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people were superstitious and clung to the Pope. Other Kings before Henry VIII. were anxious to concentrate the spiritual and temporal power in their hands, but dared not. Those who attempted it were excommunicated, and to save their crowns were forced to make peace with the Pope. In England, as has been shown, the long struggle of the Barons and the Middle Class against the absolute authority of the Monarchy had ripened the popular mind for independence. They were ready when the sixteenth century came for rebellion. The King's personal quarrel with the Pope opened the door, and the Nation rushed into the arms of the Reformation.
The Church of England, however, did not satisfy such sceptics as Peter Wentworth and his class. The Bishops of the new Church insisted on passive obedience just as the Bishops of the old. The Puritans of England, and the Presbyterians of Scotland, were bent on saying their prayers in their own way-standing up, or sitting down, or in any other fashion that suited them. This was setting all ecclesiastical authority at defiance.
Elizabeth foresaw, as was said, what such diabolical heresy might lead to. If people were allowed to snap their fingers at the authority of the Church of England, they might some day venture to dispute the authority of the Crown of England. So she locked up the Puritans, or bade them "abjure and depart from the realm." The Puritans remembered, however, that she and her father rebelled against the Pope simply because they wished to be independent, and they resolved sooner or later to profit by their example. The most impatient among them embarked for the wilds of America, and the rest remained to carry out their plans at home.
The reader can hardly fail to recognize that these resolute opponents of arbitrary power in Church and State were no other than the descendants of those Saxons of the Middle Class, "the freemen," whom the Norman Barons were obliged to take into partnership in order to clip the wings of the Monarchy. The two fought their way successfully together, constantly curtailing the Royal power and adding to Parliamentary control down to Henry V., 1413, when the wars with France stopped the constitutional struggle.
Then, as stated, came the civil wars of "the Roses," which led to the advent of the Tudor dynasty.
It was shown, also, that the policy of Henry VII., the first of the Tudor line, was, as Bacon expressed it, “to keep a strait hand on his nobility, and chose rather to advance clergymen and lawyers, which were more obsequious to him, but had less interest in the people." This conduct of the King was sagacious beyond doubt, for he knew the Aristocracy had always been the leaders of the Middle Class in their joint crusade against the Monarchy.
His son, Henry VIII., adopted similar tactics, and kept the Nobles in check, preferring to advance obsequious Clergymen, such as Archbishops Wolsey and Cranmer.
Elizabeth, the last of the Tudors, did not forget the example of her grandsire. “She seemed to delight,” says Buckle, "in humbling the nobles. On them her hand fell heavily." He also remarks: "Whatever explanation we may choose to give of the fact, it cannot be denied that during the reign of Elizabeth, there was an open and constant opposition between the nobles and the executive government." No doubt there was, for the Aristocracy had now recovered from
the exhaustion of the foreign and civil wars, and were ready to unite with their old allies of the Middle Class to reduce Monarchy to constitutional limits. Elizabeth, too, employed " clergymen and lawyers," dreading to put power in the hands of the Nobles. Cecil, Walsingham, and Whitgift were able men, but they were the obsequious tools of the most despotic Sovereign England ever knew.
It is singular that the learned Buckle, whose democratic bias is decided, should glorify Elizabeth for oppressing the Aristocracy when he must have known. that the conjunction of the Aristocracy with the Middle Class had been the sole means of promoting popular freedom. He also applauds the "Great Queen" for pushing on the Reformation-which she did whilst it enhanced her power-yet he strangely refrains from censure when she turned like a tigress on the Puritans who logically sought to make the Reformation reality. Her two favorite aversions were the Aristocracy and the Puritans, and who were these but the descendants of those very Barons and Freemen whose "singular alliance," as Buckle elsewhere calls. it, "was the condition of the popular privileges" obtained centuries before? His strong admiration for the tyrannical Elizabeth led the historian into grave contradictions, as well as incorrect interpretations of facts. No sooner had his "Great Queen" passed away than the Aristocracy and Puritans raised their heads once more, and the consequences to Monarchy were serious indeed.
DECLINE OF THE MONARCHY.
WE now enter the seventeenth century, memorable for the birth of Civil Liberty, and the downfall of Absolute Government in England.
James I. of England was son of Mary Queen of Scots, and therefore King of Scotland. He ascended the English throne in 1603, as the great-grandson of Henry VII., whose daughter Margaret married James IV. of Scotland. He was the first of the Stuart family* to reign in England, and the Crowns of the two countries were united thenceforth. He took the title of King of Great Britain.
His welcome in England was most cordial, and above all by Parliament, for it not only rejoiced at escaping from the clutches of the despotic Elizabeth, but saw in the advent of a foreign King, whose influence would naturally be less, an opportunity for extending Parliamentary authority, and diminishing Monarchical power. Parliament had been so trodden upon by the Tudors, that it yearned to avenge itself upon Arbitrary Monarchy. It had yielded grimly to this oppression, not only for the causes cited, but also because Henry
* The Stuarts were descendants of Banquo, Thane of Lochaber, assassinated in the eleventh century by Macbeth.
VIII. and Elizabeth had, though for their own special purposes, promoted the Reformation, which Parliament and the Nation desired. But now the course was clear. An Arbitrary Church had been overthrown, and religious freedom had been secured. An Arbitrary Monarchy was next to be assailed, and civil liberty was the trophy to be won. It was such ideas as these that inspired the Parliament which met in 1604..
King James, on the other hand, who was an amiable and learned man, entertained no doubt of the Divine Right of Kings, and the passive obedience of the people. "A perfect kingdom," he declared, "is that where the King rules all things according to his own will," and he even wrote a book to prove this thesis. With such dispositions as these on both sides a collision was inevitable. "It was with the Stuart kings," says Rowland, “that the battle between prerogative and freedom was fought."
It is somewhat strange that for the first two years, the King and the Parliament, who were destined to become such bitter antagonists, never met without using the gentlest language towards each other-for all the world like two duellists shaking hands before drawing swords.
An attempt to blow up with gunpowder both the King and Parliament, 1605, was discovered only the day before the King was to open the Session in person. Guy Fawkes, a Catholic officer, was arrested as he was about to fire several barrels of powder concealed in the cellars under the House of Lords.
This was a suitable moment for panegyric. "No nation of the earth," says the Act of Parliament, passed on this occasion, "hath been blessed with greater benefits than