Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

4 erthygl ar y dudalen hon



ARCHBISHOP LAUD. (Concluded from our last.) About the year 1634 there might have been seen shout London an austere Puritan, named William. Prynne, who appears to have been quite incapable of enjoying life himself, and conscientiously an- xious to prevent other peopla from doing so. This man, who was a barrister of Lincoln's Inn, with much learning and little sense, had conceived the idea that to indulge in stage-play, a hunt, a Christmas dinner, or a dance, was much more ini- quitous than to harbour-c, envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness." Nothing less would content him under the circumstances, than writing a book on the subject, entitled Histriomastix," in which, while severely reflecting on the Queen and Court, he endeavoured to demonstrate that all such pleasures and amusements were sinful to Christians. Frynne's book appears to have been as ridiculous as the author, and would have been treated by any prudent statesman with silent contempt. But with excessive prudence Laud was not giited; and he brought the unfortunate fanatic before the Stir Chamber. That court being the reverse of scrupu- lous, Prynne was, after a mock trial, to the disgrace of the Archbishop and his colleagues, sentenced to have his nose slit, his cheeks branded, and his ears cropped, and then to be cast into prison. While Prynne was being branded, and deprived of his ears, Laud was guilty of another outrage. In 1634 he dragged his old patron, Williams, Bishop of Lincoln, a man of popularity, before the Star Chamber for having published a tract entitled "The Holy Table," fined him an enormous sum, and then committed him as a prisoner to the Tower. Time passed on, and John Lilburnc, a person of ancient descent, and of enthusiastic spirit, was brought before the Star Chamber, for publishing a book entitled — "News from Ipswich." When asked to take an oath to answer the questions put to him by the Court, Lilburne declared No free- born Englishman," said he, ought to take the oath, not being bound by the Jaw of the country to accuse himself." For refusing to take the oath, Lilburne was sentenced to be whipped through the Streets, to stand in the pillory, and to be impri- soned in the Fleet. Such severities on the' part of an Archbishop naturally roused indignation, and the satirists of the day lashed Laud without mercy about the humility of his origin. Though his birth appears to have been perfectly respectable in its way, Laud felt these attacks acutely and one day, when walking with a protege in the palace gardens at Lambeth, showed him a pasquinade which had saddened his spirit. I am accused in this docu- ment," complained the Archbishop, with woe in his countenance, "of being of as mean parentage as if J bad been raked out of a dunghill." What a shame!" exclaimed the other. Yes," said Laud, his countenance brightening; "and, though I had not the good fortune to be born a gentleman, yet my parents were honest; they lived in good circumstances they employed the poor and they left a good name behind them." Besides," sug- gested the protege by way of consolation, "yonr Grace may remember what a certain Pope said when similarly attacked If the sun's beams found their way through the rugged roof and broken walls of my father's cottage, they at least illu- mined every corner of the humble dwelling in which I was born." z;1 But ere long Laud had to contend with assailants who used more substantial weapons of offence. One day a placard was posted at the London Ex- change, in which the apprentices of the metropolis were invited to attack the Archbishop's palace. Accordingly, at night, five hundred assembled, and approaching Lambeth with cries of No High Commission!"—"No Bishops! endeavoured to break the doors. But Laud had received intimation of the attack in time to fortify the mansion, and the crowd, after smashing some windows, were fain to disperse. Next morning the ringleaders were ar- rested, but the mob broke open the prison doors. and liberated them with shouts of triumph. One man, however, being recaptured, was executed, and his quarters exposed in various parts of the city, served to exasperate the multitudes still more highly against the Primate. Among the hundreds who hated Laud's name as death ranked a privileged person named Archy. who had figured as 11 King's Fool in the time of James, and held the same office under Charles. One day when the Archbishop was present, Archy asked leave to say 'grace;' permission being given, he said, Great praise be given to God, and little Laud to the Devil" No warning had any effect. The King did what the Archbishop pleased; while the Archbishop, wise in his own conceit, acted in utter defiance of public opinion and moderate men became so estranged from the Church, which by his measures be rendered so unpopular, that they questioned whether Laud's supremacy was not more intolerable than that of Rome. I shall be free and clear," said