Puslapio vaizdai

effect of artifice. She was poffeffed, it is faid, of the arts of infinuation: fhe knew how to cajole, how to coax, and to flatter; but can any one believe that, in the course of more than forty years, these arts fhould not have been detected? It is furely paying an ill compliment to the fagacity of the nation to fuppofe the contrary; but if at that time a full perfuafion of her fincerity prevailed, it is certainly. harsh and unjustifiable to ftigmatize her laudable endeavours to pleafe with the appellations of deceit and fimulation. Not that a degree of art may not, upon fome occafions, have been used with fuccefs; but if she had not been really defirous and anxious that all her determinations in matters of public import should be approved by her people, and if fhe had not in a great measure regulated her political conduct by the views and fentiments of the nation at large, it is impoffible that all her arts could have availed to produce a general or permanant fatisfaction. With what addrefs and caution did fhe conduct the great business of restoring the proteftant religion! What nice attention to the national honour appeared in fettling the terms of the treaty with France! for though fhe well knew that Calais was irretrievably loft, and probably did not even wifh for the reftitution of it, as it was a favourite object with the nation, she would not, by an abfolute ceffion, give too great. a fhock to their hopes and their prejudices. When preffed to marriage by the parliament, in what foft and gracious terms did fhe couch her refufal! "She was already wedded:-England was her husband,

band, and all Englishmen her children." The part she took in the affairs of Scotland was perfectly agreeable to the sentiments of the nation, and, I think, to every principle of found policy. Notwithstanding that her jealoufy was unavoidably awakened by the exorbitant claims fo openly advanced by the Queen of Scots, and by her obftinate refusal to ratify the treaty of Edinburgh, fhe yet fhewed her difpofition to maintain an amicable correspondence with that princess after her arrival in Scotland; and her fucceeding misfortunes were owing, not to the intrigues of Elizabeth, but to her own unexampled indifcretions-I fhould rather fay, her own atrocious criminalities; and her long imprisonment, trial, and execution, were justified by the strongest reasons of state neceflity, and by the urgent and unanimous wishes and applications of the whole English nation. The affistance she gave to the United Provinces against Spain, and to Henry the Fourth of France, during the continuance of the league, perfectly coincided with the views and inclinations of her own fubjects, and was productive of the most important and beneficial effects. The war with Spain, which was the neceffary confequence of these measures, was as popular as it was glorious; and though in one important point fhe declined gratifying the wishes of the kingdom, by delaying to fettle the fucceffion to the crown-and there were indeed political as well as perfonal reafons of great weight, why a fucceffor should not be appointed; yet she made it fufficiently evident, that her views and intentions


in that grand point entirely coincided with thofe of the best and wifeft men in the nation, who all turned their eyes to the King of Scotland, as the man destined by Providence to unite in bands of eternal amity and concord two nations, which had for fo many ages fubfifted in a state of mutual distrust and enmity. But if we pafs on to the reign of this monarch and his fon, the unfortunate Charles, what a contrast! In what single instance do we find the interefts of the people confulted, or their wishes gratified? In the countenance and encouragement given by the court to the catholic religion, at a time when the principles and prac tices of the puritans became every day more prevalent? In facrificing the gallant Raleigh, to appease the refentment of Spain? In the defertion of his own children, the King and Queen of Bohemia, under their accumulated diftreffes? In his tame acquiescence in the horrid affair of Amboyna ? or in the mean and fervile court he paid to the Houfe of Auftria, in his attempts to procure the reftoration of the palatinate, and to accomplish that great object of his ambition, the marriage of his fon with the Infanta? Did his fon and fucceffor Charles difcover any greater condefcenfion for the opinions or prejudices of his fubjects in efpoufing a catholic princess, and granting, in confequence of this alliance, additional privileges and immunities to the profeffors of that religion? In involving the nation in two dangerous wars, to gratify the preposterous vanity and refentment of a worthless favourite? By levying taxes in a time


of profound peace, by virtue of the regal authority? By a profeffed intention of governing without parliaments, by violent attempts to fupprefs puritanifin in England; and by ftill more violent attempts to introduce the most odious innovations of a religious nature in Scotland? But I fhall enlarge no further on this point: it is too plain to be denied, that the public measures of Elizabeth were in general agreeable to the fenfe of the nation, and that the wifhed and endeavoured they should be fo; and it is as plain, that in the fucceeding reigns public opinion was wholly difregarded, and that almoft all the measures of government were the refult of pride, obftinacy, and folly.

But, 2dly, The contrast between that great princefs and her fucceffors appears equally striking, if we confider their refpective characters in what may be termed a legal point of view, or as fovereigns poffeffed of a limited authority. Though it must be confeffed that the deportment of Queen Elizabeth, notwithstanding her general affability, was, upon fome occafions, fufficiently imperious; it does not appear that the ever had an idea of advancing fuch exorbitant principles and pretenfions as James the First perpetually infifted upon, in his reafonings and fpeculations upon government; and which Charles, fatally for himfelf, attempted to reduce to practice. Mr. Hume afferts, that the only bufinefs of parliament in this reign was to grant fubfidies: "They pretended indeed," fays he, " to the right of enacting laws." Pretended! and did they not exercife this right?


If Mr. Hume had taken the trouble to confult the Statute Book, he would have known that very many important and falutary laws were enacted in this reign. The parliament did not, indeed, affume a power of controlling the crown in matters of State, as they were called, or, in other words, of directing her tranfactions with foreign powers; and the Queen's conduct in this respect gave such entire fatisfaction to the public, that they were under little or no temptation to interfere; but they ufually confined themselves to the less fplendid, but more useful, employment of fuperintending the domeftic concerns of the nation; and it is obfervable, that, to this day, parliament poffeffes no authority, properly speaking, respecting foreign affairs; though the extensive powers vested in that body, and the utter inability of the crown to fupport itself without affistance, give it the highest degree of influence, whenever it judges interference neceffary. Mr. Hume pleases to affert, that England had lefs reason to boast of her liberties. in the reign of Elizabeth, than the generality of foreign nations at prefent: but let us fuppofe for a moment, that the authority of the general affembly of eftates in France were restored; that all traces of vaffalage were abolished; that trials by jury were introduced; that in the regular courts of judicature nothing were regarded as law, but what had been exprefsly affented to, and enacted by the representatives of the people; and, that individuals of every rank in public stations were divefted of all difcretionary powers, and obliged to conform

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