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was very inconvenient to stand by them; | estates to his son, and carried arms about his was an excellent Protestant when it was not person. His best arms, however, were his sa. very advantageous to be a Papist; recommend-gacity and his self-command. The plot in ed a tolerant policy to his mistress as strongly which he had been an unwilling accomplice, as he could recommend it without hazarding ended, as it was natural that so odious and her favour; never put to the rack any person absurd a plot should end, in the ruin of its from whom it did not seem probable that very contrivers. In the mean time, Cecil quietly useful information might be derived; and was extricated himself, and, having been successo moderate in his desires, that he left only sively patronised by Henry, Somerset, and three hundred distinct landed estates, though he Northumberland, continued to flourish under might, as his honest servant assures us, have the protection of Mary. left much more, "if he would have taken money out of the exchequer for his own use, as many treasurers have done."
Burghley, like the old Marquess of Winchester, who preceded him in the custody of the White Staff, was of the willow, and not of the oak. He first rose into notice by defending the supremacy of Henry the Eighth. He was subsequently favoured and promoted by the Duke of Somerset. He not only contrived to escape unhurt when his patron fell, but became an important member of the administration of Northumberland. Doctor Nares assures us over and over again, that there could have been nothing base in Cecil's conduct on this occasion; for, says he, Cecil continued to stand well with Cranmer. This, we confess, hardly satisfies us. We are much of the mind of Falstaff s tailor. We must have better assurance for Sir John than Bardolph's. We like not the security.
Through the whole course of that miserable intrigue which was carried on round the dying bed of Edward the Sixth, Cecil so demeaned himself as to avoid, first, the displeasure of Northumberland, and afterwards the displeasure of Mary. He was prudently unwilling to put his hand to the instrument which changed the course of the succession. But the furious Dudley was master of the palace. Cecil, therefore, according to his own account, excused himself from signing as a party, but consented o sign as a witness. It is not easy to describe his dexterous conduct at this most perplexing crisis, in language more appropriate than that which is employed by old Fuller: "His hand wrote it as secretary of state," says that quaint writer; "but his heart consented not thereto. Yea, he openly opposed it; though at last yielding to the greatness of Northumberland, in an age when it was present drowning not to swim with the stream. But as the philosopher tells us, that, though, the planets be whirled about daily from east to west, by the motion of the primum mobile, yet have they also a contrary proper motion of their own from west to east, which they slowly, though surely, move at their leisure; so Cecil had secret counterendeavours against the strain of the court herein, and privately advanced his rightful intentions against the foresaid duke's ambition." This was undoubtedly the most perilous conjuncture of Cecil's life. Wherever there was a safe course, he was safe. But here every course was full of danger. His situation rendered it impossible for him to be neutral. If he acted on either side, if he refused to act at all, he ran a fearful risk. He saw all the difficulties of his position. He sent his oney and plate out of London, made over his
He had no aspirations after the crown of martyrdom. He confessed himself, therefore, with great decorum, heard mass in Wimbledon church at Easter, and, for the better ordering of his spiritual concerns, took a priest into his house. Doctor Nares, whose simplicity passes that of any casuist with whom we are ac quainted, vindicates his hero by assuring us, that this was not superstition, but pure unmixed hypocrisy. "That he did in some man. ner conform, we shall not be able, in the face of existing documents, to deny; while we feel in our own minds abundantly satisfied, that, during this very trying reign, he never aban doned the prospect of another revolution in favour of Protestantism." In another place, the doctor tells us, that Cecil went to mass" with no idolatrous intention." Nobody, we believe, ever accused him of idolatrous intentions. The very ground of the charge against him is, that he had no idolatrous intentions. Nobody would have blamed him if he had really gone to Wimbledon church, with the feelings of a good Catholic, to worship the host. Doctor Nares speaks in several places, with just se verity, of the sophistry of the Jesuits, and with just admiration of the incomparable letters of Pascal. It is somewhat strange, therefore, that he should adopt, to the full extent, the jesuitical doctrine of the direction of intentions.
