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remonstrance he had prepared, declaring the levy of Eliot's retonnage and poundage illegal, except by consent of monstrance. parliament, and he desired the speaker to put it to the vote. The latter refused, and rose to depart. Denzil Holles (the son of Lord Clare) and Valentine dragged him back, and, despite the efforts of the court party, who attempted to rescue him, forcibly held him in his chair, while Holles read Eliot's remonstrance, amidst tremendous acclamations. It ran thus:--
1. Whoever shall bring in innovations in religion, or by favour seek to extend or introduce Popery or Arminianism, or other opinions disagreeing from the true and orthodox church, should be reputed a capital enemy.
2. Whosoever shall counsel or advise the taking and levying of the subsidies of tonnage and poundage, not being granted by parliament, or shall be an actor or an instrument therein, shall be likewise reputed an innovator in the government, and a capital enemy to this kingdom and commonwealth.
3. If any merchant or other person whatsoever, shall voluntarily yield or pay the said subsidies of tonnage and poundage, not being granted by parliament, he shall likewise be reputed a betrayer of the liberty of England, and an enemy to the same.*
During this the King had come to the House of Lords. He sent for the sergeant at arms, who was not permitted to obey; the usher of the black rod followed, but the doors were shut upon him. In the extremity of rage, Charles sent the captain of the guard to break open the doors; but Eliot's resolutions having now been passed, the Commons had adjourned to the 10th of March, as the King had ordered. On that day the King dissolved the parliament without sending for the Commons. He called the patriot leaders "vipers," and he issued a proclamation in which he said he should consider it "presumption for any one to prescribe to him" the calling of any more parliaments. He kept his word, and for the next eleven years he governed alone.
Soon after these proceedings, Charles concluded a peace with France (May, 1629) and Spain (1630). But, at the same time that he concluded the latter treaty, he also concluded a secret one with Spain, for the reduction of the United Provinces; and in the following year, he negotiated with the Catholic states of Flanders and Brabant, for the purpose of enabling them to throw off the yoke of Spain. Thus, even in his dealings with foreigners, Charles manifested that love of intrigue, and want of common honesty, with which he was afterwards reproached by his enemies during the civil war. The efforts which he made to aid his sister and her husband, the Elector Palatine, were but slight, and the cause of that prince fell with the death of the great Swedish hero, Gustavus Adolphus, in
* Forster's Lives, II., 97.
his last and greatest victory, the battle of Lutzen (November 6th, 1632).
GOVERNED WITHOUT A PARLIAMENT. 1629-1640.
I. ARBITRARY GOVERNMENT.
11. Imprisonment of Eliot and others. Charles and his councillors seem to have entertained the idea, that if one system of government would not answer, another could be resorted to, regardless of the ancient laws and constitution of the country. The parliamentary system had been tried, and had failed; the career of despotism was now entered upon, with the intention, that if this did not succeed, and necessity pressed hard, recourse could again be had to parliament, and matters remain just as they were. Vengeance was first taken on those who had been most active in opposing the court. Eliot, Holles, Selden, Long, Strode, Valentine, and others were committed to the Tower and to the King's Bench, and their papers seized. Upon suing for their writ of Habeas Corpus, a return was made that they were detained for notable contempts, and for stirring up sedition, alleged in a warrant under the King's sign manual. Their counsel argued the insufficiency of this return, not only on the same grounds which had been employed in the late trial concerning the arrest of the five knights, but on the principles enacted in the Petition of Right. To this Mr. Attorney-General Heath made a most extraordinary reply, in which he said that the Petition of Right being a petition, was no law; and though it would be dishonourable in the King not to observe it, yet the meaning and intention of it were in his hands, and no other construction could be put upon it than what he thought proper. The judges hesitated; they feared the King, and yet dreaded the wrath of future parliaments; so they petitioned Charles to bail the prisoners. But the King forbade the latter to appear in court, so that no judgment could be given. They lay in prison throughout the long vacation, and in Michaelmas term were brought before the judges, and told that they would be bailed on finding sureties for their good behaviour. To this they resolutely objected; it implied a previous offence, and they would never admit the possibility of offending the law by liberty of speech in parliament.* In consequence of this obstinacy, the attorney-general dropped Their trial. the charge against the rest, and filed a criminal information against Eliot, Holles, and Valentine; the first, for words spoken * Hallam, I., 420-422; Lingard, IX., 294; Forster's Lives, II., 100-101.
in parliament; the other two, for their violence to the speaker. They refused to plead, on the ground that the Court of King's Bench had no right to sit in judgment on their conduct in parliament. The great question of privilege was brought in issue; the question, in fact, on the determination of which the power of the House of Commons, and the character of the English constitution depended.* The prisoners' counsel laid down these propositions:
(1) That it was in the very nature of a representative assembly to have privileges to support it, and particularly freedom of speech.
(2) This privilege was sanctioned by positive authority, the speaker demanding it at the beginning of every parliament as one of the standing privileges of the house.
(3) The 4 Henry VIII. confirmed it when it annulled all the proceedings against one Strode, who had been prosecuted for what he had said in parliament; and though this act was a private one, yet, as it granted to Strode liberty of speech, it granted to him no more than what every other member had a right to possess.
(4) But independent of this, the liberties and privileges of parliament could only be determined by itself, and not by any inferior court, a principle which was supported by a constant series of precedents and decisions of judges.
