« PreviousContinue »
I beg you to salute him in
Let him also know how agreeable it is to me, who am very undeserving of his notice, to have been honoured with the most worthy tender of his approbation, of which I have been informed by his letters to Casaubon.* But, I must confess, his return to his native land.
* This was Meric Casaubon, whose well-tried loyalty is described in page 380, and from whom Grotius had received nearly a similar communication to that which Bishop Laud transmitted to Vossius : Of that communication he speaks thus to the latter: "I am much pleased with the letter of Meric Casaubon, which affords abundant proof's both of his own friendly disposition and of the good-will of that great Bishop."
Strange as it may at first sight appear, Grotius and Laud held no intercourse together, till the autumu of 1631, a few months prior to his retiring from France. But those who know the state of European affairs about that time, will express no kind of surprise at this circumstance: For, through the favouritism of the Duke of Buckingham, the most pernicious legacy that his royal father had bequeathed to King Charles, a war had been declared by the English against Spain, ostensibly for the recovery of the Palatinate, but not improbably, (as it was then reported,) in revenge for the public affront which Buckingham had received while in Spain, on the romantic expeditiou to obtain the hand of the Infanta for his royal companion. Scarcely bad this contest begun, when the kingdom was embroiled in a fresh war with the King of France, whose sister had been only a few months married to King Charles the First. The commencement of this impolitic family squabble in 1626, and the termination of it and of the war with Spain, which stand as inonitory warnings of the sad consequences of conducting the affairs of a great kingdom on unsettled or irrational principles, are thus briefly related in PHILLIPS's Continuation of Baker's Chronicle :
“ The French Priests and domestics of that nation, which came into England with the Queen, were grown so insolent and pụt so many affronts upon the King, that he was forced to send them home: 'In which he did no more than what the French King had done before him, in sending hack all the Spanish courtiers, which his Queen brought with her. But that King, no: looking on his own example, and knowing on what ill terms the King stood both at home and abroad, first seized on all the merchants' ships which lay on the river of Bourdeaux ; and then the peace, lately patched up, was turned into an open war, so that the King was fain to make use of those forces against the French which were designed to have been used against the Spaniard, and comply with the desires of the Rochellers, who humbly sued to bim at this time for his protection and defence.-In the spring of this year [1629) the Queen, being affrighted, aborted of a son, which added something to the King's troubles at home, though abroad matters succeeded well: For the King of France, being in a trans-alpine expedition at Susa for the relief of Casal, was so intent on that war, that lie was very inclivable to peace with us; and, by the intervention of the States Venice, a peace was concluded.-In the month of January, Don Carlos de Colomas, seni Ambassador from Spain, arrived at London, and had audience six days after. His business was to treat of a peace betwixt the two crowns, which was a while after concluded, all things being left on both sides in the same condition in which they were before the war, and the Spaniard did engage that he would make use of all his interest with the Emperor for restoring the Prince Elector Palatine to his lost estate.”
During the whole of this agitated period, Grotius resided in Paris, and expressed bis strong disapprobation of the principles on which the Rochelle Calvinists had taken up arms against their lawful sovereign. See pages 208 -216, 265 & 290. During the same period, Laud was solicitous for the success of the Rochellers, and of his patron the Duke of Buckingham, who was sent to their assistance; and, paradoxical though it may seem, he was one of the five Episcopal Commissioners, who, in exercise of the Archi-episcopal functions from which Dr. Abbot had been previously suspended, gave their advice for the appointment of the public Fast in 1628, and assisted in the
has always appeared to me one of those things which are scarcely credible, by whose persuasion soever it may have been undertaken: I have reasons for my opinion about that enterprize, although they must not be inserted in this letter on the present occasion. Should he again spontaneously leave his country, he is happy in having so many kings and princes who wish to secure his services;* in one point alone lies his infelicity,
- he cannot choose his employer with such ease and safety as he can be chosen. I am truly glad, that you would not envy his residence in Great Britain so much as in any other kingdom ; and I cannot know his capabilities with greater accuracy than I can appreciate the value of his services : But as affairs now stand among us, not a thought must be indulged on that subject.”+
Grotius felt a desire to reside in England, but the laconic and uncourteous reply of Laud to Vossius relieved him from the composition of The Form of Prayer which Bishop Burnet has quoted with such triumph in a preceding page,, (562,) though, like many other of the Bishop's inconsequent collateral proofs, it tends little to confirni his previous statement.-While in such very opposite circumstances, it is not wonderful that the celebrated Dutch exile and the English Bishop remained at a distance from each other, though they were in another view well acquainted through their common friend Gerard Vossius, to whom Grotius thus announced, iu 1631, his boldness in having written for the first time in his life to Laud :“Our Junius is now in England, which, notwithstanding the anhandsome treatmeut he received, he does not cease to love. I gave him
a letter to the Bishop of London. You perceive what confidence I have reposed in Literature, which I have always cultivated, thus to have the daring to write to a person to whom I am unknown.-I am absent in the sweeter part of myself [Madame De Groot], to whom I hope speedily to be united, that I may again become what Plato calls an Androgynus. I bid FAREWELL to you and to your better half, with your very happy and numerous progeny.-August 29th, twelve years after the commencemeut of many adversities to myself and my country.
