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but Prince Charles, who knew it was false, stood by and affirmed it to be true; the only man who could have exposed its falsehood, the Earl of Bristol, was absent, by order of the council. The two houses addressed the King, and prayed that the marriage treaty should be formally broken off. The Commons then voted three subsidies and three fifteenths, about £300,000, for the specific purpose of recovering the Palatinate; which meant war against Spain. The vote was coupled with a condition proposed by the King himself, that, in order to ensure its application to naval and military armaments, it should be paid into the hands of treasurers appointed by themselves, who should issue money only on the warrant of the council of war.*


Earl of

The most remarkable affair in this session, was the impeachment of Cranfield, Earl of Middlesex, lord treasurer, for ment of the bribery and other misdemeanours. The Prince of Wales Middlesex. and Buckingham instituted the prosecution, to gratify the private pique of the latter, against the wishes of James, who told the duke to beware how he put into the hands of the Commons a weapon which they might one day wield against himself. The impeachment was conducted in a very regular form, except that the depositions of witnesses were merely read by the clerk; the great principle of English law which insists upon the vivâ voce examination of witnesses, being as yet unknown, or dispensed with in political trials. Middlesex was unanimously convicted by the peers, fined £50,000, and declared incapable of sitting in parliament. His impeachment was of the highest moment to the Commons, because it restored for ever that salutary constitutional right, which the single precedent of Lord Bacon might have been insufficient to establish against the ministers of the crown.† Williams, the lord keeper, was also threatened, but he escaped by a timely submission to the duke. In this session, also, there was enacted a statute which declared all monopolies to be monopolies contrary to law, and all existing grants of them to be void illegal. (21 James I., c. 3). How the statute was respected, we shall see in the next reign. Scarce any difference arose between the crown and the Commons in this brief session, and there was established that practical concord, which a new king might have improved into a co-operation for the general good, had he as well as the parliament understood the altered condition of society.‡


22. Death of James. After the failure of the Spanish match, James felt that he was powerless; in the hands of a son who did not respect him, and of an insolent minion who despised him. *Hallam, I., 371. + Ibid, I., 372.

Pop. Hist., III., 385.


He was forced into a war against his will, a war which brought nothing but disgrace. An army of 12,000 men was raised in England for the service of the Elector, and placed under the command of the celebrated adventurer, Count Mansfield. The men set out from Dover, and sailed first to Calais, and then to the island of Zeeland. But the crowded state of the ships, their foulness, the inclemency of the season, the want of provisions, and of proper accommodation on shore, generated a contagious disease, which struck down 5,000 men in a few weeks. The people were naturally discontented at these disasters, and their discontent was increased when a negotiation was set on foot for the marriage of Prince Charles with another Catholic princess, Henrietta Maria. The articles of this second marriage treaty were even more opposed to English Protestantism than those of the former one with Spain, three of them being these: that all Catholics who had been imprisoned on the petition of the late parliament should be released; that all fines should be remitted; and that no recusants should be hereafter molested on account of the private exercise of their worship. James, however, did not live to witness the celebration of this marriage. In March, 1625, he was taken ill at Theobalds; and, at the end of a fortnight, died. His disease was at first considered to be tertian ague, and afterwards gout in the stomach; but his death was probably owing to his pertinacious refusal of all medical aid or remedy.



CHARLES I. Reigned twenty-three years and ten months, from 27th March, 1625, to 30th January, 1649. Born at Dunfermline, 19th November, 1600. Married Henrietta Maria, of France. Died on the scaffold, at Whitehall, 30th January, 1649. Buried in St. George's Chapel, Windsor.



1. The first parliament. The accession of Charles I. marks the beginning of that great epoch, during which the important question was to be decided-whether the English parliament was to share the fate of the continental senates, or to obtain that ascendancy in the state which it had possessed under the later Plantagenets, but of which the Tudors had so long deprived it.


Spirit of

The King's Judging from the character of the new monarch, there character. was good reason for expecting a quiet and peaceable solution of this question; for Charles was stern and serious in his deportment; chaste and temperate; and possessed of a deeper sense of religion than his father. But, unfortunately, he had inherited all his father's high notions of prerogative, and was more disposed to carry them into practice; in which he was directly opposed to the spirit of his people, who were the people. resolutely bent upon retrenching the prerogative; so much so indeed, that they withheld all expressions of loyalty towards their new sovereign, lest they might waver in their purpose. Charles took speedy means to convince them that they had not erred in their resolution. His subjects had, ere this, discovered his perfidy in the matter of the Spanish marriage; his immediate union with Henrietta of France, gave still greater offence, especially when the secret articles of the marriage treaty, granting concessions to the Roman Catholics, became known.

