Sayfadaki görseller
PDF
ePub

Fuller returned to the Fleet Prison, and soon began to try what could be accomplished toward freeing himself by his own submissiveness and his friends' importunity. After the second hearing, he had intimated to Hobart while still in the court room, that “if he had offended” he was sorry and craved pardon, but was at once assured that such conditional submissions were of no avail, and that a complete retraction of his words, without “ifs” and reservations, was required. Within a week after his recommitment, he forwarded to the Archbishop a submission which seemed at the moment likely to satisfy all parties. Further to prepossess the authorities in his favour, his wife journeyed down to Newmarket over the bad roads, to present a petition to James on her husband's behalf, which Lake and other officials persuaded her to redraft into less enigmatical shape. She presented the altered petition to James, just as he was starting out on the hunt, and he, in good humour at the prospect of his favourite sport, received it good-naturedly, remarking that he was glad Fuller was penitent.? The lady returned to London to importune Salisbury in the same manner.

Fuller himself was, however, the chief obstacle to his own freedom, for, after all, he refused to take the final submission required of him. Moreover, his wife and friends, for some inexplicable reason, secured from him a retraction of his first submission, and then, as if they had not thereby placed him in sufficient jeopardy, proceeded with inexplicable stupidity or rashness, to publish, about the middle of December, some of his letters written since his confinement, and a pamphlet, which purported to be the very speech for which he had been fined and imprisoned by the High Commission. If they believed that these documents would start a wave of public opinion in his favour, which would compel the Government to release him, they totally miscalculated the number of adherents then in England in favour of Fuller's views, and failed to see the hopelessness of reaching them. In truth, they only placed him in greater danger, for, while no one gave serious attention to the pamphlet, the Government visited its wrath upon

1 Hatfield MSS. 123 f. 90. Decem cause it had been remitted. State ber 9, 1607. Holograph. Lake to Papers Domestic, Docquet, December Salisbury.

10, 1607. 2 Hatfield MSS. December 9, 1607. 3 Chamberlain to Carleton. Janu123, f. 90. On December 10, Fuller's ary 5, 1607-8, State Papers, Domestic, fine was taken from Patton, to whom Jac. I, XXXI, f. 2. it had been granted, apparently be

Fuller. He insisted, however, that he knew nothing of the printing of the speech, and, after examining him thoroughly, the Attorney General concluded that he was telling the truth. Then, to show his penitence, Fuller at once wrote to the Archbishop and to the Company of Stationers to urge them to suppress the pamphlet, a and further claimed (as was evident enough) that it was not the speech he delivered, but another he intended to use. However that may have been, the pamphlet stated on its title page, that it was the very speech for which he had been fined and imprisoned, but it contained none of the disrespectful words about the High Commission which had really caused his punishment, and added a great many highly offensive statements regarding the royal prerogative which it seems fairly certain he never uttered before either the High Commission or the King's Bench. In general, moreover, it portrayed Fuller as a learned and conservative lawyer, seeking truth and justice, and as a valiant defender of English liberty. In fact, it made him seem like a worthy and patriotic man oppressed by a tyrannical government, which he had provoked by revealing its misdeeds.

He was represented as declaring that "the lawes of England are the High Inheritance of the Realme by which both the King and the subjects are directed. Without lawes, there would be neither King nor inheritance in England, which lawes ... are so fitted to this people and this people to them as it doth make a sweet harmonie in the government." The law, continued this remarkable document, which is equally important and equally a landmark whether Fuller wrote it or not, '{admeasureth the King's prerogative so as it shall not extend to hurt the inheritance of the subjects. And the law doth restraine the liberall words of the King's grant for the benefit both of the King and the subjects and to the great happiness of the Realme, especially when the Judges are men of courage, fearing God, as is to be proved by many cases adiudged in these Courts of King's Bench and Common Pleas, which Courts are the principal preservers of this high inheritance of the law." The King might

1 Hobart to Salisbury. Hatfield of “any of the books" and later MSS. 124, f. 81, undated. Dr. Gar mentions twelve; whereas Whyte, on diner places this letter in January, whose letter in Lodge, Illustrations, 1607-8, but it seems to belong here. III, 344, Dr. Gardiner depended, Chamberlain says distinctly that Ful mentions but one book. ler's friends published several books 2 Fuller's Submission, Hatfield MSS. in December, and Hobart speaks here 124, f. 59.

nor

[ocr errors]

not dispense“with the common law nor alter the same
put the subjects from their inheritance of the law ... which was
always accompted one of the great blessings of this land, to have
the law the meatyeard and the Judges the measures. For in all
well governed commonwealths, Religion and Justice are the two
principal pillars wherein the power of God appeareth. These
phrases alone suffice to give this pamphlet and Fuller's case a place
in English constitutional history, for these are among the very
first enunciations, if not the first, of that great theory which Hake-
will was to use so effectively in the case of Impositions in 1610,
and which St. John was to render ever memorable in the great case
of Ship Money in 1637.