Immediately after his arrival at Paris in the capacity of Swedish Ambassador, Grotius trausmitted a letter of congratulation to Laud on bis recent promotion to the See of Canterbury, which is quoted in page 600; and soon after he addressed a letter of recommendation to his_Grace in behalf of the Rev. Sampson Johnson, who had accompanied Sir Robert Anstruther in his embassy to the Diet of Ratisbon, aud with whom Grotius had become acquainted during his abode at Hamburgh. See page 216. Such was the commencement of their epistolary intercourse, which was never subsequently cultivated to any great extent, except through the intervention of Vossius, Casaubon, Junius, and others; for after Laud's exaltation to the Metropolitan dignity, he found abundance of occupation for bis extraordinary talents, in attempting to retrieve the affairs of the kingdom from the deplorable condition into which they had been plunged by the profligacy or the misconduct of some who had been his predecessors at the King's Council-board.
* We are told by Niceron, that, " during the stay which Grotius made in Hamburgh, the kings of Denmark, Poland and Spain invited him into their respective dominions ; but, not thinking the proposals which they offered to be suitable, he persisted in his first design of serving the crown of Sweden.",
tAn interesting enquiry might here be raised, respecting the cause of thus declining the offer, which Vossius had tendered of his friend's services in the Court of England. The reader will find, in a subsequent note, an attempt to solve this difficulty:
• The subjoined letter, containing an allusion to England, was written by Grotius to his brother, five days after Vossius had addressed his to Bishop Laud, and will serve as an exposition of his prospects at that juncture: “I have again heard some discourse concerning the king of Sweden; but in the present situation of my affairs the information has been conveyed to me by
anxiety of expectation. He had not, however, been long a resident at Hamburgh before he obtained the honourable employment to
several messengers. The origin of it is ascribed to Oxenstern, who is now ambassador at the Hague. You and others know in wbat high estimation I hold that king. It is imprudent for me to change the place of my abode, on account of hopes that may prove uncertain: The despatch of the affair is not the only thing which ought to be considered, for we must likewise have some regard to dignity. Those who were commanded to acquaiut me with this business, thought the king was desirous of engaging my services to the Court of France; if this be done with the title of Ambassador, and with those perquisites and advantages which will enable one to maintain the dignity, it might prove to be an object worthy of my deliberation. But I have likewise been greeted with a sort of favourable breeze from England. We must deliberate long about that which can only once be done. If you know any thing which will aid our consultations, I beg you to impart it. You need not be reminded, that all must be transacted so as not to make us appear like anxious candidates."
