Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 32.djvu/198

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Laud
Laud
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to complain of his tract on 'Schism,' warning him that 'there could not be too much care taken to preserve the peace and unity of the church,' he treated him in a friendly way, and took no repressive measures against him. No doubt Chillingworth, and still more Hales, held opinions in which the archbishop did not share, but he saw in their appeal to reason as against dogmatism allies in his double conflict.

Laud was already involved in that interference with the Scottish church which proved ultimately disastrous to his system. When he accompanied the king to Scotland in 1633 he had been shocked by the unecclesiastical appearance of the churches, and on one occasion an intimation that the change he disliked had been made at the Reformation drew from him the remark that it was not a reformation but a deformation. Charles's proposal to issue new canons and a new prayer-book for the Scottish church may have been suggested by Laud; at any rate, the archbishop heartily supported it. The work was indeed entrusted to the Scottish bishops, but it was sent to the king to revise, and in that revision Charles was guided by the opinions of Laud and Wren. Officially Laud had nothing to do with the matter, but it was perfectly well understood in Scotland how great his influence was, and the canons and prayer-book were there held to have emanated directly from him whom they entitled the pope of Canterbury.

When, on 23 July 1637, the explosion took place at St. Giles's Church at Edinburgh, and the Scottish bishops were growing frightened at the result of their handiwork, Laud urged that there should be no drawing back. 'Will they now,' he wrote of the bishops to Traquair, 'cast down the milk they have given because a few milkmaids have scolded at them? I hope they will be better advised.' In March 1638, in a fit of ill-temper, Laud complained to the king of the jeers of Archie Armstrong [q.v.], the king's jester, and poor Archie was expelled from court, though at Laud's intercession he escaped a flogging. The jester only gave utterance to public opinion. Everywhere Laud was held up to the indignation of men as the real author of the Scottish troubles.

Laud's system of obtaining unity of heart by the imposition of compulsory uniformity of action was in truth breaking down. It was in vain that on 10 Feb. 1639 he published by the king's orders an amended report of his 'Conference with Fisher,' in order to prove that his principles differed widely from those of the Roman catholics. He found few to believe him, and before long the disastrous result of the first bishops' war, as it was called, against Scotland filled him with despondency (Laud to Roe, 26 July, ib. vii. 583). Later in the year Wentworth's arrival in England and his instalment as Charles's chief political adviser gave him a gleam of hope. With Wentworth, Laud had long carried on a familiar correspondence, the only one in which he allowed himself perfect freedom of expression. When, in December 1639, Strafford proposed that parliament should be summoned to vote money for a new war against Scotland, Laud gave him his support. What he feared for the church was an attack upon it from without by the discontented nobility and gentry supported by the Scots. At the beginning of every year he sent the king an account of the state of religious discipline in his province, and the one which he gave on 2 Jan. 1640 (ib. v. 361) contained so few marks of dissatisfaction that the king noted at the end: 'I hope it is to be understood that what is not certified here to be amiss is right touching the observation of my instructions, which granted, this is no ill certificate.'

In the meeting of the committee of eight, in which the question of undertaking a second war with Scotland was discussed after the dissolution of the Short parliament, Laud spoke in support of Wentworth (now earl of Strafford) in favour of providing, even by unconstitutional measures, for the war. 'Tried all ways'—such at least is the abstract of his speech which has reached us—'and refused all ways. By the law of God and man you should have subsistence, and lawful to take it.'

As often happens with men in authority, Laud's power was believed to be more unlimited than it was, and when the king, resting upon the opinion of the lawyers he consulted, allowed convocation to continue its sittings after parliament had been dissolved, the blame was thrown upon Laud, though he had dissuaded Charles from taking a step which was likely to be condemned by public opinion. As, however, Charles was firm on this point, Laud made use of the prolonged sittings of convocation to pass through it a new body of canons, in which, though the Laudian discipline was enforced, an attempt was made to explain it in such a way as to satisfy honest inquirers. So far the canons breathe a more liberal spirit than is to be found in the contentions of their opponents. It was, however, Laud's misfortune that attempting as he did to force upon the many the religion of the few by the strong hand of power, he was driven to take a political side with that authority in the state which was working in his favour. The new canons,