Front Page Titles (by Subject) APPENDIX. - The Miscellaneous Works
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
APPENDIX. - Sir James Mackintosh, The Miscellaneous Works 
The Miscellaneous Works. Three Volumes, complete in One. (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1871).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Some particulars in the life of Sir Thomas More I am obliged to leave to more fortunate inquirers. They are, indeed, very minute; but they may appear to others worthy of being ascertained, as they appeared to me, from their connection with the life of a wise and good man.
The records of the Privy Council are preserved only since 1540, so that we do not exactly know the date of his admission into that body. The time when he was knighted (then a matter of some moment) is not known. As the whole of his life passed during the great chasm in writs for election, and returns of members of parliament, from 1477 to 1542, the places for which he sat, and the year of his early opposition to a subsidy, are unascertained;—notwithstanding the obliging exertion of the gentlemen employed in the repositories at the Tower, and in the Rolls’ chapel. We know that he was speaker of the House of Commons in 1523 and 1524.* Browne Willis owns his inability to fix the place which he represented;† but he conjectured it to have been “either Middlesex, where he resided, or Lancaster, of which duchy he was chancellor.” But that laborious and useful writer would not have mentioned the latter branch of his alternative, nor probably the former, if he had known that More was not Chancellor of the Duchy till two years after his speakership.
An anecdote in More’s chancellorship is connected with an English phrase, of which the origin is not quite satisfactorily explained. An attorney in his court, named Tubb, gave an account in court of a cause in which he was concerned, which the Chancellor (who with all his gentleness loved a joke) thought so rambling and incoherent, that he said at the end of Tubb’s speech, “This is a tale of a tub;” plainly showing that the phrase was then familiarly known. The learned Mr. Douce has informed a friend of mine, that in Sebastian Munster’s Cosmography, there is a cut of a ship, to which a whale was coming too close for her safety, and of the sailors throwing a tub to the whale, evidently to play with. The practice of throwing a tub or barrel to a large fish, to divert the animal from gambols dangerous to a vessel, is also mentioned in an old prose translation of The Ship of Fools. These passages satisfactorily explain the common phrase of throwing a tub to a whale; but they do not account for leaving out the whale, and introducing the new word “tale.” The transition from the first phrase to the second is a considerable stride. It is not, at least, directly explained by Mr. Douce’s citations; and no explanation of it has hitherto occurred which can be supported by proof. It may be thought probable that, in process of time, some nautical wag compared a rambling story, which he suspected of being lengthened and confused, in order to turn his thoughts from a direction not convenient to the story-teller, with the tub which he and his shipmates were wont to throw out to divert the whats from striking the bark, and perhaps said, “This tale is, like our tub to the whale.” The comparison might have become popular; and it might gradually have been shortened into “a tale of a tub.”
extracts from the records of the city of london relating to the appointment of sir thomas more to be under-sheriff of london, and some appointments of his immediate predecessors and of his successor.
(ad 1496. 27th September.)
“Commune consilium tentum die Martj Vicesimo Septimo die Septembr̃ Anno Regni Regis Henr̃ Septimi duo decimo.
“In isto Comūn Consilio Thomas Sall et Thomas Marowe confirmati sunt in Subvic̃ Civitati: London p. anno sequent, &c.”
“Comūne Consiliū tent die Lune xxvto die Sept̃ anno Regni Reĝs Henr̃ vii. xiijo.
“Isto die Thomas Marowe et Eds Dudley confirmat̃ sunt in Sub Vic̃ Sits London p. anno seqū.”
(1498 & 1501.)
Similar entries of the confirmation of Thomas Marowe and Edward Dudley are made in the 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th Henry VII., and at a court of aldermen, held on the
17th Nov. 18 Henry 7. the following entry appears:—
“Ad hanc Cur̃ Thomas Marowe uñs sub vice comitū sponte resignat offim̃ suū.”
And at a Common Council held on the same day, is entered—
“In isto Communi Consilio Radūs adye Gentilman elect̃ est in unū Subvic̃ Civitats London loco Thomẽ Marwe Gentilman qui illud officiū sponte resignavit, capiend̃ feod̃ consuet̃.”
“Cōē Consiliū tent die Martis iijo die Septembris anno Regni Regs Henrici Octavi Secundo.
“Eodm̃ die Thom̃s More Gent elect̃ est in unū Subvic̃ Civitats London loc̃ Ric̃ Broke Gent qui nup elect̃ fuit in Recordator London.”
“Yt ys agreed that Thomas More Gent oon of Undersheryfes of London which shall go oỹ the Kings Ambasset̃ in to fflaunders shall occupie his Rowme and office by his sufficient Depute untyll his cūmyng home ageyn”
“Ye shall sweare that ye shall kepe the Secrets of this Courte and not to disclose eny thing ther spoken for the cõen welthe of this citie that myght hurt eny psone or brother of the seyd courte onles yt be spoken to his brothr or to other which in his conscience and discrec̃on shall thynk yt to be for the cõen welthe of this citie
So help you God.”
“Itm̃ ad ista Cur̃ Thomas More and Wills̃ Shelley Subvicecs Cits London jur̃ sunt ad articlm supdcm̃ spect xj die marcii.”
“Ad istam Cur̃ Thomas More Gent un Subvic̃ Cits in Comput̃ Pulletr London libẽ et sponte Surr̃ et resigñ officm̃ pdc̃m in manũ Maioris et Aldrõr.”
“Coie Consiliu tent̃ die Veñis xxiij die Julii anno regni regis Henrici Octavi decimo.”
“Isto die Johes Pakyngton Gent admissus est in unũ subvic̃ Civitats London loco Thome More qui spont et libẽ resignavit Officiu illud in Mañ Maioris aldrōr et Cōīs consilii. Et jur est &c.”
A REFUTATION OF THE CLAIM ON BEHALF OF KING CHARLES I. TO THE AUTHORSHIP OF ΤΗΕ ΕἸΚῺΝ ΒΑΣΙΛΙΚῊ.*
A succession of problems or puzzles in the literary and political history of modern times has occasionally occupied some ingenious writers, and amused many idle readers. Those who think nothing useful which does not yield some palpable and direct advantage, have, indeed, scornfully rejected such inquiries as frivolous and useless. But their disdain has not repressed such discussions: and it is fortunate that it has not done so. Amusement is itself an advantage. The vigour which the understanding derives from exercise on every subject is a great advantage. If there is to be any utility in history, the latter must be accurate,—which it never will be, unless there be a solicitude to ascertain the truth even of its minutest parts. History is read with pleasure, and with moral effect, only as far as it engages our feelings in the merit or demerit, in the fame or fortune, of historical personages. The breathless anxiety with which the obscure and conflicting evidence on a trial at law is watched by the bystander is but a variety of the same feeling which prompts the reader to examine the proofs against Mary, Queen of Scots, with as deep an interest as if she were alive, and were now on her trial. And it is wisely ordered that it should be so: for our condition would not, upon the whole, be bettered by our feeling less strongly about each other’s concerns.
The question “Who wrote Icôn Basilikè?” seemed more than once to be finally deter mined. Before the publication of the private letters of Bishop Gauden, the majority of historical inquirers had pronounced it spurious; and the only writers of great acuteness who maintained its genuineness—Warburton and Hume—spoke in a tone which rather indicated an anxious desire that others should believe, than a firm belief in their own minds. It is perhaps the only matter on which the former ever expressed himself with diffidence; and the case must indeed have seemed doubtful, which compelled the most dogmatical and arrogant of disputants to adopt a language almost sceptical. The successive publications of those letters in Maty’s Review, in the third volume of the Clarendon Papers, and lastly, but most decisively, by Mr. Todd, seemed to have closed the dispute.
