Изображения страниц




curious illustration of this circumstance in a manuscript relation of the "Siege of Ballgaly Castle," in the County of Clare, at the beginning of 1642, written by one of the besieged. "After this the enemy would daily in our sight draw forth their skenes and swords, flourishing them, swearing many dangerous oaths that ere long they would draw us forth and hack us to pieces, terming us puritan rogues, and all the base names that might be invented, vowing that shortly sir Phelim O'Neal, and at least 40,000 soldiers, would come into Thomond and not leave a Protestant living, praying heartily for them, pretending that they then fought for them, but within a short time after they pretended that they were wholly the queen's army, and that she and her mother were in the north aiding them, but no Protestant admitted to look upon her. This note suddenly altered, and then they were all for the king, vowing deeply that they had his Majesty's commission for what they did, and that they were his Majesty's Catholic forces." *

When the parliamentary commissioners quitted Edinburgh they urged the king's speedy return to London. His intentions were, however, kept secret. He had left the earl of Essex commander of the forces south of Trent; but the earl was not in the confidence of the court. The queen, on the 20th of November, writes to the secretary of state that he may now tell Essex when the king is coming; for, she adds, "the king commanded me to tell this to. my lord of Essex, but you may do it, for these lordships are too great princes now to receive any directions from me."+ In his progress from Scotland the king was received with demonstrations of respect and affection. At York he was told by the mayor, "our wintry woods assume spring leaves to welcome home so indulgent a sovereign." At Stamford the mayor alluded to the Irish rebellion, expressing his conviction that "although Rome's hens should daily hatch of its preposterous eggs crocodiliferous chickens, yet under our royal sovereign we should not fear." The king was to reach London on the 25th, and there to dine with the lord mayor, who was a devoted royalist. It was natural that the people of themselves should express these sentiments of good will to Charles. A vast number of the grievances of the nation had been swept away, and the people would necessarily attribute much of the merit to the king, and be willing to lay aside their doubts and complainings. It is not easy to understand why the parliamentary leaders should have chosen the moment of the king's return to greet him, not with their professions of love, but with the strongest remonstrance against the whole tenour of his past government. The only solution is that they acted under a distinct persuasion that it was impossible, at that time, that a just balance could be restored between the monarchic and the democratic principle, unless one power yielded something more than had been already conceded, or the other power gave up some of the advantages which it had already won. The conviction in the mind of the king that he had a right to be absolute had never been removed or lessened by the events of the past twelve months. The resolution of the Commons that he should not be again absolute was as strong as ever. But at this crisis the men who had been unanimous in 1640 divided into two great parties,-those who held that the monarchy should be

"Narratives of the Contests in Ireland." Camden Society.
Green's Letters of Henrietta Maria," p. 46.



[1641. still more abridged of its power, and those who believed that any further assertion of parliamentary authority would be to destroy the monarchy. With the question of the due limits of popular rights was mixed up the equally difficult question, whether episcopacy should be regulated or abolished; and this question, in time, became merged in the wider question, whether England, like its neighbour kingdom, should become presbyterian, or whether all state religion should come to an end, and every congregation of Christians be a church of itself. We cannot understand the real spirit of this great time, if we judge the parties and the individuals in an uncharitable temper— if we believe that the cavaliers, as the loyalists were called, meant to fight for slavery and popery; and that the roundheads, as the parliamentarians were called, were furious anarchists or blind fanatics. An Englishman who will now look honestly and calmly at the events of this period, will rejoice that he is descended from men who, whatever be their opinions, were earnest in their advocacy; who were, for the most part, no trading politicians, merely intent upon their individual advancement; who were truly heroic in their passionate loyalty or their passionate love of civil or religious liberty; who, whether vilified as profligates or as hypocrites, displayed, each in his own way, some of the noblest traits of human character; for they each were fighting with a conviction that the eye of God was upon them, and the greater number of them, whether Episcopalian, Presbyterian, or Independent, believing in his conscience that he was doing God's work in the world.

The debate on the Remonstrance was the great trial of strength in the House of Commons. That debate began at nine o'clock of the morning of the 22nd of November. It went on through that day till it grew dark. Candles were called for. Twelve hours of passionate talk, and yet no rest. The House thinned under the faintness and exhaustion of this unusual sitting. But the excitement was greater than the weariness. The Remonstrance was adopted by one hundred and fifty-nine votes against one hundred and fortyeight. "At three of the clock in the morning," says Philip Warwick, “when they voted it, I thought we had all sat in the valley of the shadow of death; for we, like Joab's and Abner's young men, had catched at each other's locks, and sheathed our swords in each other's bowels, had not the sagacity and great calmness of Mr. Hampden, by a short speech, prevented it, and led us to defer our angry debate till next day." The Remonstrance had been carried, but the "angry debate" was continued on the question of printing it. As they went into the house, Falkland said to Cromwell that "it would take some debate," which Cromwell doubted. As they went out, Falkland asked Cromwell whether it had been debated? to which he answered, "he would take his word another time; and whispered him in the ear, with some asseveration, that if the Remonstrance had been rejected, he would have sold all he had the next morning, and never have seen England more; and he knew there were many honest men of the same resolution." This statement of Clarendon has been called " a vague report, gathered over dining-tables long after, to which the reader need not pay more heed than it merits." Remonstrance is a document of 206 articles. It may be read in Rushworth

