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THE WRIT OF SHIP-MONEY EXTENDED.
pay, as London had paid. In 1635 a fleet was sent to sea, for the protection of trade. In 1636 the real writs of ship-money were issued; under which the sheriffs were directed to make a general assessment in all counties and towns specified, according to the means of the inhabitants, to produce the proportions at which the several places were rated. The schedules appended to these writs enable us to form some notion of the comparative opulence of particular districts. Of the counties, Yorkshire, Devonshire, Essex, Kent, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Somersetshire, Suffolk, Wiltshire, are assessed at the highest rate; 12,000l. for York, 80007. or 60007. others. Durham, Northumberland, and Monmouth are put at the lowest rate, 20001. or 1500l. The inland agricultural counties are at an intermediate scale, about 4000l. Next to London, Bristol and Newcastle are the most heavily assessed. The difference of two centuries ago and the present time in local population can scarcely be more strikingly shown than by these schedules; in which Liverpool is only rated at twenty-five pounds, whilst Bristol is set at eight hundred pounds; Birmingham is not rated at all, nor Sheffield, nor Bradford, nor Sunderland, nor Manchester. Preston and Banbury are at the same humble scale of forty pounds each; Boston and Buckingham are equal; and amongst the more flourishing towns Nottingham is not held as wealthy as Reading. But we must not jump to the conclusion that such places as Manchester, Sheffield and Birmingham, were too small and unimportant to have a special levy apart from their counties. Birmingham in the time of Henry VIII. was described by Leland as a town of smiths and cutlers," and Camden, in 1607, mentions it as "swarming with inhabitants and echoing with the noise of anvils." Sheffield was always famous for its cutlery, but Camden mentions it as "remarkable among other little towns hereabouts for blacksmiths." Manchester was undoubtedly of importance at a much earlier period than the 17th century. Leland calls it "the fairest, best builded, quickest, and most populous town of Lancashire." The statistics of the past are not more to be implicitly trusted than the statistics of the present.
When these writs were issued by the sheriffs in their respective districts there was a general consternation. The people, who had been formerly accustomed to the regular collection of subsidies by commissioners, doubted the legality of this new system. But the greater number submitted, with the full knowledge that individual resistance to oppression was more dangerous under king Charles than at any previous time. The whole country was under the pressure of tyranny. The judges, by the royal command, put forth an opinion, not arising out of any question before the courts, that the king might command, for the safety of the kingdom, all his subjects to provide such number of ships as he might think fit; that he might compel obedience to this command; and that he was the sole judge of the danger of the country, and the means of preventing it. Richard Chambers, who had bravely resisted the illegal levy upon his merchandise, was again imprisoned because he declined to pay his assessment of ship-money. When the case was taken into the courts at Westminster, one of the judges refused to hear counsel, and said there was a rule of law and a rule of government, and that many things which could not be done by the first rule might be done by the other. It is to such that Clarendon alludes when he says "the damage and mischief cannot be expressed, that the crown and state sustained by the
and innocency of the judges." But if Clarendon, writing in after years, saw the damage that the State sustained by such servility, Wentworth, at the date of the extra-judicial opinion upon ship-money, was in raptures. He declares it to be the greatest service the profession has done the Crown in his
THE JUDGES SANCTION THE WRIT.
deserved reproach and infamy that attended the judges, by being made use of in this and like acts of power; there being no possibility to preserve the dignity, reverence, and estimation of the laws themselves, but by the integrity
JOHN HAMPDEN, AND THE REFUSERS.
time, and then gives this significant opinion: "But, unless his majesty hath the like power declared to raise a land army upon the same exigent of state, the Crown seems to me to stand but upon one leg at home, and to be considerable but by halves to foreign princes abroad." Hume, in noticing the conduct of Charles in dissolving his second parliament, observes, that if the king had possessed "any military force on which he could rely, it is not improbable that he would at once have taken off the mask, and governed without any regard to parliamentary privileges." Wentworth, now that the mask had been taken off, desired a land-army to effect many things that were not wholly to be accomplished by fine and imprisonment, administered by a merciless Star-chamber and a corrupt bench.
England lies in a dead-sleep; except that the high-sheriff's "bestir themselves apace in their several counties: moneys they bring in daily, and I do not hear of any numbers that are refusers, so that it will prove a good business." So writes hopeful Mr. Garrard, in December, 1635. On the 11th of January, 1636, there is a public assembly at which all the persons attending, the entire body of landowners and housekeepers of the parish, are "refusers." The very assessors and constables are refusers. Of what was said in the vestry of " Kimbell Magna," to make the two esquires in the list of defaulters, and the twenty-nine yeomen, so resolute not to pay the 217. 15s. 64d. assessed upon that humble village amidst the Chiltern hills, there is no record. But the document which sets forth the sums assessed upon each, from 31s. 6d. to 6d., is in existence, and it records the names of those bold men as "refusing to pay." At the head of that list is the name of "John Hampden, Esquire.' Great Kimble is not far distant from the manor-house where John Hampden dwelt, in the parish called by his name. There his forefathers had dwelt even in the Saxon days, and had continued for six or more centuries to be lords of Great and Little Hampden, Stoke Mandeville, and other Buckinghamshire manors. John Hampden, who refused to pay thirty-one shillings and sixpence to king Charles, abode under the same roof where his grandfather entertained queen Elizabeth, in 1585,-a mansion whose front is now modernised and vulgarised, but of which enough is left to interest many more than the mere local antiquary. In this pleasant woodland country, whose surrounding hills were covered with beech; close by an ancient well-preserved church standing in a parklike enclosure, dwelt John Hampden. When he sent to his dear friend Eliot, a prisoner in the Tower, a buck out of his "paddock," he writes that it "must be a small one, to hold proportion with the place and soil it was bred in." + Clearly not a very wealthy man was this esquire,—a man in worldly importance not to be named with Wentworth and his hereditary six thousand a year; a man of whom the Lord Deputy of Ireland, hearing of his very irregular proceedings at Kimble Magna and other parishes-and all for some trumpery thirty-one shillings and sixpence, or twenty shillings-said in his grand way, "In truth, I shall wish Mr. Hampden, and others to his likeness, were well whipped into their right senses." A more cumbrous instrument than the "rod" for the mendicant was necessary to bring Mr. Hampden to submit to "all that ever authority ordains "the test of a good subject in
* A fac-simile is given in Lord Nugent's "Memorials of Hampden," vol. i.
