Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][merged small][graphic][merged small]

interest with the great men at the English court (u), to secure to him -the right of

succeed

"fane that would not swear to all their fantasies." (h) The reader will be pleased to compare this with what James fays, note (m) of his having written a long apologetick preface to the second edition of this book, only in odium puritanarum, and then judge what stress is to be laid on his word. ..

(u) James was not so much taken up with these matters, as to neglect making interest with the great men at the English court.] "He was caresul, fa,s "Burnett to secure to himself the body of the English "nation. Cecil, afterwards earl of Salisbury, secrita"ry to queen Elizabeth, entered into a particular con"fidence with him; and this was managed by his am"bassador Bruce, who carried the matter with such "address and secrecy, that all the great men of Eng"land, without knowing of one another's doing it, "and without the queen's suspecting any thing con"cerning it, signed in writing an engagement to assert "and stand by the king of Scots right of succession." (a) A pleafant story or two from Sir Henry Wotton.t whose testimony in this affair is indisputable, will convince us of the probability of what Burnet has here asserted, and consirm the truth of the text.

"There were in court [queen Elizabeth's] two ie names of power, and almost of faction, the EJfixian "and the Cecilian, with their adherents, both welll "enough enjoying the present, and yet both looking to "the suture, and therefore both holding corresponden"cy with some of the principal in Scotland, and had "received advertisements and instructions, either from "them, or immediately from the king. But lest th :y "might detect one another, this was mysteriously car•. "ried by several instruments and conducts, and on th<: "EJsexian side, in truth with insinite hazard; for Si '' Robert Cecil, who (as secretary of sia:e) did dispofi: 8' '*• th;

succeeding Elizabeth, in which he was successful, as the event shewed j though how

wife, *' the public addresses, had prompter and faser convey*' ance; whereupon I cannot but relate a memorable "passage on either party, as the story following shall "declare. The earl of EJsex had accommodated mas"ter Anthony Bacon in a partition of his house, and had "assigned him a noble entertainment. This was a "gentleman'of impotent seet, but a nimble head, and *' through his hand ran all the intelligences with Scot"land, who being of a provident nature (contrary t<v' "his brother the lord viscount St. Allans) and well "knowing the advantage of a dangerous secret, would "many times cunningly let fall some words, as if he "could much amend his fortunes under the Ctcilians, "(to whom he was near of alliance, and in blood also) "and who had made (as he was not unwilling should "be believed) some great proffers to win him away; *' which once or twice he pressed so far, and with such "tokens and signs of apparent discontent to my lord "Henry Howard, afterwards earl of Northampton, "(who was of the party, and stood himself in much "umbrage with the queen) that he flies presently to my "lord of Effex (with whom he was commonly primæ "admissionis, by his bed-side in the morning) and tells "him, that unless that gentleman were presently fa"tisfied with some round sum, all would be vented. "This took the earl at that time ill provided (as indeed *' oftentimes his coffers were low) whereupon he was "fain suddenly to give him Effex house, which the "good old lady Walsingham did afterwards disengage "out of her own store with 2500 pounds: and be"fore he had distilled 1500 pounds at another time "by the fame skill. So as we may rate this one "secret, as it was sinely carried, at 4000 pounds in "present money, besides at the least a 1000 pounds of "annual pension to a private and bed-rid gentleman: "what would he have gotten if he could have gone "about his own business ? There was another accident

*' ot

wise, or rather honest, those were who aid^ mitted him without any limitations, or restrictions, is not over difficult to guess (w).

Elizabeth

*' of the fame nature on the Cecilian fide, much more ** pleafant but less chargeable, for it cost nothing but "wit. The queen having for a good while not heard "any thing from Scotland, and being thirsty of news* "it fell out that her majesty going to take the air to*' wards the heath (the court being then at Greenwich) *' and master secretary Cecil then attending her, a post "came crossing by, and blew his horn; the queen out "of curiosity asked him from whence the dispatch *' came; and being answered from Scotland, she stops "the coach, and calleth for the packet. The sccreta"ry, though he knew there were in it some letters "from his correspondents, which to discover were as "so many serpents ; yet made more shew of diligence, "than of doubt to obey; and asks some that stood by *' (forsooth in great haste) for a knife to cut up the "packet (for otherwise perhaps he might have awaked "a little apprehension) but in the mean time approach"ing with the packet in his hand, at a pretty distance "from the queen, he telleth her, it looked and fmel"led ill favouredly, coming out of a silthy budget, "and that it should be sit sirst to open and air it, be"cause he knew she was averse from ill scents. And "so being dismissed home, he got leisure by this fe\"fonable shift, to sever what he would not have seen."

