Page images

And yet notwithstanding, upon times, he gave himself great airs of religion (ll), and


these his words) he spared Somerset and his lady, the principal actors in Overbury's tragedy; and that he not only intended, but did grant a toleration to papists, as will be shewn hereafter. How far his imprecations have affected his posterity, is not, I think, for man to fay. But, without breach of charity, we may assert, that James was very rash and inconsiderate, and guilty of a great fault in calling d >wn the judgments of heaven, thus,on himself and his family. 'Tis good advice which the wife man gives, and which was worthy of the regard of this British Solomon, in the following words, " Be not rash with my mouth, and let not thy "heart be hasty to utter any thing before God; fop *' God is in heaven, anil thou upon earth; therefore f*} EceleC ** *et thy words be few (c)." A fense of the omnipre«. a. fence, power, wisdom, and majesty of the superintending mind, would have restrained James from these rash and horrible wishes ; but he seems to have had little notion of any of :hefe things, but rather to have been one of those who deal in holy things without any feeling These, in lord Bacons opinion, are" the great "atheists, who must, fays he, be needs cauterized in M Bacon's " tne OO*" Deplorable state! dismal condition! **>y on happy those, who, by an uniform course of virtuous acAtheisin. tions, can look on the almighty being as their friend!

who are careful at all times to do what they themselves think right, and agreeable to him: the religion of luch is real, and their happiness certain.

(n) He gave himself airs of religion, &c.] Here follows a passage from Sullv, tending to verify the text. *^ James asked me, fays he, whether I went to the ** protestant church in London? upon my replying that ** I did, then, faid he, you are not resolved, as 1 have ** been informed, to quit our religion, after the ex*' ample of Sancy, who thought thereby to make his

'* fortune. talked after such a manner, as to lead those


** fortune, but, by God's permission, did just the coft*' trary. I treated this report as a calumny, and faid, "that my living in France in friendsliip with so many ** ecclesiasticks, and being so frequently visited by the "pope's nuncio, might, perhaps, have given rife to it. , "Do you give the pope the title of holiness? faid "James. I replied, that, to conform to the custom ** established in France, I did. He was then for prov"ing to roe, that this custom was an offence against "God, to whom alone this title could justly belong. I "replied, that I supposed a greater crime was not here"by committed, than by so frequently giving to prin"ces such titles as they were well known not to de"serve (a)." Let us add the following memorandum r„) SuflyY of the illustrious archbishop TJJher to Sullv, and we shall memoirs, need nothing more to convince us of the solemn airs of v°i-a't' religion James, at some times, could put on. "I was "appointed by the lower house of parliament, to preach *' at St. Margaret's, Westminster, Feb. 7, 1620. Feb. ** 13, being Shrove Tuesday, I dined at court, and be*' twixt four and sive kissed the king's hand, and had ** conference with him touching my sermon. He faid, "/ bad charge of an unrulysock to look unto the next Sun? u day. He asked me how I thought it could stand with *' true divinity, that so many hundred should be tied (up"on so short warning) to receive the communion upon ".a day, all could not be in charitv, after so late con*c tensions in the house: many must needs come with"out preparation, and eat their own condemnation 1 that himself required all his whole houshold to receive the communion, but not all the fame day, unless at Easter, when the whole Lent was a time of prepa"ration. He bad me to tell them, I hoped they were al) prepared, but wished they might be better; to exhort them to unity and concord; to love God sirst, and then their prince and country; to look to the urgent necessities of the times, and the miserable


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

who were unacquainted with him, to be-^ v lieve that he had a more than ordinary degree