Sir Edward Deering, "if one of these must he, I bad rather serve one as far off as the Tiber' than to have him come so near to me as the Thames.' A Pope at Rome will do me less hurt thin a Patriarch at Lambeth." Ere the Parliamentary chiefs had begun to wran- gle over their mishaps at Newbury, or to treat with the King at Uxbridge, they deemed it politic to avail themselves of circumstances to revivethe po- pular feeling against Laud, and to devise measures C, z!l for sending the venerable Archbishop to the block. Laud, who was now in his seventy-second year, had been well nigh four years a prisoner in the Tower, and was in fair way -of being as com- pletely forgotten, as if he had found a last resting place in the chapei of St. Peter. A dispute about, church livings," however, brought him back to memory. It appears that Parliament claimed the right of nominating to vacant Benefices, and that the Peers called upon the captive Archbishop to collate the clergymen of their choice. Charles, however, con- trived to convey a command to Laud not to obey and Laud, complying with the King's orders, begged to be excused. The Peers, irritated by his refusal, appealed to the Commons, and resolving to pro- ceed with the charge against the imprisoned Pri- mate, the Commons appointed a committee to expedite the trial. Moreover, they entrusted the task of preparing evidence to Prynne, who willingly and readily und?rtook the duty, with the object of avenging the loss of his ears. Laud's fate was now sealed. After some neces- sary preliminaries, he was conveyed by the Lieu- tenant of the Tower to Westminster, brought into the House of Lords and ordered to kneel at the bar. The accusation was then read by the Com- mons and Laud having replied, the evidence was examined. After some time Parliament found that the charge of High Treason could not be estab- lished and resolved, as in Stafford's case, to give up the impeachment. The Commons, however, passed a bill of attain- der, and sent him up to the Lords, who, willing to save Laud if they could do so without danger to themselves, endeavoured to gain time, and ex- pressed doubts about points of laws. But the Commons, having made up their minds to have Laud's bead, were not to be thwarted; and early in January, 1645, few Peers being present, the bill of attainder passed the Upper House. The execution of Laud was fixed to take place on Friday, the 10th of January, 1645 and on the morning of that day, he was taken from his prison, and conducted to Tower Hill. On reaching the scaffold, the aged Archbishop delivered a long speech, justifying his own conduct, and declaring that the King was as sound a Protestant as any man in England. 11 1 forgive all the world," he said, in conclusion,—" all those bitter enemies who have persecuted me; and I humbly desire to be forgiven, first of God, and then of man -whether I have offended him or no, if he do but conceive that I have." Laud then prepared for the last melan- choly scene. The scaflold however was so crowded with enemies eager to see him die, that he had scarcely room to kneel down to offer up a prayer. The circumstance caused annoyance, and he could not help expressing some surprise. I did think," he remarked, looking around, that I might have Z, z, had room to die," We must make room," said the spectators, moving aside. "Well," said Laud, I'll pull off my doublet, and God's will be done. No man can b& more anxious to send me out of the 'world than I am to be gone." What text of Scripture is most comforting to a man at his depar- ture ?" asked Sir John Clot worthy, a Puritanical bigot, who had come to witness the Primate's last struggle. "Cupio dissohl et esse cum, dhristo," re- plied Laud, solemnly. "That is a good desire," said Clotworthy "but there must be a foundation for that desire—an assurance." No man can ex- press it," said Laud, "it is found within." "It is founded on a word, though," argued Clotworthy, and that word should be known." It is the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and that alone," said Laud, turning away, not without contempt, from his tormentor. "But," urged Clotwortby —— Here, honest friend," said Laud, giving the exe- cutioner some money, God forgive thee; and do thine office upon me in mercy." Having kneeled down & addressed a short prayer to God for the welfare of the Kingdom, aud his own eternal salvation through the merits of his ) Redeemer, Laud laid his bead on the block, and I said aloud—" Lord, receive my soul." He then gave a signal that had been agreed on, and the executioner, at one blow, severed the head from the body. When all was over, the corpse of the pious Primate was delivered to some of his friends, conveyed by them reverentially to Barking, and interred in the Church of All-hallows with much veneration. After the restoration, the remains of Laud were removed to Oxford, and deposited with ceremony near the Altar of Saint John's College Chapel. By JOHN G. EDGAR.


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