Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

signified it to be his intention to grant pardons to all roman-catholics, who should sue for them, within five years. By his directions, Williams, the bishop of Lincoln and lord privy seal, published an apologetical address *; excusing this measure, on the ground that the king had been making applications to all foreign princes for some indulgence to the distressed protestants in their dominions, and that he was still answered by objections derived from the severity of the English laws against catholics. "Besides," says the lord keeper, "the papists "are no otherwise out of prison, than with their "shackles about their heels, and good recogni"zances to present them at the next assizes."→→ After all, to copy one of the many excellent remarks of Hume t," it might occur to James, that, if the "extremity of religious zeal were ever to abate among christian sects, one of them must begin; "and that nothing would be more honourable to England than to have led the way in sentiments "so wise and moderate."

66

66

The manner, in which the prince was treated both by the Spanish court and the Spanish nation, did them the highest honour. Sensible of the confidence, which he had reposed in them, they never availed themselves of his situation to importune him on the subject of religion, or to require more than decent terms, upon that or any other account. The pope addressed to the prince a letter in terms of affection and respect: his holiness expresses in it,

* Rushworth, vol. i. p. 63. Dodd, vol. ii. p. 448.
+ Chap. xlix.

[ocr errors]

with elegance and delicacy, his sense of the personal merit of the prince; he commends his predecessors for their piety and regard to the apostolic see, invites him to follow their example, and concludes with a wish, couched in paternal language, for his glory and prosperity. The prince answered his holiness, in kind though general terms, expressing regard and promising moderation in all his conduct towards that portion of his subjects, who were in communion with the holy see *

On account of the difference in religion, a dispensation for the marriage between the prince and the infanta was necessary. To dispose the pope towards it, James relaxed the execution of the penal laws against the catholics. Several jesuits and secular priests were discharged from imprisonment, the prosecutions against recusants were stopped, and a general spirit of religious indulgence was discovered. Much offence was taken at these symptoms of moderation : a letter to James, attributed by some to Abbot, archbishop of Canterbury, by others, to Matthews, archbishop of York t, was extensively circulated; it reproached the king, in coarse terms, with his intended toleration of the roman-catholic religion, and dissuaded him from marrying his son to the infanta, or any catholic princess.

The match, however, proceeded : the articles were agreed to: the free exercise of the catholic religion was secured to the infanta and her attendants: the arrangements were not on a larger plan, than her rank evidently required: but the king agreed, by secret articles, to procure a free and liberal toleration of the catholic religion: the dispensation from the pope arrived, and all obstacles seemed to be finally removed, when the duke of Buckingham, in an evil hour, prevailed on the

* Rushworth, vol. i. p.78. Dodd, vol. ii. p.441, 442, 444. + Cabbala, p. 108. Dodd, vol, ii. p. 463.

a

, king and the prince to break off the treaty for the marriage. It was accordingly dissolved, and in the most unhandsome manner. Both the monarch and his son acted in this shameful business with a total disregard of truth and honour: the advocates of the prince defended him by attributing his conduct to the fatal ascendancy, which the impetuous and domineering character of Buckingham had obtained over him: still they could not but feel that, if this apology was received, the gentleness of Charles must be admitted to approach nearly to pusillanimity.

It is observable that, very soon after the treaty for the marriage with the infanta was thus disposed of, James, in answer to an address of the commons, urging a severe execution of the laws against the catholics, affirmed, with the solemn asseveration of an oath, that he never had any thought of granting them a toleration of their religion. Now, at this very time, or at least, very soon after, he entered into a treaty for the marriage of his son, with the celebrated Henrietta-Maria, the princess of France, and the basis of this treaty was the adoption of the articles, which had been concluded on the projected marriage of his son with the infanta.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

Every thing respecting the marriage with Henrietta was settled in the life-time of James :- it was solemnized soon after his decease. The priests, who accompanied her to England, were of the religious order called the Oratorians *. As that order, though it partakes of the nature both of the regular and of the secular clergy, does not, in strictness, belong absolutely to the one or to the other, it was thought likely to prove less offensive than either, to the English nation. But, by the desire of the queen, the Oratorians were soon sent back to Paris, and Capucins substituted in their place. Lodgings, and a chapel in Somerset-house, had been prepared for the priests who should attend the infanta; these were now assigned to the Capucins t.

• See the "Memoirs of Monsieur Deageant, containing the “ most secret transactions and affairs of France, from the death “ of Henry the foarth till the beginning of the ministry of the o cardinal de Richelieu. To which is added, a particular “ relation of the archbishop of Embrun's voyage into England, “ and of his negotiation for the advancement of the roman“ catholic religion here; together with the duke of Bucking« ham's letters to the said archbishop about the progress of " that affair, which happened the last years of James the first's “ reign. Faithfully translated out of the French original. « London, 8vo. 1690."-The relation of the archbishop begins at page 228: Mr. Carte, in a note to his History of England, (vol. iv. p. 129,) shows that it is entitled to little, if any, credit.

+ Collier's Ecc. Hist. vol.ii. p. 733. Heylin's Examen, Hist. p. 199. The celebrated Berulle, afterwards raised to the purple, was among the priests, who accompanied Henrietta-Maria to England. (See Histoire de Pierre Berulle, cardinal de la saint eglise Romaine, &c. par M. Tabaraud, 2 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1817.)-- If we credit this writer, the queen met with an unkind reception from the English ; and the

Though the facts, which we have mentioned in this chapter, with the single exception of the sołemnization of the marriage of Charles, took place during the reign of his father, yet, as Charles was the person principally interested in them, and his marriage with a catholic princess, had a considerable influence on the events, to which the subject now immediately leads us, we thought that the present was the most proper place for the insertion of them.

CHAP. LV.

ECCLESIASTICAL OCCURRENCES AMONG THE

ENGLISH CATHOLICS DURING THE REIGN OF
CHARLES THE FIRST.---BISHOPS,--CHAPTERS,

EXEMPTIONS OF REGULARS.

THE proceedings of the catholics among themselves now claim our attention.

The appointments of Dr. Bishop and of Dr. Richard Smith his successor to the dignity of a bishop in partibus, with the faculties of a bishop in ordinary, have been mentioned; we shall now present our readers with some facts and observations, I. On the nature and extent of their powers: II. On the chapters appointed by them : III. On the exemption of the regular clergy from episcopal jurisdiction; IV. And on the contests between Dr. Smith and the English regulars respecting these exemptions, articles, which allowed to her majesty and her attendants thé, free exercise of their religion, were not honourably complied with.

« ForrigeFortsæt »