(i) Ulher's "state of Christendom, with bis dat qui cito dat (b)." life and let- ..This kind of talk would have suited well enough p jj"' the mouth of some honest, well-meaning ecclesiastic, Lond! i6i6. and edisied, no doubt, very much those who heard it. Folio, But it sounds strange from James, who was addicted to so many vices, and whose oaths and imprecations were so common. Shall we suppose him wholly hypocritical in these speeches, and entirely unconcerned about the things he talked of; though from other parts of his behaviour, one might be led to make this conclusion yet, perhaps, we should be mistaken in so doing. For$ however it be, men's characters are too often inconsistent, and they strangely blend what they call jeligionj with the practice of the most odious and detestable vices. By a concern for the one, they excuse to themselves the other, and so come at length to imagine, that they are acceptable to the deity, though they break the molt facred of his laws. Thus we read of John Bafilides, great duke of Muscovy, the most wicked bf men, the most detestable of tyrants, that he would pray and. , fast in a most extraordinary manner, and be as devout as U) See Ca. posiihle himself, and make others so too [c). And, in the thofiasm ^ame niar>ner, numbers of cruel persecutors, and ambiB 2-9, 8vo.tious, selsish, avaritious wretches, are exceedingly zealtsnd. 1656. ous and exact in their devotions, and come not behind, in these things, the most sincere and virtuous persons. So that 'tis not improbable James might be in earnest when he talked in these strains, and please himself to thinkj that he was both so wife and so religious a king. Amazing delusion! terrible deceit! To the all piercing eye of fieaven all is naked and open, no disguises can conceal from, no artisices impose on it; and therefore men should look well to it, that they are what they would seem to be. A prince openly vicious and profane, only hurts the interest of religion, by appearing, on occasion, its votary. Standers-by wiil look with ri*

dicule gree of sanctity. Hunting (mm) was a favourite

dicule and abhorrence on his interesting himself in its affairs, and will not be prevailed on to believe that he is

in earnest about it. —Hence possibly it has come to

pass, that courts have been so little famed for the practice of religion. For the manners of the generality of princes being not over good, those about them think they shall pay their court to them more by conforming to their example, than by obeying their edict. When they speak therefore of religion, they are not listened unto; when they command, by those about them, they are not obeyed: for they are considered as only acting a part, and therefore having no real concern about what they seem to engage in. »

(mm) Hunting was a favourite diversion with him, &c.] Let us hear Sullv. "From this subject [the in"sincerity of the Spaniards] the king of England passed "to th'at of the chace, for which he shewed me an ex"traordinary passion. He faid he knew very well that "I was no great lover of the chace j that he had at"tributed the late success of his sport to me, not as "marquis of Rosny, but as ambassador from a king, *' who was not only the greatest prince, but the greatest "hunter in the world; to which, with the greatest "politeness, he added, that Henry was in the right "not to carry me to the chace, because I was of "greater service to him elsewhere; and that if I pur*' sued the chace, the king of France could not. ** I replied, that Henry loved all the exercises; but "that none of them ever made him neglect the care "of his affairs, nor prevented him from a close in"spection into the proceedings of his ministers (a)." (") s1115', Had James imitated his brother of France in attending his affairs, and inspecting the proceeding of his ministers, he might have enjoyed the pleisure of hunting withoutcenlure. For'tis but reasonable that princes should 'have a relaxation from business as well as <^ther men.


favourite diversion with him, which he practised

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

But fays Mr. Chamberlaineto Mr. iVinwood, in a letter dated Jan. 26, 1604, " the king finds that selicity *' in that hunting lise, that he hath written to the coun"cil, that it is the only means to maintain his health, *' which being the health and welfare of us all, he de"Jires them to take the charge and burden of affairs, "and foresee that he be not interrupted nor troubled with "too much business (b)." A man who preserred hunting to the affairs of state, was unworthy of the crown he wore, and undeserving the regard of his people. For such a one neglected the end of his appointment,

and therefore merited the contempt he met with. •

fames never loved business. "In Scotland, fays Melvil, "the earl of Arran desired him to recreate himself at "hunting, and he would attend the council, and re"port again at his majesty's return, all our opinions "and conclusions (c)." He hearkened to his advice, or rather followed his own inclinations, and thereby numberless mischiefs ensued. He was never the wiser for this we see; for his aversion to business was the fame, and so was his passion for hunting: so that he had lived to no purpose, and was incapable of being taught by experience.

O/born tells us, he faw " him dressed in colours green "as the grafs he trod on, with a seather in his cap, and "a horn instead of a sword by his side (d)." A pretty picture this of a prince, and tending to excite much reverence in the beholders. But when men's minds are bent on diversions, they care for nothing, more than their own pleasure r.nd amusement, and are thoughtless

of what standers-by think or fay of them. I will

give the reader some sine observations on this subject of hunting, from a writer whose great genius and elevated rank entitle him to be heard with deserence and respect, and with them conclude the note. "Hunting is one *' of those sensual pleasures which exercise the body, "without affecting the mind; it is an ardent desire of j "pursuing

« PreviousContinue »