Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

French to the States General, (dated, exactly as it stands in the margin of “the Historical Pretace,” March 6th, 1613,! was composed at the dictation of ANDREWS and OVERAL, both of whom have always been regarded, by all parties, as two of the most able and judicious Prelates that the Church of England ever enjoyed. Knowing the intentions of the States of Holland to issue the famous decree concerning a mutual Toleration, which Grotius had composed, and which I have cursorily described in page 432, the two Bishops, and probably others of their friends, might consider it to be their duty to point out to his Majesty the glorious opportunity which then presented itself of the King of England being the first man to propose such a godlike expedient, for composing the religious differences in the Low Countries. The King wrote the letter; and the States of Holland, as if touched with a magic wand, immediately passed their decree, a draught of which was transmitted to England for his Majesty's revision and emendation. The celebrated Isaac Casaubon, who was at that time the king's literary favourite, officially communicated to Grotius the high approval and encomiums of " his most Serene Majesty, of his Grace the Archbishop [Abbot,] and of other prelates of consummate erudition !” Extracts from the king's letter and from that of Casaubon, are inserted in the Works of ARMINIUS, vol. 1, pp. 411, 412.

The reader has now materials, from which he may form a tolerably accurate judgment of the alleged " surreptitious manner in which Grotius, like a great Statesman, contrived through his friends to obtain the King's approbation, which was deemed of great importance in Holland, on account of the distant ties of affinity, which had just then linked together his Majesty and Prince Maurice, in the persons of the youthful Elector Palatine and his blooming and accomplished consort the Princess Elizabeth. The disappointed Abbot and his high Predestinarian friends would undoubtedly say, that his Majesty's approval was “surreptitiously obtained,” because it was not procured through their influence, and was contrary to their wishes : But they found the King so pleased with the success of his pacific advice, ihat, after a little impertinent carping, Archbishop Abbot, who possessed more Calvinistic shrewdness than his admirers are in the habit of awarding to him, concurred in the united admiration of che Dutch Edict to which the other Courl-divines had given utterance.

What is Mr. Scott's sage comment on this morsel of ecclesiastical or, rather, of political history? He employs it, as he has done more trifting incidents, to enhance the value of his reputed “authentic records.”_" It should be noted,” he says, “that this “ narrative was published several years before the death of “ James ; who therefore, it must be presumed, was willing to “ have it thought, that these letters were surreptitiously obtained * by Grotius.” Before Mr. Scott wrote this sentence, he ought to have studied the following definition, by Sir Henry Wotton, and the occasion upon which it was written :* Legatus est vir bonus peregrè missus ad mentiendum Reipublicæ causâ, An ambas'sador is a good man, sent abroad to lie for the sake of his country," Many ambassadors employed by King James, beside Sir Henry Wotton, might have used the double meaning which the English phrase “lies abroad” implies, had they attempted to describe the nature of some of the services in which they were engaged.* But the nice distinction of the politicians of those days, “ that an ambassador acts not in a personal but in a ministerial capacity," generally settled all qualms of conscience; and, in reference to this observation, every man acquainted with the private history of Sir Ralph Winwood and Sir Dudley Carleton, consecutively ambassadors at the Hague during the religious dissensions in Holland, will lament that two men, so generally estimable and judicious, should have been placed, by their Sovereign or his confidential advisers, in circumstances, in which, on account of the part that they were expected to act, they could not possibly gain any accession to their characters or reputation.

• The occasion is thus related by Isaac Walton :

“ For eight years after Sir Henry Wotton's going into Italy, he stood fair and highly valued in the King's opinion, but at last became much clouded by an accident, which I shall proceed to relate.

" At his first going ambassador into Italy, as he passed through Germany, he stayed some days

at Augusta ; where having been in his former travels well known by many of the best note for learning and ingeniousness, (those that are esteemed the virtuosi of that nation,) with whom he passing an evening in merriment, was requested by Christopher Flecamore to write some sentence in his albo, (a book of white paper, which for that purpose many of the German gentry usually carry about them;) and Sir Henry Wotton consenting to the motion, took an occasion from some accidental discourse of the present company, to write a pleasant defini. tion of an ambassador, in these very words :

Legatus est vir bonus peregrè missus ad mentiendum Reipublicæ causâ.

“ Which Sir Henry Wotton could have been content should have been thus Englished :

« An Ambassador is an honest man, sent to LIE ABROAD for the good of his country.

