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ing on the continental field having ceased to animate it,
had staunched one source of expenditure by keeping
pretty well at peace. The king's only definite object in
his continental policy was the family one of recovering
the Palatinate. This he sought without regard to any
great cause, or to the religious character of any power
which for the time being he thought likely to help him
to his end. The deep of the Simancas archives has given
up the fact that in order to obtain Spanish aid he was
ready to enter into a league with Spain for the dismem-
berment of the independent Netherlands. He wove over
the whole of Europe a tangled web of self-contradictory
and futile diplomacy, earning the contempt of all the
powers by affecting to dominate without force, and show-
ing how feeble is the voice of the ambassador when un-
seconded by the voice of the cannon. His own leaning
was to connection with the great catholic monarchies.
From the Dutch, the natural allies of England, he and
his bishops shrank as from Calvinists and republicans,
though in the Stadtholderate monarchy had a compeer.



In Germany up to this time everything had been
going down before the Imperial and catholic generals,
Wallenstein and Tilly. Last of all the king of Den-
mark had sunk before Tilly at Lutter. At length, like
a meteor from the north, Gustavus Adolphus descends
upon the scene and turns the day in favour of the pro- 1632
testant cause. All protestant hearts in England leap with
joy. Whether the hearts of the court did may be doubted.
But at all events Charles was quit of the business at the
price of sending a few volunteers and a little money ; and
his finances were thus spared.

Not the political but the ecclesiastical sphere was the
destined scene of the fatal crisis. The civil war which is
coming was truly named the Bishops' War ; the strongest
force and the prevailing character of the revolution were
religious ; the dictator who emerged from it was the mili-
tary chief of a religious party. Anglicanism and Puritan-
ism yoked by the political compromise could not draw
together. Anglicanism was and is hierarchical, sacerdotal,
sacramental, ritualistic. Puritanism was the reverse of all
these. Anglicanism was Arminian, holding the doctrine
of free will, which let in good works and the agency of
the church, that is, of the clergy. Puritanism was Cal-
vinistic, admitting no influence on the soul but that of
God. The great ordinances of Anglicanism were the sac-
raments. The great ordinance of Puritanism was preach-
ing. Anglican worship was liturgical ; that of Puritanism
was not. Anglicanism put the communion table at the
east end of the church, treating it as an altar, and re-
ceived the communion kneeling. Puritanism put the
table in the middle of the church to show that it was
not an altar, and received the communion sitting. On


this question as to the position of the table and the
posture of the communicant, the two parties came into
palpable collision. The Puritan freely used the table,
so sacred in Anglican eyes, for secular purposes. He
treated the church chiefly as a preaching house ; left it
often in a slatternly state, disgusting to the Anglican,
and disfigured it with pews, huge if he was a person of
quality, while he smashed the painted windows and the
images of saints which Anglicans loved more than they
cared to say. The Puritan kept no saints' days, abhorring
them as human inventions ; but he religiously kept or
tried to keep the Jewish Sabbath. The Anglican kept
saints' days, while he practised archery, played games,
and danced on the green on the Sunday afternoon. May-
poles and Christmas festivities, the delight of the Angli-
can, were the detestation of the Puritan. In manners,
and to some extent even in dress, the two sects were
opposed to each other; the Anglican or the Cavalier, as
he came presently to be called, being free and jovial, often
to excess; the Puritan, strict and severe. The Anglican
loved stage plays, which the Puritan reprobated, not with-
out plausible reasons, as is shown by the comic scenes of
Massinger and other playwrights, to which probably cor-
responded too often the conversation of the players.