Whatever may be its historical importance, it clearly was printed to give an entirely false view of Fuller, and of his treatment by the High Commission, for he was by no means innocent of reprehensible conduct; and the High Commission had not treated him with unusual severity. Indeed, in view of the provocation, Fuller was treated with much leniency. None of the letter writers of the time would have been surprised to have seen him “shrewdly handled,” but he was allowed to pay his fine about December 30, and, after some further trouble over the form of his submission, was released on January 8, 1607-8.2 Soon after, a new book appeared on the discipline of the Church" which the Government suspected emanated from him, and, therefore, January 20 found him a close prisoner of the Privy Council in the custody of the Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral.3 Late in February or early in March, he drew up another submission which was apparently satisfactory, for about April 10, he was released under bonds to secure his good behaviour, and licensed to practice at the bar till his case had been heard in the Star Chamber. In July following the matter was not yet concluded, and in August was still dragging along.

1 Chamberlain to Carleton. Decem 4 This is connected with the paper ber 30, 1607, State Papers Domestic, in Hatfield MSS. 124, f. 59. James I, XXVIII, f. 128. Remitted 5 Additional MSS. 11,402, Abstract December 10, the fine seems to have of Privy Council Register, under the been reimposed after the appearance date April 10, 1608. The original of his books.

Register is lost. 2 Chamberlain to Carleton, State 6 Notes by Bacon, July 25, 1608. Papers, Domestic, James I, XXXI, f. James Spedding, Life and Letters of 4. January 8, 1607-8.

Francis Bacon, IV, 53; August 6, 3 Lodge, Illustrations, III, 255. 1608; Ibid., IV, 95. Hatfield MSS. 124, f. 59.

The attack upon the High Commission had failed, and had failed largely because of Fuller's rashness and intemperate language. The courts had already decided cases against the High Commission on very similar pleas, but what Fuller and his friends wanted was a spectacular decision in a perfectly clear case that should settle the matter once for all; that should break the power of the Commission as an administrative arm of the Church; and thus rob the ecclesiastical arch of its keystone. By curious poetic justice, he had defeated himself. The judges had been willing enough to decide in his favour if they could have done so upon some decent legal grounds, but he continually forced the issue to an extreme, and abandoned the pleas that might have saved him. Had he put forth his original argument against the Commission as temperately and lucidly as it was stated in the published pamphlet, had he omitted his animadversions upon the bishops, and his views upon political theory, he would have forced them to give him a serious trial where the issue would have appeared on its merits, and would not have allowed the Commission to convict him for misdemeanours which involved no principle at all, required no ability to state, and could not be explained or denied, once they had been committed. His speech-making and letter writing, and months in jail, had not advanced his cause one whit, and had, in fact, hurt it by adding one more to the growing total of cases of “factious and seditious'' Puritans

CHAPTER VI

RECONSTRUCTION IN SCOTLAND, 1606-1610

While the High Commission was struggling to punish Fuller, Bancroft had been contending, in another capacity, with men who were, in their way, even more obstinate than he. James had enlisted the Archbishop's sagacity and administrative skill in the erection of Episcopacy in Scotland; to which the Presbyterian ministers had objected so vigorously that the King had summoned to London eight of the most prominent to explain their conduct. In the fall of the year 1606, they duly appeared and proceeded to debate with James and Bancroft, during the succeeding winter and spring, the complex problems of Scottish ecclesiastical administration and constitutional development, which had been ripening for at least ten years. There are few subjects more instructive and suggestive to the student of the ecclesiastical history of Bancroft's time, than the quarrels between James and the Kirk north of the Tweed. There appear similar types of men, the same forces, the identical theories of government and conduct which we have already been studying in England; but, in the sister kingdom, a different environment and the vast dissimilarity between the position of the Crown in England and of the Monarchy in Scotland, caused what was buried at London beneath the surface to be openly espoused at Edinburgh, with an arrogance and audacity only possible in men of the seventeenth century. Instead of viewing the forlorn attempt to erect within the Church, in the face of a power. ful opposition from State and Church, forms of discipline entirely alien to it, we find a strife between a strong Presbyterian autocracy, already firmly entrenched, with a royal government made weak by the power of the local nobles, and by its inability to maintain the public peace among the quarrelsome northerners.

Thus, we have the extremely interesting and instructive spectacle of the Presbyterian party when the tables were turned. We left the English Puritans insisting that the Canons of 1604 must be confirmed by Parliament (that is, by the civil authority) before

« ÖncekiDevam »