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Charles it was no longer thus, and, even in the reign of James, these meetings had become political as well as literary. One of the most memorable places where they were held was, the house of the great antiquary, Sir Robert Cotton, in Westminster, where the men of learning and of action, the intellectual and moral power of England, met for a common purpose the formation of a popular party to withstand the constant encroachments of the crown upon the laws and constitution of the realm, and the rights and liberties of its subjects. Here it was that the Pyms and the Seldens leagued; Camden, Coke, Noy, Stowe, Spelman, Philips, Mallory, Digges, Usher, Holland, Carew, Fleetwood, and Hakewell, acknowledged a common object here; and the famous library of their host furnished them with precedents from which their memorable resolutions were taken.* Such a "mansion-house of liberty" Lord was the residence of Lord Falkland, at Tew, or Burford, Falkland. near Oxford, where Selden, Hyde, and Chillingworth, the famous author of "The Religion of Protestants a safe way to Salvation," and all the eminent men of the day, assembled to exchange ideas, to discuss philosophical theories and principles of government, and to excite each other to labour for that reform in church and state, which all men saw was the only remedy for the national troubles. †
Amongst the inferior gentry, opinions were connected with interests, passions with opinions. No theories occupied them; the House of Commons filled their thoughts, as representing the only means by which public liberty was to be regained, and they only hated the bishops because they upheld tyranny. The citizens of the towns, and the freeholders generally, went farther than this, their indignation being excited more particularly by religious matters. The common people shared this indignation with them. They desired a further reformation in the church, a further departure from Romish practices and superstitions, and some, like the Brownists, or Independents, rejected all church government whatsoever, and proclaimed the right of every congregation to regulate its own worship upon purely republican principles. It was these men against whom the bitterest persecutions were directed, and, in consequence of this, they fled in great numbers to Holland. But the state of Europe was not
The . Pilgrim Fathers.
such as to encourage their emigration to the continent; and the love of their country struggled too much with Forster's Lives, III., 7. Cotton's library, being such a powerful agent on the side of liberty, was seized by the government. The owner died of a broken heart in conse quence, + Clarendon's Life, Part I.
their desire for liberty to allow them to remain; they, therefore, concerted with their friends at home to go together in search of a new country, which belonged to England, and where only English people were to be found. Those at home then bought a vessel, which they equipped and provisioned, and, under the charge of one of their ministers, went to join their friends in Holland, whence they proceeded together to Massachussets Bay, which they had obtained by charter from the crown in 1629. It often happened that the ship was not large enough to contain all of one company, in which case the minister of the congregation remaining at home preached a farewell sermon, which was answered by a sermon from the departing minister; they then prayed together before the final departure. Thus left England the Pilgrim Fathers, without any let or hindrance from the government, about 350 going in the first expedition. But so many followed in subsequent years, and so much money was taken out of the kingdom by the emigrants (half a million, it is said), that the government suddenly prohibited any further departures, by an order in council (May 1st, 1638); and arrested eight ships then in the Thames, filled with Puritan families, bound for New England. It is said,* that on board one of the vessels were Pym, Hampden, Cromwell, Haselrigg, and Say; but the statement rests on no good authority, and is, moreover, contradicted by the fact that the vessels were afterwards allowed to proceed on their voyage," upon the humble petition of the passengers." +
Rise of the
The truth is, that these men perceived too clearly the gradual approach of a crisis, to fly from tyranny and secure their own safety at that particular juncture. It was just after the decision about ship money had been given, when Hampden was "the argument of all tongues," and, therefore, not a very likely time for him to think of escaping to America. Discontent had now fearfully extended; the establishment of law and justice, even the abolition of episcopacy, were not the only subjects of men's thoughts; for daring sects had grown up on every side, men forming themselves into different religious bodies, according to the sectaries. different grounds of their objections to the established church. These sects, in spite of Laud's most active inquisitions, persisted in assembling, in cellars, in barns, in the woods; passing together long hours, often whole nights, in prayer and psalmody, praising the Lord at the same time they cursed their enemies. The dismal character of their proceedings soon threw a gloom over their minds; they became fanatics; and, as the national resentment + Forster's Lives, III., 81-82.
