« ForrigeFortsett »
ART. VI. State Papers collected by Edward Earl of Clarendon. Vo lume the Second. Folio. Large Paper 11. 15s. in Sheets. Small Paper 11. 5s. 6d. Oxford printed, and fold by T. Payne in London. 1773.
N the accounts we gave of the former part of this great collection, we blamed the Editors for not always paying a due attention to the order of time in which the papers ought to be inferted; and we mentioned two inftances in particular, wherein it appeared to us that letters had been introduced in an improper place. It hath fince been fuggefted to us, that we were too hafty in our cenfure; and that, if we had compared the letters in queftion, with the rule and its exceptions laid down in the preface, we fhould have found no juft caufe for complaint. Not having, at present, that edition of the Clarendon papers by us to which we then referred, we cannot fay how far this ftricture upon our conduct is well founded. But we intimated, at the time, that it might be deemed too minute criticism, to enlarge on the inadvertencies which had, as we thought, occurred to us; and it must be acknowledged, that a fagacious and diligent editor may occafionally have good reafons for the tranfpofition of his materials, which may not immediately be perceived, even by an attentive reader.
The Reverend Dr. Richard Scrope, of Magdalen College, Oxford, is the fole publisher of the volume before us. The difficulties attending the undertaking, and which have occafioned the progrefs of it to be flower than could otherwise have been defired, are ftated by him in the preface; from which we learn, with pleasure, that the trustees of the late Lord Hyde have indulged the Editor with much fuller powers of felection than were formerly given to him, in conjunction with his colleague.
It was mentioned in the firft volume, that this entire collection of manufcripts confifted of two parts, viz. of fuch papers as were given to the Univerfity by the noble defcendants of the firft Earl of Clarendon, and of fuch as were communicated by the late Richard Powney, LL. D. in order to be published jointly with the former, of which they were originally a part. But fince that time there has been transmitted to the University a third and very material portion of the collection, which was in the poffeffion of Jofeph Radcliffe, Efq; one of the executors to Edward Earl of Clarendon, who was grandfon to the first Earl, and died in the year 1723.
Some other material acceffions have alfo been made to the collection; for much the greater part of which the Public is indebted to the unwearied zeal and industry of the very worthy. C 3 and
and learned Dr. John Douglas, canon of Windfor; who has made it his business to draw together all the detached and fcattered parts of the original collection. It was by means of this gentleman, that the re-union between the Powney papers and the Hyde part of the collection was effected. He was afterwards commiffioned to purchase the papers left by Mr. Radcliffe. He has fince himself purchased, and thrown into the common ftock, a parcel of manufcripts, which belonged to the late Mr. Guthrie. By Dr. Douglas's means, other important additions have been procured; and the Editor is obliged to him for many valuable hints and informations, which have been of confiderable ufe in conducting the prefent publication,
The title of the preceding volume was, State Paper's collected by Edward Earl of Clarendon.-Containing the Materials from which his Hiftory of the great Rebellion was compofed, and the Authorities on which the Truth of his Relation is founded. From this title we took occafion to exprefs our apprehenfions, that the noble Hiftorian had culled out every thing of sterling worth, and that what was left behind, was little better than drofs. But now a very different fcene prefents itfelf. The Editor is convinced, upon a farther infight into the materials before him, of the impropriety of continuing the fame title to the fecond volume, which was prefixed to the former; and which was then adopted upon a very partial view and comparifon of the contents of it with the hiftory of the rebellion.
For, not to mention, fays Dr. Scrope, that there are many valuable papers below the period of that hiftory, it will appear, even upon a curfory reading of this volume alone, that there are many curious and entertaining particulars of which Lord Clarendon has taken no notice, either in that hiftory, or in his life, and the continuation of his life, published a few years fince; and ftill farther, that there is at least one very import ant point of hiftory, on which he has alfo been filent, the uncertainty whereof has afforded matter of controversy to the ableft historians of later days, but which is by these papers placed beyond all manner of doubt. Indeed, there is nothing more evident, than that much of his hiftory of the rebellion was composed when he was at a distance from those materials, the most important parts of which are now, and will hereafter, be presented to the Public in the prefent work.'
