|Saint William Laud|
I'm so eager to discuss his death, I will start there and then drop back to his life.
The good news was that the Long Parliament gave him a head-start if he wanted to flee and live. They accused him of treason in 1640, but didn't put out a warrant for his arrest until 1641.
The bad news is that, being Archbishop of Canterbury, he opted not to run. [Honestly Bill, executing archbishops was considered a national pastime by 1640. You had to have seen it coming.]
|Terminal Address: Tower of London|
The bad news is that the stubborn old man refused to get the sniffles, let alone die.
The good news is that when they finally brought him to trial for treason in 1644, they didn't convict him. Sure, he was a grumpy old man, but irascibility is hardly the same thing as treason.
The bad news is that Parliament passed a bill of attainder, effectively making it illegal to be him.
|Pardon's ain't what they used to be, and never were.|
The bad news is that Parliament didn't care a fig for his royal pardon. Archbishop Laud was taken to the top of Tower Hill on January 10, 1645 and chopped. Four years and twenty days later, those Puritans running Parliament gave His Royal Highness a similar haircut (everything off the neck), demonstrating just how little they cared about royalty and its pardoning prerogatives.
Prior to Parliament's murder of William Laud (what else can we call it when a legislature overrides both a judicial trial and an executive pardon?), he was a cantankerous clergyman -- short temper and a long list of enemies. He was flexible enough on some religious matters -- e.g. he sanctioned the divorced and presided over the subsequent second marriage of the Earl of Devonshire -- but was resolute on others, including apostolic succession. King James I tried to Laud's career, thinking he'd make a lot of trouble at a precarious time, but King Charles I promoted him. He later pardoned him to little effect, and still later expressed regret for his support for Laud, warning his own son not to trust such leaders.
|Good clean (slightly pagan) fun|
So, was Saint William Laud a cranky old workaholic or a pious diplomat caught in bad times?
Witty Line of the Day: "Give great praise to the Lord and little Laud to the Devil."
Humor-crushing explanatory notes:
- William Laud was a short man. Moreover, he was sensitive about his height.
- Laud is a Latin-derived synonym for praise.
- His enemies... What? You get the joke? Okay, but why didn't you laugh?