The first parliament which Charles summoned showed, most unmistakeably, how these things affected the people (June 18th). The Commons demanded that the penal laws against the papists should be enforced; the King asked for £300,000., and they voted less than half that sum; and they granted tonnage and poundage for only one year, instead of for the King's life, as had been the practice for two centuries. The mutual recriminations and angry debates which followed, were interrupted by the plague, which broke out in London, and compelled the assembly to adjourn to Oxford. But the tactics of the Commons were well planned, under the leadership of some of the ablest statesmen that England has ever produced, Coke, Parliament. Sandys, Philips, Seymour, Digges, Eliot, Wentworth, ary leaders. Selden, and Pym. These men determined that the grant of supplies should depend upon the redress of grievances; the greatest of which, in their eyes, was the administration of Buckingham. They had lately discovered that this minister had attempted to employ English ships against the Huguenots of Rochelle. This highly inflamed them; to all the King's entreaties for money they were inexorable; and Charles, on the pretence that the plague had appeared at Oxford, suddenly dissolved them (August 12th). He found they were preparing an impeachment against Buckingham.

2. War with Spain. Both Elizabeth and James had been opposed to war, because they knew that want of money alone

*Mrs. Hutchinson's Memoirs.


could render parliament formidable to their power. But Charles had no such wisdom, and he now imprudently plunged into hostilities with Spain, solely at the instigation of Buckingham, although his treasury was empty. Supplies were partially raised by forced loans, with which an expedition was fitted out, and sent to Cadiz, under Cecil, Lord Wimbledon, for the purpose of intercepting the Spanish Plate Fleet. Owing to mismanagement, the expedition proved a complete failure; and to ward off popular fury, the laws against the Roman Catholics were vigorously enforced. But, at the same time, Charles secretly sold the recusants pardons and dispensations; and, when the French King complained of the revived penalties, as violations of the articles of the marriage treaty, Charles alleged that those articles were nothing more than an artifice to obtain the papal dispensation for the marriage.* In the late parliament, the courtiers had told the Commons, that so far at least as the King was concerned they could not complain of grievances, for his rule had only just begun. Scarcely six months had elapsed, yet here were grievances enough, surely; forced loans, an imprudent war, and, more than all, royal perfidy; all which must have made the King look forward to the meeting of another parliament with no very pleasant feelings.

3. The second parliament. To break the strength of the opposition in the new parliament, Charles sent no summons to attend to the Earl of Bristol, Buckingham's personal enemy; and he incapacitated seven of the most active commoners, Coke, Philips, Wentworth, and others, from sitting in parliament, by causing them to be nominated sheriffs for the year. This artifice was too gross to escape detection, and only served to exasperate the Commons more against the court. The new parliament met on the 6th of February, 1626, and the Commons at once appointed three committees: for religion; for grievances; and for evils, causes, and remedies. The first took up the subjects of popery, and the heterodox opinions of Dr. Montague, one of the royal chaplains, who had been prosecuted in the former parliament. The second denounced sixteen abuses, as purveyance, illegal impositions, and the levying of tonnage and poundage, as subversive of the liberties of the people. The business of the third committee was that which chiefly occupied the attention of the Commons, who denounced Buckingham as the "cause," and declared that his punishment was the only "remedy" of the national "evils." When Charles heard of these sharp speeches against his favourite, he sent an insolent message to the Com* Lingard, IX., 247.



ment of


mons, saying that he would not allow them to question the conduct of any of his servants, much less such as were of eminent place, and near unto him. He saw that they aimed at the Duke of Buckingham; but he would have them hasten the supply, or it might be worse for them. This message so provoked the Commons, that, having no distinct evidence against the duke, they voted that "common fame" alone was sufficient ground on Impeach- which to proceed; and they immediately set about to Buckingham prepare Buckingham's impeachment: yet, to show that they were resolved to act with good faith, they granted supplies for the King's immediate necessities. But Charles was now thoroughly alarmed, and he warned the Commons that parliaments were altogether dependent upon him, "therefore," said he, as I find the fruits of them, good or evil, they are to continue, or not to be." The Commons, however, were not to be deterred by such language as this; they deliberated with locked doors, and resolved to impeach Buckingham on twelve articles; and they entrusted the business to eight managers, Pym, Herbert, Selden, Glanville, Sherland, Wandesford, Digges, and Eliot, the last of whom, the most eloquent man in the house, was to sum up the charges. He did so with appalling boldness. He complained of Buckingham's oppressions and extortions; his engrossing all offices for himself and his kindred; his pride, covetousness, and boundless ambition. He compared him to Sejanus, and then concluded thus:- "My lords, you see the man! By him came all these evils; in him we find the cause ; on him we expect the remedies; and to this we met your lordships in conference." Charles was transported with rage; if Buckingham was Sejanus, then he himself must be Tiberius. He hastened to the house, and caused Eliot and Digges to be immediately arrested. The incensed Commons on this declared they would do no more business till these two gentlemen were set at liberty. The friends of the court sought to frighten them; and Sir Dudley Carleton, the King's vice-chamberlain, insinuated that the King might be very likely tempted to govern alone, like the princes on the continent. But his words were saluted with loud shouts "To the bar! To the bar! and he narrowly escaped the indignity of having to apologise at the bar on his knees. At the end of a few days, the King's anger cooled, and he released the two members. But soon after, he caused Buckingham to be elected to the chancellorship of the University of Cambridge. This ill-timed act of power again excited the Commons, who


* Forster's Lives of the Statesmen of the Commonwealth, II., 45.

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