The main questions on which the whole dispute hinges are, Whether the acts and words of Lord Clarendon, of Lord Bristol, of Bishop Morley, of Charles II., and James II., do not amount to a distinct acknowledgment of Gauden’s authorship? and, Whether an admission of that claim by these persons be not a conclusive evidence of its truth? If these questions can be answered affirmatively, the other parts of the case will not require very long consideration.
The Icôn Basilikè was intended to produce a favourable effect during the King’s trial; but its publication was retarded till some days after his death, by the jealous and rigorous precautions of the ruling powers. The impression made on the public by a work which purported to convey the pious and eloquent language of a dying King, could not fail to be very considerable; and, though its genuineness was from the beginning doubted or disbelieved by some,* it would have been wonderful and unnatural, if unbounded faith in it had not become one of the fundamental articles of a Royalist’s creed.† Though much stress, therefore, is laid by Dr. Wordsworth on passages in anonymous pamphlets published before the Restoration, we can regard these as really no more than instances of the belief which must then have only prevailed among that great majority of Royalists who had no peculiar reasons for doubt. Opinion, even when it was impartial, of the genuineness of a writing given before its authenticity was seriously questioned, and when the attention of those who gave the opinion was not strongly drawn to the subject, must be classed in the lowest species of historical evidence. One witness who bears testimony to a forgery, when the edge of his discernment is sharpened by an existing dispute, outweighs many whose language only indicates a passive acquiescence in the unexamined sentiments of their own party. It is obvious, indeed, that such testimonies must be of exceedingly little value; for every imposture, in any degree successful, must be able to appeal to them. Without them, no question on such a subject could ever be raised; since it would be idle to expose the spuriousness of what no one appeared to think authentic.
Dr. Gauden, a divine of considerable talents, but of a temporizing and interested character, was, at the beginning of the Civil War, chaplain to the Earl of Warwick, a Presbyterian leader. In November 1640, after the close imprisonment of Lord Strafford, he preached a sermon before the House of Commons, so agreeable to that assembly, that it is said they presented him with a silver tankard,—a token of their esteem which (if the story be true) may seem to be the stronger for its singularity and unseemliness.‡ This discourse seems to have contained a warm invective against the ecclesiastical policy of the Court; and it was preached not only at a most critical time, but on the solemn occasion of the sacrament being first taken by the whole House. As a reward for so conspicuous a service to the Parliamentary cause, he soon after received the valuable living of Bocking in Essex, which he held through all the succeeding changes of government,—forbearing, of necessity, to use the Liturgy, and complying with all the conditions which the law then required from the beneficed clergy. It has been disputed whether he took the Covenant, though his own evasive answers imply that he had: but it is certain that he published a Protest* against the trial of the King in 1648, though that never could have pretended to the same merit with the solemn Declaration of the whole Presbyterian clergy of London against the same proceeding, which, however, did not save them at the Restoration.
At the moment of the Restoration of Charles II., he appears, therefore, to have had as little public claim on the favour of that prince as any clergyman who had conformed to the ecclesiastical principles of the Parliament and the Protectorate; and he was, accordingly, long after called by a zealous Royalist “the false Apostate!”† Bishoprics were indeed offered to Baxter, who refused, and to Reynolds, who accepted, a mitre; but if they had not been, as they were, men venerable for every virtue, they were the acknowledged leaders of the Presbyterians, whose example might have much effect in disposing that powerful body to conformity. No such benefit could be hoped from the preferment of Gauden: and that his public character must have rendered him rather the object of disfavour than of patronage to the Court at this critical and jealous period, will be obvious to those who are conversant with one small, but not insignificant circumstance. The Presbyterian party is well known to have predominated in the Convention Parliament, especially when it first assembled; and it was the policy of the whole assembly to give a Presbyterian, or moderate and mediatorial colour, to their collective proceedings. On the 25th April 1660, they chose Mr. Calamy, Dr. Gauden, and Mr. Baxter, to preach before them, on the fast which they then appointed to be held,—thus placing Gauden between two eminent divines of the Presbyterian persuasion, on an occasion when they appear studiously to have avoided the appointment of an Episcopalian. It is evident that Gauden was then thought nearer in principle to Baxter than to Juxon. He was sufficiently a Presbyterian in party to make him no favourite with the Court: yet he was not so decided a Presbyterian in opinion as to have the influence among his brethren which could make him worth so high a price as a mitre. They who dispute his claim to be the writer of the Icôn, will be the last to ascribe his preferment to transcendent abilities: he is not mentioned as having ever shown kindness to Royalists; there is no trace of his correspondence with the exiled Court; he contributed nothing to the recall of the King; nor indeed had he the power of performing such atoning services.
Let the reader then suppose himself to be acquainted only with the above circumstances, and let him pause to consider whether, in the summer of 1660, there could be many clergymen of the Established Church who had fewer and more scanty pretensions to a bishopric than Gauden: yet he was appointed Bishop of Exeter on the 3d of November following. He received, in a few months, 20,000l. in fines for the renewal of leases;* and yet he had scarcely arrived at his epispocal palace when, on the 21st of December, he wrote a letter to the Lord Chancellor Clarendon,† bitterly complaining of the “distress,” “infelicity,” and “horror” of such a bishopric!—“a hard fate which” (he reminds the Chancellor) “he had before deprecated.”—“I make this complaint,” (he adds,) “to your Lordship, because you chiefly put me on this adventure. Your Lordship commanded mee to trust in your favour for an honourable maintenance and some such additional support as might supply the defects of the bishopric.” * * * “Nor am I so unconscious to the service I have done to the Church and to his Majesty’s family, as to beare with patience such a ruine most undeservedly put upon mee. Are these the effects of his liberall expressions, who told mee I might have what I would desire? * * * Yf your Lordship will not concern yourselfe in my affaire, I must make my last complaint to the King.” In five days after (26th December 1660) he wrote another long letter, less angry and more melancholy, to the same great person, which contains the following remarkable sentence:—“Dr. Morly once offered mee my option, upon account of some service which he thought I had done extraordinary for the Church and the Royall Family, of which he told mee your Lordship was informed. This made mee modestly secure of your Lordship’s favour; though I found your Lordship would never owne your consciousnes to mee, as if it would have given mee too much confidence of a proportionable expectation. * * * I knew your Lordship knew my service and merit to be no way inferior to the best of your friends, or enemyes.”‡
In these two letters,—more covertly in the first, more openly in the second,—Gauden apprises Lord Clarendon, that Dr. Morly (who was Clarendon’s most intimate friend) had acknowledged some extraordinary service done by Gauden to the Royal Family, which had been made known to the Chancellor; though that nobleman had avoided a direct acknowledgment of it to the bishop before he left London. Gauden appears soon after to have written to Sir E. Nicholas, Secretary of State, a letter of so peculiar a character as to have been read by the King; for an answer was sent to him by Nicholas, dated on the 19th January 1661, in which the following sentence deserves attention:—“As for your owne particular, he desires you not to be discouraged at the poverty of your bishoprick at present; and if that answer not the expectation of what was promised you, His Majesty will take you so particularly into his care, that he bids me assure you, that you shall have no cause to remember Bocking.”* These remarkable words by no means imply that Gauden did not then believe that the nature of his “extraordinary service” had been before known to the King. They evidently show his letter to have consisted of a complaint of the poverty of his bishopric, with an intelligible allusion to this service, probably expressed with more caution and reserve than in his addresses to the Chancellor. What was really then first made known to the King was not his merits, but his poverty. On the 21st January, the importunate prelate again addressed to Clarendon a letter, explicitly stating the nature of his services, probably rendered necessary in his opinion by the continued silence of Clarendon, who did not answer his applications till the 13th March. From this letter the following extract is inserted:—