Not that the leading Puritans were crop-eared and sour-
visaged fanatics, however much of that sort there might
be in the lower sections of the party. Colonel Hutchin-
son is painted by his wife, who, if she is partial in her
description of her husband at all events gives us the Puri-
tan ideal, as a perfect gentleman, highly accomplished,
skilled in manly exercises, polished in manners, and cour-
teous to all, as well as deeply religious, strictly pure, and


exemplary in performance of all the duties of life. There
was certainly not less of the "humanities," as classical
culture was called, on the side of the Puritan than on that
of his opponent. Nor did the Puritan gentleman di-^er
from the Cavalier in costume, except that his dress Y^as
more sober. That he was not crop-eared, but wore long
locks, is shown by the portraits of the time. The London
apprentices were cropped, and the nickname of Round-
heads was extended from them to the party. Milton com-
bines with Puritanism and the political republicanism to
which it tended, the utmost graces of the Renaissance and
of classical culture. He had a heart even for the high-
embowered roof with its antic pillars ; for the storied
windows, richly dight ; for the dim religious light which
they cast ; for the pealing organ and the full-voiced choir.
The author of "Comus" did not reprobate, though he
purified, the stage. That Milton should have taken the
Puritan side is strong proof that it was the side, not only
of protestantism and liberty, but of intellectual and moral
aspiration. Our best reason for sympathizing with the
Puritan and parliamentary cause in the coming battle is
that in that camp on the whole were the most powerful and
enlightened minds and the noblest characters of the day.
Puritan was in fact another name for protestant. It
meant practically the man whose rule of faith was in the
Bible, while the catholic's rule of faith was in the church.
But what was the Bible ? All the sacred books of the
Jews collected and bound up as one with the history and
words of Jesus, whom the Jews slew as a subverter of
their religion, and with the history and words of his dis-
ciples. In the New Testament the Puritans would find,
in the Sermon on the Mount, precepts of meekness, hu-
voL. 1 вАФ 32


mility, forgiveness of injuries ; of forgetfulness of self,
of benevolence without bounds. They would find a total
disregard of the things of this world. They would find
perfect equality in Christ, the universal Fatherhood of
God, the universal brotherhood of man. They would
find a God of love and mercy. In the Old Testament
they would find righteousness, purity, worship of one
God, hatred of idols. But they would find a God differ-
ent in aspect from the God of the New Testament, a
jealous God, a God of vengeance, a God who visited the
sins of the fathers upon the children unto the third and
fourth generation. They would find a chosen race with
its covenant of circumcision and its tribal law. They
would find the Canaanites, without regard for age or
sex, smitten with the sword and their land given by a
partial God to the chosen race. In the stories of Sisera
and Agag they would find not only mercy, but morality,
sacrificed to religious zeal. They would find witchcraft
punished with death. They would find disobedience to
parents punished with death. They would find slavery
recognized as lawful, though in a comparatively mild
form. Nor had they any philosophy of history to teach
them that these things were all primeval and had passed
away. They would find much to suggest that the saints
were to inherit the earth, and that sinners, above all here-
tics and blasphemers, were to be summarily despatched to
hell. The common minds among them, especially in a
time of civil strife, would find the precepts of the Old
Testament more easy of fulfilment, and its examples more
easy of imitation, than the precepts and the example of
Jesus. In most of them there would be a curiously mixed
character, the two Testaments mingling and contending


with each other, and the Old Testament generally pre-
vailing over the New.

The common Puritan of the middle class has painted
himself in the historical reminiscences of Nehemiah Wall-
ington. Nehemiah lives in an Old Testament atmosphere
of special providences and divine judgments. He sees
strange apparitions in the air and fancies that God turns
bullets. He is capable of believing that when a husband-
man ploughed on the Sabbath, the iron with which he
cleaned his plough stuck to his hand and could not be
got out for two years. He is an intense Sabbatarian and
a bitter enemy of organs and May-poles. He everywhere
scents popery and popish plots against the people of God.
If he gets the upper hand, compulsory piety, with hypoc-
risy in its train, sanguinary laws against heresy and blas-
phemy, execution of popish priests, burning of witches,
suppression of natural pleasures and of the harmless gaiety
of life, breeding inward vice, are too likely to be the order
of the day. Against Nehemiah Wallington there is not
a little to be said for Laud.

