Cary, Lucius, second Viscount Falkland 1610?-1643, born probably at Burford either in 1610 or towards the end of the preceding year, was the son of Sir Henry Cary [qv.], who was in 1620 created Viscount Falkland in the Scottish peerage, and who was lord-deputy of Ireland from 1622 to 1629. His mother, from whom he inherited his literary tastes and his religious thoughtfulness, was Elizabeth [see under Cary, Sir Henry], only daughter of Sir Lawrence Tanfield, chief baron of the exchequer. In 1622 he accompanied his father and mother to Dublin, where he was educated at Trinity College, though it would seem that his name had been entered at St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1621 (Baker, Hist. of St. John's College, ed. Mayor, i. 263). Ussher was provost during the first part of young Cary's residence, and it has been suggested that his influence may have had something to do with the youth's subsequent hostility to the Laudian system. In 1625 Sir Lawrence Tanfield died. By a deed (MS. in Record Office, Chancery Inquisitions, Chas. I, part 1, No. 44, compare probate of will at Somerset House) he directed that the manors of Great Tew and Burford, together with the rectory of Great Tew, should be conveyed to trustees and be held by them, first to the use of his widow, and after her death to that of his grandson, Lucius, upon whose issue the estates were entailed, no mention being made of his daughter, Lady Falkland. It is possible that she was passed over because, though she had not yet formally become a Roman catholic, she was understood to be unsettled in religion; but it must be remembered that the young Lucius had been taken to live with his grandfather from his birth (Life of Lady Falkland, p. 11), and was, therefore, no doubt a special favourite with the old man. When, in 1629, the elder Falkland returned to England, he had been engaged in a violent quarrel with many of the members of the Irish privy council, and the lords justices, who were of the party opposed to him, made use of their new authority to take away a company, the command of which had been granted by the late lord-deputy to his son, Lucius, and to confer it upon Sir Francis Willoughby. Upon this Lucius, indignant on his own as well as on his father's account, challenged Willoughby in January 1630, on which he was committed to the Fleet by a warrant from the council, dated 17 Jan., and liberated on his father's petition on the 27th (correspondence in Lady Theresa Lewis's Lives of the Friends of Clarendon, i. 189). When young Cary left Ireland he brought with him a thorough knowledge of French and Latin (Clarendon's Life, i. 35). If Clarendon's dates are to be taken as accurate, it was at the age of nineteen—that is to say about 1629—that he entered into possession of his inheritance, no doubt by his grandmother's death; and it was at some time during the next two years that he married Letice, daughter of Sir Richard Morrison of Tooley Park, Leicestershire. It was a love-match, and as the lady was poor his father was very angry with him, probably on account of his own exclusion from the Tanfield property as well as on account of the marriage. With the impulsiveness of nature which marked him through his life, Lucius offered to abandon all claim upon the estate to his father, a proposal which came to nothing through the passionate refusal of the old man to accept the offer. So deeply was Lucius pained by the quarrel thus forced upon him, that he went over to Holland with the intention of taking military service under the Dutch Republic. He failed, however, to obtain the post which he desired, and he returned to England to a life for which he was more fitted than for that of a soldier (ib. i. 37; Wood, Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 570). On his return to England Cary retired to a country life at Great Tew, declaring that he would not see London in many years, which was the place he loved of all the world, and devoted himself to the study of Greek (Clarendon's Life, i. 39). By his father's accidental death in 1633 he became Viscount Falkland, and was obliged, much against his will, to go to London on business connected with his father's property, which was so heavily mortgaged that, as Clarendon says (ib. i. 40), he was compelled to sell a finer seat of his own in order to release it. Wood (Athenæ Oxon. ii. 603) throws doubt on the statement given in the Mystery of the Good Old Cause (1660), that Lenthall had Burford given to him by the Long parliament, on the ground that he had purchased it from Falkland in 1634 for about 7,000l. This statement tallies with Clarendon's assertion, and as Lenthall was one of Falkland's trustees under his grandfather's deed, he was a likely person to make the purchase. As under that deed Falkland had only a life interest, the Long parliament no doubt continued to Lenthall the proprietorship after Falkland's death, which otherwise would have gone to his eldest son. Falkland spent with his mother the winter after his father's death. She was now a declared catholic, and was naturally anxious to convince her children of the truth of her own creed. If we may trust her recollections of this period embodied in her biography, written probably by one of her younger sons, Falkland was very nearly giving way. He was, it seems, so wholly catholic in opinion then that he would affirm he knew nothing but what the church told him; pretending, for his being none, that though this seemed to him to be thus—and that he always disputed in the defence of it—yet he would not take upon him to resolve anything so determinatedly as to change his profession upon it till he was forty years old (Life of Lady Falkland, p. 55). It is hardly likely that this is a complete account of the state of Falkland's mind. He may very well have been sufficiently dissatisfied with popular protestantism to listen with sympathising attention to his mother's arguments, while the light answer about his youth might easily have concealed a feeling of repugnance which he was too courteous to express. Lady Falkland accounted for her son's subsequent defection (ib. p. 56) by his meeting with a book of Socinus. This charge of Socinianism here brought against Falkland was also brought against Chillingworth, whom Falkland met at his mother's house, and with whom he contracted a lasting friendship. There is probably a misconception at the root of the denunciations to which this charge has been subjected. The term Socinianism is at present applied to a certain doctrine on the second person of the Trinity. In Falkland's time, as appears from Cheynell's Rise, Growth, and Danger of Socinianism (1643), it was rather a habit of applying reason to questions of revelation which led up to that special doctrine as its most startling result. There can be no doubt that in this larger sense both Falkland and Chillingworth had, as Cheynell subsequently asserted of Chillingworth, the Socinian way of regarding religious questions, and Lady Falkland's assertion that they were led in that direction by reading a book of Socinus may very possibly be true. After this Falkland's relations with his mother were for some time strained, especially as she sent over two of her sons to be educated as catholics abroad, and used her motherly influence to procure the conversion of her daughters. There were also some monetary difficulties between them, but the first meeting was enough to put an end to all estrangement between mother and son, especially as Falkland made over to her and to some of her children a part of his father's estate which he had himself redeemed and which had originally been set apart by her husband for her jointure. In later years Lady Falkland was once more in difficulties, but as there had been again some ill-feeling between the mother and son, she did not apply to him for help. When at last Falkland was informed of his mother's condition, he at once hurried to her assistance. He found her on her deathbed, and did all that was in his power to soothe her in her last hours (Life of Lady Falkland, 108, 111).
Falkland's own life had been an enjoyable one. As soon, writes Clarendon (Life, i. 41), as he had finished all those transactions, which the death of his father had made it necessary to be done, he retired again to his country life and to his severe course of study, which was very delightful to him as soon as he was engaged in it, but he was wont to say that he never found reluctancy in anything he resolved to do but in his quitting London, and departing from the conversation of those he enjoyed there, which was in some degree preserved and continued by frequent letters, and often visits, which were made by his friends from hence, whilst he continued wedded to the country; and which were so grateful to him, that during their stay with him he looked upon no book, and truly his whole conversation was one continued convivium philosophicum or convivium theologicum, enlivened and refreshed with all the facetiousness of wit and good humour and pleasantness of discourse, which made the gravity of the argument itself (whatever it was) very delectable. His house where he usually resided (Tew or Burford in Oxfordshire), being within ten or twelve miles of the university, looked like the university itself, by the company that was always found there. There was Dr. Sheldon, Dr. Morley, Dr. Hammond, Dr. Earles, ie. Earle, Mr. Challingworth, and indeed all men of eminent parts and faculties in Oxford, besides those who resorted thither from London, who all found their lodgings there, as ready as in the colleges; nor did the lord of the house know of their coming or going, nor who was in his house, till he came to dinner, or supper, where all still met; otherwise, there was no troublesome ceremony or constraint to forbid men to come to the house, or to make them weary of staying there, so that many came thither to study in a better air, finding all the books they could desire in his library, and all the persons together, whose company they could wish, and not find in any other society.
That the persons who resorted from London—the poets and the wits—took up a larger part in Falkland's mind than Clarendon acknowledges is evident from Suckling's Session of the Poets. Yet the lines which Suckling devotes to Falkland draw, in the main, the same picture as that of the historian:—Hales set by himself most gravely did smileTo see them about nothing keep such a coil;Apollo had spied him, but, knowing his mind,Past by, and called Falkland that sat just behind.
But he was of late so gone with divinity,That he had almost forgot his poetry,Though to say the truth, and Apollo did know it,He might have been both his priest and his poet.
We here get Falkland's modesty combined with intellectual activity, which no doubt constituted the main charm of his character as a host. We get too the impression which he made of being a man who could do much more than he actually did, an impression which has kept its hold upon subsequent generations, and which is at the bottom of most of the misconceptions of Falkland's life which have since prevailed.