TRIAL OF THE VALIDITY OF THE WRIT.
Wentworth's view. There were six weeks of solemn pleading in the Exchequer Chamber before all the judges-the greatest cause that ever was
tried in Westminster Hall-followed by many months of judicial deliberation before the king's right to enforce the tax of ship-money was adjudged to be lawful; "which judgment" says Clarendon, "proved of more advantage and credit to the gentleman condemned than to the king's service." Hampden was singled out to be proceeded against by the Crown upon his refusal to pay twenty shillings assessed upon his lands at Stoke Mandeville; and the formal pleadings upon the writ of Scire Facias had occupied five months before the question came to be argued. The speeches of the crown lawyers and of Hampden's counsel occupy one hundred and seventeen pages in Rushworth's folio volume. After these protracted arguments before the judges, these twelve sages of the law occupied three terms in delivering their opinions. They were not agreed in their judgment. Two of the number had from the first decided that judgment should be given for the defendant. Two others, in the next term, followed their example. One other held that the tax was lawful, but that no portion of it ought to go into the Privy-Purse. But on the 9th of June, 1637, the Chief Justices decided against Hampden; and the sentence was for the king, upon the opinion of the majority. Of Sir John Finch, one of the Chief Justices, Clarendon says, "He took up ship-money, where Mr. Noy left it; and, being a judge, carried it up to that pinnacle from whence he almost broke his own neck; having, in his journey thither, had too
PRYNNE, BURTON, AND BASTWICK.
much influence upon his brethren, to induce them to concur in a judgment they had all cause to repent." Hampden at once became "the most famous man in England "-" the pilot who must steer the vessel through the tempests and rocks that threatened it." After the judgment the resistance to ship-money was much more general. Some refusers were punished; many were threatened; but in town and country the opposition became a very resolved manifestation of the temper of the people. It was not such "a good business" as Mr. Garrard had predicted.
Thorough for the State has not altogether succeeded. Archbishop Laud and the Star-cham ber have meanwhile been seeing what they can accomplish by Thorough for the Church. Ship-money judgment for the Crown was given on the 12th of June, 1637. Two days after, William Prynne, who was brought up from his prison, but with his ears sewed on; Henry Burton, who had been Clerk of the Closet to Prince Charles, and was incumbent of a London parish; and Robert Bastwick, a physician of Colchester, were sentenced by the Star-chamber to be fined 5000l. each, to be degraded from their professions, to be placed in the pillory, to have their ears cut off and their cheeks and foreheads branded, and to be confined for life in distant prisons. Their offences were these. Prynne had published a book against Sabbath-breaking, in which the clergy who had read the Book of Sports were bitterly stigmatised; Burton had offended in a sermon, and in a tract had accused the bishop of Norwich of being guilty of Romish innovation; Bastwick had in a book, called "Elenchus Papismi," identified prelacy and popery. Garrard has a somewhat merry statement of an exhibition in Palace Yard, on the 30th of June, in fulfilment of the sentence of the 14th. "They stood two hours in the pillory, Burton by himself. . . . . The place was full of people, who cried and howled terribly, especially when Burton was cropt. Dr. Bastwick was very merry; his wife, Dr. Poe's daughter, got a stool, kissed him; his ears being cut off she called for them, and put them in a clean handkerchief, and carried them away with her. Bastwick told the people, the lords had collar-days at court, but this was his collar-day." + A more serious account mentions the solemn defiance of Prynne to Lambeth, calling upon the primate to show that these practices were according to the laws of England. There are some awkward symptoms of indignation at these barbarities, besides the howling in Palace Yard. The sheriff of Chester is sent for by a poursuivant to answer a charge of having been kind to Mr. Prynne as he passed on his way to prison at Caernarvon. "Strange flocking of the people after Burton, when he removed from the Fleet towards Lancaster Castle. Mr. Ingram, sub-warden of the Fleet, told the king that there was not less than one hundred thousand people gathered together to see him pass by, between Smithfield and Brown's well, which is two miles beyond Highgate. His wife went along in a coach, having much money thrown to her as she passed along." Very strange flocking indeed.
Before we enter upon the stormy period which succeeded the nine or ten years of enforced tranquillity from 1629, let us inquire whether the possession of arbitrary power enabled the king and his advisers to assist the people in the development of their industry, the enlargement of the conveniences of Ibid. vol. ii. p. 114.
+ Strafford Letters, vol. ii. p. 85.