All England, however, was not Laudian or Puritan.
Between the two great religious parties, philosophically
above them both, were the Liberals, such as Hales, Chil-
lingworth, Falkland, and the intellectual group for which
Falkland kept open house at Great Tew, precursors of
the Cambridge Platonists and of the Broad Churchmen
of our own day. These men sought unity, riot in a com-
pulsory rule of any kind, but in freedom and charity.
Unfortunately the hour of freedom and charity was not
come, and the feeble band of their votaries was crushed
in the collision of the two great adverse masses of


Nor were the clergy of the church of England, or even
its bishops, all Laudian. Bishop Usher, whose learning
and character everybody deeply respected, was for a
limited episcopacy without pretence to divine right, mid-
way between the Anglican polity and that of the Presby-
terians. He had Laud's old antagonist, Williams, more
politician than ecclesiastic, able and acute as well as
aspiring, though wanting in character and ballast, on
his side. An Usherian episcopate with exclusion of the
bishops and clergy from secular office or power would
have satisfied a large portion of the respectable and serious
laity. But the avalanche of revolution once set rolling,
moderate counsels seldom arrest its course.

Calvinism, it is necessary to remember, had been the
doctrine of the English Reformation, and was at this time
the established creed of the political classes, the gentry
and the burghers. Arminianism and the Catholicism
which came in its train, though reactionary, presented
themselves as innovations, and were resisted by the con-
servatism of the nation, till Puritanism, by assailing
episcopacy and the Book of Common Prayer, aroused
conservative feeling on the other side.
1635 Armed with the power of his archbishopric, and having
the crown, the privy council, the star chamber, and the
ecclesiastical court of high commission at his back. Laud
at once set about the suppression of Puritanism. He car-
ried the table back to the east end, cleansed and renovated
the churches, forced the communicants to kneel, arrested
iconoclasm, revived the ritual, and restored the clerical
costumes, which he deemed the beauty of holiness. He
set a striking example of ritualism, and one which gave
special umbrage, by his ceremonies and genuflexions


ill the consecration of the church of St. Catherine Cree. 1631
The bishops, now mostly of his school, were set at work
to enforce conformity, which they did with zeal, to the
general irritation of the people, who, now used to Puritan
ways, regarded ceremonial and even reverence as return
to Rome. The Puritans had set up a preaching estab-
lishment of their own, supported by a fund in the hands
of a board of trustees, like the Simeon trustees of a later
time, that, while they formally attended the unsavoury
performance of the state liturgy, they might hear the
savoury preaching of the Word in their own way. These
preachers Laud put down. To flout the Puritan Sabbath,
the Book of Sports encouraged Sunday games. The con- 1633
gregations of protestant refugees from the continent,
which had hitherto been allowed their own worship, were
now broken up. This was the work of Archbishop Neile,
court-sycophant and heretic-burner of the last reign, a
sinister figure at Laud's side. Even to the chaplaincies of
English regiments in the Dutch service, Laud's martinet
rule was extended. Those, mostly peasants, who persisted
in their free worship, with a Puritan clergyman at their
head, were hunted down by the magistrates and pur-
suivants. Some of them fled first to Holland, then to
New England, where, children of a grand destiny, they
founded a religious community beyond the Atlantic.

Suspicions of a design to lead England back to Rome
widely prevailed. Nor were they devoid of foundation.
Certainly the suspicion of a tendency was not. What -
Laud himself wanted was probably to be a Lambeth
pope. He had waged controversial war against the Jes-
uits, and when one who professed to speak for the
pope offered him a cardinal's hat, he had put the offer


aside, not, it is true, in a very peremptory manner, saying
that " something dwelt within him which would not suffer
that till Rome were other than she was." Perhaps he
might not have been unwilling to treat, on an equality
with Rome if it had been possible for Rome to treat. His
suffragan and associate, Bishop Montague, declared at
last for union with the papacy, and if Panzani, the papal
envoy, spoke truth, expressed his belief that Laud, though
more cautious, was of the same mind. But whatever the
archbishop's aim might be, sacerdotalism, sacramentalism,
and ritualism could hardly fail to draw men to the place
to which those principles belonged. Conversions to Rome
were numerous, not only among weak women of fashion,
caught by ritual, incense, artificial flowers, and the fasci-
nation of Jesuit directors, but among men of the world
and ministers of state, including no less than four privy
councillors. Bishop Montague, it seems, would have gone
over if Rome could have entertained his stipulation for
the recognition of his orders, to which she of course said
then, as she says now, non possumus. Bishop Goodman
was believed to be an actual convert, though he retained
his see. Worship of Mary began to creep into Anglican
devotion, and there was an incipient revival of monasti-'
cism, though in an Anglican version. Panzani, visiting
England, found that he was a centre of attraction and that
the outlook for his cause was hopeful. The queen and
her little circle plied all their arts, and formed a magnet
for secession. This drama has been acted over again in
our own day. Again we have been told that Anglican
ritualism is the true antidote to Romanism ; and again
Anglican ritualism has sent a bevy of converts over to
Rome. Besides, if sacerdotalism, sacramentalism, and