We do not blame Cecil for not choosing to be burned. The deep stain upon his memory is, that, for differences of opinion for which he would risk nothing himself, he, in the day of his power, took away without scruple the lives of others. One of the excuses suggested in these Memoirs for his conforming, during the reign of Mary, to the Church of Rome, is, that he may have been of the same mind with those German Protestants who were called Adiaphorists, and who considered the popish rites as matters indifferent. Melancthon was one of these moderate persons, and "appears,” says Doctor Nares, "to have gone greater lengths than any imputed to Lord Burghley." We should have thought this not only an excuse, but a complete vindication, if Burghley had been an Adiaphorist for the benefit of others, as well as for his own. If the popish rites were matters of so little moment, that a good Protestant might lawfully practise them for his safety, how could it be just or humane that a Paptst should be hanged, drawn, and quartered, for practising them from a sense of duty. Unhappily, these non-essentials soon became matters of life and death. Just at the very time at which Burghley attained the highest point of power and favour, an act of Parliament was passed, by which the penalties of high treason were denounced against persons
who should do in sincerity what he had done from cowardice.
Early in the reign of Mary, Cecil was employed in a mission scarcely consistent with the character of a zealous Protestant. He was sent to escort the Papal legate, Cardinal Pole, from Brussels to London. That great hody of moderate persons, who cared more for the quiet of the realm than for the controverted points which were in issue between the churches, seem to have placed their chief hope in the wisdom and humanity of the gentle cardinal. Cecil, it is clear, cultivated the friendship of Pole with great assiduity, and received great advantage from his protection.
knee. For Burghley alone, a chair was set in her presence; and there the old minister, by birth only a plain Lincolnshire esquire, took his ease, while the haughty heirs of the Fitzalans and the De Veres humbled themselves to the dust around him. At length, having survived all his early coadjutors and rivals, he died full of years and honours. His royal mistress visited him on his death-bed, and cheered him with assurances of her affection and esteem; and his power passed, with little diminution, to a son who inherited his abili ties, and whose mind had been formed by his counsels.
The life of Burghley was commensurate with one of the most important periods in the history of the world. It exactly measures the time during which the house of Austria held unrivalled superiority, and aspired to universal dominion. In the year in which Burghley
rial crown. In the year in which Burghley died, the vast designs which had for nearly a century kept Europe in constant agitation, were buried in the same grave with the proud and sullen Philip.
But the best protection of Cecil, during the gloomy and disastrous reign of Mary, was that which he derived from his own prudence and from his own temper;-a prudence which could never be lulled into carelessness, a temper which could never be irritated into rash-was born, Charles the Fifth obtained the impeness. The Papists could find no occasion against him. Yet he did not lose the esteem even of those sterner Protestants who had preferred exile to recantation. He attached himself to the persecuted heiress of the throne, and entitled himself to her gratitude and confi- The life of Burghley was commensurate dence. Yet he continued to receive marks of also with the period during which a great mofavour from the queen. In the House of Com-ral revolution was effected; a revolution, the mons, he put himself at the head of the party opposed to the court. Yet so guarded was his language, that even when some of those who acted with him were imprisoned by the Privy Council, he escaped with impunity.
consequences of which were felt, not only in the cabinets of princes, but at half the firesides in Christendom. He was born when the great religious schism was just commencing. He lived to see the schism complete, to see a line of demarcation, which, since his death, has been very little altered, strongly drawn between Protestant and Catholic Europe.
