Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

archiepiscopal influence was brought to bear on Charles I., to which influence the King always easily yielded, for his Majesty had great respect for lawn sleeves, believing with his late father “no bishop, no King.” The consequence was that a Royal mandate sequestered all the moneys placed in the hands of Feoffees by those pious and beneficient merchants for the planting of godly ministers amid those parts of the country utterly neglected by the general class of ecclesiastics of easy consciences and good fat livings. Now, at about the issuing of this prohibition, Master Shawe had concluded his first engagement of three years on the banks of the Dart, and as his father had died and the family estate needed the attention of the son and heir, the inheritor of Sicke House retired thither with his wife and family for a period of well earned repose. Before bringing him out again from this quiet, rural, ancestral homestead, let us fix attention for a few minutes on the two most prominent and powerful men of the time, one of whom has been already mentioned.

STRAFFORD AND LAUD In the State the famous Earl of Strafford, Thomas Wentworth, was all dominant. Of him there is a famous painting by Vandyke at Wentworth, where the "great earl," as he is well called, is seen dictating to his secretary. You see the massive and stern features and the tightly compressed shaggy eyebrows, denoting the imperious and even stern nature of the man, while the capacious brow and powerfully penetrating eyes demonstrate his commanding genius. In Ireland he had carried out to the utmost his policy of " thorough,” along with many great improvements for that country, and his after object was to make his king as absolute in England as any despot on the Continent. Had his will prevailed, there would have been no civil war, for the Puritan party would have been utterly crushed, as the Protestants were after the Reformation crushed out of existence in France. Near to this picture is one of Archbishop Laud. The two characters appear well together, side by side. They were, indeed, great personal friends. Mark the compressed thin lips, the sinister eyes, the hard parchment expression of the skin, and you will the better understand with what cunning,

a

pertinacity, and arrogance this notable ecclesiastic sought to make his half-popish religious policy to prevail over the country. In all this was he thoroughly encouraged by his friend the Earl. In a letter from Wentworth, then Lord Deputy of Ireland, to Laud, 16th December, 1634, we can well see in what dictatorial style his Lordship treated any “private opinions " and "rights of judgment," and "such things ” within his jurisdiction :—“How unheard a part it was for few petty clerks to presume to make Articles of Faith without the privity of consent of State or Bishop. What a spirit of Brownism and contradiction. But these heady and arrogant courses they must know I was not to indure, nor if they were disposed to be frantick in this dead and cold season of the year would I suffer them to be mad in the Convocation or in their pulpits."

What the Puritan population chiefly objected to in England was the great alteration in the church services and ceremonies favoring Romanism, as promoted by Laud. The introduction of the surplice into the parish churches,—the conversion of a free communion table into an “altar” by affixing it at the east end wall of the chancel and railing it off,—the use of crosses and crucifixes—the bowing at the altar on entering and leaving a church-all these innovaions were obnoxious to the resolute Protestants. They hated all idolatry, and especially what the Rev. Henry Burton characterised the Worship of the Devil,' namely, the adoration of “the breaden god in the Masse.” For objecting to all this altar-worship, Jesu-worship, cross-worship, the Star Chamber, of which Laud was the chief member, consigned such men as Rev. Henry Burton, Dr. Bastwicke, and Scholar Prynne to the Pillory in Wesminster, to have their ears brutally cut off by the common executioner to the indignation of thousands of spectators. There were numerous such babarous mutilations by order of the Star Chamber.

SHAWE AND HIS GRACE OF YORK. On Master Shawe again coming from his temporary retirement, he had to reckon with and face the great movements then agitating the nation. Accepting a call to All Hallows on the Pavement at York, he was thrown into the

[graphic][ocr errors]

OLD WENTWORTH HOUSE (as occupied by the Great Earl' of Strafford.)

« PoprzedniaDalej »