" But the word for LIE (being the hinge upon which the conceit was to turn), was not so exprest in Latin, as would admit (in the hands of an enemy especially), so fair a construction as Sir Henry thought in English. Yet as it was, it slept quietly among other sentences in this albo, almost eight years, till' by accident it fell into the hands of Jasper Scioppius, a Romanist, a man of a restless spirit, and a malicious pen ; who, with books against King James, prints this as a principle of that religion professed by the King, and his ambassador Sir Henry Wotton, then at Venice : and in Venice it was presently after written in several glass. windows, and spitefully declared to be Sir Henry Wotton's.

“ This coming to the knowledge of King James, he apprehended it to be such an oversight, such a weakness, or worse, in Sir Henry Wotton, as caused the King to express much wrath against him: And this caused Sir Henry Wotton to write two apologies, one to Velserus (one of the chiefs of Augusta) in the universal language, which he caused to be printed, and given, and scattered in the most remarkable places both of Germany and Italy, as an antidote against the venomous books of Scioppius; and another apology to King James ; which were both so ingenious, so clear, and so choicely eloquent, that his Majesty (who was a pure judge of it), could not forbear, at the receipt thereof, to declare publicly, that Sir Henry Wotton had commuted sufficiently for a greater offence.'

“ And now, as broken bones well set become stronger, so Sir Henry Wotton did not only recover, but was much more confirmed in his Majesty's estimation and favour than formerly he had been.

“ And as that man of great wit and useful fancy, (his friend Dr. Donne,) gave in a will of his, (a will of conceits,) his reputation to his friends, and his industry to his foes, because from thence he received both: So those friends, that in this time of trial laboured to excuse this facetious freedom of Sir Henry Wotton's, were to him more dear, and by him more highly valued ; and those acquaintance that urged this as an advantage against him, caused him by this error to grow both more wise, and (which is the best fruit error can bring forth) for the * future to become more industriously watchful over his longue and pen."

Mr. Scott, however, has mistaken the cause of King James's silence : It was not a token of his consent to the imputation against Grotius, conveyed in “ the Historical Preface;" but it was a token of greater prudence than his Majesty usually displayed. For Grotius and his friends were in possession of other letters from King James, which would have put the sincerity of the monarch in a shape somewhat too questionable, had they been contrasted with his subsequent cruel and despicable conduct towards the Dutch Arminians. But Grotius was too noble an adversary, and entertained too high a reverence for the office, if not for the person of his Majesty, to implicate him needlessly in matters in which he had granted his meddling humour an una bounded indulgence: In the “ Apology” therefore, which, Dr. Bates tells us, (p. 589,) “ was the first work published by Grotius after he had regained his liberty” in 1621, King James saw additional reasons for silence on this topic.

This circumstance will likewise serve to explain the cause of the silence about Mr. Scott's renowned “ Historical Preface," which was maintained by Grotius's cotemporaries, the English Calvinists. On the publication of the APOLOGY, those eminent men who had been the British Deputies at the Synod of Dort, perceived that all the “authentic" and all “ the public records," with which, in this late age of the world, Mr. Scott has been wishful of bedecking his beloved Synod's “ Historical Preface,” belonged exclusively to the elegant and unanswerable production of Grotius. I feel a satisfaction in bearing record to the real love of learning which then prevailed, and to the native force of truth, which prevented every man, whether Calvinist or Augustinian, that made any pretensions to literary eminence or even to common equity, from quoting the narrative of Dutch affairs out of “the Historical Preface,” that was then in the hands of every one, in preference to the impartial account which Grotius had giveni I never met with a quotation from “the Preface” in the authors of that period, except in one or two of no reputation. The most unexceptionable man, in whose works I have found a morsel of it, is that voluminous writer, Dr. Thomas Manton. I have also found it quoted in the margin of one or two of the intolerant sermons of the Presbyterian preachers before the Long Parliament, in which short extracts are introduced, as authorities for persecuting the English Arminians. If any men had felt the least inclination to produce the overwhelming evidence of Mr. Scott's “ public records," they would have been the five British divines, who had been deputed by King James to the Synod of Dort, of which they formed no inconsiderable portion; they were, indeed, with all their failings, the brightest ornaments of that assembly. But they knew, better than Mr. Scott, the apocryphal origin and the prejudiced composition of that politic exposure, and were extremely shy about any allusion to it in their long controversy with Mountagu and his defenders. Some writers have been pleased to say, about other authorities, “that these good men durst not adduce them, lest they should give offence to the Court.” But they who write in this strain, know little about the matter : For, in that controversy, the authors in the Calo vinistic interest, though professing due loyalty to his Majesty, treated King Charles himself, on account of his supposed predi. lection for Arminianism, in a manner which modern courtesy would consider to be exceedingly indecorous.

* In the letter which Archbishop Abbot sent to Sir Ralph Winwood, his Grace seems to have been aware of the existence of this qualification in the representative of Royalty. But King James did not bestow upon it so gross an epithet as Isaac Walton has done, in his translation of Sir Henry Wotton's Latin line: His Majesty called it “ King-craft.” After relating the private interview which Grotius and Caron had with King James prior to the departure of the former, Abbot says, I doubt not but Grotius had his part in this information, whereout, I conceive, you will make some use, keeping these things privately

to yourself, as becometh a man of your employment. When his Majesty told “ me this, I gave such an answer as was fit; and now, upon the receipt of your " letters, shall upon the first occasion give further satisfaction."-In what an artful manner did this Calvinian Archbishop hasten the crisis of the religious differences in Hollanıl! He was also the principal cause of this country being involved in bloodshed.

IV.-My next quotation from Mr. Scott's astonishing produce tion, is one of the most amusing attempts that can possibly be imagined, to enhance the reputed validity of “the Historical Preface :"-"Neither Mosheim, nor his transiator Maclaine, men“tion this history, while they refer to a variety of authorities on “ both sides of the question, in their narrative of these transac“ tions: So that, it is even probable, that they had never seen “ it. Whether the severe measures by which the decisions of this “Synod were followed up; and especially the strict prohibition " of printing or vending any other account in Latin, Dutch, or « French, in the Federated Provinces, during seven years, with “ out a special licence for that purpose ; did not eventually con“ duce to this, may be a question. The measure, however, was “ impolitic, if not unjustifiable.”

1.-Mr. Scott thinks it "probable,” that " neither Mosheim, nor his translator Maclaine, had ever seen this History.” The truth is, both of them had seen it; and the silence about its momentous contents, which is observed by Maclaine, who was as determined a Calvinist as Mr. Scott himself, must have seemed very surprising to one who placed upon it such a high value, while, to every man besides, this fact will be an additional evidence of the low estimation in which all well-informed Calvinists hold that paltry production. The Ecclesiastical Historian and his excellent Translator “ refer to a variety of autHORITIES, on both sides of the question, in their narrative of these transactions,” but (sad oversight !) they never once formally "mention this History" as an "AUTHORITY, because they knew they would in that case have exposed themselves to the derision of all the learned in Europe. Many are the palliations for the intolerance of the Synod, which Dr. Maclaine introduces; but not a single expression does he quote from what Mr. Scott calls “the public records," because such quotation would have destroyed the semblance of impartiality, which both he and Mosheim wished to preserve.

But Mosheim does mention it, with several other as important documents as those which he has quoted. It was Mosheim's manner, when he commenced the history of any large denomination of Christians, to refer his readers, (generally in the first note,) to some well-authenticated and common publication, in which a complete list would be found of the works relating particularly to that denomination. In the fifth volume of his History, from which Mr. Scott's information about the Arminians is derived, Mosheim has made such a copious reference respecting three or four other Churches. Had he not adopted this method, in some instances the mere enumeration of the title-pages of the several works written on that subject, would have occupied almost as much space as he has been able to devote to the history itself. According to his usual method, therefore, Mosheim, at the commencement of that part of the article on the ARMINIANS which relates to the Synod of Dort, refers his readers at once to an ample collection of documents in FABRICII Bibliotheca Groeca, *

• Mosheim's note reads thus :-" The writers who have given accounts of the Synod of Dort, are mentioned by Jo. Albert. Fabricius, in his Biblioth. Grac. vol. xi. p. 723. The most ample account of this famous assembly has been given by Brandt, in the second and third volumes of his History of the Reformation in the United Provinces ; but, as this author is an Arminian, it will not be improper to compare his relation with a work of the learned Leydekker, in which the piety and justice of the proceedings of this Synod are vindicated against the censures of Brandt. This work, which is composed in Dutch, was published in two volumes in 4to, at Amsterdam, in the year 1705 and 1707, under the following title: Eere van de Nationale Synode, van Dordrecht voorgestaan en bevestigd tegen de beschuldingen van G. Brandt. After comparing diligently these two productions, I could see no enormous error in Brandt; for, in truth, these two writers do not so much differ about facts, as they do in the reasoning they deduce from them, and in their accounts of the causes from whence they proceeded. The reader will

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »