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Protestants of Rochelle (58) our suppliants ? What peace was that which fell to rob the French by sea, to the embarring of all our merchants in that kingdom ? which brought forth that unblest expedition to the Isle of Rhé, (59) doubtful whether more ca
first printed, from a manuscript letter of the times; a political pasquinade which shows the utter silliness of this, · Ridiculus Mus.
VERSES ON THE EXPEDITION TO CADIZ.
There was a crow sat on a stone,
(Curiosities of Literature, iii. 445.) (58) The Duke of Buckingham is said to have been making preparations for succouring Rochelle, when he was assassinated by Felton. (Clarendon, i. 49.) All thoughts, however, of affording aid to the Protestants were abandoned after his death; (i. 80;) and in 1641, the parliament, in their “ Remonstrance,” reproached the king with “ the loss of Rochelle, by first suppressing their fleet with his own royal ships, by which the Protestant religion in France infinitely suffered.” (ii. 50.) This is afterwards alluded to by the historian as one of the causes that led the Huguenots to side with the parliament against the court. (iii. 363.) If we may give credit to Gerbier, a foreign tool of the duke's, there was at one time a real intention, at least on Buckingham's part, to relieve the Rochellois. See his relation in D'Israeli, (Curiosities of Literature, iii. 447, sqq.) who adds an epitaph on the duke, which contains as much truth as bitterness :
" If idle trav'lers ask, who lieth here,
Mix England's shame--and there's his epitaph !"
lamitous in the success, or in the design, betraying all the flower of our military youth and best commanders to a shameful surprisal and execution. This was the peace we had, and the peace we gave, whether to friends or to foes abroad. And if at home any peace were intended us, what meant those Irish billetted soldiers in all parts of the kingdom, and the design of German horse to subdue us in our peaceful houses ?
138. For our religion, where was there a more ignorant, profane, and vicious clergy, learned in nothing but the antiquity of their pride, their covetousness, and superstition ?(6) whose unsincere and leavenous doctrine, corrupting the people, first taught them looseness, then bondage;
(60) Clarendon, though he makes a general eulogium on the order, admits that the clergy about Whitehall, were occasionally guilty of much " indiscretion and folly;" but is angry that one bad sermon should be more taken notice of than a hundred others, remarkable for their wisdom and sobriety. (i. 136.) Upon this Warburton justly remarks, that there was good reason for the distinction, “ because that one sermon was supported, cried up, and adopted by the court, while the hundred were neglected and discountenanced.” (vii. 518.) The historian himself, indeed, observes, “it cannot be denied but there was sometimes preached there matter very unfit for the place, and very scandalous for the persons, who presumed often to determine things out of the verge of their own profession, and, in ordine ad spiritualia, gave unto Cæsar what Cæsar refused to receive, as not belonging to him.” (vol. i. 136.) What was this that he refused ? I could never learn that he ever refused any thing tending to augment his power. In the historian's praise of the court sermons for orthodox divinity Warburton does not concur: “We can see nothing of this character in the sermons then and there preached and published, which are not a few ; on the contrary, they are full of pedantry and quibble." Which is exactly what Milton thought of them. loosening them from all sound knowledge and strictness of life, the more to fit them for the bondage of tyranny and superstition. So that what was left us for other nations not to pity, rather than admire or envy, all those seventeen years, no wise man could see. For wealth and plenty in a land where justice reigns not is no argument of a flourishing state, but of a nearness rather to ruin or commotion.
139. These were not “some miscarriages” only of government, “which might escape," but a universal distemper, and reducement of law to arbitrary power; not through the evil counsels of “some men,” but through the constant course and practice of all that were in highest favour: whose worst actions frequently avowing he took upon himself; and what faults did not yet seem in public to be originally his, such care he took by professing and proclaiming openly, as made them all at length his own adopted sins. The persons also, when he could no longer protect, he esteemed and favoured to the end; but never, otherwise, than by constraint, yielded any of them to due punishment; thereby manifesting that what they did was by his own authority and approbation.
140. Yet here he asks, “whose innocent blood he hath shed, what widows' or orphans' tears can witness against him ?" After the suspected poisoning (61) of his father, not inquired into but smo
(61) This charge has not, I think, been thoroughly sifted by any modern historian. The author of the “ Vindiciæ Carolinæ,” a weak writer, who from his style might be taken for a
thered up, and him protected and advanced to the very half of his kingdom, who was accused in parliament to be author of the fact; (with much more evidence than Duke Dudley, that false protector, is accused upon record to have poisoned Edward the Sixth;) after all his rage and persecution, after so many years of cruel war on his people in three kingdoms! Whence the author of “ Truths Manifest,” a Scotsman, not unacquainted with affairs, positively affirms, “ that there hath been more Christian blood shed by the commission, approbation, and connivance of King Charles, and his father, James, in the latter end of their reign, than in the ten Roman persecutions.” Not to speak of those many whippings, pillories, and
court chaplain, tells the story more at length than Milton ; but is chiefly anxious to advance his high-church ideas of the power of princes. “Monarchy," he says, “ is more ancient and independent, than parliaments;" though writing after the revolution of 1688, he is willing to admit that “ their advice and assistance makes it more compacted.” Charles I. called one of these advising and assisting parliaments, he observes, in the first year of his reign, 66 which sate not long.” In the second year of his reign he assembles another parliament, which, instead of voting supplies, the things probably intended by assistance, “fall into debates and reflections against the Duke of Buckingham; and at a conference of both houses, the commons deliver in an impeachment of thirteen articles against him; the last of which was, that the king being sick of an ague at Theobald's, the duke had given him a plaister, and a posset drink, without the advice and consultation of his physicians. Three days after, the king (by message to them) takes upon himself, as having full knowledge of all those transactions, to clear the duke of every one of those articles. However, the duke makes his defence to the lords, and puts in his answer and plea to the impeachment made against him by the commons; and to the thirteenth article says, that having been re
other corporal inflictions, wherewith his reign also, before this war, was not unbloody: some have died in prison under cruel restraint, others in banishment, whose lives were shortened through the rigour of that persecution, wherewith so many years he infested the true church.
141. And those six members all men judged to have escaped no less than capital danger, whom be so greedily pursuing into the House of Commons, had not there the forbearance to conceal how much it troubled him, “ that the birds were flown." If some vulture in the mountains could have opened his beak intelligibly and spoke, what fitter words could he have uttered at the loss of his prey ? The tyrant Nero, though not yet deserving that name, set his hand so unwillingly to the execution of a condemned person, as to
covered himself of an ague, by a plaister and posset given him by a physician of the Earl of Warwick's, the king impatiently pressed to have it, but was delayed by the duke, who prayed the king not to make use of it, but by the advice of his own physicians, nor till it was tried upon one Palmer, (of the bedchamber,) then also sick of an ague, which the king said he would do. However, the duke being gone to London, the king would have it, and so took it; and upon his return, hearing a rumour that the physic had done the king hurt, and that it had been administered to him without advice, the duke acquaints the king with it, who with much discontent answered thus, They are worse than devils that say it.' And so having put in his answer, the duke moves the lords, that the commons might expedite their reply ; instead of doing which, they petition the king against papists, and suspected papists, holding places of authority and trust in the kingdom, and draw a remonstrance against the duke, and tonnage and poundage, on which that parliament was dissolved by commission.” (p. 15, 16.)