“All I desire is an augment of 500l. per annum, ye if cannot bee at present had in a commendam; yet possible the King’s favor to me will not grudg mee this pension out of the first fruits and tenths of this diocesse; till I bee removed or otherwayes provided for: Nor will yr Lordship startle at this motion, or wave the presenting of it to hys Majesty, yf you please to consider the pretensions I may have beyond any of my calling, not as to merit, but duty performed to the Royall Family. True, I once presumed yr Lordship had fully known that arcanam, for soe Dr. Morley told mee, at the King’s first coming; when he assured mee the greatnes of that service was such, that I might have any preferment I desired. This consciousnes of your Lordship (as I supposed) and Dr. Morley, made mee confident my affaires would bee carried on to some proportion of what I had done, and he thought deserved. Hence my silence of it to your Lordship: as to the King and Duke of York, whom before I came away I acquainted with it, when I saw myself not so much considered in my present disposition as I did hope I should have beene, what trace their Royall goodnes hath of it is best expressed by themselves; nor do I doubt but I shall, by your Lordship’s favor, find the fruits as to somthing extraordinary, since the service was soe: not as to what was known to the world under my name, in order to vindicate the Crowne and the Church, but what goes under the late blessed King’s name, ‘the εἰϰὼν or portraiture of hys Majesty in hys solitudes and sufferings.’ This book and figure was wholy and only my invention, making and designe; in order to vindicate the King’s wisdome, honor and piety. My wife indeed was conscious to it, and had an hand in disguising the letters of that copy which I sent to the King in the ile of Wight, by favor of the late Marquise of Hartford, which was delivered to the King by the now Bishop of Winchester:† hys Majesty graciously accepted, owned, and adopted it as hys sense and genius; not only with great approbation, but admiration. Hee kept it with hym; and though hys cruel murtherers went on to perfect hys martyrdome, yet God preserved and prospered this book to revive hys honor, and redeeme hys Majesty’s name from that grave of contempt and abhorrence or infamy, in which they aymed to bury hym. When it came out, just upon the King’s death; Good God! what shame, rage and despite, filled hys murtherers! What comfort hys friends! How many enemyes did it convert! How many hearts did it mollify and melt! What devotions it raysed to hys posterity, as children of such a father! What preparations it made in all men’s minds for this happy restauration, and which I hope shall not prove my affliction! In a word, it was an army, and did vanquish more than any sword could. My Lord, every good subject conceived hopes of restauration; meditated reveng and separation. Your Lordship and all good subjects with hys Majesty enjoy the reeall and now ripe fruites of that plant. O let not mee wither! who was the author, and ventured wife, children, estate, liberty, life, and all but my soule, in so great an atchievement, which hath filled England and all the world with the glory of it. I did lately present my fayth in it to the Duke of York, and by hym to the King; both of them were pleased to give mee credit, and owne it as a rare service in those horrors of times. True, I played this best card in my hand something too late; else I might have sped as well as Dr. Reynolds and some others; but I did not lay it as a ground of ambition, nor use it as a ladder. Thinking myselfe secure in the just valew of Dr. Morely, who I was sure knew it, and told mee your Lordship did soe too;* who, I believe, intended mee somthing at least competent, though lesse convenient, in this preferment. All that I desire is, that your Lordship would make that good, which I think you designed; and which I am confident the King will not deny mee, agreeable to hys royall munificence, which promiseth extraordinary rewards to extraordinary services: Certainly this service is such, for the matter, manner, timing and efficacy, as was never exceeded, nor will ever be equalled, yf I may credit the judgment of the best and wisest men that have read it; and I know your Lordship, who is soe great a master of wisdome and eloquence, cannot but esteeme the author of that peice; and accordingly, make mee to see those effects which may assure mee that my loyalty, paines, care, hazard and silence, are accepted by the King and Royall Family, to which your Lordship’s is now grafted.”
The Bishop wrote three letters more to Clarendon,—on the 25th January, 20th February, and 6th of March respectively, to which on the 13th of the last month the Chancellor sent a reply containing the following sentence:—The particular which you often renewed, I do confesse was imparted to me†under secrecy, and of which I did not take myself to be at liberty to take notice; and truly when it ceases to be a secrett, I know nobody will be gladd of it but Mr. Milton; I have very often wished I had never been trusted with it.
It is proper here to remark, that all the letters of Gauden are still extant, endorsed by Lord Clarendon, or by his eldest son. In the course of three months, then, it appears that Gauden, with unusual importunity and confidence, with complaints which were disguised reproaches, and sometimes with an approach to menaces, asserted his claim to be richly rewarded, as the author of the Icôn. He affirms that it was sent to the King by the Duke of Somerset, who died about a month before his first letter, and delivered to his Majesty by Dr. Duppa, Bishop of Winchester, who was still alive. He adds, that he had acquainted Charles II. with the secret through the Duke of York, that Morley, then Bishop of Worcester, had informed Clarendon of it, and that Morley himself had declared the value of the service to be such, as to entitle Gauden to choose his own preferment. Gauden thus enabled Clarendon to convict him of falsehood,—if his tale was untrue,—in three or four circumstances, differing indeed in their importance as to the main question, but equally material to his own veracity. A single word from Duppa would have overwhelmed him with infamy. How easy was it for the Chancellor to ascertain whether the information had been given to the King and his brother! Morley was his bosom-friend, and the spiritual director of his daughter, Anne Duchess of York. How many other persons might have been quietly sounded by the numerous confidential agents of a great minister, on a transaction which had occurred only twelve years before! To suppose that a statesman, then at the zenith of his greatness, could not discover the truth on this subject, without a noise like that of a judicial inquiry, would betray a singular ignorance of affairs. Did Clarendon relinquish, without a struggle, his belief in a book, which had doubtless touched his feelings when he read it as the work of his Royal Master? Even curiosity might have led Charles II., when receiving the blessing of Duppa on his deathbed, to ask him a short confidential question. To how many chances of detection did Gauden expose himself? How nearly impossible is it that the King, the Duke, the Chancellor, and Morley should have abstained from the safest means of inquiry, and, in opposition to their former opinions and prejudices, yielded at once to Gauden’s assertion.
The previous belief of the Royalist party in the Icôn very much magnifies the improbability of such suppositions. The truth might have been discovered by the parties appealed to, and conveyed to the audacious pretender, without any scandal. There was no need of any public exposure: a private intimation of the falsehood of one material circumstance must have silenced Gauden. But what, on the contrary, is the answer of Lord Clarendon? Let any reader consider the above cited sentence of his letter, and determine for himself whether it does not express such an unhesitating assent to the claim as could only have flowed from inquiry and evidence. By confessing that the secret was imparted to him, he admits the other material part of Gauden’s statement, that the information came through Morley. Gauden, if his story was true, chose the persons to whom he imparted it both prudently and fairly. He dealt with it as a secret of which the disclosure would injure the Royal cause; and he therefore confined his communications to the King’s sons and the Chancellor, who could not be indisposed to his cause by it, and whose knowledge of it was necessary to justify his own legitimate claims. Had it been false, no choice could have been more unfortunate. He appealed to those who, for aught he knew, might have in their possession the means of instantly demonstrating that he was guilty of a falsehood so imprudent and perilous, that nothing parallel to it has ever been hazarded by a man of sound mind. How could Gauden know that the King did not possess his father’s MS., and that Royston the printer was not ready to prove that he had received it from Charles I., through hands totally unconnected with Gauden? How great must have been the risk if we suppose, with Dr. Wordsworth, and Mr. Wagstaffe, that more than one copy of the MS. existed, and that parts of it had been seen by many! It is without any reason that Dr. Wordsworth and others represent the secrecy of Gauden’s communications to Clarendon as a circumstance of suspicion; for he was surely bound, by that sinister honour which prevails in the least moral confederacies, to make no needless disclosures on this delicate subject.
