72 THE BOOK OF CHRISTMAS.
nas." It is probable, however, that the people of those days, who were a right-loyal people, and freely acknowledged the claim of their sovereign to an absolute disposition of all their temporalities (any of the common or statute laws of the land notwithstanding), considered it a part of their loyalty to be damned in company with their sovereigns too; and resolved, that so long as these iniquities obtained the royal patronage, it was of their allegiance to place themselves in the same category of responsibility. Or perhaps their notion of regal prerogative,—which extended so far as to admit its right to mould the national law at its good pleasure,— might go to the further length of ascribing to it a controlling power over the moral statutes of right and wrong,—and of pleading its sanction against the menaces of Master Stubs. Or it may be that Master Stubs had failed to convince them that they were wrong, even without an appeal to the royal dispensation. Certain it is, that in spite of all that Master Stubs and his brethren could say, the sway of the Lord of Misrule, and the revels of his court, continued to flourish with increasing splendor, during this reign; and, as we have seen, lost no portion of their magnificence, during the two next, although in that time had arisen the great champion of the Puritans, Prynne,—and against them and their practices, have been directed whole volumes of vituperation, and denounced large vials of wrath.
In Scotland, however, where the reformation took a sterner tone than in the southern kingdom,—and where, as we have said,-the irregularities committed under cover of the Christmas and other ceremonials, laid them more justly open to its censure, the effect of this outcry was earlier and far more sensibly felt; and even so early as the reign of Queen Mary, an act passed the Scottish parliament, whereby the Abbot of Unreason and all his " merrie disports " were suppressed.
In England, it is true that, according to Sandys, an order of the common council had issued as early as the beginning of our Mary's reign, prohibiting the Lord Mayor or Sheriffs from entertaining a Lord of Misrule in any of their houses ; but this appears to have been merely on financial grounds, with a view of reducing the corporation expenditure,—and to have extended no further.
It was not, however, until after the breaking out of the civil