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THE QUEEN LEAVES ENGLAND.
[1642. same time the Bill was carried "for disabling all persons in Holy Orders to exercise any temporal jurisdiction or authority," the preamble of which runs thus, "Whereas bishops and other persons in Holy Orders ought not to be entangled with secular jurisdiction, the office of the Ministry being of such great importance that it will take up the whole man." To this Bill, by which the bishops were excluded from the House of Lords, the king at length gave his assent. The Bill for the Militia he rejected. The queen urged her husband to accept the one bill and reject the other. On the 16th of February her majesty, escorted by the king to Dover, took her departure for Holland. She carried with her the crown-jewels; and her real purpese was to raise forces for resisting the demands of the Parliament. There are many letters from the queen to the king, during her absence, which show how she laboured to strengthen the king's infirmity of purpose. They communicated in cipher, and the key to the cipher was always kept in the king's pocket. "Once again I remind you," she writes, "to take care of your pocket, and not let our cipher be stolen." The breach between the king and the parliament upon the question of the Militia was more and more widened. Commissioners were received again and again, and the matter could not be accommodated; nor would the king, at the earnest entreaty of the Houses, return to London. At last, at a conference at Newmarket, when
it was asked by lord Holland and lord Pembroke, whether the Militia might not be granted for a time, Charles replied, "No, by God, not for an hour; you have asked that of me, in this, which was never asked of a king, and with which I would not trust my wife and children." This scene, in this locality,
16 Car. I. c. 27.
+ Green's "Letters of Henrietta Maria," p. 54.
THE KING REFUSED ENTRANCE TO HULL.
must have suggested a contrast to the usual meetings of the court at Newmarket, for the race-course there was established by Charles; and few courtiers fell in with the opinion of lord Herbert of Cherbury, who said, "The exercise I do not approve of is running of horses, there being much cheating in that kind." The king, after this stormy conference, went on to York. Royalist forces had been raised in the north by the marquis of Newcastle. The first step towards an actual outbreak of civil war was quickly taken. On the 23rd of April the king suddenly appeared before Hull at the head of a strong body of horse, and demanded admittance into
the town. There was a large store of arms and ammunition in the fortress. The mayor was about to open the gates, when sir John Hotham went on the ramparts, and falling on his knees begged the king to excuse a refusal to the demand, for that he, as governor, had sworn to keep the place at the disposition of the parliament. Charles was compelled to retire, proclaiming Hotham a traitor. He then complained to the parliament, demanding justice against the governor of Hull, according to law. The two Houses voted their approval of Hotham's act. The crisis had arrived. There was nothing more
to be done for reconcilement. Thirty-two Peers, and sixty-five members of the Commons, joined the king at York. Those that remained no longer attempted to pass Bills for the royal sanction. They issued Ordinances. On the 5th of May the Parliamentary Ordinance for the Militia was directed to be carried out. The king proclaimed this ordinance to be illegal, and summoned the gentlemen of York to form his body-guard. But even in this county, which was considered the stronghold of the royalists, opinions were divided. The lord chancellor, Littleton, had sent the great seal to the king,
PROPOSITIONS OF THE PARLIAMENT.
that mystic symbol of legal government. Many gentlemen of the county assembled in the town-hall of York, and were addressed by Charles, who was received with loud acclamations. Commissioners of the parliament, men of local influence, who had been sent to York to observe what passed, were threatened by the king and hooted by the cavaliers. But under this appearance of overwhelming strength, some fifty gentlemen, with sir Thomas Fairfax at their head, refused to join in the formation of a body-guard. A more important demonstration of public feeling occurred in the gathering round the hall of several thousands of the middle class, who demanded admission to the meeting, and being refused, held a meeting of their own, and protested against the acts of a close assembly. The king called another general meeting upon a neighbouring moor; and thither came forty thousand men, for the purpose of presenting a petition to the king, imploring him to be reconciled to his parliament. Charles read a paper, and was going away, when young Fairfax pressed forward, and on his knee presented the petition of the people. The king indignantly rode off, and after many violent ebullitions of contempt from the cavaliers the meeting dispersed. The councils of the king became irresolute. The decisions of the parliament, freed from the royalist members who had retired to York, became bolder. The leaders prepared for open war with marvellous energy. They proposed terms of accommodation which they must have anticipated would meet with rejection. These propositions went to the extent of stripping the monarch of the greater part of the constitutional powers which happily, in our times, have been found consistent with the most perfect liberty of the people. They contemplated, more especially, the enforcement of the principle that the appointment of the king's council and the great officers of state should be subject to the approbation of the two Houses. By the gradual establishment of ministerial responsibility, and the harmonious dependence of the executive power upon the legislative, such a result has been attained. It was then sought to be attained by such a direct curtailment of the sovereign authority as would have made the monarch what Charles truly described, "but the picture, but the sign of a king." The courageous and able men who drew up these propositions must have been satisfied that their adoption could have led to no permanent tranquillity; that they were incompatible with the existence of the monarchical principle; and that the executive power, under such arrangements, could have had no real strength to preserve domestic peace or resist foreign aggression. But they dreaded a return to arbitrary power; they suspected, not without cause, the inclinations of the king. They had the great plea of self-preservation for their actions; and they knew that if they fell themselves, public liberty would fall with them. Neither party was in a position to regard their rights and duties with equanimity. The most terrible question that can be put to a nation was now about to be put-to which of two powers, each claiming to be supreme, will you render obedience? On the 9th of July, three days before the Houses came to the decisive vote, that an army shall be raised "for the defence of the king and parliament (such, for some time, was the phrase of the Ordinances), one member, sir Benjamin Rudyard, uttered this prophetic warning: "Mr. Speaker, it now behoves us to call up all the wisdom we have about us, for we are at the very brink of combustion and confusion. If blood once begin to touch blood, we
VIEW OF SOCIETY-THE PEOPLE ARMING.
