Imágenes de páginas

rect communication between him and the minister, and when we remember that it took place at the very time of the claim of Gau. den, and that it related to events contemporary with the supposed recovery of the Icon, it is scarcely necessary to ask, whether Clarendon would not have sounded him on that subject, and whether Huntingdon would not then have boasted of such a personal service to the late King. It would be contrary to common sense not to presume that something then passed on that subject, and that, if Huntingdon's account at that time coincided with his subsequent story, it could not have been rejected, unless it was outweighed by contrary evidence. * He must have been thought either a deceiver or deceived. For the more candid of these suppositions there was abundant scope. It is certain that one MS. (not the Icon) was taken with the King's correspondence at Naseby; that it was wrillen by Sir Edward Walker ; that it was corrected by the King, and restored to him by Fairfax, through an officer at Hampton Court. + This was an account of the military transactions in the Civil war, written by Walker, and published in his Historical Discourses long after. It was natural that the King should be pleased at the recovery of this manuscript, which he soon after sent from Hampton Court to Lord Clarendon in Jersey, as a . Contribution' towards his History, his own Memorials, or those which, by his command, had been kept, and were perused and corrected by himself-out of which passages, the most important passages of 1644 and 1645, are faithfully collected.' I How easily Huntingdon, an old soldier little versed in manuscripts, might, thirty years afterwards, have confounded these memorials with the Icon! A few prayers in the King's handwriting might have formed a part of the papers restored. So slight and probable are the only suppositions necessary to save the veracity of Huntingdon, and to destroy the value of his evidence.

Sir Thomas Herbert, who wrote his Memoirs 5 thirty years after the event, in the seventy-third year of his age, when, as he

* Dr W. admits, that if Clarendon had consulted Duppa, Juxon, Sheldon, Morley, Kendal, Barwick, Legge, Herbert, &c. &c.; nay, if he had consulted only Morley alone, he must have been satisfied. (Dr W., of course, says for the King). Now, it is certain, from the message of Morley to Clarendon in 1674, that previous discussion had taken place between them. Does not this single fact decide the question on Dr W's own admission ?

+ Clar. V. 476, and Warburton's Note. I London, 1813, p. 62, 63,

Wood, Athena.

told Antony Wood, he was grown old, and not in such a capa• city as he could wish to publish it,' found a copy of the Icon among the books which Charles I. left to him, of which some are to be given to the King's children, he thought the hand. ( writing so like, as to induce his belief that it was the King's; or, as Sir Philip Warwick states Herbert's testimony, (probably from a conversation more full than the Memoirs), * • he saw the MS. in the King's hand, as he believes, but it was

in a running character, and not in that which the King usualsly wrote.'t Now, more than one copy of the Icon might have been sent to Charles; they might have been written with some resemblances to his handwriting; but assuredly the original MS. would not have been loosely left to Herbert, with works on general subjects bequeathed to the King's children. It is equally certain that this was not the MS. from which the Icon was published a few days afterwards; and, above all, it is elear that information from Herbert I would naturally be sought, and would have been easily procured, in 1660. The ministers of that time perhaps examined the MS.; or if it could not be produced, they might have asked why it was not preserved ; a question to which, on the supposition of its being written by the King, it seems now impossible to imagine a satisfactory answer. The same observations are applicable to the story of Levett, a page, who said that he had seen the King writing the Icon, and had read several chapters of it, but more forcibly, from his being less likely to be intrusted, and more liable to confusion and misrecollection—to say nothing of our ignorance of his character for veracity, and of the interval of forty-two years which had passed before the date of his attestation on this subject.

The Naseby copy being the only fragment of positive evidence in support of the King's authorship, one more observation on it may be excused. If the Parliamentary leaders thought the Icon so dangerous to their cause, and so likely to make an impression favourable to the King, how came they to restore it so easily to its author, whom they had deeply injured by the publication of his private letters? The advocates of the King charge this publication on them, as an act of gross indelicacy, and at

* Warwick died in 1683. Herbert's Memoirs were first published in 1702.

+ Warwick Memoirs, 69, London, 1701. How much this coincides with Gauden's account, that his wife had disguised the writing of the copy sent to the Isle of Wight !

I Made a Baronet at the Restoration, for his personal services to


the same time ascribe to them, in the restoration of the Icon, a singular instance of somewhat wanton generosity.

