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ARCH DEACON ECHARD, another bistorian often quoted in the ensuing tract, is a florid and prolix writer, not celebrated for his impartiality; a dignitary of the church, very warmly attached to it; a passionate admirer and most zealous advocate of the king.
Rapin was a foreign gentleman, a protestant of France, who having no immediate connection with any of our parties, was the better qualified to sustain the character of an impartial umpire betwixt them. After long study and application be wrote an History of EnGLAND, justly held in high esteem both by natives and foreigners. He professes a profound respect for the church of England, and communicated with it when resident here.
TINDALL, bis Continuator, is a worthy clergyman, who at present does honour to the church, his history is wrote with a good degree of judgment, perspicuily, and impartiality, and will transmit his naine with praise to distant posterity.
The History of ENGLAND under the royal house of STUART I consider as a good collection of facts; and of great use to correct the errors and supply ihe defects of other historians, particularly Clarendon's and Echard's: though the author's zeal for the ConstituTion and against the invaders of it, may seem, perfraps, to break forth into too frequent and warm sallies. He was a member of the established church, and an hearty well-wisher to it. As was Wellwood also, a very learned and ingenious physician whose memoirs are here quoted.
NEAL, BENNET, and Pierce were divines of the separation, men of acknowledged merit, and of good learning and reputation. It is only the first of these, that any considerable use is made in the ensuing papers, whose History of the Puritans has been received with great esteem by the curious and ingenious of all denominations.
Having given this short account of the historians here summoned to assist our inquiries after a true idea of the character and reign of king Charles I. the reader is now lefi impartially to consider the evidence they give, and then to judge, as bis own discernment shall direct, upon the point.
His Birth, natural Temper, Principles in which educated, Marriage, and Character of
his Queen. KING CHARLES I. was born at Dumferling in Scotland, Anno 1600, and baptized by a Presbyterian minister of that country. In his youth he was of a weakly constitution and stammering speech, his legs somewhat crooked.”— Neal, Vol. II. page 153.—“ He was subject, says Archdeacon Echard, to several infirmities, accompanied with an apparent obstinacy in his temper, and was suspected to be somewhat perverse in his nature. The nurses and gentlemen who attended him could very rarely devise how to please him ; of which his mother Queen Anne would often complain, calling him her perverse and obstinate son.”—Echard, p. 417. Hist Stu.
“ His temper was sullen, says Bishop Burnet even to a moroseness. This led him to a grave and reserved deportment, in which he forgot the civilities and the affability which the nation na
turally loved. Nor did he in his outward behaviour take any pains to oblige any persons what
So far from that, he had, such an ungracious way of shewing favour, that the manner of bestowing it was alınost as mortifying as the favour was obliging.”—Burnet's Hist. Vol. 1. p. 18.
“ Charles I. was naturally, says Rapin, of an inflexible temper, and this quality, added to his maxims of government, was the cause that he could hardly bear to see whatever tended to put a' constraint upon his will."--Rapin, Vol. xi. p. 90. “ His courtiers, says the famous Sir Edward Coke, would often say, they prayed to God, that the prince might be in the right way where he set, for if he were in the wrong, he would prove the most wilful of any king that ever reigned.”— Coke Det. p. 5.-" He was too easily inclined to sudden enterprizes,” Lord Clarendon ackuowledges,
and 'as easily startled when they were entered upon.”--Clarend. Vol. 11. p. 344.
He was, however, “ chaste and temperate beyond exception; clear from all known and personal yices of the sensual kind, and uninfected with those licentious excesses, which are not only incident to that age and fortune, but in such cases almost thought excusable.”—Ech. p. 417.
He was educated in very high and extravagant notions of the divinity and extent of the regal power :-" That monarchy and lineal succession are of divine institution, and consequently sacred and inviolable. That the persons as well as the authority of kings are ordained by God. That the king is the sole fountain of power. That all the liberties and privileges of the people are but so many concessions or extortions from the crown. That the king is not bound to his people by his coronation oath, but only before God, to whom alone he is accountable. That the king's viola
tions of the law are not to be restrained by force : but subjects ought either actively to obey his commands, or passively submit to his will; and have no other refuge left under the most cruel iyranny but prayers and tears.".. Tindals Cont. Introd. p. 1.
With these principles he came to the throne in the 25th year of his age. At the very time when he was attending the solemnities of his father's funeral at Westminster, those of his own marriage were celebrating at Paris, to Henrietta Maria, sister to Lewis XIII. of France.
“ The queen was an agreeable and beautiful lady, and by degrees (says Lord Clarendon) obtained a plenitude of power over the king. His majesty had her in perfect adoration, and would do nothing without her; but was inexorable to every thing he promised her."---Neal, Vol. 11. p. 154. “ Her power over him was absolute. She was queen, not so much of the naiion, as of the king himself; and had the sole, rather than the chief ascendant, in the government."*--Clarend. Hist. Vol. 1. p. 167. Vol. III. p. 328.
" She loved all her life long to be in intrigues of all sorts, but was not so secret in them as such times and such affairs required. She was a woman of f great vivacity in conversation, but of no manner of judgment; was bad at contrivance, but much worse in the execution. By the liveliness of her discourse she made always a great impression on the king : and to her little practices, as well as to the king's own temper, the sequel of all his misfortunes was owing. Nuncio's Mem. p. 854. -Burnet's Hist. Tim. Vol. 1. p. 31.
* Regi adeo fuit cara Regina, ut non tam regni, quam ipsius Regis, Reginam ageret; ct in regimine plus sola, quum potior, esse videretur.
“ The king was so devoted to her (his zealous apologist acknowledges) that he would do nothing without communicating it to her-he assures her in a letter, that he would not make a peace with the rebels (the parliament) without her approbation.”- Coke Det. p. 171, 182.
The first compliment with which his majesty received her at Dover seeins to have been prophetic, viz. That he could be no longer MASTER of himself, than while he was a SERVANT to her. This was very sadly verified in the event. For the king ruled not his three kingdoms in a more absolute and despotic manner than himself was ruled by the queen. His history affords abundant proof of this : let it suffice here only to observe, that to that desperate and rash act, his going with an armed force to seize and haul the five members from the house of commons, he was entirely hurried on by the haughty spirit of the queen; for when his Majesty would have declined ii, “and retired with her into her closet, urging many reasons against it, she broke out into a passion- Allez poltron,--Go, Coward, and pull those rogues out by the ears, or never see my face any more.”—Echard, p. 419, 520.-- The obsequious monarch went; burst into the house at the head of his little army, and pulled down upon bis own ears the fabric of our constitution, which at last buried him in its ruins.
Bishop Kennet therefore well observes, " That the king's match with this lady was a greater judgment to the nation than the plague, which then raged in the land; for considering the malignity of the popish religion, the imperiousness of the French government; the influence of a stately queen over an affectionate husband; the share she must needs have in the education of her children (till thirteen years old,) it was then easy