must attend an uncertain Every man here is bound
shall presently fall into a certain misery, and success, God knows when, and God knows what. in conscience to employ his uttermost endeavours to prevent the effusion of blood. Blood is a crying sin: it pollutes the land. Let us save our liberties and our estates, as we may save our souls too. Now I have clearly delivered mine own conscience, I leave every man freely to his."*
Let us pause at this juncture, at which the public men of England are exhibiting the spirit of party in aspects so unusual and so portentous, and endeavour to catch some faint glimpses of the life of the people immediately before the commencement of the Civil War.
"Before the flame of the war broke out in the top of the chimneys, the smoke ascended in every country." So writes Lucy Hutchinson, a careful and honest observer of what was passing. She saw around her, in many places, "fierce contests and disputes, almost to blood, even at the first." The partisans of the king were carrying out his commissions of array. The partisans of the parliament were insisting upon obedience to the ordinance for the militia. The king proclaimed Essex, the captain-general of the parliament, and his officers, as traitors. The parliament voted the king's commissioners of array to be traitors. Not only were the king and the parliament each struggling to obtain possession of the munitions of war by seizing the fortified places, but each barrel of gunpowder was contested for by opposite parties. Mr. Hutchinson, going by chance to Nottingham, at the time when Charles was at York, is told by the mayor's wife that the sheriff has come to take away the ammunition belonging to the trained bands of the county. He goes into the town-hall, and finds lord Newark, the lord-lieutenant, and the sheriff, with two or three captains, seeing the gunpowder weighed. The king, said the lord-lieutenant, desired to borrow it-it should be restored in ten days. Mr. Hutchinson contended that such was the danger of the times that in four days they might be ruined for the want of the powder; there was a troop of horse in the town, committing great outrages and insolencies, and calling divers honest men puritans and rogues. The contest went on; but lord Newark, admitting that the powder belonged to "the country," would have it for the king. When the countrymen outside the hall knew what had taken place, they desired Mr. Hutchinson to stand by them, and they would part with every drop of blood in their bodies before the lord-lieutenant should have the powder. Lord Newark angrily gave up his demand, when he saw the multitude gathered round the hall. But still the power of the magistrate was respected, and it was agreed that the mayor and the sheriff should have the powder in their joint custody. Such contests between those of opposite opinions were going on throughout England. Few of the members of parliament remained in London. The zealous men of influence in their several counties were in their own districts, raising volunteers, gathering subscriptions, drilling recruits, collecting arms. Each is subscribing largely "for defence of the kingdom." Fire-arms are scarce; and the old weapons of the long-bow and cross-bow are again put in use. Old armour, long since "hung by the wall," is brought down and furbished. The rustic, changed into a pikeman, puts on the iron skull-cap and greaves; and the young farmer
* His printed speech bears date July 18. It is in the "Harleian Miscellany," vol. v. p. 216.
[1642. becomes a dragoon, with his carbine and pistols. In the parliamentary army there is every variety of clothing. In some companies raised by gentlemen amongst their tenants, the old liveries of each family give the prevailing colour. Hampden's men are in green; lord Brook's in purple; others are in blue; others in red. The officers all wear an orange scarf, being the colour of
Dragoon. (From a specimen at Goodrich
their general. The buff doublet, "though not sword yet cudgel proof," is a substitute for armour. Haslerig's Lobsters, and Cromwell's Ironsides-each so called from their rough mail-are not formed as yet. Recruits are taken, at first, without much reference to their opinions. Cromwell, with his super-eminent sagacity, saw the danger of this course. In a later period of his life, when he had attained supreme power, he thus described his position at the commencement of the war:-"I was a person who, from my first employment, was suddenly preferred and lifted up from lesser trust to greater; from my first being a captain of a troop of horse." He then relates that he "had a very worthy friend, a very noble person, Mr. John Hampden, and he thus
spake to him: Your troops are most of them old decayed serving-men, and tapsters, and such kind of fellows; and their troops are gentlemen's sons, younger sons, and persons of quality: do you think that the spirits of such mean and base fellows will ever be able to encounter gentlemen that have honour, and courage, and resolution in them.'" What Cromwell did to meet
the ardour of the Cavalier with a zeal equally enthusiastic, he goes on to tell: "I raised such men as had the fear of God before them, as made some conscience of what they did."* Cromwell did justice to the principle upon which the honour and courage of the Cavaliers was founded. He saw, beneath their essenced love-locks and gilded doublets, clear heads and bold hearts. The gay were not necessarily debauched; the health-drinkers were not necessarily drunkards. There were other men in the royalist ranks than
"The bravoes of Alsatia, the pages of Whitehall."
There were great spirits in both armies ready to measure their swords for "The King," or for "The Cause."
We can scarcely assume that the bulk of the population, or even the
* Carlyle's "Cromwell," vol. iii. p. 250. This remarkable speech is also in Guizot's "Cromwell," vol. ii. p. 316.