ページの画像
PDF
ePub

minican friar, whose real name was Christopher Davenport, was Goodman's most intimate companion, and exercised such influence over his mind, as to induce him to adopt the Romish faith. The editor of his memoirs leaves this matter in doubt; but it is sheer folly to do so when Wood and Walker unhesitatingly admit it. The evidence of the bishop's Will, to say nothing of other proof, is conclusive on this point. It may be very possible and very easy to charge Goodman with inconsistency; but the language of his Will is incapable of any other fair construction than that which has been generally put on it. The fact would appear to be that, in this, as in some other points, the ex-bishop of Gloucester was but a specimen-only a little more perfected-of a large portion of the clergy of his day. Protestant in name, but popish in spirit, they were indebted to the accidents of their age rather than to any enlightened appreciation of the reformed faith, for their position in the English church.

We have deemed it advisable to preface our remarks on the work before us with this brief sketch of the history of its author, as the weight of the opinions delivered, and the general accuracy of the views broached, must be regarded, in all fairness, in connexion with the known sentiments and predilections of the writer.

The Bishop's memoirs are contained in the first volume, and fully bear out the character which Wood ascribes to Goodman. They are written in an unostentatious and homely style, are remarkably free from acrimony, and destitute of any of those points of strong interest which arise from superior sagacity, or a profound development of the inward and spiritual springs of human conduct. Most of the leading statesmen of the day are sketched, but it is with a feeble hand. The rude outline, rather than the finished portrait, is presented to view; but there is a good-nature and kind-heartedness evinced throughout the whole, which wins upon us in the absence of higher intellectual qualities. The writer passes at will, backwards and forwards, from the reign of Elizabeth to that of James; and then again to the maiden Queen;' and withal, though somewhat tiresome, is sufficiently amusing to lead us on to the end of his volume. His narrative is, consequently, desultory; and many of the personages who figure in it are too insignificant to be viewed with much interest. Still, we confess, the volume is such an one as we love occasionally to take up, and the light it throws on some of the intrigues and conspiracies of the day, renders it a useful and amusing addition to our history of the times. The good bishop was induced to draw up his narrative by the publication of a pamphlet by Sir Anthony Weldon, severely reflecting on the character and government of King James.

I cannot say,' he remarks, that I was an eye and ear witness, but truly I have been an observer of the times, and what I shall relate of my own knowledge, God knows, is most true; my conjecturals I conceive to be true, but do submit them to better judgment. I shall take the liberty of an historian, and whereas the knight is pleased to speak some things on the word of a gentleman, truly what I write shall be in verbo sacerdotis, which I did ever conceive to be an oath.'—Vol. I.

page 1.

The following account of Queen Elizabeth exhibits some of the more striking points of the character of that celebrated princess, whose dignified condescension and high-minded confidence in her people, were so strongly blended with feminine vanity and weakness.

• In the year '88, I did then live at the upper end of the Strand near St. Clement's Church, when suddenly there came a report unto us, (it was in December, much about five of the clock at night, very dark,) that the Queen was gone to council, and if you will see the Queen you must come quickly. Then we all ran; when the Court gates were set open, and no man did hinder us from coming in.

There we came where there was a far greater company than was usually at Lenten Sermons; and when we had staid there an hour and that the yard was full, there being a number of torches, the Queen came out in great state. Then we cried, God save your majesty! God save your majesty! Then the Queen turned unto us and said, 'God bless you all, my good people! Then we cried again, God save your majesty! God save your majesty! Then the Queen said again unto us, You may well have a greater prince, but you shall never have a more loving prince:' and so looking one upon another awhile the Queen departed. This wrought such an impression upon us, for shows and pageants are ever best seen by torch-light, that all the way long we did nothing but talk what an admirable queen she was, and how we would adventure our lives to do her service. Now this was in a year when she had most enemies, and how easily might they have then gotten into the crowd and multitude to have done her a mischief !

But here we were to come in at the Court gates, and there was all the danger of searching.

* Take her then in her yearly journeys at her coming to London, where you must understand that she did desire to be seen and to be magnified; but in her old age she had not only wrinkles, but she had a goggle throat, a great gullet hanging out, as her grandfather Henry the Seventh is ever painted withal; for in young people the glandels do make all things seem smooth and fair, but in old people the glandels being shrunk, the gullet doth make a little deformity. And truly, there was then a report that the ladies had gotten false looking-glasses, that the Queen might not see her own wrinkles ; for having been exceeding beautiful and fair in her youth, such beauties are ever aptest for wrinkles in old age. So then the Queen's constant custom was a little before her coronation-day to come from Richmond

to London, and to dine with my Lord Admiral at Chelsea, and to set out from Chelsea at dark night, where the Lord Mayor and the Aldermen were to meet her; and here all the way long from Chelsea to Whitehall was full of people to see her, and truly any man might very easily have come to her coach. Now if she thought that she had been in danger, how is it credible that she should so adventure herself? King James, who was as harmless a king as any was in our age, and consequently had as few enemies, yet wore quilted doublets stiletto proof: the Queen had many enemies; all her wars depended upon

her life ; she had likewise very fearful examples: the first Duke of Guise was shot ; Henry the Third, the French king, was stabbed; the Duke of Orange was pistoled ;-and these might make the Queen take heed.'-Ib. pp. 163–165.

It is well known that Elizabeth's popularity greatly declined toward the close of her reign. All contemporary historians bear witness to this, however they may differ in their attempts to account for it. The following is our bishop's version :

« Then, for the Queen, she was ever hard of access, and grew to be very covetous in her old days: so that whatsoever she undertɔok, she did it to the halves only, to save charge; that suits were very hardly gotten, and in effect more spent in expectation and attendance than the suit could any way countervail ; that the court was very much neglected, and in effect the people were very generally weary of an old woman's government. And this no doubt might be some cause of the Queen's melancholy, and that she should break out into such words as these: They have yoked my neck-I can do nothing, I have not one man in whom I can repose trust: I am a miserable forlorn woman.' But after a few years, when we had experience of the Scottish government, then in disparagement of the Scots, and in hate and detestation of them, the Queen did seem to revive; then was her memory much magnified,-such ringing of bells, such public joy and sermons in commemoration of her, the picture of her tomb painted in many churches, and in effect more solemnity and joy in menory of her coronation than was for the coming in of King James.'-Ib. pp. 96—98.

Goodman speaks of King James with all the affection of an old domestic. He acknowledges that he was more beholden to King * James than to all the men in the world ;' and expresses a hope that he may never live to be wanting unto him in all those

Christian duties which are required from the living to the * dead.' This is amiable and praiseworthy, but obviously militates against our placing entire confidence in the brighter colorings of the picture which he draws. He is obviously concerned to extenuate his master's faults ;—to such an extent, indeed, is this disposition manifested, as to destroy the weight of his testimony when favorable to the monarch. Truth, however, will vindicate itself, and the admissions which it extorts are of greater authority

from the reluctance with which they are made. Let this be borne in mind, and the following will need no comment.

• Truly I did never know any man of so great an apprehension, of so great love and affection,-a man so truly just, so free from all cruelty and pride, such a lover of the church, and one that had done so much good for the church. In effect, all the bishoprics in Ireland and Scotland were erected and endowed by him; whereof one bishopric in Ireland, as I have heard, namely, Clogher, doth exceed any one bishopric in England. And as I have spoken this in his commendation, so, on the other side, I must needs blame him, that he was a man wonderfully passionate, much given to swearing, and he was not so careful of his carriage as he might be. I heard a very wise man take great exceptions against him, that the first year of his coming hither, when there was in London a greater plague than ever before had been, yet he took it not to heart, nor made such use of God's judgments as he should have done ; for he never neglected one day's hunting, and in his words he sometimes gave great offence both in respect of God and man. I forbear to instance in them : yet, to excuse theni a little, this was for the instant and in hot blood; for if you would give him but a little respite he was as patient as any man, and could as well moderate his passion.'— Ib. pp. 91, 92.

