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King and of the Bishops continued to increase, so that even mere addresses and representations to the Parliament were looked upon as seditious. If the preceding priestly democracy often manifested gloomy austerity, presumption, and restlessness, the new episcopal aristocracy frequently shewed moral degeneracy, and, together with servility, a lust of power of a different description. Hence James wrote to the Bishops, “the disobedient, seditious, rebellious crowd must obey, otherwise it resists God, its natural King, and the laws of the land. The sword is put into your hands, therefore make use of it, and let it no longer remain idle.”
Neither James nor his adversaries had any conception of the essence of Christianity, which is the foundation of all creeds, or of genuine toleration; nay, all considered the existence of two diverging opinions in a state to be injurious and condemnable, and each demanded the exclusive predominance of his own opinion. These diverse opinions were advocated in polemical and satirical publications with such acrimony, that the government several times seriously interfered to prevent them. Its measures, however, were in general fruitless, and the Church and State were the subjects of more and more bitter censure. The Puritans blamed, among other things, a royal resolution of the year 1618, relative to the celebration of the Sabbath. According to a
pamphlet of a Dr. Bound, no marriage or other festival ought to be celebrated on that day; none but spiritual occupations allowed; one bell at the most be permitted to ring; and mirth and cheerful conversation be regarded as sinful. Now, though the decree of James permitted company, games, and amusements, only in those hours of Sunday in which divine service was not performed, and admitted only those persons who had already been at church, the Sabbatarians and Puritans took the greatest offence at it. On the other hand, a satire against them said, "if God and his Angels appeared on the day of judgment in the purest white robes, the Puritans would run away and cry,
, that the abomination of the choristers overtook them.”
In addition to so many general grounds for discontent and disunion, there were several individual grievances and acts of injustice. Such, for instance, was the treatment of the proud and impetuous, but highly gifted Sir Walter Raleigh. His enmity to Essex had injured him in the eyes of the people, and his hatred to the Scotch prejudiced the King against him. Though, notwithstanding several violations of prescribed forms, he was not convicted of actual participation in Cobham's conspiracy, he remained ten years in prison, till he paid, through Lady Villiers, 1,5001. to the new favorite, Buckingham. An enterprise against the Spanish colonies,
commanded by him, and which was certainly illegal, failed; and when Gondamar's influence in London increased, was treated as treason, though some affirmed that King James himself was by no means a stranger to the business.(16) As this new accusation, however, did not induce any severe punishments, and the Spaniards continued their persecution, the old extinct proceedings were resumed, and it was resolved, with the basé assent of Bacon, to carry into execution the former sentence of death, without regard to the pardon which had been, not indeed expressly, but tacitly given.('?) The people, though before ill-disposed towards Raleigh, manifested praiseworthy compassion, and were indignant with the Judges, as well as with the King, who was governed by the Spaniards. The latter, however, in addition to what we have just mentioned, had a particular reason for their hatred of Raleigh. He had had the chief command in Ireland, when some Spanish prisoners were massacred in cold blood, because they could produce no commission from Philip II., and were therefore treated as robbers.
The splendour and decorum which prevailed at the court of Elizabeth vanished but too soon, with every thing that was noble, without James's understanding how to make himself beloved in
Instead of being accessible, like Elizabeth, to all
his subjects, the King was angry with every one that approached him, wherefore a person hung a remonstrance round the neck of one of his bounds, with the following petition: “dear Cæsar, we beg you to speak with the King with our affair, for he hears you every day, but us, never!"
Beaumont, the French ambassador, wrote to his court, “I discover so many seeds of disease in England, so much is brooding in silence, and so many events seem inevitable, that I am inclined to affirm, that for a century from this time, this kingdom will hardly abuse its prosperity, except to its own ruin: I can assure your Majesty that you have more reason to reflect on King James's absurd conduct, and pity his subjects, than to dread his power. The courage of the English is buried in the tomb of Elizabeth. What must be the situation of a State and of a Prince, whom the clergy publicly abuse in the pulpit, whom the actors represent upon the stage, whose wife goes to these representations in order to laugh at him, who is defied and despised by his Parliament, and universally hated by his whole people. His vices debilitate his mind; when he thinks to speak like a King he proceeds like a tyrant, and when he condescends, he becomes vulgar. He endeavours to cover, under specious titles, disgraceful actions; and as the
power to indulge in them abandons him, he feasts his eyes, when he can no longer gratify his other vices.
In general, he concludes by resorting to drinking. Nothing is done here in a regular and reasonable manner, but, according to the pleasure of Buckingham, an ignorant young man, blinded by court favour, and carried away by passion. The most important and urgent business cannot induce this King to devote a day, or even an hour to it, or to interrupt his pleasures. He does not care what people think of him or what is to become of the kingdom after his death. I believe that the breaking of a bottle of wine, or any such trifle, affects him more than the ruin of his son-in-law, and the misery of his grandchildren.”
We would willingly ascribe some of these expressions to the dislike of a foreigner, or the excessive severity of a gloomy-minded observer. Yet Burnet himself says, “No King could be less respected, and less lamented at his death. England, which acted so great a part, and whose Queen, Elizabeth, was the arbitress of Christendom, and the wonder of her age, sunk, under his government, into utter insignificance, and King James was the laughingstock of his age. While hungry writers at home bestowed on him the most extravagant praises, all foreign countries looked upon him as a pedant without judgment, courage, and firmness, and as the slave of his favorites.” Lord Littleton expresses himself to the same effect: “King James possessed neither courage nor ability, and was equally despised