At length Mary died. Elizabeth succeeded, and Cecil rose at once to greatness. He was sworn in privy counsellor and secretary of state to the new sovereign before he left her The only event of modern times which can prison of Hatfield; and he continued to serve be properly compared with the Reformation, is her for forty years, without intermission, in the the French Revolution; or, to speak more achighest employments. His abilities were pre-curately, that great revolution of political feelcisely those which keep men long in power. He belonged to the class of the Walpoles, the Pelhams, and the Liverpools; not to that of the St. Johns, the Carterets, the Chathams, and the Cannings. If he had been a man of original genius, and of a commanding mind, it would have been scarcely possible for him to keep his power, or even his head. There was not room in one government for an Elizabeth and a Richelieu. What the haughty daughter of Henry needed, was a moderate, cautious, flexible minister, skilled in the details of business, competent to advise, but not aspiring to command. And such a minister she found in Burghley. No arts could shake the confidence which she reposed in her old and trusty servant. The courtly graces of Leicester, the brilliant talents and accomplishments of Essex, touched the fancy, perhaps the heart, of the woman; but no rival could deprive the Treasurer of the place which he possessed in the favour of the queen. She sometimes chid him sharply; but he was the man whom she delighted to honour. For Burghley, she forgot her usual parsimony both of wealth and of dignities. For Burghley, she relaxed that severe etiquette to which she was unreasonably attached. Every other person to whom she addressed her speech, or on whom the glance of her eagle eye fell, instantly sank on his
ing which took place in almost every part of the civilized world during the eighteenth century, and which obtained in France its most terrible and signal triumph. Each of these memorable events may be described as a rising up of human reason against a caste. The one was a struggle of the laity against the clergy for intellectual liberty; the other was a struggle of the people against the privileged orders for political liberty. In both cases, the spirit of innovation was at first encouraged by the class to which it was likely to be most prejudicial. It was under the patronage of Frederick, of Catharine, of Joseph, and of the French nobles, that the philosophy which afterwards threatened all the thrones and aristocracies of Europe with destruction, first became formidable. The ardour with which men betook themselves to liberal studies at the close of the fifteenth and the beginning of the sixteenth century, was zealously encouraged by the heads of that very church, to which liberal studies were destined to be fatal. In both cases when the explosion came, it came with a vio lence which appalled and disgusted many of those who had previously been distinguished by the freedom of their opinions. The violence of the democratic party in France made Burke a tory, and Alfieri a courtier; the violence of the chiefs of the German schism made
mus a defender of abuses, and turned the au- of their spiritual bondage was effected "by thor of Utopia into a persecutor. In both cases, plagues and by signs, by wonders and by war" the convulsion which had overthrown deeply- We cannot but remember, that, as in the case seated errors, shook all the principles on which of the French Revolution, so also in the case society rests to their very foundations. The of the Reformation, those who rose up against minds of men were unsettled. It seemed for a tyranny were themselves deeply tainted with time that all order and morality were about to the vices which tyranny engenders. We can perish with the prejudices with which they had not but remember, that libe's scarcely less been long and intimately associated. Frightful scandalous than those of Herbert, mummeries cruelties were committed. Immense masses scarcely less absurd than those of Clootz, and of property were confiscated. Every part of crimes scarcely less atrocious than those of Europe swarmed with exiles. In moody and Marat, disgrace the early history of Protestturbulent spirits, zeal soured into malignity, or antism. The Reformation is an event long foamed into madness. From the political agi- past. The volcano has spent its rage. The tation of the eighteenth century sprang the Ja-wide waste produced by its outbreak is forgot cobins. From the religious agitation of the ten. The landmarks which were swept away sixteenth century sprang the Anabaptists. The partisans of Robespierre robbed and murdered in the name of fraternity and equality. The followers of Cnipperdoling robbed and murdered in the name of Christian liberty. The feeling of patriotism was, in many parts of Europe, almost wholly extinguished. All the old maxims of foreign policy were changed. Physical boundaries were superseded by moral boundaries. Nations made war on each other with new arms; with arms which no fortifications, however strong by nature or by art, could resist; with arms before which rivers parted like the Jordan, and ramparts fell down like the walls of Jericho. Those arms were opinions, reasons, prejudices. The great masters of fleets and armies were often reduced to confess, like Milton's warlike angel, how hard they found it
Spiritual substance with corporeal bar."
