Page images

no inconsistency. The same general agreement pervades the accounts of the three persons who describe themselves as privy to the fabrication. Gauden in 1660, Mrs G. in 1671, and Walker in 1694, agree in substance; and Walker, the last of them, testifies, that Gauden had, in 1648, mentioned his intercourse with Somerset and Duppa, whom, in 1660, he immediately cited as his principal witnesses. Trimnell, afterwards Bishop of Norwich, was converted to belief in Gauden by the correspondence now published. The learned Bishop Patrick, as we are told by Whiston, was convinced of the spuriousness of the Icon. Kennett, a laborious man well informed in the history of those times, is in effect a valuable witness on the same side. For though he thought it probable that Gauden only made additions to the King's MS., and procured Bishop Duppa to add a chapter to it, yet the effect of his admission extends much farther. * For the discovery of unavowed insertions by an editor spreads a taint of fraud over his whole publication, and no part of it can be reasonably trusted, at least until it be determined by positive evidence, where truth ends and forgery begins. Kennett seems to have thought the frequent play on the word Gaudy,' in a pamphlet against the Icon in 1649, a proof that Gauden was then suspected to be the writer. That his name was written Gaudy' in the Journals of the House of Commons, is a slight circumstance mentioned above, which was unknown to Kennett, and which tallies with his inference.

Walker early represented the coincidence of some peculiar phrases in the devotions of the Icon, with Gauden's phraseology, as an important fact in the case. That argument has recently been presented with much more force by Mr Todd, whose catalogue of coincidences between the Icon and the avowed writings of Gauden is certainly entitled to serious consideration. They are not all of equal importance, but some of the phrases are certainly very peculiar. It seems very unlikely that Charles should have copied peculiar phrases from the not very conspicuous writings of Gauden's early life; and it is almost equally improbable that Gauden, in his later writings, when he is said to be eager to reap the fruits of his imposture, should not have carefully shunned those modes of expression which were peculiar to the Icon. To the list of Mr Todd, a very curious addition has been made by Mr Benjamin Bright, a discerning and liberal collector, from a manuscript volume of prayers by Gauden, ‡ which is of more value than the other

*Kennett's Historical Register, 774.

+ Todd's Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, 51-76.
Todd, App. No. I.

coincidences, inasmuch as it corroborates the testimony of Walker, who said that he met with expressions in the devo'tional parts of the Icon very frequently used by Dr Gauden in ، his prayers !


Without laying the greatest stress on these resemblances, they are certainly of more weight than the general arguments founded either on the inferiority of Gauden's talents, (which Dr Wordsworth candidly abandons), or on the impure and ostentatious character of his style, which have little weight unless we suppose him to have had no power of varying his manner when he speaks in the person of another man.

Conclusions from internal evidence have so often been contradicted by experience, that prudent inquirers seldom rely on them when there are any other means of forming a judgment. But in such cases as the present, internal evidence does not so much depend on the discussion of words or the dissection of sentences, as on the impression made by the whole composition, on minds long accustomed to estimate and compare the writings of different men in various circumstances. A single individual can do little more than describe that impression; and he must leave it to be determined by experience, how far it agrees with the impressions made on the minds of the majority of other men of similar qualifications. To us it seems, as it did to Archbishop Herring, that the Icon is greatly more like the work of a Priest than a King. It has more of dissertation than effusion. It has more regular division and systematic order than agree with the habits of the King. The choice and arrangement of words show a degree of care and neatness which are seldom attained but by a practised writer. The views of men and affairs too, are rather those of a bystander than an actor. They are chiefly reflections, sometimes in themselves obvious, but often ingeniously turned, such as the surface of events would suggest to a spectator not too deeply interested. It betrays none of those strong feelings which the most vigilant regard to gravity and dignity could not have uniformly banished from the composition of an actor and a sufferer. It has no allusion to facts not accessible to any moderately informed man; though the King must have (sometimes rightly) thought that his superior knowledge of affairs would enable him to correct vulgar mistakes. If it be really the private effusion of a man's thoughts on himself and his own affairs, it would be the only writing of that sort in the world in which it is impossible to select a trace of peculiarities and weaknesses, partialities and dislikes, of secret opinions, of favourite idioms, and habitual familiarities of expression. Every thing is impersonal. It consists entirely of generalities; while real writings C

VOL. XLIV. No. 87.

of this sort never fail to be characterized by those minute and circumstantial touches, which parties deeply interested cannot, if they would, avoid. It is also very observable, that the Icon dwells little on facts, where mistake might so easily betray it not to be the King's, and expatiates in reasoning and reflection, of which it is impossible to try the genuineness by any palpable test. The absence of every allusion to those secrets of which it would be very hard for the King himself wholly to conceal his knowledge, seems indeed to indicate the hand of a writer who was afraid of venturing on ground where his ignorance might expose him to irretrievable blunders. Perhaps also the want of all the smaller strokes of character betrays a timid and faltering forger, who, though he ventured to commit a pious fraud, shrunk from an irreverent imitation of the Royal feelings, and was willing, after the great purpose was served, so to soften the imposture, as to leave his retreat open, and to retain the means, in case of positive detection, of representing the book to have been published as what might be put into the King's mouth, rather than as what was actually spoken by him.