Fortunately we are able to bring this conception of Falkland to the test. During this period of his life he wrote some poetry, and he also wrote something, if not much, on a theological subject. In his poetry (ed. Grosart in Fuller Worthies Miscellany, vol. iii.) there is much that is pleasing, but there is no trace of imaginative power. The same is true of his religious writings. In the Discourse of Infallibility (published in 1651 by Dr. Triplet), which was not printed till after his death, and in the answer to the letter in which Walter Montague announced his conversion to his father, written in the end of 1635 or the beginning of 1636, there is ability without originality. His thought on the subject bears the distinct impress of Chillingworth's mind, in a way which the writings of Hales do not. Yet it would be a grave mistake to speak of Falkland's personality as unimportant in the historical development of religious thought. Because he was not himself a cutter of new paths, he was all the more a representative man, and he stands forth as the central figure of a special phase of progress. In his large wisdom, his gentle tolerance, his sweet reasonableness, even in his very impetuosity, there was more of human nature's daily food than was to be found in men intellectually so superior to him as Chillingworth and Hales.
During the years of retirement at Great Tew, Falkland gave but little attention to questions of state. In 1637, in some lines written by him on Ben Jonson's death, he went out of the way to compliment the king on his claim to the sovereignty of the seas, though in the same year his name appears on the list of defaulters in respect of ship-money for one of his estates (‘Arrears for Hertfordshire,’ State Papers, Dom. ccclxxv. 106). As, however, we hear nothing of his omission to pay ship-money in Oxfordshire, it may perhaps be concluded that he had no deliberate intention to oppose the court. The same conclusion must be drawn from the fact that he applied for the command of a troop of horse in the expedition against the Scots in 1639, and that, upon receiving a refusal, he ‘went as a volunteer with the Earl of Essex’ (Clarendon, Hist. vii. 230).
Cowley, in the lines which he addressed to Falkland on this occasion, felt that there was something incongruous in the appearance as a soldier of ‘this great prince of knowledge,’ while paying tribute to that utter fearlessness which Clarendon ascribes to him. No one, however, suggested that there was anything out of place in Falkland, who was one of the least puritanical of human beings, taking part in a campaign against the puritan Scots.
In the year after his return he sat in the Short parliament for Newport in the Isle of Wight. ‘From the debates,’ Clarendon says (Hist. vii. 222), ‘he contracted such a reverence to parliaments, that he thought it really impossible that they could ever produce mischief or inconvenience to the kingdom, or that the kingdom could be tolerably happy in the intermission of them; and from the unhappy and unseasonable intermission of that convention, he harboured, it may be, some jealousy and prejudice of the court, towards which he was not before immoderately inclined.’ The statement is probably tinged by Clarendon's later feeling, but it is extremely probable that from the conversation of his fellow-soldiers in the camp in the north, as well as from that of his fellow-members of Westminster, Falkland realised what the Laudian system really was, and that he generously threw himself into the struggle against it for the sake of the consciences of others, though it is unlikely that it ever pressed very heavily on his own. Such, at least, is a fair explanation of the part taken by him when, at the opening of the Long parliament, he again found himself member for Newport. The self-willed government of Strafford was as little to his taste as the self-willed government of Laud, and he, with all the warmth of his nature, flung himself heartily into the opposition. If, as has been suggested, Falkland was predisposed to take part against Strafford on account of the earl's conduct to the first Lord Falkland, it is all the more creditable to him that on 11 Nov., when the question of the impeachment of Strafford was under consideration, he asked that the accusation should be held back to give time for a full inquiry into its truth (ib. iii. 8). At a later stage of the proceedings, on 18 Feb. 1641, when the commons was much excited by the concession made by the lords to Strafford of further time for the preparation of his defence, Falkland calmed them by reminding them that the lords had ‘done no more than they conceived to be necessary in justice,’ and that it would only serve Strafford if they quarrelled with the upper house (D'Ewes's ‘Diary,’ Harl. MS. clxii. fol. 237). When, on 21 April, the final issue was raised on the third reading of the bill of attainder, Falkland not only voted but spoke in favour of the measure (ciphered entry in D'Ewes's ‘Diary,’ Harl. MS. 164, fol. 183 a).
On another great political question, that of ship-money, Falkland took an equally decided part. His speech about ship-money (Rushworth, iv. 86) was in reality an attack on the judges who had perverted the law, and more especially upon Lord-keeper Finch. In the division on the religious question, which ultimately split up the Long parliament into two hostile sections, Falkland took from the beginning the side which gradually developed into an episcopalian-royalist party. In the great debate of 8 Feb. 1641 (ib. iv. 184, where the date of 9 Feb. is wrongly given) he made a vehement attack upon the bishops on account of their claim to divine right and that of oppression of the people both in religion and liberty. He urged that the clergy should be subjected to the control of the civil magistrate, and that the power of imposing ceremonies ‘which any member counts unlawful, and no man counts necessary,’ should be taken from them. But he was not in favour of the abolition of episcopacy, thinking that triennial parliaments would be sufficiently powerful to keep the bishops in check. It was not desirable to remove bishops merely for the sake of change. Later on, if Clarendon's authority is to be accepted, Hampden assured Falkland that if a bill for depriving bishops of their seats in the House of Lords and of other civil offices became law, ‘there would be nothing more attempted to the prejudice of the church.’ The proposed measure was wrecked in the House of Lords, and Falkland found himself compelled to give a vote on the so-called root-and-branch bill for the total extinction of episcopacy. In a speech delivered either on 27 May on the second reading, or on some subsequent day when the bill was in committee, Falkland, in addition to the argument that the change was undesirable and not sought for by the majority, spoke of the abolition as injurious to learning. Evidently, however, his strongest feeling was that of dread of the establishment of presbyterianism, which he believed to be the inevitable consequence of the bill before the house. That system claimed as strongly as the bishops had done to exist by divine right. Presbyterianism would, if once admitted, lay claim to an unlimited and independent authority. ‘If it be said,’ Falkland continued, ‘that this unlimitedness and independence is only in spiritual things, I answer, first, that arbitrary government being the worst of governments, and our bodies being worse than our souls, it will be strange to set up that over the second of which we were so impatient over the first. Secondly, that Mr. Solicitor, speaking about the power of the clergy to make canons to bind, did excellently inform us what a mighty influence spiritual power hath upon temporal affairs. So that if our clergy had the one, they had inclusively almost all the other; and to this I may add the vast temporal power of the pope, allowed him by men who allow it him only in ordine ad spiritualia, for the fable will tell you, if you make the lion judge (and the clergy assisted by the people is lion enough), it was a wise fear of the fox's lest he might call a knub [i.e. a knob] a horn. And more, sir, they will in this case be judges not only of that which is spiritual, but of what it is that is so; and the people receiving instruction from no other, will take the most temporal matter to be spiritual, if they tell them it is so’ (a speech printed in Triplet's second edition of Discourse of Infallibility).
Falkland's political course was thus traced out. The desire to secure intellectual liberty from spiritual tyranny was the ruling principle of his mind. His claim to our reverence lies in the fact that his mind was as thoroughly saturated as Milton's was with the love of freedom as the nurse of high thought and high morality, while his gentle nature made him incapable of the harsh austerities of Milton's combative career. As an efficient statesman Falkland has little claim to notice. He knew what he did not want, but he had no clear conception of what he did want; no constructive imagination to become a founder of institutions in which his noble conceptions should be embodied. It was this deficiency which made him during his future life a follower rather than a leader, to choose the royalist side not because he counted it worthy of his attachment, but because the parliamentary side seemed to be less worthy, and to accept a political system from his friend Hyde as he had accepted a system of thought from his friend Chillingworth. Falkland's mind in its beautiful strength as well as in its weakness was essentially of a feminine cast.
If the moral tendency towards a great achievement were not as meritorious as the intellectual discovery of the means by which that achievement may be rendered possible, one might easily grow impatient over the remainder of Falkland's career. While he remained in the Long parliament his advice was purely negative. He was, as might have been expected, hostile to the Scotch, and wished that the English parliament should take no interest in the incident at Edinburgh, and should refuse to allow Scottish troops to take part in the Irish war (D'Ewes's ‘Diary,’ Harl. MS. 162, fols. 12 b, 60 b). He resisted the second Bishops' Exclusion Bill (ib. fol. 31 b), and in the debate on the Grand Remonstrance complained of the hard measure dealt out to the bishops and the Arminians (Verney Notes, 121). Not a hint is to be found that during these fateful months he suggested any practical remedy for the evils of which he was profoundly conscious.
It is probable that no one was more surprised than Falkland himself when, on or about 1 Jan. 1642, the king offered him the vacant secretaryship of state. It required all the persuasive powers of his friend Hyde to induce him to accept it, and he seems to have given way rather because he thought the party which he had joined to be on the whole better than the one which was opposed to it, than because he had great confidence in Charles's character. Whatever his motive may have been, his resolution was not affected by the incident of the attempt upon the five members. Yet if Falkland kept his place, there are no signs of his acquiring or attempting to acquire political influence. His name is, as might be expected, to be found among those appended to the declaration of 15 June 1642, in which the peers and others assembled at York protest that they abhor all designs of making war (Clarendon, v. 342); and on 5 Sept. he was the bearer of the second message sent by Charles to the parliament after the standard had been raised at Nottingham. We learn from D'Ewes that, in addition to the public declaration (Lords' Journals, v. 338) with which he was charged, Falkland was directed privately to inform the parliamentary leaders that Charles was prepared to ‘consent to a thorough reformation of religion,’ as well as to anything else that they ‘could reasonably desire’ (D'Ewes's ‘Diary,’ Harl. MS. 164, fol. 314 b). The rejection of this overture no doubt determined Falkland to throw himself on the royalist side more heartily than he had done before.
Of Falkland's career as secretary we know little. A well-merited reproof given to Rupert¾‘in neglecting me, you neglect the king’ (Warburton's Mem. of Rupert, i. 368)¾is evidence of the spirit in which he magnified his office, while a letter written on 27 Sept., soon after the fight at Powick Bridge, in which he predicts a speedy end to the rebellion, because Essex's army was filled with ‘tailors or embroiderers or the like,’ shows, as does his remark to Cromwell before the debate on the Grand Remonstrance¾that the subject would not need a long discussion¾that he had little conception of the forces opposed to him (Civil War Tracts in the British Museum, press mark E, 9 March, 121, 22). Later on we have the fact that he conducted the secret correspondence with the London partakers in Waller's plot, but it is impossible now to say whether he did so as a mere matter of duty, or because he considered that all was fair against enemies who were also rebels. At all events, by the summer of 1643 Falkland was weary of the war. At the siege of Gloucester, when among his friends, after a deep silence and frequent sighs, he ‘would with a shrill and sad accent ingeminate the word Peace! Peace! and would passionately profess that the very agony of the war, and the view of the calamities and desolation which the kingdom did and must endure, took his sleep from him, and would shortly break his heart’ (Clarendon, Hist. vii. 233).
The misery of the spectacle around him embittered Falkland's existence, all the more because there was no capacity in his own mind to formulate a policy which might tend in the direction of peace. As he could not heal his country's disease, he longed for death, that he might cease to be a witness of her agonies. At Gloucester he exposed himself in vain to danger. On the morning of the battle of Newbury, 20 Sept. 1643, he knew that the desired hour had come. Dressing himself in clean linen, as one going to a banquet, he explained to the bystanders the grounds of the joy which was rooted in sorrow. He was weary of the times, he said, but he would ‘be out of it ere night’ (Whitelocke, 73). Placing himself as a volunteer under Sir John Byron, he chose his opportunity. Riding at a gap in a hedge through which the enemy's bullets were pouring, and from which all his comrades stood aloof, he was struck down in an instant (Byron's ‘Narrative,’ printed in Money's Two Battles of Newbury).
By a death which is scarcely distinguishable from suicide Falkland closed his eyes to the horrors which he loathed. If his memory is never forgotten in England, it is not for what he did, but for what he was. Throwing himself from side to side in party strife, his mind was at least too large permanently to accept mere party watchwords, and his heart was even greater than his mind.
Falkland's published works are: 1. ‘A Discourse of Infallibility, with Mr. T. White's answer to it, and a reply to him. ¼ Also Mr. W. Montague ¼ his Letter against Protestantism, and his lordship's answer thereunto ¼ to which are now added two Discourses of Episcopacy by Viscount Falkland and William Chillingworth, edited by¾Triplet,’ London, 1660. The last mentioned discourses are not included in the earlier edition of 1651. 2. ‘A speech made in the House of Commons concerning Episcopacy,’ London, 1641. 3. ‘The speech of the Lord Falkland ¼ upon the delivery of the articles ¼ against the Lord Finch,’ London, 1641. 4. ‘A letter sent from the Lord Falkland ¼ 30 Sept. 1642, concerning the late conflict before Worcester,’ London, 1642. 5. ‘The poems of L. Carey,’ collected and edited by A. B. Grosart, 1870.
The authorities cited in text;
Falkland's biography in Tulloch's Rational Religion.
Contributor: S. R. G. [Samuel Rawson Gardiner]