By H. R Trevor-Roper
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OPPOSITION AND INTRIGUE II 35 his family, his horses, and his dogs, is not a politician but a man, with whom we can sympathise regardless of political differences. Hampden the Puritan malcontent may be an idol or he may be anathema: but Hampden the Buckinghamshire squire can be neither. With Laud, however, it is different. Like Chatham, he was one of those public figures without private lives. While his predecessor at Lambeth, Abbot, and his successor, Juxon, were both devotees of the chase, Laud had neither time nor inclination for any such activity.
Besides this social aspect, to which it owed its political power, the Roman system had, too, a variety of personal appeals whereby individuals were drawn to its support, - its traditional antiquity, its aesthetic perfection, its comfortable philosophy. By these attractions many eloquent and influential men were predisposed to favour it, like Sir Thomas Browne, who refused to regard the Church of England as a creation of Henry VIII, and loved to lose himself in an 0 Altitudo. Then there were the theologians who looked for a body of doctrine intellectually more complete than that of the Bible only, less radical than that of the Reformers.
So in the religiously-inclined and the socially-conscious arose a crop of queasy doubts. Was it not time now to regulate private appetites in the name of social solidarity? Had the spoliation of the Church been altogether a good thing? And if not, was not this perhaps the divine punishment for the sin of sacrilege? What of the old monasteries, too, - were they as black as they had been painted by those who were anxious to buy up their property? Had they not performed a vital service to society, - a service now unhappily neglected?