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Henry VIII., by Edward VI., by Mary, by Elizabeth, so far from finding the nation rebellious, or its parliament proud or factious, we are driven to reproach the English people with being only too submissive. For did they not place their very faith, their consciences, their souls, under the yoke of earthly kings? The fault was with the kings themselves. They it was who taught the nation that their ancient catholic creed was a thing to be lightly flung away. Subjects ceased to revere the maxims of religion, when they saw them wantonly surrendered to the passions or the interests of their princes. Then the great orator, with a command of powerful stroke upon stroke that presbyterians in their war with independents might well have envied, drew a picture of the mad rage of the English for disputing of divine things without end, without rule, without submission, men's minds falling headlong from ruin to ruin. Who could arrest the catastrophe but the bishops of the church? And then turning to reproach them as sternly as he had reproached their royal masters, it was the bishops, he exclaimed, who had brought to naught the authority of their own thrones by openly condemning all their predecessors up to the very source of their consecration, up to St. Gregory the Pope and St. Augustine the missionary monk. By skilfully worded contrast with these doings of apostate kings and prelates, he glorified the zeal of Henrietta Maria; boasted how many persons in England had abjured their errors under the influence of her almoners; and how the zealous shepherds of the afflicted catholic flock of whom the world was not worthy, saw with joy restored the glorious symbols of their faith in the chapel of the Queen of England, and the persecuted church that in other days hardly dared so much as to sigh or weep over its past glory, now sang aloud the song of Zion in a strange land. All this effulgence of words cannot alter the fact HENRIETTA MARIA
that the queen was the evil genius of her husband, and of the nation over whom a perverse fate had appointed him to rule. Men ruefully observed that a French queen never brought happiness to England. To suffer women of foreign birth and alien creed to meddle with things of state, they reflected, had ever produced grievous desolation for our realm. Charles had a fancy to call her Marie rather than Henrietta, and even puritans had superstition enough to find a bad omen in a woman's name that was associated with no good luck to England. Of the many women, good and bad, who have tried to take part in affairs of state from Cleopatra or the Queen of Sheba downwards, nobody by character or training was ever worse fitted than the wife of Charles I. for such a case as that in which she found herself. Henry IV., her father, thought that to change his Huguenot faith and go to mass was an easy price to pay for the powerful support of Paris. Her mother came of the marvellous Florentine house that had given to Europe such masters of craft as Cosmo and Lorenzo, Leo X. and Clement VII., and Catherine of the Bartholomew massacre. But the queen had none of the depth of these famous personages. To her, alike as catholic and as queen seated on a shaking throne, the choice between bishop and presbyter within a protestant communion was matter for contemptuous indifference. She understood neither her husband's scruples nor the motives of his adversaries. The sanctity of law and immemorial custom, rights of taxation, parliamentary privilege, Magna Charta, habeas corpus, and all the other symbols of our civil freedom, were empty words without meaning to her petulant and untrained mind. In Paris by the side of the great ladies whose lives were passed in seditious intrigues against Richelieu or Mazarin, Henrietta Maria would have been in her native element. She would have delighted in all the intricacies of the web of finespun conspiracy in which Maria de' Medici, her mother, and Anne of Austria, her sister-in-law, and Mme. de Chevreuse, her close friend and comrade, first one and then the other spent their restless days. Habits and qualities that were mischievous enough even in the galleries of the Louvre, in the atmosphere of Westminster and Whitehall were laden with immediate disaster. In intrepidity and fortitude she was a true daughter of Henry of Navarre. Her energy was unsparing, and her courage. Nine times she crossed the seas in storm and tempest. When her waiting - women were trembling and weeping, she assured them, with an air of natural serenity that seemed of itself to bring back calm, that no queen was ever drowned. D'Ewes has left a picture of the queen as he saw her at dinner at Whitehall, long after her marriage: "I perceived her to be a most absolute delicate lady, after I had exactly surveyed all the features of her face, much enlivened by her radiant and sparkling black eyes. Besides, her deportment among her women was so sweet and humble, and her speech and looks to her other servants so mild and gracious, as I could not abstain from divers deep-fetched sighs, to consider that she wanted the knowledge of the true religion." "The queen," says Burnet, "was a woman of great vivacity in conversation, and loved all her life long to be in intrigues of all sorts, but was not so secret in them as such times and affairs required. She was a woman of no manner of judgment; she was bad at contrivance, and much worse in execution; but by the liveliness of her discourse she made always a great impression on the king."
Just as the historic school has come to an end that despatched Oliver Cromwell as a hypocrite, so we are escaping from the other school that dismissed Charles
as a tyrant, Laud as a driveller and a bigot, and Went worth as an apostate. That Wentworth passed over from the popular to the royalist side, and that by the same act he improved his fortunes and exalted his influence, is true. But there is no good reason to condemn him for shifting the foundation of his views of national policy. He was never a puritan, and never a partisan of the supremacy of parliament. By temperament and conviction he was a firm believer in organised authority. Though he began in opposition, his instincts all carried him toward the side of government; and if he came round to the opinion that a single person, and not the House of Commons, was the vital organ of national authority, this was an opinion that Cromwell himself in some of the days to come was destined apparently to share and to exemplify. Wentworth's ideal was centred in a strong state, exerting power for the common good; and the mainspring of a strong state must be monarch, not parliament. It was the idea of the time that governing initiative must come from the throne, with or without a check in the people. Happily for us, men of deeper insight than Wentworth perceived that the assertion of the popular check was at this deciding moment in English history more important than to strengthen executive power in the hands of the king. Wentworth, with all the bias of a man born for government and action, may easily have come to think otherwise. That he associated the elevation of his own personality with the triumph of what he took for the right cause, is a weakness, if weakness it be, that he shares with some of the most upright reformers that have ever lived. It is a chaste ambition if rightly placed, he said at his trial, to have as much power as may be, that there may be power to do the more good in the place where a man lives. The actual possession of power stimulated this natural passion for high principles of government. His judgment was clear, as his wit and fancy were quick. He was devoted to friends, never weary of taking pains for them, thinking nothing too dear for them. If he was extremely choleric and impatient, yet it was in a large and imperious way. He had energy, boldness, unsparing industry and attention, long-sighted continuity of thought and plan, lofty flight, and as true a concern for order and the public service as Pym or Oliver or any of them. One short scene may suffice to bring him in act and life before us. The convention of the Irish clergy met to discuss the question of bringing their canons into conformity with those of the English church. Wentworth writes from Dublin to Laud (1634):The popish party growing extreme perverse in the Commons House, and the parliament thereby in great danger to have been lost in a storm, had so taken up my thoughts and endeavours, that for five or six days it was not almost possible for me to take an account how business went amongst them of the clergy. ... At length I got a little time, and that most happily, to inform myself of the state of those papers, and found (that they had done divers things of great inconvenience without consultation with their bishops). I instantly sent for Dean Andrews, that reverend clerk who sat forsooth in the chair of this committee, requiring him to bring along the aforesaid book of canons. . . . When I came to open the book and run over their deliberandums in the margin, I confess I was not so much moved since I came into Ireland. I told him, certainly not a dean of Limerick, but Ananias had sat in the chair of that committee; however sure I was Ananias had been there in spirit, if not in body, with all the fraternities and conventicles of Amsterdam; that I was ashamed and scandalised with it above measure. I therefore said he should leave the book with me, and that I did command him that he should report nothing to the House until he heard again from me. Being thus nettled, I gave present directions for a meeting, and warned the primate (certain bishops, etc.) to be with me the next morning. Then I publicly told them how unlike clergymen, that owed canonical obedience to their superiors, they had proceeded in their