The Gunpowder Plot comes in, of course, for a share of the bishop's attention, but his narrative adds little to our previous stock of facts. It is well known that the Catholics looked to the accession of the son of Mary to the English throne with considerable expectations. They had suffered much in his mother's cause, and it was therefore natural for them to anticipate some exercise of forbearance and kindness from the son. In this, however, they were disappointed. The filial virtues did not flourish in the heart of James; and he retained, consequently, no sense of obligation to those who had befriended his ill-fated and injured parent. His conduct during his long imprisonment had been any thing but honorable, so as to leave on every observant spectator the full conviction that, whatever might be his anxiety on her account, his solicitude to secure a peaceful succession to the throne of Elizabeth was vastly more efficacious. We need not, therefore, be surprised that the dark and scheming spirits of some of the Catholics sought to punish his ingratitude, and to avenge the wrongs of their fallen church, by calling to their aid the demon powers of mischief. “They did every way conclude,' says Goodman, that their estate was desperate; they could die but once,

and their religion was more precious unto them than their lives.' Out of this bitter disappointment originated the Gunpowder Plot, the principal actors in which are thus sketched by our author :

• Now I must describe the persons of some of those traitors. Percy was a kinsman to the Earl of Northumberland: the earl, being captain

of the Pensioners, did make him one of the King's Pensioners. It is certain that he was a very loose liver-that he had two wives, one in the south and another in the north. An honourable good lady said, she knew them both ; his wife in the south was so mean and poor that she was fain to teach school and bring up gentlewomen; there are yet some living that were her scholars. He living then with the Earl of Northumberland, the house was not thought to be very religious. I remember there was a report that one Hericke did use to resort to the house, and that he was wont there to read lectures of atheism ; so I conceive that Percy was not very religious. Then, for Catesby, it is very well known that he was a very cunning subtle man, exceedingly entangled in debts, and scarce able to subsist. This man took a house in Lambeth, and to this house all the barrels of powder were to be brought, that so by night they might be conveyed to Mr. Percy's house, who had taken a house from the keeper of the parliament, with an intent to undermine the parliament house; but coming to a wall, and finding it very hard and difficult, and the gentlemen not accustomed to labour or to be pioneers, they fell to an easier course, to hire the coal-house under the parliament, and there to put in so much charcoal as would hide and cover the barrels of powder; and yet they were so negligent as they did not throw in that earth which they digged out of the mine, but left it open that it might be seen ;-and I myself did see it.

"To these I will annex Tresham, a man of a good estate, and a strict catholic; and he it was that wrote the letter to my Lord Mounteagle, who lived then at Bethnall Green near Aldgate; and this man was thought to be somewhat weak in judgment, and it is not unlike he might help out other men's poverty and bear a great part of the charge.

• There was there Christopher Winter, a man, as I take it, of a good estate ; there was Thomas Winter, a very able understanding man. There was there Mr. Rookwood, a man of a competent estate but somewhat indebted, very ingenious, and a man exceedingly well beloved. And to conclude all, there was Henry Garnet, the provincial jesuit, a very learned man, and a very judicious, nice, understanding man.

Now it is conceived that when as once they had entered into traitorous considerations and were guilty of treason, that Percy, who hired this house adjoining the parliament, did put them upon this particular plot; and this is most certain ; I will name my author, who is beyond all exception, Sir Francis Moore, who had been an ancient acquaintance to this Mr. Percy, for he had formerly solicited the Earl of Northumberland's suits, and had married his wife out of that house. Being the Lord Keeper Egerton's favourite, and having some occasion of business with him at twelve of the clock at night, and going then homeward from York House to the Middle Temple at two, severa. times he met Mr. Percy coming out of that great statesman's house and wondered what his business should be there. But now the time came of acting this treason ; and the plot was, that Faux alone should be left in Westminster to act the deed, while all the rest should be in the country, and there, under colour of a great hunting, they should VOL, VI.

H

« 前へ次へ »