(5) That parliament had an undoubted right to accuse persons in power, and Eliot's words amounted to no more than an accusation.
But the battle of English liberty was fought vainly as yet; the court held that they had jurisdiction, and that the prisoners were bound to plead. The latter, however, persisted in declining the authority of the court, and judgment was given that all three should be imprisoned during the royal pleasure; that before their discharge they should make their submission; and that Eliot, as the greatest offender, and ringleader, should be fined in £2,000, and the others, to a smaller amount. Eliot, who had previously settled all his property on his son, in anticipation of the fate which had now befallen him, was confined in the Tower, where the damp and cold of his dungeons, together with the rigorous treatment he received (he was denied the use of a fire even in winter), brought on a disease of which he died, in 1632— path of a martyr to the liberties of his country. After the E iot. Restoration, the judgment against these men was reversed (1667), and the act 4 Henry VIII., commonly called Strode's Act (before referred to), was declared to be a general law declaratory of the privileges of parliament, and of the freedom of speech.†
12. Means adopted to raise the revenue. In pursuance of the system which Charles and his ministers had now adopted, Tonnage a series of exactions was begun, in order to compensate poundage. for the absence of the regular parliamentary grants. Tonnage
*Forster's Lives, II., 100-101.
† Hallam, I., 422-425; Lingard, IX., 294; Forster's Lives, II., 102-122.
and poundage were augmented, and the goods of the refractory immediately distrained. One of these, Richard Chambers, a sturdy Puritan, refused to pay the additional duty on a bale of silk, and, when examined by the council, angrily exclaimed, that in no part of the world, not even in Turkey, were the merchants so screwed and wrung as in England; for which the Star Chamber, to show its hatred and abhorrence of Turkish tyranny, fined him £2,000, and imprisoned him.*
Another mode by which the government raised a revenue, was Composi. the revival of the obsolete custom, by which all who were knighthood qualified, were bound to take up their knighthood, and pay a fine for their negligence. Charles raised £100,000 by this expedient, but he thereby estranged many of the landed gentry from his cause.
Still greater dissatisfaction was spread amongst the landholders Revival of by the attempted revival of the forest laws. Many of the laws. royal forests had for many years been disaforested, and in the possession of private subjects. Charles now claimed these lands; and the consequence was, that great havoc was made with private property, because no prescription was allowed to be pleaded against the crown's title. The forests of Epping and Hainault, in Essex, were so extended by these royal claims, that they were said to include the whole county. The Earl of Southampton was nearly ruined by being deprived of a large estate on the New Forest. The boundaries of Rockingham Forest were enlarged from six to sixty miles. Enormous fines were imposed on all trespassers, and many noblemen suffered severely for their encroachments.
The revival of monopolies was another lucrative source of Monopolies. revenue, which, by an improved plan, was so managed as to evade the letter of the law against these abuses. Instead of being confined to a few favoured individuals, they were given to incorporated companies of merchants and tradesmen. One of these had the exclusive privilege of making soap, for which they paid £8 on every ton of soap made, as well as £10,000 for their charter. In a few years, the King deprived them of their charter, and granted the monopoly to a new company; and in this dishonest spirit he dealt with all the other companies which were formed. In 1639, when he began to feel the necessity of diminishing the public odium, he revoked all these grants; and he annulled, at the same time, a number of commissions which he
* Hallam, I., 426.
had issued, in order to obtain money by compounding with offenders against penal statutes.*
A further expedient for raising money was, the extortion of fines for disobedience to proclamations, which inter- Proclamameddled with all matters of trade, prohibited or restrained tions. the importation of various articles and the home-growth of others, and established regulations for manufactures. They fixed the prices of the most common articles; all tradesmen and artificers within London, and three miles round it, were incorporated, and every one fined who carried on a business contrary to this order. The erection of houses was also forbidden; which Charles knew was clearly illegal, the judges having so decided when James issued similar proclamations. On the security of this decision, many new houses had been built in London; but all the owners of them were now fined, and some were even ordered to demolish their houses, in order that St. Paul's Cathedral might be shown to more advantage. Charles is said to have raised, by this single species of oppression, £100,000. Another proclamation ordered all persons who had residences in the country to quit the capital and repair to them, under heavy penalties; and the corporation of London was fined £70,000 for certain alleged breaches of their charter, by which they held their great plantation in the county of Derry.
All these enormous abuses, however, affected individuals only; there was another which soon extended itself over the Shipwhole kingdom. Noy, flattered by the praises which the money. ministers bestowed upon his learning and ingenuity, was stimųlated to discover in the Tower certain dusty old records, which showed that the seaports and maritime counties had, in early times, been called upon to furnish ships for the public service, and that even inland places had been, sometimes, similarly taxed. From these he devised a plan by which a powerful fleet might be procured without any additional charge to the revenue. It happened, just at that juncture, that the right of England to the dominion of the narrow seas was disputed; the English fisheries were annually invaded by the Dutch and French mariners; unlawful captures were made by the cruisers of the continental belligerents; and Turkish corsairs occasionally carried off slaves from the Irish coasts. These aggressions served as an open, and a new treaty with Spain against the United Provinces as a secret, pretext for the issue of the writs, which were first published in October, 1634, and were sent to London and other seaports, ordering * Hallam, I., 430. + Lingard, IX., 304, Note; Hallam, I., 445.