Europe was divided, as Greece had been divided during the period concerning which Thucydides wrote. The conflict was not, as it is in ordinary times, between state and state, but between two omnipresent factions, each of which was in some places dominant, and in other places oppressed, but which, openly or covertly, carried on their strife in the bosom of every society. No man asked whether another belonged to the same country with himself, but whether he belonged to the same sect. Party spirit seemed to justify and consecrate acts which, in any other times, would have been considered as the foulest of treasons. The French emigrant saw nothing disgraceful in bringing Austrian and Prussian hussars to Paris. The Irish or Italian democrat saw no impropriety in serving the French Directory against his own native government. So, in the sixteenth century, the fury of theological factions often suspended all national animosities and jealousies. The Spaniards were invited into France by the League; the English were invited into France by the Huguenots.
We by no means intend to underrate or to palliate the crimes and excesses which, during the last generation, were produced by the spirit of democracy. But when we find that men zealous for the Protestant religion, constantly represent the French Revolution as radically and essentially evil on account of those crimes and excesses, we cannot but remember, that the deliverance of our ancestors from the house
have been replaced. The ruined edifices have been repaired. The lava has covered with a rich incrustation the fields which it once devastated; and after having turned a garden into a desert, has again turned the desert into a still more beautiful and fruitful garden. The second great eruption is not yet over. The marks of its ravages are still all around us. The ashes are still hot beneath our feet. In some directions, the deluge of fire still continues to spread. Yet experience surely entitles us to believe that this explosion, like that which pre ceded it, will fertilize the soil which it has de vastated. Already, in those parts which have suffered most severely, rich cultivation and secure dwellings have begun to appear amidst the waste. The more we read of the history of past ages, the more we observe the signs of these times, the more do we feel our hearts filled and swelled up with a good hope for the future destinies of the human race.
The history of the Reformation in England is full of strange problems. The most promi nent and extraordinary phenomenon which it presents to us, is the gigantic strength of the government contrasted with the feebleness of the religious parties. During the twelve or thirteen years which followed the death of Henry the Eighth, the religion of the state was thrice changed. Protestantism was establish ed by Edward; the Catholic Church was restored by Mary; Protestantism was again established by Elizabeth. The faith of the nation seemed to depend on the personal inclinations of the sovereign. Nor was this all. An established church was then, as a matter of course, a persecuting church. Edward persecuted Catho lics. Mary persecuted Protestants. Elizabeth persecuted Catholics again. The father of those three sovereigns had enjoyed the pleasure of persecuting both sects at once; and had sent to death, on the same hurdle, the heretic whe denied the real presence, and the traitor who denied the royal supremacy. There was nothing in England like that fierce and bloody opposition, which, in France, each of the religious factions in its turn offered to the govern ment. We had neither a Coligni nor a Mayenne; neither a Moncontour nor an Ivry. No English city braved sword and famine for the reformed doctrines with the spirit of Rochelle; nor for the Catholic doctrines with the spirit of Paris. Neither sect in England formed a league. Neither sect extorted a recantatio from the sovereign. Neither sect could obta
from an adverse sovereign even a toleration. | liaments were as obsequious as his Parlia The English Protestants, after several years of ments, that her warrant had as much authority domination, sank down with scarcely a strug- as his lettre-de-cachet. The extravagance with gle under the tyranny of Mary. The Catholics, which her courtiers eulogized her personal and after having regained and abused their old as- mental charms, went beyond the adulation of cendency, submitted patiently to the severe Boileau and Molière. Louis would have blushed rule of Elizabeth. Neither Protestants nor to receive from those who composed the gorCatholics engaged in any great and well-orga-geous circles of Marli and Versailles, the outnized scheme of resistance. A few wild and tumultuous risings, suppressed as soon as they appeared, a few dark conspiracies, in which only a small number of desperate men engaged-such were the utmost efforts made by these two parties to assert the most sacred of human rights, attacked by the most odious tyranny.
ward marks of servitude which the haughty Britoness exacted of all who approached her. But the power of Louis rested on the support of his army. The power of Elizabeth rested solely on the support of her people. Those who say that her power was absolute do not sumciently consider in what her power consisted. Her power consisted in the willing obedience of her subjects, in their attachment
The explanation of these circumstances which has generally been given, is very sim-to her person and to her office, in their respect ple, but by no means satisfactory. The power of the crown, it is said, was then at its height, and was, in fact, despotic. This solution, we own, seems to us to be no solution at all.
for the old line from which she sprang, in their sense of the general security which they enjoyed under her government. These were the means, and the only means, which she had at her command for carrying her decrees into execution, for resisting foreign enemies, and for crushing domestic treason. There was not a ward in the city, there was not a hundred in any shire in England, which could not have overpowered the handful of armed men who composed her household. If a hostile sovereign threatened invasion, if an ambitious noble raised the standard of revolt, she could have recourse only to the trainhands of her capital, and the array of her counties, to the citizens and yeomen of England, commanded by the merchants and esquires of England.