Clarendon’s letter is a declaration that he was converted from his former opinion about the author of the Icon: that of Sir E. Nicholas is a declaration to the same purport on his own part, and on that of the King. The confession of Clarendon is more important, from being apparently wrung from him, after the lapse of a considerable time; in the former part of which he evaded acknowledgment in conversation, while in the latter part he incurred the blame of incivility, by delaying to answer letters,—making his admission at last in the hurried manner of an unwilling witness. The decisive words, however, were at length extorted from him, “When it ceases to be a secret, I know nobody will be glad of it, but Mr. Milton.” Wagstaffe argues this question as if Gauden’s letters were to be considered as a man’s assertions in his own cause; without appearing ever to have observed that they are not offered as proof of the facts which they affirm, but as a claim which circumstances show to have been recognized by the adverse party.
The course of another year did not abate the solicitations of Gauden. In the end of 1661 and beginning of 1662, the infirmities of Duppa promised a speedy vacancy in the great bishopric of Winchester, to which Gauden did not fail to urge his pretensions with undiminished confidence, in a letter to the Chancellor (28th December), in a letter to the Duke of York (17th January), and in a memorial to the King, without a date, but written on the same occasion. The two letters allude to the particulars of former communications. The memorial, as the nature of such a paper required, is fuller and more minute: it is expressly founded on “a private service,” for the reality of which it again appeals to the declarations of Morley, to the evidence of Duppa, (“who,” says Gauden, “encouraged me in that great work,”) still alive, and visited on his sickbed by the King, and to the testimony of the Duke of Somerset.* It also shows that Gauden had applied to the King for Winchester as soon as it should become vacant, about or before the time of his appointment to Exeter.
On the 19th of March, 1662, Gauden was complimented at Court as the author of the Icôn, by George Digby, second Earl of Bristol, a nobleman of fine genius and brilliant accomplishments, but remarkable for his inconstancy in political and religious opinion. The bond of connection between them seems to have been their common principles of toleration, which Bristol was solicitous to obtain for the Catholics, whom he had secretly joined, and which Gauden was willing to grant, not only to the Old Nonconformists, but to the more obnoxious Quakers. On the day following Gauden writes a letter, in which it is supposed that “the Grand Arcanum” had been disclosed to Bristol “by the King or the Royal Duke.” In six days after he writes again, on the death of Duppa, to urge his claim to Winchester. This third letter is more important. He observes, with justice, that he could not expect “any extraordinary instance of his Majesty’s favour on account of his signal service only, because that might put the world on a dangerous curiosity, if he had been in other respects unconspicuous;” but he adds, in effect, that his public services would be a sufficient reason or pretext for the great preferment to which he aspired. He appeals to a new witness on the subject of the Icôn,—Dr. Sheldon, then Bishop of London;—thus, once more, if his story were untrue, almost wantonly adding to the chance of easy, immediate, and private detection. His danger would have, indeed, been already enhanced by the disclosure of the secret to Lord Bristol, who was very intimately acquainted with Charles I., and among whose good qualities discretion and circumspection cannot be numbered. The belief of Bristol must also be considered as a proof that Gauden continued to be believed by the King and the Duke, from whom Bristol’s information proceeded. A friendly correspondence, between the Bishop and the Earl, continued till near the death of the former, in the autumn of 1662.
In the mean time, the Chancellor gave a still more decisive proof of his continued conviction of the justice of Gauden’s pretensions, by his translation in May to Worcester. The Chancellor’s personal ascendant over the King was perhaps already somewhat impaired; but his power was still unshaken; and he was assuredly the effective as well as formal adviser of the Crown on ecclesiastical promotions. It would be the grossest injustice to the memory of Lord Clarendon to believe, that if, after two years’ opportunity for inquiry, any serious doubts of Gauden’s veracity had remained in his mind, he would have still farther honoured and exalted the contriver of a falsehood, devised for mercenary purposes, to rob an unhappy and beloved Sovereign of that power which, by his writings, he still exercised over the generous feelings of men. It cannot be doubted, and ought not to be forgotten, that a false claim to the Icôn is a crime of a far deeper dye than the publication of it under the false appearance of a work of the King. To publish such a book in order to save the King’s life, was an offence, attended by circumstances of much extenuation, in one who believed, or perhaps knew, that it substantially contained the King’s sentiments, and who deeply deprecated the proceedings of the army and of the remnant of the House of Commons against him. But to usurp the reputation of the work so long after the death of the Royal Author, for sheer lucre, is an act of baseness perhaps without a parallel. That Clarendon should wish to leave the more venial deception undisturbed, and even shrink from such refusals as might lead to its discovery, is not far beyond the limits which good men may overstep in very diffiult situations: but that he should have rewarded the most odious of impostors by a second bishopric, would place him far lower than a just adversary would desire. If these considerations seem of such moment at this distant time, what must have been their force in the years 1660 and 1662, in the minds of Clarendon, and Somerset, and Duppa, and Morley, and Sheldon! It would have been easy to avoid the elevation of Gauden to Worcester: he had himself opened the way for offering him a pension; and the Chancellor might have answered almost in Gauden’s own words, that farther preferment might lead to perilous inquiry. Clarendon, in 1662, must either have doubted who was the author of the Icôn, or believed the claim of Gauden, or adhered to his original opinion. If he believed it to be the work of the King, he could not have been so unfaithful to his memory as to raise such an impostor to a second bishopric: if he believed it to be the production of Gauden, he might have thought it an excusable policy to recompense a pious fraud, and to silence the possessor of a dangerous secret: if he had doubts, they would have prompted him to investigation, which, conducted by him, and relating to transactions so recent, must have terminated in certain knowledge.
Charles II. is well known, at the famous conference between the Episcopalians and Presbyterians, when the Icôn was quoted as his father’s, to have said, “All that is in that book is not gospel.” Knowing, as we now do, that Gauden’s claim was preferred to him in 1660, this answer must be understood to have been a familiar way of expressing his scepticism about its authenticity. In this view of it, it coincides with his declaration to Lord Anglesea twelve years after; and it is natural indeed to suppose, that his opinion was that of those whom he then most trusted on such matters, of whom Clarendon was certainly one. To suppose, with some late writers, that he and his brother looked with favour and pleasure on an attempt to weaken the general interest in the character of their father, merely because the Icôn is friendly to the Church of England, is a wanton act of injustice to them. Charles II. was neither a bigot, nor without regard to his kindred; the family affections of James were his best qualities,—though by a peculiar perverseness of fortune, they proved the source of his sharpest pangs.
But to return to Lord Clarendon, who survived Gauden twelve years, and who, almost to the last day of his life, was employed in the composition of an historical work, originally undertaken at the desire of Charles I., and avowed, with honest partiality to be destined for the vindication of his character and cause. This great work, not intended for publication in the age of the writer, was not actually published till thirty years after his death, and even then not without the suppression of important passages, which it seems the public was not yet likely to receive in a proper temper. Now, neither in the original edition, nor in any of the recently restored passages,* is there any allusion to the supposed work of the King. No reason of temporary policy can account for this extraordinary silence. However the statesman might be excused for the momentary sacrifice of truth to quiet, the historian could have no temptation to make the sacrifice perpetual. Had he believed that his Royal Master was the writer of the only book ever written by a dying monarch on his own misfortunes, it would have been unjust as an historian, treacherous as a friend, and unfeeling as a man, to have passed over in silence such a memorable and affecting circumstance. Merely as a fact, his narrative was defective without it. But it was a fact of a very touching and interesting nature, on which his genius would have expatiated with affectionate delight. No later historian of the Royal party has failed to dwell on it. How should he then whom it must have most affected be silent, unless his pen had been stopped by the knowledge of the truth? He had even personal inducements to explain it, at least in those more private memoirs of his administration, which form part of what is called his “Life.” Had he believed in the genuineness of the Icôn, it would have been natural for him in these memoirs to have reconciled that belief with the successive preferments of the impostor. He had good reason to believe that the claims of Gauden would one day reach the public; he had himself, in his remarkable letter of March 13th, 1661, spoken of such a disclosure as likely. This very acknowledgment contained in that letter, which he knew to be in the possession of Gauden’s family, increased the probability. It was scarcely possible that such papers should for ever elude the search of curiosity, of historical justice, or of party spirit. But besides these probabilities, Clarendon, a few months before his death, “had learned that ill people endeavoured to persuade the King that his father was not the author of the book that goes by his name.” This information was conveyed to him from Bishop Morley through Lord Cornbury, who went to visit his father in France in May 1674. On hearing these words, Clarendon exclaimed, ‘Good God! I thought the Marquis of Hertford had satisfied the King in that matter.’* By this message Clarendon was therefore warned, that the claim of Gauden was on its way to the public,—that it was already assented to by the Royal Family themselves, and was likely at last to appear with the support of the most formidable authorities. What could he now conclude but that, if undetected and unrefuted, or, still more, if uncontradicted in a history destined to vindicate the King, the claim would be considered by posterity as established by his silence? Clarendon’s language on this occasion also strengthens very much another part of the evidence; for it proves, beyond all doubt, that the authorship of the Icôn had been discussed by the King with the Duke of Somerset before that nobleman’s death in October 1660,—a fact nearly conclusive of the whole question. Had the Duke assured the King that his father was the author, what a conclusive answer was ready to Gauden, who asserted that the first had been the bearer of the manuscript of the Icôn from Gauden to Charles I.! As there had been such a communication between the King and the Duke of Somerset, it is altogether incredible that Clarendon should not have recurred to the same pure source of information. The only admissible meaning of Clarendon’s words is, that “Lord Hertford (afterwards Duke of Somerset) had satisfied the King” of the impropriety of speaking on the subject. We must otherwise suppose that the King and Clarendon had been “satisfied,” or perfectly convinced, that Charles was the writer of the Icôn;—a supposition which would convert the silence of the Chancellor and the levity of the Monarch into heinous offences. The message of Morley to Clarendon demonstrates that they had previous conversation on the subject. The answer shows that both parties knew of information having been given by Somerset to the King, before Gauden’s nomination to Exeter: but Gauden had at that time appealed, in his letters, both to Morley and Somerset as his witness. That Clarendon therefore knew all that Morley and Somerset could tell, is no longer matter of inference, but is established by the positive testimony of the two survivors in 1674. Wagstaffe did not perceive the consequences of the letter which he published, because he had not seen the whole correspondence of Gauden. But it is much less easy to understand, how those who have compared the letters of Gauden with the messages between Clarendon and Morley, should not have discovered the irresistible inference which arises from the comparison.
The silence of Lord Clarendon, as an historian, is the strongest moral evidence that he believed the pretensions of Bishop Gauden: and his opinion on the question must be held to include the testimony in point of fact, and the judgment in point of opinion, of all those men whom he had easy opportunities and strong inducements to consult. It may be added, that however Henry Earl of Clarendon chose to express himself, (his language is not free from an air of mental reservation), neither he nor his brother Lord Rochester, when they published their father’s history in 1702, thought fit, in their preface, to attempt any explanation of his silence respecting the Icôn, though their attention must have been called to that subject by the controversy respecting it which had been carried on a few years before with great zeal and activity. Their silence becomes the more remarkable, from the strong interest taken by Lord Clarendon in the controversy. He wrote two letters on it to Wagstaffe, in 1694 and 1699; he was one of the few persons present at the select consecration of Wagstaffe as a nonjuring bishop, in 1693: yet there is no allusion to the Icôn in the preface to his father’s history, published in 1702.
It cannot be pretended that the final silence of Clarendon is agreeable to the rigorous rules of historical morality: it is no doubt an infirmity which impairs his credit as an historian. But it is a light and venial fault compared with that which must be laid to his charge, if we suppose, that, with a conviction of the genuineness of the Icôn, and with such testimony in support of it as the evidence of Somerset and Morley,—to say nothing of others,—he should not have made a single effort, in a work destined for posterity, to guard from the hands of the impostor the most sacred property of his unfortunate master. The partiality of Clarendon to Charles I. has never been severely blamed; his silence in his history, if he believed Gauden, would only be a new instance of that partiality: but the same silence, if he believed the King to be the author, would be fatal to his character as an historian and a man.
The knowledge of Gauden’s secret was obtained by Clarendon as a minister; and he might deem his duty with respect to secrets of state still to be so far in force, as at least to excuse him from disturbing one of the favourite opinions of his party, and for not disclosing what he thought could gratify none but regicides and agitators. Even this excuse, on the opposite supposition, he wanted. That Charles was the author of the Icôn (if true) was no state secret, but the prevalent and public opinion. He might have collected full proofs of its truth, in private conversation with his friends. He had only to state such proof, and to lament the necessity which made him once act as if the truth were otherwise, rather than excite a controversy with an unprincipled enemy, dangerous to a new government, and injurious to the interests of monarchy. His mere testimony would have done infinitely more for the King’s authorship, than all the volumes which have been written to maintain it:—even that testimony is withheld. If the Icôn be Gauden’s, the silence of Clarendon is a vice to which he had strong temptations: if it be the King’s, it is a crime without a motive. Those who are willing to ascribe the lesser fault to the historian, must determine against the authenticity of the Icôn.
That good men, of whom Lord Clarendon was one, were, at the period of the Restoration, ready to use expedients of very dubious morality to conceal secrets dangerous to the Royal cause, will appear from a fact, which seems to have escaped the notice of the general historians of England. It is uncertain, and not worth inquiring, when Charles II. threw over his doubts and vices that slight and thin vesture of Catholicism, which he drew a little closer round him at the sight of death:* but we know with certainty, that, in the beginning of the year 1659, the Duke of Ormonde accidentally discovered the conversion, by finding him on his knees at mass in a church at Brussels. Ormonde, after it was more satisfactorily proved to him, by communication with Henry Bennett and Lord Bristol,† imparted the secret in England to Clarendon and Southampton, who agreed with him in the necessity of preventing the enemies of monarchy, or the friends of Popery, from promulgating this fatal secret. Accordingly, the “Act for the better security of his Majesty’s person and government”* provided, that to affirm the King to be a Papist, should be punishable by “disability to hold any office or promotion, civil, military, or ecclesiastical, besides being liable to such other punishments as by common or statute law might be inflicted.”
As soon as we take our stand on the ground, that the acquiescence of all the Royalists in the council and court of Charles II., and the final silence of Clarendon in his history, on a matter so much within his province, and so interesting to his feelings, are irreconcilable with the supposition, that they believed the Icôn to be the work of the King, all the other circumstances on both sides not only dwindle into insignificance, but assume a different colour. Thus, the general credit of the book among Royalists before the Restoration serves to show, that the evidence which changed the opinion of Clarendon and his friends must have been very strong,—probably far stronger than what we now possess; the firmer we suppose the previous conviction to have been, the more probable it becomes, that the proofs then discovered were of a more direct nature than those which remain. Let it be very especially observed, that those who decided the question practically in 1660 were within twelve years of the fact; while fifty years had passed before the greater part of the traditional and hearsay stories, ranged on the opposite side, were brought together by Wagstaffe.