[blocks in formation]





and Rapin, and its general tone is very like a declaration of war by one potentate against another. We do not believe what Clarendon affirms, that "the only end of passing it was to incline the people to sedition;" but we may admit with Mr. Hallam, that if Charles "were intended to reign at all, and to reign with any portion either of the prerogative of an English king, or the respect claimed by every sovereign, the Remonstrance of the Commons could but prolong an irritation incompatible with public tranquillity." *

The manifestations of popular feeling at this eventful period can scarcely be regarded as indications of public opinion. There can be no doubt that, on either side, many arts were practised to procure such demonstrations as might influence the temper of Parlia

ment, or support the wishes of the king. One of the most important of these was the splendid welcome that was given by the city of London to Charles on the 25th of November. Clarendon says, "Gourney, the lord mayor, was a man of wisdom and courage, and expressed great indignation to see the city so corrupted by the ill artifices of factious persons; and therefore attended upon his majesty, at his entrance into the city, with all the lustre and good countenance it could show, and as great professions of duty as it could make or the king expect." The "Ovatio Carolina," as this reception was called in a pompous account of the ceremonial,t was in many respects the greatest pageant that "the royal chamber" of London had ever witnessed, The lord mayor and aldermen, and five hundred horsemen selected from the liveries, in velvet and plush coats, with pendants, and footmen, and trumpeters, rode out to Kingsland. A new way through the fields was made to Shoreditch, for the passable, in regard to the depth and foulness of it." tent pitched in the fields near Kingsland, and thither the king and queen, with the prince of Wales, and the duke of York, and the princess Mary, were escorted by the sheriffs. Alighting from the royal coach, the king received an address, to which he answered, that he was returned with as hearty and kind affection to his people in general, and to London in particular, as could be desired by loving subjects. To mark his particular affection to the city, he gave back "that part of Londonderry" from which the citizens had been evicted. "This, I confess," he said, "is now no great gift; but I intend first to recover it, and then to give it you whole and entirely." Perhaps some of * "Constitutional History," vol. ii. c. ix. +"Harleian Miscellany," vol. v. p. 86. edit. of 1810.


Lady Mayoress of London. (Hollar's Theatrum

ordinary road was "imThe lord mayor had a




that assembly might have recollected that Londonderry was taken from the citizens because they had refused to comply with the illegal demand of a forced loan. Onward went the gorgeous cavalcade to Moorgate, and so on to the Guildhall; and the houses were hung with tapestry, and the conduits ran with claret-wine, and the people cried "God bless, and long live, king Charles and queen Mary." The banquet was of proportionate spendour; and the old hall was brilliant on that November day with the gorgeous dresses of lords and ladies; and the city dames vied in splendour with the high-born; and it seemed in that hour of festival as if in that large town of seven hundred thousand people all were of one accord of loyal content. After the banquet, the king and the court were conducted in solemn procession to Whitehall, the footmen carrying lighted torches, "so that the night seemed to be turned to day." But even amidst this well-arranged demonstration, there was doubt and alarm. The multitude gazed from behind the rails four feet distant from the houses, and admired the splendid array of courtiers and citizens, of footmen and whifflers. But "because some seditious libels were at that time dis

[graphic][merged small]

persed, which bred a panic fear in some, order was taken, that there should be two companies of the city's trained bands placed in several parts of the city upon that day; as also that at every door a man should be placed, sufficiently appointed, to be ready upon all occasions to appease any disorders." *

The reception of the king by the city appears to have given him confidence in making a demonstration of his disposition towards the Parliament. He withdrew the guard which Essex had appointed for the security of the two Houses. The struggle of parties quickly began to assume a more formidable character. Men of great influence changed their sides. The earl of Holland, who had been a successful courtier in the time of James I.; who was afterwards a favourite of Charles's queen; and whom the king, says Clarendon,

"Ovatio Carolina."




"but four months before had looked on as his own creature, as he had good reason to account himself from the beginning, joined himself close to and concurred with those councils which, with the greatest bitterness, were held against him." Holland House, at Kensington, one of the few mansions whose quaint architecture carries us back two centuries and a-half, was the scene of many a secret deliberation of the popular party. The earl of Essex and the earl of Leicester also took their side with those who were considered the king's enemies. On the other hand, Mr. Hyde, though without office, had become an adviser of the king. So, also, sir John Colepepper, one of the

[graphic][merged small]

most able of the parliamentary leaders. More important than either, was the subsequent accession of lord Falkland to the king's councils. Colepepper became chancellor of the exchequer; and Falkland, in a short time after, secretary of state. Falkland was most reluctant to accept office; but he yielded to the persuasions of Hyde. With this additional support of able and moderate advisers, Charles might have attained the enviable position of a patriot king had he adhered to their advice, which, without any violent compromise of their former opinions, would have tended to the maintenance of tranquillity. The Remonstrance of the Commons was presented to Charles at Hampton Court on the 1st of December. He received it with temper. The Remonstrance was published; and the king's answer to it, written by Hyde, was also published. But the king had other advisers with whom moderate measures were the last in their thoughts. Falkland had not openly

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »