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uxorious, consulted his wife in all his affairs,
fact, he cared not to do any thing without first consulting her majesty, and obtaining her approbation.
“Now,” says he, in a letter to the queen, dated May 14, 1645, “I must make a complaint to thee of my son Charles; which troubles me the more, that thou mayest suspect I seek by equivocating to hide the breach of my word, which I hate above all things, especially to thee. It is this: he hath sent to desire me, that Sir John Greenfield may be sworn gentleman of his bedchamber ; but already so publickly engaged in it, that the refusal would be a great disgrace both to my son and the young gentleman, to whom it is not fit to give a just distaste, especially now, considering his, father's merits, his own hopefulness, besides the great power that family has in the West; yet I have refused the admitting of him until I shall hear from thee. Wherefore I desire thee, first, to chide my son for en, gaging himself without one of our consents; then not to refuse thy own consent; and lastly, to believe, that, directly or indirectly, I never knew of this while yesterday, at the delivery of my son's letter. So farewel, sweet heart, and God send me good news from theea."
And in a letter, dated 9 June 1645, speaking of the good state of his affairs. to her, he adds, “ Yet I must tell thee, that it is thy letter by Fitz-Williams, assuring me of thy perfect recovery, with thy wonted kindness, which makes me capable of taking contentment in these good successes; for as divers men proposes several recompences to themselves for their pains and hazard in this rebellion, so thy company is the only reward I expect and wish for b." From these and many like passages, it appears how uxorious Charles
was influenced by her, and, in a manner,
was, how much governed by a woman! And conse-
- God's universal law
By female usurpation, or dismay'd. MILTON. These things are boldly said! but possibly they who uttered them, might not themselves have been able wholly to make them good; for women, in all ages, have had great sway. Beauty has triumphed over the
. Cic. Paradoxa, vol. II.
wholly at her disposal. So that we may reasonably presume ", the reproaches which
wise, the brave, and good; and therefore Charles, in this respect, may be entitled to some degree of pity! Though, after all, to admit a wife to dictate and direct in matters of state, to interfere in the affairs of a kingdom, to whose laws and customs she was a stranger, and whose religious opinions and practices she abhorred; I say, to do this, was weak and inexcusable..
12 The reproaches that have been cast upon him of infidelity to the marriage-bed, are without foundation, &c.] The licentiousness of some writers is very amazing: not content to represent princes as they really were, they study to blacken them, though without foundation. This has happened to Charles very remarkably. One should have thought his attachment to the queen, her ascendancy over him, the regard he paid her, and his having never a mistress publicly mentioned, should have hindered even a thought of his unchastity. But he has not passed unsuspected of this, as well as other matters, in which, probably, he had no concern.- Let us hear his accusation." He did not greatly court the ladies, nor had he a lavish affection unto many: he was manly, and well fitted for venereous sports, yet rarely frequented illicit beds. I do not hear of above one or two natural children he had, or left behind him."-Sir Edward Peyton tells us, “the queen was very jealous of the king; insomuch as he, loving a very great lady, now alive, whom he had for a mistress, to the intent he might have more freedom with her, sent her lord into the low countries. In the inean while, he daily courted her at Oxford, in her husband's and the queen's absence: but the lord return
* Lilly's Observations on the Life of King Charles, p. 11.
have been cast on him of infidelity to the marriage-bed, are without foundation,
ing, the king diverted his affectionate thoughts to another married lady, of whom the queen, was jealous at her return from France; so that, 'on a time, this lady being in queen Mary's presence, and dressed à-lamode, the queen viewing her round, told the lady, she would be a better mistress for a king than a wife for a knight. The lady replied, Madam, I had rather be mistress to a king, than any man's wife in the world. For which answer she was obliged to absent herself from court a long time ?."
The last evidence against Charles, on this head, shall be Milton, who in his Defensio pro Populo Anglicano, has these words : “ Castimoniam tu ejus et continentiam laudes, quem cum duce Buckingamio flagitiis omnibus coopertum novimus ? secretiora ejus et recessus perscrutari quid attinet, qui in theatro medias mulieres petulanter amplecti, et suaviari, qui virginum & matronarum papillas, ne dicam cætera, pertractare in propatulo consueverat. Te porrò monco pseudo Plutarche, ut istius modi parallelis ineptissimis de hinc supersedeas, ne'ego quæ tacerem alioqui libens de Carolo, necesse habeam enuntiare b." i.e. “Have you the impudence (speaking to Salmasius) to commend his chastity and sobriety, who is known to have committed all manner of lewdness in conpany with his confident the duke of Buckingham ? It were to no purpose to enquire into the private actions of his life, who publicly, at plays, would embrace and kiss the ladies lasciviously, and handle virgins' and matrons! breasts, not to mention the rest. I advise you therefore, you counterfeit Plutarch, to abstain from such like parallels, [between Charles and David, and Solo
· Divine Catastrophe, p. 33.
Milton's Works, vol. II. p. 315,
though we had not those strong assurances of his chastity we now have. He was, in
mon) lest I be forced to publish those things concerning Charles, which I am willing to conceal.”
Many objections arise on the face of this evidence against Charles's chastity. Lilly does not positively say that he had any natural children, but that he did not hear of abore one or two; which is a very indeterminate way of talking in such an affair. Peyton is very positive, we see, but he names no lady, though he speaks of two: which I am persuaded, from his hatred to the memory of Charles, he would have done, had he known on whom with certainty to have pitched; not to take notice that the queen never was at Oxford after her return from France, as Peyton seems to assert. Milton is a name at all times to be mentioned with honour; but truth compels me to say, that what he here speaks has much, too much, the air of declamation to be entirely relied on. Buckingham was lewd; but no one, but Milton, hints that Charles was a partaker of his vices; and his evidence, delivered in such a way, (as he himself could not have been a spectator) is not sufficient to condemn him. The handling virgins' and matrons' breasts, though not seemingly consistent with the gravity Charles remarkably preserved in his whole behaviour, depends much on the custom of ages and countries; and therefore, had it been ever so publicly done, cannot of itself determine against a man's chastity. A single fact, advanced with proper vouchers, would have been of more force in determining the chastity of Charles, than a thousand of these kind of assertions and inferences. But as such a fact, properly attested, has not been brought, even by Peyton or Milton, we may, I think, conclude that they could, not;