If this account fhews, as it undoubtedly doth, that the collection of the Clarendon ftate papers is much more valuable and interefting than we at first apprehended, it reflects, at the fame time, a proportionable degree of difcredit on the hiftory of the rebellion. Independently of Lord Clarendon's particular fentiments and reprefentations of things, we have long been feasible that there are feveral inftances in which he is erroneous.
or defective in bis relation of facts themfelves. This is now rendered indubitable by the publication before us, and by the teftimony of a friend to his memory, who, of all others, is the beft acquainted with the fubject. As thefe papers will be too voluminous and expenfive ever to fall into the hands of the generality of readers, it must certainly hereafter be defirable, for fome well-wifher to the noble Earl's reputation, to collect together the various particulars, by which he would probably have given additional accuracy and perfection to his history, had he been poffeffed of his original and authentic memorials, at the time in which it was finished.
The papers comprized in this volume, commence in the year 1637, and are brought down to King Charles the Second's fafe arrival on the Continent after the battle of Worcester; fo that they include a most important and interefting period of the English hiftory, to which they may juftly be regarded as a valuable acquifition.
In the first fet of letters which we here meet with, we have a continuation of Secretary Windebank's correfpondence with his Majefty, and feveral eminent perfons. These were probably the Secretary's most confidential dispatches, which escaped the vigiJance of the parliament. They relate to various tranfactions at home and abroad, down to the 16th of October, 1640; and many of them are very curious. The following letter, from the Earl of Newcastle, on his being appointed Gentleman of the Bedchamber to the Prince of Wales, may ferve to fhew the high fenfe which the nobility at that time entertained of a court favour. The Earl of Newcastle to Mr. Secretary Windebank. Noble Sir,
"I beseech you to prefent me in the most humble manner in the world to his Sacred Majefty, and to let his Majefty know I fhall as cheerfully as diligently obey his Majefty's commands. Truly, the infinite favour, honour, and truft his Majefty is pleafed to heap on me in this princely employment, is beyond any thing I can exprefs. It was beyond a hope of the most partial thoughts I had about me: neither is there any thing in me left, but a thankful heart filled with diligence, and obedience to his Sacred Majefty's will.
It is not the leaft favour of the King and Queen's Majefties to let me know my obligation. And I pray, Sir, humbly inform their Majefties, it is my greateft bleffing that I owe myfelf to none but their Sacred Majesties. God ever preferve them and their's, and make me worthy of their Majefties' favours!
"I have had but feldom the honour to receive letters from you; but fuch as these you cannot write often. But truly I am very proud I received fuch happy news by your hand, which fhall ever oblige me to be inviolably,
Welbeck, the zift of
Sir, Your most faithful rutai
In one of Windebank's letters to his Majefty, there is an hif torical circumstance, respecting Sir Francis Seymour's conduct in the affair of Ship-money, which is much to that gentleman's honour, and is little, if at all, known. The marginal note of the King, accompanying the letter, is a fufficient indication of his arbitrary principles.
"Sir Francis Seymour, upon complaint of the fheriff of Wilts, that he refused to pay the shipping-money, and that his example difcouraged others, which is the caufe of the great arrears in that county, was called to the board upon Wednesday laft: where he told the lords, he had against his confcience, and upon the importunity of his friends, paid that money twice; but now his confcience would fuffer him no more to do a thing (as he thought) fo contrary to law and to the liberty of a fubject. He further acquainted the lords, he had lately received a letter from the board, giving him notice of your Majefty's expedition in the North, and was ready to give an anfwer. My lords apprehending by his boldness in the shipping bufinefs, that he came prepared with a worfe on this, told him they expected his answer in writing, and would not hearken to any verbal difcourfe: only wifhed him to be well advifed how he spake against the legality of the former, feeing it is fettled by a judgment, and fo confirmed by the judges. He would have replied; but my lords commanded him to withdraw; and after, gave Sir Edward Baynton, the sheriff of the county for the precedent year, commandment to diftrain his goods; which he hath hitherto forborn in regard of his birth, and power in the country; and he verily be lieves, he will make refiftance.
