private letters of Gauden, the majority of historical inquirers had pronounced it to be 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. * The case must indeed have seemed doubtful, which compelled the most dogmatical and arrogant of disputants to adopt a language almost sceptical. It must be owned that he did not, like Hume, consider the events of Charles the First's reign with the spirit of a thorough-paced Tory. Had he professed the opinions on that subject which are now in vogue, he could not have been patronized by the Yorkes of that time; nor is it likely that all the influence of Mr Allen over the election at Bath, would have induced the Mr Pitt of 1759 to raise him even to the bishopric of Gloucester. But as a compensation for his occasional conformity to Whiggism in matters of state, it must be allowed that he retained the dislike of a bishop, and the hatred of a controversialist, towards ecclesiastical nonconformists. His conviction therefore must have been faint, when he asserts it so moderately against a Presbyterian minister-the historian of nonconformity.

The successive publications of the letters in which Gauden laid claim to the Icon-in Maty's Review-in the third volume of the Clarendon Papers-and last, but most decisively, by Mr Todd, seemed to have closed the dispute. Dr Wordsworth has, however, revived it in the volume before us; and as he in some measure ascribes this revival to a passage in the Edinburgh Review of Sir George Mackenzie's Historical Fragment on the reign of Charles II., † the writer of that review may be thought to be called upon to answer for the opinion which he there delivered.

It is natural that the divines of the High Church party should be proud of a Royal Martyr for the Church—that they should zealously contend for whatever exalts his character_ and that, like all other zealous advocates, they should often be blinded by their zeal. Dr Wordsworth is, however, generally a temperate and decorous controversialist; though there be two passages towards the end, in which, while celebrating

* Warburton's Works, vii. 920. Notes on Neale's History,

+ Edin. Rev. October 1821.

[ocr errors]

Truth is seen linked in happy union with Piety and Royalty;' as if they were constant, or at least general companions! Faction

' and Profaneness are found to lie under a curse; they are seen to ' have cherished a lie. ' p. 412.

his imaginary triumph, he speaks of his opponents in a spirit, for which only the general temper of the book can make atonement. An advocate who finds the more conspicuous facts: against him has no resource, but that of accumulating a multitude of minute, obscure, and separately trivial circumstances, the combination of which may give him at least the semblance of a tenable position. Dr Wordsworth, who fairly admits the force of the probabilities against the King's claim, * is driven to the necessity of expanding the same little circumstances, which had been before brought together for the like purpose by Wagstaffe. † Nor is this accumulation without its effect. The unwary reader is apt to count arguments instead of weighing them, and to mistake a long line for a formidable force. The inexperienced disputant who should be tempted or provoked to follow Dr Wordsworth through his microscopic inspection of the particles and atoms of probability, would inevitably be worsted in some points, which, however utterly impertinent in themselves, would give a delusive appearance of victory to the weaker cause, in the eyes of unknowing bystanders.

But the main questions on which the whole dispute hinges, is, 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 foundation in truth. If these questions can be answered affirmatively, the other parts of the case will not require very long consideration.

The Icon Basilike 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

* P. 12.

Looking only to this side of this case, it would seem next to impossible but that Gauden, not Charles, was the author of Icon Basilike.'

+ Wagstaffe's Vindication of King Charles the Martyr. London, 1711. A good abridgement of Wagstaffe's Statement is to be found in Burton's Genuineness of Lord Clarendon's History, 149-173.

Milton, Goodwyn, Lilly, &c.

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 prevailed among that great majority of Royalists who had no peculiar reasons for doubt. Opinion, even when it is 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 disputes, 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; and in November 1640, after the close imprisonment of Lord Strafford, 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. His 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 Parlia mentary cause, he soon after received the valuable living of Bock ing in Essex, which he held through all the succeeding changes of

* See Wagst. 77-79.

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.' - Com. Journ. ii. 40. Sir J. Barrington undertook specially to deliver the thanks to Mr G. The name given to Gauden is connected with one of the smaller circumstances of this case. It is also to be remembered, that Mr Morley is probably the same person who was afterwards successively Bishop of Worcester and Winchester, and who was thought a favourer of the Puritans before the Civil war, (Ken nett, 666, from Burnett.)

government, for bearing, 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 seem rather to confirm the opinion that he had. It may be true that he wrote a Protest against the trial of the King in 1648, though it is said not to have been published till 1662; but even if it was published at the useful time, it 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 zealous Royalists 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 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. Even the length of time which must have been occupied by the sermons and prayers of three distinguished preachers, bore the stamp of the Presbyterian times. It is evident that Gauden was then thought nearer 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

Biog. Brit. Art. Gauden.

+ Barw. in Kenn. 773.

Com. Journ. 25th April 1660. Baxter's Life of Himself, 217.

opinion as to have that influence among them which could make him worth so high a price as a mitre. Those who dispute his claim to be the writer of the Icon, 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 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. He was appointed Bishop of Exeter, however, on the 3d of November 1660! He received, in a few months, 20,000l. in fines for the renewal of leases. * And yet he had scarcely arrived at his Episcopal palace when, on the 21st of December, he wrote a letter to the Lord Chancellor Clarendon, † bitterly complaining of the distress, infeli'city 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, be'cause you chiefly put me on this adventure. You command'ed me to trust to your favour for such additional support as 'might supply the defects of the bishopric.' I am not so un'conscious to the service done to the Church and to his Majesty's family, as to bear with patience the ruin heaped upon me. these the effects of his liberal expressions, who told me I might •have what I would desire? '—' If you will not concern yourself in my affairs, I must make my last complaint to his Majesty.'‡ 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.

[ocr errors]

Dr Morley once offered me my option, upon account of some service which he thought I had done extraordinary for the Church and Royal Family, of which he told me your Lordship was informed. This made me modestly secure of your Lordship's favour; though I found you would never own your consciousness to me, as if it would give me too much confidence,'' I knew your Lordship knew my service and merit to be no way inferior to the best of your friends, or enemies.' §

In these two letters, more covertly in the first, more openly in the second, Gauden apprises Lord Clarendon, that Dr Mor

* Biog. Brit. and Authorities there cited.

+ Words. Docum. App. 8.

i. e. Royalists recompensed, or Presbyterians gained over.
Doc. App. 11-13,

« ElőzőTovább »