* Though to my mind the Bishop's letter seems uncourteous, yet much of this appearance arose from the studied brevity of his style, and the multiplicity and importance of his occupations. Grotius biniself understood the Bishop's reasons for declining to invite him into England, and manifested no signs of offence at the disappointment: On the contrary, as soon as he had entered Paris in the quality of Swedish Ambassador to the Court of France, he addressed the subjoined to the newly-elected Archbishop of Canterbury : “ Most reverend and illustrious Lord, I think there is scarcely an individual among your own countrymer who was so much overjoyed as I was, when I received the first intelligence of your Grace's elevation to that highest Patriarchal dignity ;---Dot because l was ignorant of the magnitude of your spirit, wbich soars far above all things that are frail and liable to decay, and which therefore expends po portion of its admiration upon those splendid titles or the eminence of the station ;--but because 1 sincerely congratulated the Church of England on having obtained a true Governor and Protector, who will, as far as circumstances permit, recal all things to the purest state of Christian Antiquity. I should have been mistaken had I supposed this benefit [of Uniformity) was to be granted to the churches of one' kingdom only, or even to those of all the [three] British kingdoms, since its latitude is still more extensive, and belongs to the whole body of the Christian Church which is widely spread over the face of the earth, and which, however torn and lacerated, is still held together by a few ligaments and fibres. I have long desired to have some favourable opportunity of testifying my respect and veneration for you ; and now, having been honoured with an embassy to France in the name of the Queen of Sweden, I considered the charge committed to my trust was not so confined within the French boundaries, as to render it impossible to transmit it to the neighbouring king doms, which are only separated from me by a narrow strait; and I beseech your most reverend Lordship to allow the welfare and good success of the kingdom of Sweden, and of the affairs in which the Swedes are engaged, to form a part of your Grace's care and solicitude. If I may add any private request to this public oue, it is to pray, that you will not suffer me to be excluded from the operation of your benevolence and good-will, which are so freely bestowed upon all, and to which a long time ago I sought to gain access,
In a letter addressed to the Swedish Chancellor Oxenstern two months afterwards, Grotius thus alludes to the Archbishop's reply: “I have received a letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury, which is full of kindness to me. He says, ' that he will both say and do every thing that is proper in behalf of the affairs of Sweden, which I had recommended to his notice, as soon as he has more fully understood what may be the principal advantages that the King and kingdom of England will obtajo.' Thus he gives an indefinite answer to an equally general request.”. This is in the true diplomatic style, and shews how Archbishop Laud had profited by his residence at Court, in refraining from making large promises which he might never be able to fulfil.
which allusion is made in a preceding page, (599) and the origin of which* is thus described by Du Maurier: “Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, having read and admired the Treatise
But the urgent nature of domestic affairs prevented Laud from cultivating any new acquaintance abroad, though he maintained an interesting correspondence with his old and worthy friend, Gerard Vossius.
Nor must this letter be viewed as a mere complimentary effusion. It spoke the genuine sentiments of the writer's heart respecting that great but persecuted iudividual, iu language which Grotius repeated on several other occasions when corresponding with his friends, who had no acquaintance with the Archbishop, or who had but a faint or distorted knowledge of his character froin bis enemies. Consult the preceding pages 281–239. The following unbiassed testimony in his favour, is quoted from a letter which Grotius addressed, while at Hamburgh in 1634, to the celebrated Ruarus, and which contains a strong and explicit approval of Laud's design to produce uniformity in the public worship of God throughout Great Britain : " In England, he who had been Bishop of London, being now raised to the Archbishopric Canterbury, has obtained supreme authority in the affairs of the kingdom and of the Church : He is a man of prudence, who has regard to the model of the Ancient Church, as far as the times will permit. Among the things indifferent adopted hy the English Church, no part of the Popish rites is iutroduced ; but, with regard to those things which have been received as the public customs of the kingdom, an attempt is inade to render them in every place uniforin and alike. The harsher dogmas, which rivet with nails of adamant men's salvation or destruction, are now become still more obsolete in England, and find few defenders.”- Let it be recollected, that this and similar passages are no common authorities : They proceed from a man who was better acquainted wiib the constitution of the Church of England and with the writings of the Christian Fathers, when he was only twenty-five years old, than many excellent and learned divines are at sixty. His testimony is the more valuable, because, as it is said in page 217, he had the best opportunity in the world to know the designs and deeds of both the parties, that had then made their appearance in the political arena ; and his absence from the scene of action, bis elevated rank, and his friendly intercourse with men of all persuasions, constituted him as impartial a witness in these affairs, as it was possible for a man to be who was not an absolute indifferent, that is a real Deist.
*"To remain so long in a state of uncertainty respecting his ulterior des. tination, must have been extremely painful to the mind of Grotius, who in allusion to this sort of, feeling writes thus to his friend Vossius from Hamburgh : “My wife passes one day after another in hoping for better times. In the interim, age creeps on apace, time flies, and, I am afraid, even those opportunities which present themselves in various directions, will all vanish. It is miserable to be long in suspence!”
