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spun 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.”
ot abstain fants so midid her speech
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 Wentworth 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
committee; how unheard of a part it was for a few petty clerks to presume to make articles of faith. . . . But those heady and arrogant courses, they must know, I was not to endure; but if they were disposed to be frantic in this dead and cold season of the year, would I suffer them to be heard either in convocation or in their pulpits. (Then he gave them five specific orders.) This meeting then broke off; there were some hot spirits, sons of thunder, amongst them, who moved that they should petition me for a free synod. But, in fine, they could not agree among themselves who should put the bell about the cat's neck, and so this likewise vanished.
All this marks precisely the type of man required to deal with ecclesiastics and rapacious nobles alike. The English colonist and his ecclesiastical confederate and ally were the enemy, and nobody has ever seen this so effectually as Strafford saw it. Bishops were said to be displaced with no more ceremony than excisemen. The common impression of Wentworth is shown in an anecdote about Williams, afterwards Archbishop of York. When the court tried to pacify Williams with the promise of a good bishopric in Ireland, he replied that he had held out for seven years against his enemies in England, but if they sent him to Ireland he would fall into the hands of a man who within seven months would find out some old statute or other to cut off his head.
The pretty obvious parallel has often been suggested between Strafford and Richelieu ; but it is no more than superficial. There is no proportion between the vast combinations, the immense designs, the remorseless rigours, and the majestic success with which the great cardinal built up royal power in France and subjugated reactionary forces in Europe, and the petty scale of Wentworth's eight years of rule in Ireland. To frighten Dean Andrews or Lord Mountnorris out of their wits was a very different business from bringing Montmorencys, Chalais, Marillacs, Cinq-Mars, to the scaffold. It is
true that the general aim was not very different. Richelieu said to the king: “I promised your Majesty to employ all my industry and all the authority that he might be pleased to give me to ruin the Huguenot party, to beat down the pride of the great, to reduce all subjects to their duty, and to raise up his name among other nations to the height at which it ought to be.” Strafford would have said much the same. He, too, aspired to make his country a leading force in the councils of Europe, as Elizabeth had done, and by Elizabeth's patient and thrifty policy. Unlike his master of flighty and confused brain, he perceived the need of system and a sure foundation. Strafford's success would have meant the transformation of the state within the three kingdoms, not into the monarchy of the Restoration of 1660 or of the Revolution of 1688, but at best into something like the qualified absolutism
of modern Prusyon and things grew jew him into
As time went on and things grew hotter, Wentworth's ardent and haughty genius drew him into more energetic antagonism to the popular claim and its champions. In his bold and imposing personality they recognised that all those sinister ideas, methods, and aims which it was the business of their lives to overthrow, were gathered up. The precise date is not easily fixed at which Wentworth gained a declared ascendancy in the royal counsels, if ascendancy be the right word for a chief position in that unstable chamber. In 1632 he was made Lord Deputy in Ireland, he reached Dublin Castle in the following year, and for seven years he devoted himself exclusively to Irish administration. He does not seem to have been consulted upon general affairs before 1637, and it was later than this when Charles began to lean upon him. It was not until 1640 that he could prevail upon the king to augment his political authority by making him Lord-Lieutenant and Earl of Strafford.