ritualism were to prevail, would it signify whether they
were Anglican or Roman? That Lambeth was nearer
than Rome would not make its yoke less oppressive.
Nor would protestants of that day be made less sensitive
by seeing that the fortunes of their cause over Europe
were declining and a catholic reaction had set in. The
Reformation had run its course of demolition ; the work
of reconstruction was not so easy. Dissension prevailed ;
sects multiplied, controversy raged, fanaticism and anar-
chism disgraced the cause. The catholic church presented
unity, authority, and peace to the troubled in mind. To
monarchs and monarchical statesmen she presented her-
self as the ally of political order. To the cultured she
offered antiquity, majesty, and art.

There was as yet no legal censorship of the press, but
the government, as the self-constituted guardian of the
public mind, had assumed the censorship and now pro-
hibited Puritan publications. Illicit publications of ex-
treme violence were the natural result. For writings of
violence certainly extreme against Laud and his system.
Burton, a clergyman, Bastwick, a physician, and Prynne,
a lawyer, representing among them the three great pro-
fessions, were brought before the council. Prynne, a 1633
prodigy of dry legal erudition, a bitter Puritan, and a most
indomitable controversialist, twice incurred the censorial
wrath, once by a supposed aspersion on the character of
the queen, who had taken part in an unhallowed masque.
The punishments of these men, meted out by those whom
they were accused of libelling, were scourging, pillorying,
cutting off of ears, branding, and finally imprisonment in
remote and lonely dungeons. John Lilburne, charged 1638
with printing and circulating Prynne's and other unli-


censed writings, suffered the same punishments and was
barbarously treated in prison. If Leighton, another vic-

1630 |.|j^^ jg ^Q |3Q believed the bishops were for the severest
sentence, and when judgment had been pronounced Laud
took off his cap, lifted up his hands, and thanked God,
who had given him the victory over his enemies. Our
indignation at Anglican inhumanity must be tempered by
our recollection of Puritan inhumanity in the case of
Floyd; and that case was not unique.

Puritan resentrnent was bitter. Apart from Puritanism,
also, there was the general hatred of clerical meddling
and domination which had manifested itself at other
times. But there were no means of organizing a com-
bined resistance. Everywhere the government had its
officers and satellites. It could at once have raised or
imported force enough to put down a rising, while its
enemies were unarmed. Nor was there any newspaper
press or quick postal communication to give unity to dis-
affection. The bishops reported to Laud that conformity
was almost universal. There was but little work for the
High Commission. But in an evil hour for himself Laud
resolved to extend uniformity and impart his beauty of
holiness to Scotland. Here he came into collision with
a united and almost unanimously hostile nation, whose
patriotism, moreover, since the transfer of the political
centre to England, had assumed a specially religious
form. James had succeeded in discrowning the Presby-
terian theocracy, the political tendencies of which he with
good reason suspected, while he had suffered under its
long sermons, its extemporaneous prayers, and the un-

1018 courtly homilies of its ministers. He had restored epis-
copacy. In this he had been supported by the nobles,