"This is too much unpleafing matter Barvike 29 May 1639. for your Majefty, for which I most humbly crave your princely pardon, and that I may nevertheless have the honour to rest
Ye muft needs make bim an example, not only by diftrefs, but, if it be poffible, an information in Jome courte, as Mr. Aturnie Shall advyfe,
Drury Lane, 24th May 1630.
moft humble and obedient Subject and Servant, FRAN. WINDEBANK." Among the reft of Secretary Windebank's papers, we find a narrative, by Lord Conway, of his conduct in the action at Newburn, and of the reafons of his retreat from Newcastle; which throws important light upon thofe events, and fhews, be yond a reafonable doubt, that his Lordship hath been very unjustly cenfured by all our hiftorians, not excepting the Earl of Clarendon himself.
Sir Francis Windebank's difpatches are fucceeded by a number of letters, written by a variety of perfons, on a variety of occafions. Here Mr. Hyde's correfpondence properly begins; and it is intermixed with many other papers, relative to the affairs both of England and Ireland. The letter fubjoined, from
the Lord Mountnorris to the Earl of Strafford, will be deemed the more remarkable, as it was fent to that nobleman, the day before his execution.
The Lord Mountnorris to the Earl of Strafford.
"With all humble fincerity of heart I speak it, I come not to you to difturb your peace, but to further it. My conscience witneffeth with me, as I hope for falvation, that, until you took away the Secretary's place from me, I honoured and efteemed you as my beft friend, and never wittingly offended you in word or deed, but unbofomed my heart and advice to you, as I would have done to my father, if he had been living. And how fervently I fought your reconciliation, my feveral letters, and my poor afflicted wife's, written and directed to yourself, may testify for me. You brought me into difgrace caufelessly with my gracious Sovereign; whom I call God to be my witness I have ferved with all poffible faithfulness: and the depriving me of his Majesty's favour, hath been, and is more griev ous to me than any death can be. You have publickly dishonoured and difgraced me by accufing me of bribery, corruption, and oppreffion, whereof my God knows I am innocent; and for trial thereof I have fubmitted myself to the stricteft fcrutiny of the parliament. You have by a high and powerful hand by mifinformation to his Majefty, ftripped me of all my offices and employments, and fo impoverished me in my eftate, and brought fo many calamities upon me and my diftreffed wife and her feven children, who are nearly allied to her that is a faint in heaven, and was the mother of your dear children, as have ruined their fortunes, which I hoped would have been advanced by your favourable furtherance. My Lord, I beseech you pardon me for making this woeful relation, which proceeds from a grieved forrowful foul with tears from my eyes; not for myself, (for Ï bless God my afflictions have weaned me from this world, and my heart is fixed upon a heavenly habitation) but for my poor infants' fakes, whom I am like by these occafions to leave diftreffed, if his Majesty take not confideration of them. If your Lordship's heart do not tell you you have been too cruel to me and mine, I must leave it to the fearcher of all hearts to be judge betwixt us; but if it do, you may be pleased, in difcharge of a good confcience, to make fome fignification thereof to his Majefly; and I will not doubt but my God will difpofe his Majesty's heart to take compaffion of my poor infants, and reward it into the bofom of you and your's accordingly. And, my Lord, I do from my heart forgive you all the wrongs you have done to me and mine; and do upon the knees of my heart beseech my God not to lay them to your charge, but to receive your foul into his glorious prefence, where all tears fhall be wiped from your eyes. Amen, amen, sweet Jesus! which shall be the inceffant prayer of
11 of May 1641,
Brother in Chrift Jefus,
FRA. MOUNTNORRIS." Lord Digby having spoken, in a letter written from Dublin to Sir Edward Hyde, of the proceedings against the Earl of