It is obviously unreasonable to waste minute criticism upon every rumour of a conversation, between 1648 and 1700, which Wagstaffe has heaped together on this subject. No book could ever be condemned as spurious, if such proofs of its authenticity were of any value. It may be a question whether lawyers are justified in altogether rejecting hearsay evidence; but it never can be supposed, in its best state, to be other than secondary. When it passes through many hands when it is given after a long time-- when it is to be found almost sclely in one party-when it relates to a subject which deeply interests their feelings,--we may confidently place it at the very bottom of the scale; and without being able either to disprove many particular stories, or to ascertain the proportion in which each of them is influenced by unconscious exaggeration, inflamed zeal, intentional falsehood, inaccurate observation, confused recollection, or eager credulity, we may safely treat the far greater part as the natural produce of these grand causes of human delusion. A very few specimens of these stories may however be here very shortly stated; not that they deserve the trouble of confutation, but that they show the straits to which the Iconolatrists are driven. Bishop Bull had heard, in a conversation forty-five years before, from Dr Gough, that the latter was employed in recovering several papers of the King, taken at Naseby, containing his private thoughts and meditations, and that he found they were the same with part of the Icon. (Words. 34.) One gentleman (name, time, and place unknown!) declared, that he had seen the King write what he afterwards found to be part of it! (Id. 115.) One Dilling having, forty years after, said that he had been told by his father that he had seen, in the hands of Lord Montague, a MS. which he judged to be in the King's hand, and which, as well as he could remember, was the same as some of the printed chapters of the Icon. (Words. 117.) Wagstaffe, in 1699, told the public that he had heard from Captain Philips that his father-in-law, Captain Molineux, said that, in his presence, at a dinner with Ireton and Ludlow at Cashel, forty-nine years before, Colonel Hammond declared the Icon to have been written by the King at Carisbrook. (Words. 129, and Wagst. 99.) Forty or fifty years after this event, Hearne, a servant of Sir Philip Warwick, declares that he had heard his master and one Oudart often say that they had transcribed the Icon from a copy in Charles's handwriting. (Words. 138.) It is evident that such rumours by an unknown man of what he had heard long before from another equally unknown, prove no

or corona depende specifier leebilece

thing but the desperate state to which the Iconists are reduced. The last story, however, very fortunately refers to authorities still in our possession, and affords a sample of what would befal the rest, if we had the same means of detection. Sir Philip Warwick (who is thus said to have copied the Icon from the King's MS.) has himself positively told us, ' I cannot say I know that he wrote the Icon which goes under his name ; * * and Oudart was secretary to Sir Edward Nicholas, whose letter to Gauden, virtually acknowledging his claim, has been already quoted!

The first collector of the major part of these tales was Wagstaffe; and on the opinion entertained of his judgment and ve. racity, the best portion of their feeble evidence, that which consists in the occasional specification of names, times and places, must chiefly depend. It is fit then to let the reader see a specimen of his modesty and justice. “Milton,' says he,' a man • of that complexion that would have ventured as far to BROACH • a LIE as any of his followers.' (Wagst. Pref. ix.) The same Wagstaffe employs many pages in an attempt to prove that Milion tempted a printer, by the offer of liberty, to insert a prayer from Sir P. Sidney's Arcadia in the Icon, to afford himself the opportunity of aspersing the King's piety, and that he finally succeeded in this infamous falsification. These passages are not quoted, either because any one could now stoop to refute them, (they are refuted by the name of Milton), or because it is worth while to feel indignation at the audacity of a forgotten scribbler, but merely to show by how much prejudice, or by how little restraint, the mind of Mr Wagstaffe was influenced at the time when he collected the rumours and surmises which are now once more produced, as proofs that Charles I. was the author of Icon Basilike.

Very little more need be said on this subject. Two persons appear to have been privy to the composition of the Icon by Gauden,-his wife, and Walker his curate. Mrs Gauden, immediately after her husband's death, applied to Lord Bristol for favour, on the ground of her knowledge of the secret, adding, that the Bishop was prevented only by death from writing to him (surely to the same effect). Nine years afterwards she sent to one of her sons the papers on this subject, to be used (if there be a good occasion to make it manifest'); among which was an epitome (* epittimey') • drawn out by the hand • of him that did hope to have made a fortune by it.'+ This is followed by her narrative of the whole transactions, on which

Harw. 68.

+ Docum. Supplem. 42. 48.

two short remarks will suffice. It coincides with Gauden's Letters in the most material particulars, in appeals to the same eminent persons said to be privy to the secret, who might and must have been consulted after such appeal : it proves also her firm persuasion that her husband had been ungratefully requit. ed, and that her family had still pretensions founded on his services, which these papers might one day enable them to assert with more effect.

It would needlessly prolong this article to point out the many circumstances which show that Mrs Gauden must have certainly known whether the book was composed by her husband, who indeed said that the characters had been disguised by her; a fact which receives so unexpected a corroboration from the account given by Sir J. Herbert to Sir Philip Warwick, that • though Herbert believed the MS. to be the King's hand, it 6 was not that in which the King usually wrote. ' *

Walker the curate tells us that he had a hand in the business all along. He wrote this book, it is true, forty-five years after the events. But this circumstance, which so deeply af. fects the testimony of men who speak of words spoken in conversation, and reaching them through three or four hands, rather explains the inaccuracies, than lessens the substantial weight, of one who speaks of his own acts, on the most, and perhaps only, remarkable occasion of his life. There are two facts in Walker's account which seem to be decisive;-namely, that Gauden told him, about the time of the fabrication, that the MS. was sent by the Duke of Somerset to the King, and that two chapters of it were added by Bishop Duppa. To both these witnesses Gauden appealed at the Restoration, and Mrs G. after his death. Even these communications were somewhat indiscreet; but, if false, what temptation had Gauden at that time to invent them, and to communicate them to his curate ? They were new means of detecting his imposture. But the declaration of Gauden, that the book and figure was wholly and solely my 'invention, making and design,' is quoted with premature triumph, as if it were repugnant to the composition of two chapters by Duppa; t-as if the contribution of a few pages to a volume could affect the authorship of the man who had planned the whole, and executed all the rest. That he mentioned the particular contribution of Duppa at the time to Walker, and only appealed in general to the same prelate in: his applications to Clarendon and the King, is a variation, but

[ocr errors][merged small]
« AnteriorContinuar »