who were tired of ministerial domination, and by a reac-
tion against Presbyterian narrowness and violence, of
which the focus was the University of Aberdeen. But
the old king knew the Scotch too well to attempt to force
upon them an English liturgy. This Laud attempted.
The result of his attempt was resistance fierce and gen-
eral. The liturgy was doubly hateful to the Scotch
people ; in itself as a return to popery, and because it was
imposed by England. A dress performance of it in St.
Giles's Kirk at Edinburgh gave rise to a riot, with strong 1637
Scotch language and flinging of stools. Scotland blazed
out into resistance, into rebellion. There followed a revo-
lutionary convention of the four estates ; nobles, clergy,
land-owning gentry, and burghers, under the title of the
Four Tables. Charles had already set the nobles against
him by forcing them, righteously enough, to disgorge
some of the plunder of the Kirk, as well as by putting
ecclesiastics over their heads into the offices of state. A
Solemn League and Covenant was framed and signed 1638
with enthusiasm by people of all classes. At Edinburgh
it was laid out on a tombstone in the Grey Friars church-
yard, while multitudes pressed round to sign with tears in
their eyes. Those who put their hands to it "professed,
and before God, his angels, and the world, solemnly de-
clared with their whole hearts that they agreed and
resolved all the days of their life constantly to adhere
unto and to defend the foresaid true religion; and for-
bearing the practice of all novations already introduced
in the matters of the worship of God, or approbation of
the corruptions of the public government of the Kirk, or
civil places and po\Vers of Kirkmen till they had been
tried and allowed in the assemblies and in parliaments,


to labour by all means lawful to recover the purity and
liberty of the Gospel as it was established and professed
before the foresaid novations." The Covenanters swore
that they would "to the uttermost of their power, with
their means and lives, stand to the defence of their dread
sovereign, the king's majesty, his personal authority, in
the defence of the foresaid true religion, liberties, and
laws of the kingdom." These highl}^ loyal rebels always
rebelled against the king in the king's name. Hamilton,
who managed for the king in Scotland, strove to stem
or to divert the movement; but in vain. Being mainly
religious, the movement presently found its organ in
the general Assembly of the church, which, however, in-
cluded a large lay element. By revolutionary acts of
1639 that Assembly episcopacy was swept away, and the Pres-
byterian polity was restored. Once more the preachers
took the lead, with the great preacher of the day at their
head. After Knox, Andrew Melville had judged the
Scottish Israel. Alexander Henderson now judged it in
his turn. Scotland rose up against Charles a revolution-
ary and theocratic republic. Its political leader was
Argyle, chief of the greatest of the Highland clans, but
a Lowland and Covenanting politician, the deepest and
most ambitious of that class.

The Scotch Covenant had at once a blue-bonneted army
of enthusiasm, including not a few soldiers trained in the
German wars, and some who had fought under Gustavus.
It had also an experienced general in old Alexander
Leslie, whom, though he was a soldier of fortune, the
nobles had the good sense to obey. Charles had no army,
he had no general, he had no money. London, when he
appealed to her for money, drew her purse strings tight.


Not only was she PuHtan, but she was smarting under the
sequestration of her lands in the north of Ireland for an
alleged breach of the charter. The agitated mind of the
king turned to Spain for aid. But though a king he was
not a catholic, and Spanish theologians probably drew an
impressive moral from his misfortunes. Rome, to which
the queen with desperate imprudence was allowed to
apply, answered that much might be done for the king
if he were a catholic. Charles could only call out the
raw militia of his kingdom by the exercise of his feudal
power. Pay or feed his troops he could not. Conse-
quently he could not maintain discipline among them.
Their hearts were not with him in the quarrel ; the hearts
of many of them were against him; and those who were
indifferent were estranged and exasperated by being
dragged from their homes. The result, after a march to 1639
the border, was a miserable collapse on the king's side,
followed by his half surrender and by an ambiguous
treaty, which at once broke down, the king clinging to
the hope of one day restoring episcopacy, with which
Presbyterian Scotland was determined for ever to do
away. Once more Scotland threw herself into an atti-
tude of rebellion. Charles, in his extremity, called to 1640
hira from Ireland his one thoroughly able man, Went-
worth, and gave him a pledge of confidence, before
refused, by creating him Earl of Strafford. By Strafford's
advice he convoked parliament and appealed to it for sup- i640
plies to put down the rebellion in Scotland. The Com-
mons, under the guidance of Pym, whose experience of
parliament enabled him to step into the leading place,
replied in effect that they would grant the king supplies
if he would recognize their supremacy alike in church and

508 THP: united kingdom chap.

state, and conform his policy to their will, thereby in
effect admitting that they were the sovereign power. A
Remonstrance in that sense was framed by Pym. Not

Online LibraryGoldwin SmithThe United kingdom; a political history → online text (page 36 of 84)