(i) Reliquiæ (£) Wottonia

jvo. Lond.' (w) How wise, or rather ho v honest, those were 1671. See who admitted him without any limitations or restricintroduction t'ons'ls not over difficult to guess.] No time can be so to his histo- proper for a people to claim their just rights and priviricalview, ledges, and curb the regal power within proper bounds, P' as the accession of a stranger king, who, it may natu

rally be supposed, at such a time will do any thing reasonable, rather than disgust those whom he is abo it to

luie Elizabeth, after having reigned with the highest glory more than forty - four years, at length submitted to the stroke of death, March 24, 1603, in the seventieth

year

rule over, or impede his own advancement; for the desire of rule is so very natural, that few will stand upon trifles in order to enjoy it; nor will any refuse to grant the just conditions of it. A people therefore, when about to place a foreign prince on. the throne, ought well to consider what grievances they have laboured under, what exorbitances have been committed, and what restrictions of the regal power, prone always to extend itself* • are necessary, in order to secure the happiness of the society. By these considerations proper laws might be formed, which will be as a rule to a prince how to behave, and restrain him within the bounds of equity. Nor will the most ambitious prince, who has a regard to his-own fafety, dare break through what he has con* sented to, as the terms of his admission. And therefore the lords and commons, February 13,* 1688, with, great wisdom presented to the then prince and princess of Orange, a declaration of the rights and liberties of the subject, previous to the setting the crown oa K their heads; the several articles of which they " claim*' ed, demanded and insisted upon as their undoubted "rights and priviledges; and it was declared and en** acted, that all and singular the fights and priviledges *' asserted and claimed in the faid declaration, are the ** true, antient1 and undubitable rights and liberties of ** the people of this kingdom, and so shall be esteemed, "allowed, adjudged, deemed and taken to be; and "* that all and every the particulars therein contained, "shall be sirmly and strictly holden and observed; and ** all officers and ministers whatsoever, shall serve their (c)vid,rtat. *' majesties and their successors, according to the fame fess. fecund. * ' in all times to come." (c) And the event shewed how wisely this was enacted ,, for it produced a reign Mari*, cap.

E • ' . , most*•«*'

year of her age, and thereby made way for James, to the incredible joy of his Scottish subjects, and to the no less pleasure of his English ones, who in such crouds hastened ,• to see him, that he issued out a proclamation against their thronging about him.

In

most happy to the subject, and laid a foundation for all the blessings we now enjoy. But when the death of the (J) July 3o, duke of Gloucester (d) rendered it necessary to provide 17°°' for tne succession to the crown, in order to prevent all imaginable inconveniencies, it was thought proper still 'farther to pass an act for the better securing the rights and liberties of the subject; and accordingly many excellent conditions were laid down on which the stranger (<) Statutes prince was to succeed (e). I call them excellent conanno duode- ditions, though Burnet tells us, "King William was cimo tertio "not plea^ w'tn them, supposing they implied a reCulielmi "flection on him and his administration." (/)• 'Tis III. regis, not improbable the knowledge of the persons who pro(V^Burnet p0^ tnese conditions, and the opposition he had many Voi. v. p, 'times undeservedly met with from them, might make 5*3. that truly good prince have no favourable opinion of this* act enacted by them. But, whatever were the motives of the framers of this act, I think all impartial persons must allow that it was a good one in itself, productive cf much happiness to these kingdoms. Every particular I approve not, but, in general, highly applaud it.

These were instances of wisdom, prudence and discretion, and as such they will be admired and praised through all generations. But Jameshad no limitations Or restrictions laid on him ; he without any ceremony was proclaimed king, and by that title thought he had a right to do as he pleased. Whatever had been done by the prerogative royal in aforetimes, whatever the most enterprizing princes had attempted On the liberties of the subject, he had liberty to do likewise; and accordingly exerted himself in a very extraordinary

', manner,

« PreviousContinue »