Let us consider, for example, the effect of the proceedings of 1660, upon the evidence of the witnesses who speak of the Icôn as having been actually taken from the King at Naseby, and afterwards restored to him by the conquerors. Two of the best known are the Earl of Manchester and Mr. Prynne. Eales, a physician at Welwyn in Hertfordshire, certifies, in 1699, that some years before the Restoration (i. e. about 1656), he heard Lord Manchester declare, that the MS. of the Icôn was taken at Naseby, and that he had seen it in the King’s own hand.† Jones, at the distance of fifty years, says that he had heard from Colonel Stroud that Stroud had heard from Prynne in 1649, that he, by order of Parliament, had read the MS. of the Icôn taken at Naseby.‡ Now it is certain that Manchester was taken into favour, and Prynne was patronised at the Restoration. If this were so, how came matters, of which they spoke so publicly, to remain unknown to Clarendon and Southampton? Had the MS. Icôn been intrusted to Prynne by Parliament, or even by a committee, its existence must have been known to a body mnch too large to allow the supposition of secrecy. The application of the same remark disposes of the mob of secondhand witnesses. The very number of the witnesses increases the incredibility that their testimony could have escaped notice in 1660. Huntingdon, a Major in Cromwell’s regiment, who abandoned the Parliamentary cause, is a more direct witness. In the year 1679, he informed Dugdale that he had procured the MS. Icôn taken at Naseby to be restored to the King at Hampton,—that it was written by Sir E. Walker, but interlined by the King, who wrote all the devotions. In 1681, Dugdale published The Short View, in which is the same story, with the variation, “that it was written with the King’s own hand;”—a statement which, in the summary language of a general narrative, can hardly be said to vary materially from the former. Now, Major Huntingdon had particularly attracted the notice of Clarendon: he is mentioned in the history with commendation.* He tendered his services to the King before the Restoration;† and, what is most important of all to our present purpose, his testimony regarding the conduct of Berkeley and Ashburnham, in the journey from Hampton Court, is expressly mentioned by the historian as being, in 1660, thought worthy of being weighed even against that of Somerset and Southampton.‡ When we thus trace a direct communication between him and the minister, and when we remember that it took place at the very time of the claim of Gauden, and that it related to events contemporary with the supposed recovery of the Icôn, it is scarcely necessary to ask, whether Clarendon would not have sounded him on that subject, and whether Huntingdon would not then have boasted of such a personal service to the late King. It would be contrary to common sense not to presume that something then passed on that subject, and that, if Huntingdon’s account at that time coincided with his subsequent story, it could not have been rejected, unless it was outweighed by contrary evidence.§ He must have been thought either a deceiver or deceived: for the more candid of these suppositions there was abundant scope. It is known that one MS. (not the Icôn) written by Sir Edward Walker and corrected by the King, was taken with the King’s correspondence at Naseby, and restored to him by Fairfax through an officer at Hampton Court.∥ This was an account of the military transactions in the Civil War, written by Walker, and published in his Historical Discourses long after. It was natural that the King should be pleased at the recovery of this manuscript, which he soon after sent from Hampton Court to Lord Clarendon in Jersey, as a “contribution” towards his History. How easily Huntingdon, an old soldier little versed in manuscripts, might, thirty years afterwards, have confounded these memorials with the Icôn! A few prayers in the King’s handwriting might have formed a part of the papers restored. So slight and probable are the only suppositions necessary to save the veracity of Huntingdon, and to destroy the value of his evidence.
Sir Thomas Herbert, who wrote his Memoirs thirty years after the event, in the seventy-third year of his age, when, as he told Antony Wood, “he was grown old, and not in such a capacity as he could wish to publish it,” found a copy of the Icôn among the books which Charles I. left to him, and thought “the handwriting was the King’s.” Sir Philip Warwick states Herbert’s testimony (probably from a conversation more full than the Memoirs) to be, that “he saw the MS. in the King’s hand, as he believes; but it was in a running character, and not in that which the King usually wrote.”* Now, more than one copy of the Icôn might have been sent to Charles; they might have been written with some resemblances to his handwriting; but assuredly the original MS. would not have been loosely left to Herbert, while works on general subjects were bequeathed to the King’s children. It is equally certain that this was not the MS. from which the Icôn was published a few days afterwards; and, above all, it is clear that information from Herbert† would naturally be sought, and would have been easily procured, in 1660. The ministers of that time perhaps examined the MS.; or if it could not be produced, they might have asked why it was not preserved,—a question to which, on the supposition of its being written by the King, it seems now impossible to imagine a satisfactory answer. The same observations are applicable to the story of Levett, a page, who said that he had seen the King writing the Icôn, and had read several chapters of it,—but more forcibly, from his being less likely to be intrusted, and more liable to confusion and misrecollection;—to say nothing of our ignorance of his character for veracity, and of the interval of forty-two years which had passed before his attestation on this subject.
The Naseby copy being the only fragment of positive evidence in support of the King’s authorship, one more observation on it may be excused. If the Parliamentary leaders thought the Icôn so dangerous to their cause, and so likely to make an impression favourable to the King, how came they to restore it so easily to its author, whom they had deeply injured by the publication of his private letters? The advocates of the King charge this publication on them, as an act of gross indelicacy, and at the same time ascribe to them, in the restoration of the Icôn, a singular instance of somewhat wanton generosity.
It may be a question whether lawyers are justified in altogether rejecting hearsay evidence; but it never can be supposed, in its best state, to be other than secondary. When it passes through many hands,—when it is given after a long time,—when it is to be found almost solely in one party,—when it relates to a subject which deeply interests their feelings, we may confidently place it at the very bottom of the scale; and without being able either to disprove many particular stories or to ascertain the proportion in which each of them is influenced by unconscious exaggeration, inflamed zeal, intentional falsehood, inaccurate observation, confused recollection, or eager credulity, we may safely treat the far greater part as the natural produce of these grand causes of human delusion. Among the evidence first collected by Wagstaffe, one story fortunately refers to authorities still in our possession. Hearne, a servant of Sir Philip Warwick, declared that he had heard his master and one Oudart often say that they had transcribed the Icôn from a copy in Charles’ handwriting.* Sir Philip Warwick (who is thus said to have copied the Icôn from the King’s MS.) has himself positively told us, “I cannot say I know that he wrote the Icôn which goes under his name;† and Oudart was secretary to Sir Edward Nicholas, whose letter to Gauden, virtually acknowledging his claim, has been already quoted!
Two persons appear to have been privy to the composition of the Icôn by Gauden,—his wife, and Walker his curate. Mrs. Gauden, immediately after her husband’s death, applied to Lord Bristol for favour, on the ground of her knowledge of the secret; adding, that the bishop was prevented only by death from writing to him,—surely to the same effect. Nine years afterwards she sent to one of her sons the papers on this subject, to be used “if there be a good occasion to make it manifest,” among which was an epitome “drawn out by the hand of him that did hope to have made a fortune by it.”‡ This is followed by her narrative of the whole transactions, on which two short remarks will suffice. It coincides with Gauden’s letters, in the most material particulars, in appeals to the same eminent persons said to be privy to the secret, who might and must have been consulted after such appeal: it proves also her firm persuasion that her husband had been ungratefully requited, and that her family had still pretensions founded on his services, which these papers might one day enable them to assert with more effect.