It has long been the fashion, a fashion introduced by Mr. Hume, to describe the English monarchy in the sixteenth century as an absolute monarchy. And such undoubtedly it appears to a superficial observer. Elizabeth, it is true, often spoke to her Parliaments in language as haughty and imperious as that which the Great Turk would use to his divan. She punished with great severity members of the House of Commons, who, in her opinion, carried the freedom of debate too far. She assumed the power of legislating by means of proclamation. She imprisoned her subjects without bringing them to a legal trial. Torture Thus, when intelligence arrived of the vast was often employed, in defiance of the laws of preparations which Philip was making for the England, for the purpose of extorting confes-subjugation of the realm, the first person to sions from those who were shut up in her dungeons. The authority of the Star-Chamber and the Ecclesiastical Commission was at its highest point. Severe restraints were imposed on political and religious discussion. The number of presses was at one time limited. No man could print without a license; and every work had to undergo the scrutiny of the primate or the Bishop of London. Persons whose writings were displeasing to the court were cruelly mutilated ike Stubbs, or put to death, like Penry. Non formity was severely punished. The queen prescribed the exact rule of religious faith and discipline; and whoever departed from that rule, either to the right or to the left, was in danger of severe penalties.
Such was this government. Yet we know that it was loved by the great body of those who lived under it. We know that, during the fierce contests of the sixteenth century, both the hostile parties spoke of the time of Elizabeth as of a golden age. The great queen has now been lying two hundred and thirty years in Henry the Seventh's chapel. Yet her memory is still dear to the hearts of a free people.
The truth seems to be, that the government of the Tudors was, with a few occasional deviations, a popular government under the forms of despotism. At first sight, it may seem that the prerogatives of Elizabeth were not less ample than those of Louis the Fourteenth, that her Par
whom the government thought of applying for assistance was the Lord Mayor of London. They sent to ask him what force the city would engage to furnish for the defence of the kingdom against the Spaniards. The mayor and common council, in return, desired to know what force the queen's highness desired them to furnish. The answer was-fifteen ships and five thousand men. The Londoners deliberated on the matter, and two days after "humbly entreated the council, in sign of their perfect love and loyalty to prince and country, to accept ten thousand men, and thirty ships amply furnished."
People who could give such signs as these of their loyalty were by no means to be misgoverned with impunity. The English in the sixteenth century were, beyond all doubt, a free people. They had not, indeed, the outward show of freedom; but they had the reality. They had not a good constitution, but they had that without which the best constitution is as useless as the king's proclamation against vice and immorality, that which, without any con stitution, keeps rulers in awe-force, and the spirit to use it. Parliaments, it is true, were rarely held; and were not very respectfully treated. The Great Charter was often violated. But the people had a security against gross and systematic misgovernment, far strenger than all the parchment that was ever marked with the sign manual, and than all the wax that was ever pressed by the great sent
It is a common error in politics to confound governs in conformity with certain rules es means with ends. Constitutions, charters, pe-tablished for the public benefit; and the sanetitions of right, declarations of right, repre- tion of those rules is, that every Afghan apsentative assemblies, electoral colleges, are not proves them, and that every Afghan is a solgood government; nor do they, even when dier. most elaborately constructed, necessarily produce good government. Laws exist in vain for those who have not the courage and the means to defend them. Electors meet in vain where want renders them the slaves of the landlord; or where superstition renders them the slaves of the priest. Representative assemblies sit in vain unless they have at their command, in the last resort, the physical power which is necessary to make their deliberations free, and their votes effectual.
