« AnteriorContinuar »
perhaps, in his capacity of a preacher he was most serviceable to the cause ".
with honour and victorya.” So that we see he knew how to use both swords, and could slay and kill, as well as feed the sheep; which, in the opinion of Baronius, Christ gave Peter authority to exercise equally, as occasion might require b. But, to be serious, this leading a brigade against the Irish rebels, ought not to be imputed to Peters as a crime: it being equally as justifiable as archbishop Williams's arming in the civil wars in England, or Dr. Walker's defending Londonderry, and fighting at the battle of the Boyne (in which he gloriously lost his life) in Ireland; more especially as the Irish against whom Peters fought, were a bloodthirsty crew, who had committed o acts of wickedness, hardly to be paralleled even in the annals of Rome papal. Against such villains, therefore, it was meritorious to engage, and Peters was undeniably praise-worthy. For there are times and seasons when the gown must give place to arms, even at those times when our laws, liberties, and religion are endangered by ambitious, bloody, and superstitious men. And were the clergy in all countries as much concerned for these blessings as they ought, they would deserve the reverence of all orders of men.
10. In his capacity of a preacher he was most serviceable to the cause.] Whitlock tells us, that when sir Thomas Fairfax moved for storming Bridgwater anew, and it was assented to, the Lord's day before, Mr. Peters, in his sermon, encouraged the soldiers to the work. He was thought to be deeply concerned in the king's death, and his name has been And at Milford Haven, the country did unanimously take the engagement, and Mr. Peters opened the matter to them, and did much encourage them to take it.
a Whitlock, p. 426., Bedel's Life, p. 6. 8vo. Lond. 1685. See a breviate of some of the crueltjes, murders, &c. committed by the Irish popish rebels upon the protestants, Oct. 23, 1641, in Rushworth, Part III. Vol. I. p. 405.
d Whitlock, p. 162.
He preached also in the market-place at Torrington", and convinced many of their errors in adhering to the king's party.--A man of this temper, it is easily seen, must be of great service to any party; and seems to deserve the rewards he received. For in factions, it is the bold and daring man, the man that will spare no pains, that is to be valued and encouraged; and not the meek, the modest, and moderate one. A man of wisdom would not have taken these employments upon him, nor would a minister, one should think, who was animated by the meek and merciful spirit of the gospel, have set himself from the pulpit, to encourage the soldiers to storm a town, in which his brethren and countrymen were besieged. If storming was thought necessary by the generals, they themselves should have encouraged the soldiers thereunto; but Peters, as a minister of the gospel, should have excited them rather to spare the effusion of human blood as much as possible, and to have compassion on the innocent. Peters, however, was not singular in his conduct. The immortal Chillingworth, led away with party spirit, and forgetting that he was a minister of the Prince of Peace, ... attended the king's army before Gloucester; and “observing that they wanted materials to carry on the siege, suggested the making of some engines, after the manner of the Roman testudines cum pluteis . "-Indeed,
* Whitlock, p. 447.
Ibid. p. 194. Maizeaux's Life of Chillingworth, p. 280, Lond. 1725, 8vo. and Rushworth, Part 32, Vol. II. p. 290.
treated with much severity by reason of it"."
the divines of both sides too much addicted themselves to their respective parties; and were too unmindful of the duties of their function.
"Deeply concerned in the king's death, &c.] Every one knows he suffered for this after the Restoration. He had judgment passed on him as a traitor, and as such was executed", and his head afterwards set on a pole on London bridge.
Burnet tells us , “ that he had been outragious in pressing the king's death, with the cruelty and rudeDess of an inquisitor.”—Dr. Barwick says, “ he was upon no slight grounds accused to have been one of the king's murtherers, though it could not be sufficiently proved against him.”
And we find in a satirical piece, styled Epulæ Thyesta, printed 1649, the following lines :
“ There's Peters, the denyer (nay 'tis said)
He that (disguis’d) cut off his master's head; • That godly pigeon of apostacy
Does buz about his anti-monarchy,
His scaffold doctrines.” One Mr. Starkey at his trial swore", that “ he stiled the king tyrant and fool, asserted that he was not fit to be a king, and that the office was dangerous, chargeable, and useless."
It was likewise sworn on his trial, that in a sermon, a few days before the king's trial, he addressed himself to the members of the two houses, in these terms: “ My lords, and you noble gentlemen, “It is you, we
a Oct. 16, 1660. Hist. of his own Times, Dutch edit. in 12mo.. vol. I. p. 264. c Barwick's Life, Eng. trans. p. 296, Lond. 1724. : Trial of the Regicides, p. 159.
cite. Pia 2016 - 296, 1
Ibid. p. 166.
He was appointed one of the triers for
chiefly look for justice from: Do not prefer the great Barabbas, murtherer, tyrant and traytor, before these poor hearts (pointing to the red coats) and the army, who are our saviours."
In another sermon before Cromwell and Bradshaw, he said, “ Here is a great discourse and talk in the world; what, will ye cut off the head of a protestant prince a ? Turn to your bibles, and ye shall find it there, whosoever sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed.--I see neither king Charles, prince Charles, nor prince Rupert, nor prince Maurice, nor any of that rabble excepted out of it b.”—These and many other things of the like nature, were sworn against him at his trial, and notwithstanding his denial of the most part of them, caused his condemnation. So that there seems pretty clear proof of his guilt, and sufficient reason for his censure.
Let us now hear Peters speak for himself: “ I had access to the king,-he used me civilly; I, in requital, offered my poor thoughts three times for his safety; I never had hand in contriving or acting his death, as I am scandalized, but the contrary, to my mean power C.” Which, if true, no wonder he should think the act of indemnity would have included him, as well as others, as he declares he did, of which we shall speak more hereafter.
That he was useful and serviceable to the king, during his confinement; there is undeniable proof. Whitlock writes “ that upon a conference between the king and Mr. Hugh. Peters, and the king desiring one of his own chaplains might be permitted to come to him, for his satisfaction in some scruples of conscience, Dr. Juxon, bishop of London, was ordered to go to his majestya.” And“ sir John Denham, being entrusted by the queen, to deliver a message to his Majesty, who, at that time, was in the hands of the army, by Hugh Peters's assistance, he got admittance to the king b.”
a i. e. King's.
b Trial of the Regicides, p. 168. Peters's Legacy, p. 102.
These were considerable services, and could hardly have been expected from a man, who was outrageous in pressing the king's death, with the cruelty and rudeness of an inquisitor.
And as to what was said of his being supposed to be the king's executioner, one, who was his servant, deposed on his trial, that he kept his chamber, being sick, on the day the king suffered : and no stress was laid by the king's counsel on the suspicions uttered against him on this head. So that, in all reason, Dr. Barwick should have forborne saying, “ that he was upon no slight grounds accused to have been one of the king's murtherers.”
Certain it is, he too much fell in with the times, and, like a true court chaplain, applauded and justified what his masters did, or intended to do; though he himself might be far enough from urging them beforehand to do it. He would perhaps have been pleased, if the king and army had come to an agreement: but as that did not happen, he stuck close to his party, and would not leave defending their most iniquitous behaviour.
Which conduct is not peculiar to Peters. Charles the First, at this day, is spoke of as the best, not only of men, but of kings; and the parliament is said to
* Whitlock, p. 370.
Denham's Epist. Dedicat. to Charles II. of his Poems, second edition, 1671.