The section which relates to the Civil Wars in Ireland, not only exemplifies the above remarks, but deeply connects the question respecting the Icon with the character of Charles for sincerity. It certainly was not more unlawful for him to seek the aid of the Irish Catholics, than it was for his opponents to call in the succour of the Scotch Presbyterians. Both parties to a war are equally entitled to strengthen themselves by alliances; and to obtain allies by all legitimate concessions. The Parliament procured the assistance of the Scotch army, by the imposition of the Covenant in England; and the King might, on the like principle, purchase the help of the Irish, by promising to tolerate, and even establish, the Catholic religion in Ireland. Warburton justly observes, that the King was free from blame in his negociations with the Irish, as a politician, and King, ' and governor of his people. But the necessity of his affairs 'obliging him at the same time to play the PROTESTANT SAINT AND CONFESSOR, there was found much disagreement between his professions, and declarations, and actions in this matter. As long as the disagreement was confined to official declarations and to acts of state, it must be owned that it is extenuated by the practice of politicians, and by the consideration, that the concealment of negociations, which is a lawful end, can very often be obtained by no other means than a disavowal of them. The rigid moralist may regret this excuse, though it be founded on that high public convenience to which Warburton gives the


* Clarendon, vii. 591. Ed. 1826.

name of necessity. But all mankind will allow, that the express or implied denial of real negociations in a private work, a picture of the writer's mind, professing to come from the man and not from the King, mixed with solemn appeals and fervid prayers to the Deity, is a far blacker and more aggravated instance of insincerity. It is not, therefore, an act of judicious regard to the memory of Charles to ascribe to him the composition of the twelfth section of the Icon. The impression manifestly aimed at in that section is, that the imputation of a private connexion with the Irish revolters was a mere calumny; and in the only paragraph which approaches to particulars, it expressly confines his intercourse with them to the negociation for a time through Ormond, and declares that his only object was to save the poor Protestants of Ireland from 'their desperate enemies.' In the section which relates to the publication of his letters, when the Parliament had explicitly · charged him with clandestine negociations, nothing is added on the subject. The general protestations of innocence, not very specifically applied even to the first instigation of the revolt, are left in that indefinite state in which the careless reader may be led to apply them to all subsequent transactions, which are skilfully, not to say artfully, passed over in silence. It is however certain, that the Earl of Glamorgan, a Catholic nobleman, was authorized by Charles to negociate with the Catholics in 1645, independently of Ormond, and with powers, into the nature of which the Lord Lieutenant thought himself bound not curiously to pry. It is certain that, in the spring of that year, he concluded a secret treaty with the Catholic Assembly at Kilkenny, by which (besides the repeal of penalties or disabilities) all the churches and church property in Ireland occupied by the Catholics since the revolt, were continued and secured to them;* and they, on their parts, engaged to send ten thousand troops to the King's assistance in England. Some correspondence on this subject was captured at sea, and some was seized in Ireland; and both were immediately published by the Parliament, which compelled the King to imprison and disavow Glamorgan.+ It is clear that these were measures of policy, merely intended to conceal the truth. It is unnecessary here to relate any part

* Birch's Inquiry, 68, and Dr Lingard, vi. 656. The King's warrant, on 12th March 1645, gives Glamorgan power' to treat with 'the Roman Catholics upon necessity, wherein our Lieutenant cannot so 'well be seen.' Birch, 20.

+ Harleian Miscell. V.

See a curious Letter published by Leland, History of Ireland,

of the sequel. Sufficient has been stated to show, that the King, if he was the writer of the Icon, must have deliberately left on the minds of the readers of that book an opinion, of his connexion with the Irish Catholics, which he knew to be false. On the other hand it is to be observed, that Gauden could not have known the secret of the Irish negociations; that he would naturally avoid a subject of which he was ignorant, and confine himself to a general disavowal of the instigation of the revolt. The silence of the Icon on this subject, if written by Gauden, would be neither more wonderful nor more blameable than that of Clarendon, who, though he was of necessity acquainted with the negociations of Glamorgan, does not suffer an allusion. to the true state of them to escape him, either in the History, or in that apology for Ormond's administration, which he calls A short View of the State of Ireland.' Let it not be said, either by Charles's mistaken friends, or by his undistinguishing enemies, that he incurs the same blame for suffering an omission calculated to deceive to remain in the Icon of Gauden, as if he had himself written the book. If the manuscript was sent to him by Gauden in September 1648, he may have intended to direct an explanation of the Irish negociations to be inserted in it. He may not have finally determined on the immediate publication. At all events, it would be cruel to require that he should have critically examined, and deliberately weighed, every part of a manuscript, which he could only occasionally snatch a moment to read in secret during the last four months of his life. In this troubled and dark period, divided between great negociations, violent removals, and preparations for asserting his dignity, if he could not preserve his life, justice, as much as generosity, requires that we should not hold him responsible for a negative offence, however important, in a manuscript which he had then only read. But if he was the author, none of these extenuations have any place. He must then have composed the work several years before his death. He was likely to have frequently examined it. He doubtless read it with fresh attention, after it was restored to him at Hampton Court; and he afterwards added several chapters to it. On

[ocr errors]

Book v. c. 7. which clearly proves that the blindness of Ormond was voluntary, and that he was either trusted with the secret, or discovered it; and that the imprisonment of Glamorgan was, what the Parliament called it, A colourable commitment. Leland is one of those writers who deserve more reputation than they enjoy. He is not only an elegant writer; but, considering his time and country, singularly candid, unprejudiced, and independent.

« PreviousContinue »