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blamed their representatives, who, they declared, were not of their nomination or choosing, which was probably true enough; and, besides, complained, with more justice, that the points in controversy, instead of being discussed, had been privately determined on between the King and the Bishops, and then nakedly propounded for acceptance, so that the Puritans had only been brought forward to be made a spectacle to their enemies, to be browbeaten and threatened, and borne down by dictates of royal authority. Indeed, we cannot but wonder at the hardihood of the four dissenting divines, in accepting so unequal a contest, with the King as moderator, who was himself the most bitter and violent partisan of all. Needless to say that they equally objected to the garbled account of the proceedings, which was put forth by the Court party, and which-partial as it proves the conduct of the royal moderator to have been, and insulting and humiliating as it shows his treatment of the Puritans to have been—yet throws a careful veil over the less creditable incidents and the grosser expressions of the King.
The whole conference was probably determined on by James with no other object than of gratifying his pedantic vanity, and exhibiting himself in the character of a learned and subtle disputant. Of his own estimate of his achievements at Hampton Court we get a glimpse from a letter he wrote, a day or two after its close, to a friend of his in Scotland. “We have kept,” says he, “such a revel with the Puritans here this two days, as was never heard the like: quhaire I have peppered thaime as soundlie as yee have done the Papists thaire. It were no reason, that those that will refuse an airy sign of the cross after baptism should have their purses stuffed with any more solid and substantial
They fled me so from argument to argument, without ever answering me directly, ut est eorum moris, as I was forced at last to say unto thaime, that if any of thaime had been in a college disputing with thair scholars, if any
of their disciples had answered thaime in that sort, they would have fetched him up in place of a reply; and so should the rod have plyed upon the poor boyes! I have such a book of thaires as may well convert infidels, but it shall never convert me, except by turning me more earnestly against thayme."
THE PRINCE OF WALES'S SPORTS.
JAMES I.'s AMUSEMENTS.
Early in February, 1604, the Court left this palace for Royston, and soon after Henry, Prince of Wales, came down to reside at Hampton Court with some of his household and attendants. Here, for the following eight or nine months, he devoted himself to his studies and artistic pursuits, and to the athletic exercises in which he so much delighted and excelled. Of horses and all belonging to them he was particularly fond, and, though preferring hunting for the pleasure he took in galloping rather than for the sport, he often went out stag-hunting in the parks, and was an unerring shot with the bow. He also spent much of his time in tossing the pike, leaping, shooting at the butts, throwing the bar, vaulting and playing at bowls and tennis, for all which sports there was every convenience and facility at Hampton Court. Of his skill at tennis there is frequent mention, and it may have been here that his companion Essex, one day when they were playing at tennis together, threatened to strike him across the head with his racket for calling him “the son of a traitor."
The Prince remained at this palace throughout the sunmer, and was still here when the King and Queen came back in the autumn, the period of the year at which, from this time forth, the King was accustomed to come and reside here. So uniform, in fact, was he in his movements, as well as in his diet, that Weldon remarks that “the best observing courtier of our time was wont to say, were he asleep seven years, and then awakened, he would tell where the King every day had been, and every dish he had at his table."
The King was again at the palace at the end of September, 1605, when, on Michaelmas Day, Bancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury, was sworn a Privy Councillor; and he remained here through October, until just before the meeting of Parliament and the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot; returning again in December, during the trial of the conspirators. He was often at this palace, also, in the February following, for a few days in the middle of the week, probably to have some sport in the parks.
In the summer of 1606 Hampton Court was honoured by a visit from the Queen's brother, King Christian IV. of Denmark, who was over in England spending a short time with his relations. He was accompanied by a bodyguard of a hundred men dressed in blue velvet and silver, with twelve trumpeters and twelve pages. He and his suite left Greenwich on August 6th, accompanied by his sister and brother-in-law, to inspect their Majesties palaces in the neighbourhood of London and to hunt in the parks. Having gone first to Richmond, where they hunted and slept the night, they came over the next day and “dyned at Hampton Court, and there hunted and killed deare, with great pleasures; and surely the King of Denmark was very much delighted with the gallantnesse of these Royall Pallaces of his Majestie, as did appeare by his earnest noting of them, and often recounting of their pastimes and pleasures.”