Walker, the curate, tells us that he had a hand in the business all along. He wrote his book, it is true, forty-five years after the events: but this circumstance, which so deeply affects the testimony of men who speak of words spoken in conversation, and reaching them through three or four hands, rather explains the inaccuracies, than lessens the substantial weight, of one who speaks of his own acts, on the most, and perhaps only, remarkable occasion of his life. There are two facts in Walker’s account which seem to be decisive;—namely, that Gauden told him, about the time of the fabrication, that the MS. was sent by the Duke of Somerset to the King, and that two chapters of it were added by Bishop Duppa. To both these witnesses Gauden appealed at the Restoration, and Mrs. Gauden after his death These communications were somewhat indiscreet; but, if false, what temptation had Gauden at that time to invent them, and to communicate them to his curate? They were new means of detecting his imposture. But the declaration of Gauden, that the book and figure was wholly and solely my “invention, making, and design,” is quoted with premature triumph, as if it were incompatible with the composition of two chapters by Duppa;* —as if the contribution of a few pages to a volume could affect the authorship of the man who had planned the whole, and executed all the rest. That he mentioned the particular contribution of Duppa at the time to Walker, and only appealed in general to the same prelate in his applications to Clarendon and the King, is a variation, but no inconsistency.
Walker early represented the coincidence of some peculiar phrases in the devotions of the Icôn with Gauden’s phraseology, as an important fact in the case. That argument has recently been presented with much more force by Mr. Todd, whose catalogues of coincidences between the Icôn and the avowed writings of Gauden is certainly entitled to serious consideration.† They are not all of equal importance, but some of the phrases are certainly very peculiar. It seems very unlikely that Charles should have copied peculiar phrases from the not very conspicuous writings of Gauden’s early life; and it is almost equally improbable that Gauden, in his later writings, when he is said to have been eager to reap the fruits of his imposture, should not have carefully shunned those modes of expression which were peculiar to the Icôn. To the list of Mr. Todd, a very curious addition has been made by Mr. Benjamin Bright, a discerning and liberal collector, from a manuscript volume of prayers by Gauden,‡ which is of more value than the other coincidences, inasmuch as it corroborates the testimony of Walker, who said that he “met with expressions in the devotional parts of the Icôn very frequently used by Dr. Gauden in his prayers!” Without laying great stress on these resemblances, they are certainly of more weight than the general arguments founded either on the inferiority of Gauden’s talents, (which Dr. Wordsworth candidly abandons,) or on the impure and unostentatious character of his style, which have little weight, unless we suppose him to have had no power of varying his manner when speaking in the person of another man.
Conclusions from internal evidence have so often been contradicted by experience, that prudent inquirers seldom rely on them when there are any other means of forming a judgment. But in such cases as the present, internal evidence does not so much depend on the discussion of words, or the dissection of sentences, as on the impression made by the whole composition, on minds long accustomed to estimate and compare the writings of different men in various circumstances. A single individual can do little more than describe that impression; and he must leave it to be determined by experience, how far it agrees with the impressions made on the minds of the majority of other men of similar qualifications. To us it seems, as it did to Archbishop Herring, that the Icôn is greatly more like the work of a priest than a king. It has more of dissertation than effusion. It has more regular division and systematic order than agree with the habits of the King. The choice and arrangement of words show a degree of care and neatness which are seldom attained but by a practised writer. The views of men and affairs, too, are rather those of a bystander than an actor. They are chiefly reflections, sometimes in themselves obvious, but often ingeniously turned, such as the surface of events would suggest to a spectatator not too deeply interested. It betrays none of those strong feelings which the most vigilant regard to gravity and dignity could not have uniformly banished from the composition of an actor and a sufferer. It has no allusion to facts not accessible to any moderately informed man; though the King must have (sometimes rightly) thought that his superior knowledge of affairs would enable him to correct vulgar mistakes. If it be really the private effusion of a man’s thoughts on himself and his own affairs, it would be the only writing of that sort in the world in which it is impossible to select a trace of peculiarities and weaknesses,—of partialities and dislikes,—of secret opinions,—of favourite idioms, and habitual familiarities of expression: every thing is impersonal. The book consists entirely of generalities; while real writings of this sort never fail to be characterised by those minute and circumstantial touches, which parties deeply interested cannot, if they would, avoid. It is also very observable, that the Icôn dwells little on facts, where a mistake might so easily betray its not being the King’s, and expatiates in reasoning and reflection, of which it is impossible to try the genuineness by any palpable test. The absence of every allusion to those secrets of which it would be very hard for the King himself wholly to conceal his knowledge, seems, indeed, to indicate the hand of a writer who was afraid of venturing on ground where his ignorance might expose him to irretrievable blunders. Perhaps also the want of all the smaller strokes of character betrays a timid and faltering forger, who, though he ventured to commit a pious fraud, shrunk from an irreverent imitation of the Royal feelings, and was willing, after the great purpose was served, so to soften the imposture, as to leave his retreat open, and to retain the means, in case of positive detection, of representing the book to have been published as what might be put into the King’s mouth, rather than as what was actually spoken by him.
The section which relates to the civil war in Ireland not only exemplifies the above remarks, but closely connects the question respecting the Icôn with the character of Charles for sincerity. It certainly was not more unlawful for him to seek the aid of the Irish Catholics, than it was for his opponents to call in the succour of the Scotch Presbyterians. The Parliament procured the assistance of the Scotch army, by the imposition of the Covenant in England; and the King might, on the like principle, purchase the help of the Irish, by promising to tolerate, and even establish, the Catholic religion in Ireland. Warburton justly observes, that the King was free from blame in his negotiations with the Irish, “as a politician, and king, and governor of his people; but the necessity of his affairs obliging him at the same time to play the Protestant saint and confessor, there was found much disagreement between his professions and declarations, and actions in this matter.”* As long as the disagreement was confined to official declarations and to acts of state, it must be owned that it is extenuated by the practice of politicians, and by the consideration, that the concealment of negotiations, which is a lawful end, can very often be obtained by no other means than a disavowal of them. The rigid moralist may regret this excuse, though it be founded on that high public convenience to which Warburton gives the name of “necessity.” But all mankind will allow, that the express or implied denial of real negotiations in a private work,—a picture of the writer’s mind, professing to come from the Man and not from the King, mixed with solemn appeals and fervid prayers to the Deity, is a far blacker and more aggra vated instance of insincerity. It is not, therefore, an act of judicious regard to the memory of Charles to ascribe to him the composition of the twelfth section of the Icôn. The impression manifestly aimed at in that section is, that the imputation of a private connexion with the Irish revolters was a mere calumny; and in the only paragraph which approaches to particulars, it expressly confines his intercourse with them to the negotiation for a time through Ormonde, and declares that his only object was to save “the poor Protestants of Ireland from their desperate enemies.” In the section which relates to the publication of his letters, when the Parliament had explicitly charged him with clandestine negotiations, nothing is added on the subject. The general protestations of innocence, not very specifically applied even to the first instigation of the revolt, are left in that indefinite state in which the careless reader may be led to apply them to all subsequent transactions, which are skilfully,—not to say artfully,—passed over in silence. Now it is certain that the Earl of Glamorgan, a Catholic himself, was authorised by Charles to negotiate with the Catholics in 1645, independently of Ormonde, and with powers, into the nature of which the Lord Lieutenant thought himself bound not curiously to pry. It is, also, certain that, in the spring of that year, Glamorgan concluded a secret treaty with the Catholic assembly at Kilkenny, by which,—besides the repeal of penalties or disabilities,—all the churches and Church property in Ireland occupied by the Catholics since the revolt, were continued and secured to them;* while they, on their parts, engaged to send ten thousand troops to the King’s assistance in England. Some correspondence on this subject was captured at sea, and some was seized in Ireland: both portions were immediately published by the Parliament, which compelled the King to imprison and disavow Glamorgan.† It is clear that these were measures of policy, merely intended to conceal the truth:‡ and the King, if he was the writer of the Icôn, must have deliberately left on the minds of the readers of that book an opinion, of his connexion with the Irish Catholics, which he knew to be false. On the other hand it is to be observed, that Gauden could not have known the secret of the Irish negotiations, and that he would naturally avoid a subject of which he was ignorant, and confine himself to a general disavowal of the instigation of the revolt. The silence of the Icôn on this subject, if written by Gauden, would be neither more wonderful nor more blamable than that of Clarendon, who, though he was of necessity acquainted with the negotiations of Glamorgan, does not suffer an allusion to the true state of them to escape him, either in the History, or in that apology for Ormonde’s administration, which he calls “A Short View of the State of Ireland.” Let it not be said, either by Charles’ mistaken friends, or by his undistinguishing enemies, that he incurs the same blame for suffering an omission calculated to deceive to remain in the Icôn of Gauden, as if he had himself written the book. If the manuscript were sent to him by Gauden in September 1648, he may have intended to direct an explanation of the Irish negotiations to be inserted in it;—he may not have finally determined on the immediate publication. At all events, it would be cruel to require that he should have critically examined, and deliberately weighed, every part of a manuscript, which he could only occasionally snatch a moment to read in secret during the last four months of his life. In this troubled and dark period, divided between great negotiations, violent removals, and preparations for asserting his dignity,—if he could not preserve his life,—justice, as much as generosity requires that we should not hold him responsible for a negative offence, however important, in a manuscript which he had then only read. But if he was the author, none of these extenuations have any place: he must then have composed the work several years before his death; he was likely to have frequently examined it; he doubtless read it with fresh attention, after it was restored to him at Hampton Court; and he afterwards added several chapters to it. On that supposition, the fraudulent omission must have been a contrivance “aforethought” carried on for years, persisted in at the approach of death, and left, as the dying declaration of a pious monarch, in a state calculated to impose a falsehood upon posterity.*
DISSERTATION ON THE PROGRESS OF ETHICAL PHILOSOPHY, CHIEFLY DURING THE SEVENTEENTH AND EIGHTEENTH CENTURIES.