From the same place he addressed the following lines to bis friend Lusson on the 14th of May 1633 : “I humbly intreat you, illustrious man, not to account the withdrawing of my hand from the munificence of the King of France, as any proof of the small estimation in which I may be thought to hold bis Majesty's favours, or your aid in this business who have always been one of the best of my friends. *** I have been asked by the ministers of some princes whether I was engaged to any one ; and hecause the report of these enquiries has been circulated, I have always declared, that • I should continue mindful as long as I lived of those benefits of which I
partook in France, but, since my departure out of that kingdom, I am • disengaged and entirely at my own disposal.' (pportunities of being employed present themselves from more than one quarter, and they are of a kind not to be despised whether regard to bad to dignity or to advantage. But that sentiment constantly suggests itself to my mind : It is necessary
to deliberate a long time about that which can only once be determined.' Ye I hope my future condition will be such as to allow me occasionally to revisit France and my dear friends, and to return my personal thanks to you, dear sir, to Thuanus, Cordesius, the Puteani, and Pelletier, whose names 1
De Jure Belli et Pacis, resolved to employ the Author ; for he concluded, from this production, that he was a great politician. The Chancellor Oxenstern, who was prime minister to that triumphant Monarch, confirmed him in the design, as he highly valued the work, which he was almost constantly perusingBut this Prince having been killed at the battle of Lutzen in 1632,* the Chancellor Oxenstern, agreeably to his own inclination and the late King's intentions,f nominated Grotius Ambascarry with me deeply engraven on my beart, and I will bear them about to whatever regions I may be called by Providence.”—This letter will also serve further to illustrate the note in pages 591 & 593.
* In a letter to his brother, dated Dec. 8, 1632, Grotius says: " It is amazing to behold the dejection of mind which is evinced by the Swedish and German Protestants, especially by those of them who had more openly engaged in that cause, on the death of the great Gustavus, whom they had already destined to possess the Empire [of Germany], as mortal men, who fatter themselves, are accustomed to exceed moderation in the hopes which they conceive.'
# To his friend Lusson, Grotius writes thus on the 26th of June 1634 : “I am now at Frankfort, baving been invited bere, more than once, by the Chancellor of the kingdom of Sweden, a man who is worthy of being compared with any of the ancients, and whose pleasure it has been to draw me out of the umbrageous bowers of literature in which I lay concealed, to bring me to the light and to employ me in great affairs. But my strongest fear is, that my services will not fully answer the expectations wbich such a great man has conceived.” In a letter to J. Puteanus, he says: change of my resideuce, from Hamburgh to Frankfort, is caused by the Chancellor of Sweden, the greatest man of our age, who has, by a letter highly honourable and flattering, retained me in the service of that kingdom, and has received me with the greatest beniguity.” And in another, addressed to Du Maurier, he says: “I might sometime ago have come to the very illustrious Chancellor of Sweden, who is the chief of the Evangelical League, at a juncture that would have been more favourable to these affairs as .well as to myself. But since bis great miod shines forth with the greater lustre in difficult circumstances, it is equitable for us also to follow the example of such a great leader."
The particulars in the subjoined letter addressed from Paris, in 1637, to John Frischman, will be perused with interest, especially that part of it which relates his design in composiug the work on the Rights of War and Peace : “ Most learned and polite man, I address you by this double title according to your great merits, since I have your letter in proof of your possessing in a bigh degree both those accomplishments : Learning cannot possibly be too abundant; it is politeness that transgresses the limits of moderation. You are aware, that those unbounded applauses, when credited by aged men, possess the power of enchantment, and injure the individuals on whom they are bestowed, unless the force of the charm be averted by words composed in due form. I embrace that part of your eulogy in which your mind forms a proper estimate and a grateful recollection of the extraordinary virtues of king Gustavus the Great, and of his truly royal purpose of relieving and elevating the afflicted. Having endured many adversities, I am chiefly consoled and elated with this consideration, that after the king of Sweden had felt something like a Divine presentiment that his end was approaching and had in consequence delivered a number of orders to his confidants, that great monarch, among other things, then commanded them to engage me in the service of the kingdom of Sweden. His royal pleasure was executed by my Lord Oxenstern, the only substitute to be found who was equal to support the immense weight which devolved on his shoulders, after that greatest of monarchs was freed from the burden. The affection which these two great personages have evinced towards me, or even the judgment which they have formed concerning me, will easily confirm me in despising both the