Of King Christian's personal appearance we may judge from his portrait by Vansomer, in the King's Second Presence Chamber at Hampton Court, which was painted about this time, and which shows him to have been a tall, fine-looking man. With it may be compared the description of him, given by an eyes-witness, who tells us that he
of goodly person, of stature in no extremes; in face so like his sister that he who hath seen the one may paint in his fancy the other.”
He resembled his sister also in his love of pleasure and gay entertainments, and was, indeed, a thoroughly jolly good fellow, boisterous and good-tempered, and delighted at having a really rollicking time while over in England with his sister and brother-in-law, who, on their part, made his visit an excuse for a regular “fling,” with tilting matches, running at the ring, tennis, hunting, shooting .sports, masques, banquets, and carousals of all kinds. “We had women and wine too,” writes Sir John Harrington from Court, “ of such plenty, as would have astonished each beholder. Our feasts were magnificent, and the two royal
THE ROYAL DANE KEEPS WASSAIL.
guests did most lovingly embrace each other at the table. I think the Dane hath strangely wrought on our good Eng. lish nobles; for those whom I could never get to taste good English liquor, now follow the fashion and wallow in beastly delights. The ladies abandon their sobriety, and are seen to roll about in intoxication. I have passed much time,” continues he, “in seeing the royal sports of hunting and hawking, where the manners were such as made me devise the beasts were pursuing the sober creation, and not man in quest of exercise and food.”
At Hampton Court, however, King Christian did not make a prolonged stay, apparently remaining only one night to witness the performance of a play, doubtless in the Great Hall of the palace, presented by the King's company of actors. · Shakespeare, as we have seen, was at this time a prominent member of the company; and it is highly probable that he was present (if not indeed himself on the boards) when his fellow actors were performing, perhaps, one of his own plays before the royal Dane.
It may have been some knowledge of the King's convivial habits that suggested the lines in “Hamlet”:
“The King doth wake to-night, and takes his rouse,
The triumph of his pledge.
This was a time when that royal pedant, ever delighting in “the rattle of the dry bones of theology,” was desirous of discussing some arrangement to be made with the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. To this end he had sent for several representative Presbyterian ministers from beyond the Tweed, to come and confer with him at Hampton Court, doubtless anticipating with complacency a repetition of the theological wrangles in which he had engaged with the Puritans, and looking forward with delight to another opportunity of displaying his learning to a crowd of ecclesiastical sycophants. The Presbyterians were accordingly summoned to attend at Hampton Court on September 20th; and four eminent English divines were selected to preach in turn before his Majesty and them.
We can imagine the disgust and vexation of the Scotch “meenisterrs” at having to listen in silence, with patience, and without protest, to the lengthy, tedious, argumentative discourses of the Court preachers, in favour of episcopacy, on the duty of passive obedience, and the divine origin of arbitrary power; while the pedantic King James sat narrowly eyeing them, and noting the effect on them of each text and each argument propounded.
Dr. Barlow, whom we have spoken of as reporting the proceedings of the Hampton Court Conference of 1604, and who was now Bishop of Lincoln, led off on the 21st of September with a sermon on “the antiquity and superiority of Bishops." The next day the King gave the Scotch ministers a private audience, when he enforced Barlow's sermon with arguments from his own theological armoury, and submitted several questions to them bearing on this topic—for instance, as to its being within the King's exclusive province to convoke and prorogue ecclesiastical assemblies. The King, however, did not succeed, even by the most persistent and rigorous cross-examination, in extracting any but very indirect and evasive replies from the cautious and canny Scots. “I see,” he said at last, "that you are all set for maintaining that base conventicle of Aberdeen. ... But you will not, I trust, call my authority in question, and subject the determination of the same to your assemblies?” This, they said, was far from their thoughts; but if his Majesty should be pleased to set down in writing what he required, they should labour to give him satisfaction.
On the 23rd Dr. Buckeridge followed with a sermon on the words of a text, “Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake” (Rom. xiii. 5); "in canvassing whereof," says Archdeacon Spotswood, who was present, “he fell upon the point of the King's supremacy in causes ecclesiastical, which he handled both soundly and learnedly to the satisfaction of all the hearers; only it grieved the Scotch ministers to hear the Pope and Presbytery so often equalled in their opposition to sovereign princes.”