[originally prefixed to the seventh edition of the encyclopædia britannica.]
[* ] Rolls of Parliament in Lords’ Journals, vol. i.
[† ] Notitia Parliamentaria, vol. iii. p. 112.
[* ] Contributed to the Edinburgh Review (vol. xliv. p. 1.) as a review of “Who wrote Εἰϰὼν Βατιλιϰὴ?” by Christopher Wordsworth, D. D., Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. London, 1824.—Ed.
[* ] Milton, Goodwyn, Lilly, &c.
[† ] See Wagstaffe’s Vindication of King Charles, pp. 77—79. London, 1711.
[‡ ] The Journals say nothing of the tankard, which was probably the gift of some zealous members, but bear, “That the thanks of this house be given to Mr. Gaudy and Mr. Morley for their sermons last Sunday, and that they be desired, if they please, to print the same.” Vol. ii. p. 40.
[* ] The Religious and Loyal Protestation of John Gauden, &c. London, 1648.
[† ] Kennet, Register, p. 773.
[* ] Biographia Britannica, article “Gauden.”
[† ] Wordsworth, Documentary Supplement, p. 9.
[‡ ] Ibid. pp. 11—13.
[* ] Wordsworth, Documentary Supplement, p. 14.
[† ] Duppa.
[* ] It is not to be inferred from this and the like passages, that Gauden doubted the previous communication of Morley to Clarendon: he uses such language as a reproach to the Chancellor for his silence.
[† ] Evidently by Morley.
[* ] Doc. Sup. p. 30. We have no positive proof that these two letters were sent, or the memorial delivered. It seems (Ibid. p. 27) that there are marks of the letters having been sealed and broken open; and it is said to be singular that such letters should be found among the papers of him who wrote them. But as the early history of these papers is unknown, it is impossible to expect an explanation of every fact. A collector might have found them elsewhere, and added them to the Gauden papers. An anxious writer might have broken open two important letters, in which he was fearful that some expression was indiscreet, and afterwards sent corrected duplicates, without material variation. Gauden might have received information respecting the disposal of Winchester and Worcester, or about the state of parties at Court, before the letters were dispatched, which would render them then unseasonable. What is evident is, that they were written with an intention to send them,—that they coincide with his previous statements,—and that the determination not to send them was not occasioned by any doubts entertained by the Chancellor of his veracity; for such doubts would have prevented his preferment is the bishopric of Worcester,—one of the most coveted dignities of the Church.
[* ] In the Oxford Edition of 1826.
[* ] The first letter of the second Earl of Clarendon to Wagstaffe in 1694, about twenty years after the event, has not, as far as we know, been published. We know only the extracts in Wagstaffe. The second letter written in 1699 is printed entire in Wagstaffe’s Defence, p. 37.
[* ] His formal reconciliation probably took place at Cologne in 1658, under the direction of Dr. Peter Talbot, Catholic Archbishop of Armagh.
[† ] Carte, Life of Ormonde, vol. ii. pp. 254—256.
[* ] 13 Car. 2. st. 1.
[† ] “Who wrote,” &c. p. 93. Wagstaffe’s Vin dication, p. 19.
[‡ ] Ibid. p. 80.
[* ] Vol. v. p. 484.
[† ] Ibid. vol. vii. p. 432.
[‡ ] Ibid. vol. v. p. 495.
[§ ] Dr. Wordsworth admits, that if Clarendon had consulted Duppa, Juxon, Sheldon, Morley, Kendal, Barwick, Legge, Herbert, &c. &c.; nay, if he had consulted only Morley alone, he must have been satisfied,—(Dr. Wordsworth, of course, says for the King.) Now, it is certain, from the message of Morley to Clarendon in 1674, that previous discussion had taken place between them. Does not this single fact decide the question on Dr. Wordsworth’s own admission?
[∥ ] Clarendon, vol. v. p. 476; and Warburton’s note.
[* ] Memoirs, p. 69. How much this coincides with Gauden’s account, that his wife had disguised the writing of the copy sent to the Isle of Wight.
[† ] He was made a baronet at the Restoration, for his personal services to Charles I.
[* ] Who wrote, &c. p. 138.
[† ] Memoirs, p. 68.
[‡ ] Doc. Sup. pp. 42, 48.
[* ] Who wrote, &c. p. 156.
[† ] Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, pp. 51—76.
[‡ ] Ibid. Appendix. No. 1.
[* ] Clarendon, vol. vii. p. 591.
[* ] Birch, Inquiry, p. 68. The King’s warrant, on 12th March, 1645, gives Glamorgan power “to treat with the Roman Catholics upon necessity, wherein our Lieutenant cannot so well be seen”—p. 20.
[† ] Harleian Miscellany, vol. iv. p. 494.
[‡ ] See a curious letter published by Leland (History of Ireland, book v. chap. 7), which clearly proves that the blindness of Ormonde was voluntary, and that he was either trusted with the secret, or discovered it; and that the imprisonment of Glamorgan was, what the Parliament called it, “a colourable commitment.” Leland is one of those writers who deserve more reputation than they enjoy: he is not only an elegant writer, but, considering his time and country, singularly candid, unprejudiced, and independent.
[* ] After sketching the above, we have been convinced, by a reperusal of the note of Mr. Laing on this subject (History of Scotland, vol. iii. p. 565), that if he had employed his great abilities as much in unfolding facts as in ascertaining them, nothing could have been written for the Icôn, or ought to have been written against it, since that decisive note. His merit, as a critical inquirer into history, an enlightened collector of materials, and a sagacious judge of evidence, has never been surpassed. If any man believes the innocence of Queen Mary, after an impartial and dispassionate perusal of Mr. Laing’s examination of her case, the state of such a man’s mind would be a subject worthy of much consideration by a philosophical observer of human nature. In spite of his ardent love of liberty, no man has yet presumed to charge him with the slightest sacrifice of historical integrity to his zeal. That he never perfectly attained the art of full, clear, and easy narrative was owing to the peculiar style of those writers who were popular in his youth, and may be mentioned as a remarkable instance of the disproportion of particular talents to a general vigour of mind.