Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

post to demand justice, as upon a traitor; using a strange iniquity to require justice upon him, whom he then waylaid, and debarred from his appearance. The parliament no sooner understood what had passed, but they declare, that Sir John Hotham friends, that he had received the night before advertisement, from a person very near to, and very much trusted by his majesty, of the king's purpose of coming thither, and that there was a resolution of hanging him, or cutting his throat, as soon as he was in the town. Whether this, or any thing else wrought with him, I know not, but when the king came, he found the gates shut, and the bridges drawn. Sir John Hotham appeared himself upon the wall, and when the king commanded him to cause the port to be opened, he answered like a distracted man, that no man could understand; he fell upon his knees, and used all the execrations imaginable, that the earth would open and swallow him up, if he were not his majesty's most faithful subject; talked of his trust from the parliament, of whose fidelity towards his majesty he was likewise well assured ; and in conclusion, he made it evident, that he would not permit the king to enter into the town. So that after many messages and answers, for he went himself from the wall, out of an apprehension of some attempt upon his person, the king, after the Duke of York, and they who attended him, were permitted to return out of the town; and after he had caused Sir John Hotham to be proclaimed a traitor, for keeping the town by force against him, returned to York, with infinite perplexity of mind, and sent a complaint to the parliament, of Hotham's disobedience and rebellion. It was then believed, and Hotham himself made it to be believed, that Mr. Murray, of the bed-chamber, who was the messenger sent by the king in the morning, to give Sir John Hotham notice that his majesty intended to dine with him, had infused some apprehensions into the man, as if the king meant to use violence towards him, which produced that distemper and resolution in him : but it was never proved, and that person (who was very mysterious in all his actions) continued long after in his majesty's confidence.” (Clarendon's History, &c. ii. 382. sqq. and the suppressed passages in the notes, and appendia, 8c. p. 608.)

had done no more than was his duty, and was therefore no traitor.

121. This relation, being most true, proves that which is affirmed here to be most false; seeing the parliament, whom he accounts his “ greatest enemies,” had “ more confidence to abet and own,” what Sir John Hotham had done, than the king had confidence to let him answer in his own behalf. To speak of his patience, and in that solemn manner, he might better have forborne; “ God knows,” saith he, “it affected me more with sorrow for others, than with anger for myself; nor did the affront trouble me so much as their sin.” This is read, I doubt not, and believed : and as there is some use of every thing, so is there of this book, were it but to show us, what a miserable, credulous, deluded thing that creature is, which is called the vulgar; (5) who, notwithstanding what they might

(51) None, in fact, but the most vulgar minds could ever be deluded by such a mixture of cant, imbecility, and falsehood as the “ Eikon Basilikè.” If it was written by the king, it affords an admirable means of estimating his capacity; if it was written by the bishop, we may judge of the egregious folly of those who could mistake his miserable sophistry for reasoning or argument, or his exaggerated hypocrisy for devotion. It is some satisfaction that neither tyrants nor their advocates often excel in the art of writing; which, as Jean Jaques well remarks, no man becomes master of by instinct. Painted fires may deceive the eye, but will not warm; nor can the specious imitation of noble sen. timents kindle in the breast of the reader a spark of generous enthusiasm. For this reason the icy periods of the “ Eikon Basilike” are now dismissed with indifference or contempt; while they who read the “ Eikonoklastes,” however few, experience all that warmth of delight which true eloquence and lofty sympathies never fail to inspire.

know, will believe such vain glories as these. Did not that choleric and vengeful act of proclaiming him traitor before due process of law, having been convinced so late before of his illegality with the five members, declare his anger to be incensed ? Doth not his own relation confess as much ? And his second message left him fuming three days after, and in plain words testifies “ his impatience of delay” till Hotham be severely punished, for that which he there terms an insupportable affront.

122. Surely if his sorrow for Sir John Hotham's sin were greater than his anger for the affront, it was an exceeding great sorrow indeed, and wondrous charitable. But if it stirred him so vehemently to have Sir John Hotbam punished, and not at all, that we hear, to have him repent, it had a strange operation to be called a sorrow for his sin. He who would persuade us of his sorrow for the sins of other men, as they are sins, not as they are sinned against himself, must give us first some testimony of a sorrow for his own sins, and next for such sins of other men as cannot be supposed a direct injury to himself. But such compunction in the king no man hath yet observed; and till then his sorrow for Sir John Hotham's sin will be called no other than the resentment of his repulse; and his labour to have the sinner only punished will be called by a right name, his revenge.

123. And“ the band of that cloud, which cast all soon after into darkness and disorder," was his own hand. For assembling the inhabitants of Yorkshire and other counties, horse and foot, first under colour of a new guard to his person, soon after, being supplied with ammunition from Holland, bought with the crown jewels, he begins an open war by laying siege to Hull: which town was not his own, but the kingdom's; and the arms there, public arms, bought with the public money, or not his own. Yet had they been his own by as good a right as the private house and arms of any man are his own; to use either of them in a way not private, but suspicious to the commonwealth, no law permits. But the king had no property at all either in Hull or in the magazine : so that the following maxims, which he cites, “ of bold and disloyal undertakers," may belong more justly to whom he least meant them. After this, he again relapses into the praise of his patience at Hull, and by his overtalking of it seems to doubt either his own conscience or the hardness of other men's belief. To me the more he praises it in himself, the more he seems to suspect that in very deed it was not in him ; and that the lookers on so likewise thought.

124. Thus much of what he suffered by Hotham, and with what patience; now of what Hotham suffered, as he judges, for opposing him : “ he could not but observe how God, not long after, pleaded and avenged his cause.” Most men are too apt, and commonly the worst of men, so to interpret, and expound the judgments of God, and all other events of Providence or chance, as makes most to the justifying of their own cause, though never so evil; and attribute all to the particular favour of God towards them. Thus when Saul heard that David was in Keilah, “ God,” saith he, “ hath delivered him into my hands, for he is shut in.” But how far that king was deceived in his thought that God was favouring to his cause, that story unfolds; and how little reason this king had to impute the death of Hotham to God's avengement of his repulse at Hull, may easily be seen.

125. For while Hotham continued faithful to his trust, no man more safe, more successful, more in reputation than he: but from the time he first sought to make his peace with the king, and to betray into his hands that town, into which before he þad denied him entrance, nothing prospered with him. (52) Certainly had God purposed him such an end for his opposition to the king, he would not have deferred to punish him till then, when of an enemy he was changed to be the king's friend, nor bave made his repentance and amendment the occasion of his ruin. How much more likely is it, since he fell into the act of disloyalty to his charge, that the judgment of God concurred with the punishment of man, and justly cut him off for revolting to the king ! to give the world an example,

(52) From Clarendon's narrative it would appear, that offended pride was the first cause of the defection of the Hothams from the parliament: the son, indignant at having the Lord Fairfax placed over his head, fell into correspondence with the court party, which being detected, they were committed to the Tower. The historian, who, writing by command, thought it incumbent upon him to participate in all his master's antipathies, admits, however, that “ there was evidence enough against them.” They were accordingly executed on Tower-hill. (History, v, 118 – 121.)

« AnteriorContinuar »