his language is little deserving of commendation. It has been observed, that it is a mixture of all that is bad, as well as good, in the Latin language. A still worse fault is, that bis method is often perplexed and obscure. Yet his writings are replete with erudition and rational observation; circumstances which stamp a value upon them, which the direct opposites of the defects mentioned, unaccompanied by real information, could never have bestowed. Bacon had so high an opinion of Selden, that he desired by his will, his advice should be taken respecting the publication or suppression of his own MS. treatises.


I HAVE placed James in the rear of the worthies which honoured his reign, not precisely (as Hume states it) because that is his place when considered as an author; but because I happened not to get his article in time to come first.

The English works of James I. were published in 1616, folio, by James, bishop of Winton, and dean of his majesty's Chapel Royal. The several pieces contained in the volume are: 1. A Paraphrase upon the Revelation.

2. Two Meditations: the first upon the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th verses of the 20th chap. of the Revelation: the second upon the 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, and 29th verses of the 15th chap. of the first book of the Chronicles.

3. Dæmonology.

4. Basilicon Doron.-This is said to have been the work by which James gained the most reputation. It is addressed to his son Henry, and contains instructions to him, relative to the subject of government; in the theory of which, his majesty appears not to have been ignorant.

5. The true Law of free Monarchies; or the reciprocal and mutual Duty betwixt a free King, and his natural Subjects.

His majesty in his exordium to this work, very properly makes the following frank acknowledgment.

I have chosen (says he) only to set down in this short treatise, the true grounds of the mutual duty and allegiance betwixt a free and absolute monarch and his people: not to trouble your patience with answering the contrary propositions, which some have not been ashamed to set down in writ, to the poisoning of infinite number of simple souls, and their own perpetual and well-deserved infamy; for by answering them, I could not have eschewed whiles to pick and bite well saltly their persons; which would rather have bred contentiousness among the readers (as they had liked or misliked) than sound instruction of the truth; which I protest to

him that is the searcher of all hearts, is the only mark that I shoot at herein.

The plan of the work he states thus:

First then, I will set down the true grounds whereupon I am to build, out of the Scriptures, since monarchy is the true pattern of the divinity, as I have already said. Next, from the fundamental laws of our own kingdom, which nearest must concern us. Thirdly, from the law of nature, by divers similitudes drawn out of the same: and will conclude syne' by answering the most weighty and appearing incommodities that can be objected.

The following passage furnishes an amusing instance of James's despotical principles.

And now first for the father's part (whose natural love to his children I described in the first part of this my discourse, speaking of the duty that kings owe to their subjects,) consider, I pray you, what duty his children owe to him; and whether upon any pretext whatsoever, it will not be thought monstrous and unnatural to his sons to rise up

'since, afterwards.

« PreviousContinue »