The Irish are better represented in Parliament than the Scotch, who indeed are not represented at all. But are the Irish better governed than the Scotch? Surely not. This circumstance has of late been used as an argument against reform. It proves nothing against reform. It proves only this; that laws have no magical, no supernatural virtue; that laws do not act like Aladdin's lamp or Prince Ahmed's apple; that priestcraft, that ignorance, that the rage of contending factions may make good institutions useless; that intelligence, sobriety, industry, moral freedom, firm union, may supply in a great measure the defects of the worst representative system. A people whose education and habits are such, that, in every quarter of the world, they rise above the mass of those with whom they mix, as surely as oil rises to the top of water; a people of such temper and self-government, that the wildest popular excesses recorded in their history partake of the gravity of judicial proceedings, and of the solemnity of religious rites; a people whose national pride and mutual attachment have passed into a proverb; a people whose high and fierce spirit, so forcibly described in the haughty motto which encircles their thistle, preserved their independence, during a struggle of centuries, from the encroachments of wealthier and more powerful neighbours,-such a people cannot be long oppressed. Any government, however constituted, must respect their wishes, and tremble at their discontents. It is indeed most desirable that such a people should exercise a direct influence on the conduct of affairs, and should make their wishes known through constitutional organs. But some influence, direct or indirect, they will assuredly possess. Some organ, constitutional or unconstitutional, they will assuredly find. They will be better go verned under a good constitution than under a bad constitution. But they will be better governed under the worst constitution than some other nations under the best. In any general classification of constitutions, the constitution of Scotland must be reckoned as one of the worst, perhaps as the worst in Christian Euope. Yet the Scotch are not ill governed. And the reason is simply that they will not bear to be ill governed.
The monarchy of England in the sixteenth century was a monarchy of this kind. It is called an absolute monarchy, because little respect was paid by the Tudors to those insti tutions which we have been accustomed to consider as the sole checks on the power of the sovereign. A modern Englishman can hardly understand how the people can have had any real security for good government un der kings who levied benevolences and chid the House of Commons as they would have chid a pack of dogs. People do not sufficiently consider that, though the legal checks were feeble, the natural checks were strong. There was one great and effectual limitation on the royal authority-the knowledge that if the pa tience of the nation were severely tried, the nation would put forth its strength, and that its strength would be found irresistible. If a large body of Englishmen became thoroughly discontented, instead of presenting requisitions, holding large meetings, passing resolutions, signing petitions, forming associations and unions, they rose up; they took their halberds and their bows; and if the sovereign was not sufficiently popular to find among his subjects other halberds and other bows to oppose to the rebels, nothing remained for him but a repetition of the horrible scenes of Berkeley and Pomfret. He had no regular army which could by its superior arms and its superior skill overawe or vanquish the sturdy commons of his realm, abounding in the native hardihood of Englishmen, and trained in the simple discipline of the militia.
It has been said that the Tudors were as absolute as the Cæsars. Never was parallel so unfortunate. The government of the Tudors was the direct opposite to the government of Augustus and his successors. The Cæsars ruled despotically, by means of a great standing army, under the decent forms of a republi can constitution. They called themselves citizens. They mixed unceremoniously with other citizens. In theory they were only the elective magistrates of a free commonwealth. Instead of arrogating to themselves despotic power, they acknowledged obedience to the senate. They were merely the lieutenants of that venerable body. They mixed in debate. They even appeared as advocates before the courts of law. Yet they could safely indulge in the wildest freaks of cruelty and rapacity while their legions remained faithful. Our Tudors, on the other hand, under the titles and forms of monarchical supremacy, were essentially popular magistrates. They had no means of protecting themselves against the public hatred; and they were therefore compelled to court the public favour. To enjoy all the state and all the personal indulgences of absolute power, to be adored with Oriental prostrations, In some of the Orienta: monarchies, in Af- to dispose at will of the liberty and even of the ghanistan, for example, though there exists | life of ministers and courtiers-this the nation nothing which a European publicist would granted to the Tudors. But the condition on all a constitution, the sovereign generally which they were suffered to be the tyrants of