Hume, VI., 309.
against the government protected them from their persecutors, they took advantage of the popular favour, and openly dared to mark themselves as sectaries by a peculiarity of dress and manners. Clothed in black, the hair cut close, the head covered with a high-crowned, wide-brimmed hat, they were everywhere objects of respect to the multitude, who gave them the name of saints. In the eyes of these men, the reformation of the constitution, and the establishment of law and liberty, were but of secondary importance; the reformation of religion being with them the highest object. The credit which they acquired with the people led those whose characters were ruined, and standing gone, to assume their dress, air, and language, and thus obtain, by hypocrisy and cunning, welcome and protection from the public.*
II. THE AFFAIRS OF IRELAND.
18. Charles promises "graces" to the Irish. It will be remembered that, under Elizabeth and James, the Irish had been compelled to surrender their estates to the crown, in order to receive them again by a legal tenure. But the new grants were not enrolled in chancery, although the proprietors had paid heavily for that security, and the lands were, therefore, declared forfeited, at the close of the reign. To quiet alarm, Charles agreed to compromise the matter, by granting graces to the Irish, on condition of their paying him £120,000 in the course of three years.
These graces went to secure the subject's title to his lands, against the crown, after sixty years' possession. They gave the people of Connaught leave to enrol their grants, and relieved the settlers, in Ulster and elsewhere, from the penalties they had incurred by similar neglect. The abuse of the council chamber in meddling with private causes, the oppression of the Court of Wards in compelling Roman Catholic heirs to be educated in the Protestant faith on pain of losing their inheritance; the encroachments of military authority, and the excesses of soldiers, were all likewise restrained. Other privileges were granted, as the freedom of trade, and indulgences to the recusants, which allowed them to practise in law courts on taking an oath of mere allegiance, instead of that of supremacy.
These reformations of unquestionable and intolerable evils, as beneficial as those contained in the Petition of Right, would have saved Ireland long ages of calamity if they had been faithfully completed. But Charles behaved on this occasion with his usual perfidy. It had been promised that the graces should be conCharles firmed by parliament, and consequently the lord deputy, the graces. Lord Falkland, issued writs for its election, but without first obtaining the King's formal license, as required by Poyning's
Mrs. Hutchinson's Memoirs; Guizot's English Revolution.
law. The English council, therefore, declared the writs void; no parliament was held; and when three years had elapsed, and the money was paid, Charles threatened to straiten the graces unless the Irish paid a further sum. The lord deputy was too honest a man, to be a party to such dishonourable practices; and he was recalled, to make way for a more willing and able instrument of despotic power, Lord Wentworth.
be treated as a conquered
19. Wentworth's Administration. The new deputy accepted his office without resigning another appointment which he held, that of lord president of the north, and he soon evinced that obstinacy of purpose and austerity of disposition which had hitherto marked his character. He maintained that Ireland was Ireland to a conquered country, and that the inhabitants could not, therefore, possess any rights or privileges except by country. the indulgence of the crown. He found the two parties in the country, extremely jealous of each other; the Protestants violently objecting to the graces, and to the renewal of any contributions from the recusants for them. But he terrified this party into compliance, and prevailed upon the Catholics to pay the contribution for another year, when he promised that a parliament should be held. Charles was alarmed at the idea of another parliament being summoned, even in Ireland; but Wentworth assured him that it should prove both innoxious and serviceable. The King and his instrument conspired together, in fact, how to extort the most from Ireland, and concede the least; Charles caring more for his revenue than for the faithful fulfilment of his promises.
When the parliament met (July, 1634), Wentworth, having already taken measures for securing a majority in favour of the crown, announced that two sessions would be held, the first for the benefit of the King, the second for that of the people, when the graces should be confirmed. On the strength of this The graces promise the Commons voted six subsidies (£246,000); but promised, when the second session came, Wentworth set aside the withheld. most important of the graces, on the ground that the King's conscience and honour would not permit of their enactment. The King's refusal to abide by these concessions soon manifested itself in acts of violence. All the proprietors in the province of Connaught were required to submit their titles to the decision of juries, who were compelled to find a verdict for the crown, on pain of fine and imprisonment, and when the professors sent delegates to London to remonstrate with the King against these proceedings, and to offer a composition for peaceful possession,
Charles sent the delegates prisoners to Dublin. Three-fourths of the lands in Connaught were then returned to their possessors, and the remainder (120,000 acres) reserved by the crown, to be planted with Englishmen, on conditions very advantageous to the royal exchequer.
and Laud's system of
The despotic violence of Wentworth towards those who opposed his arbitrary proceedings was a further source of discontent. The slightest resistance to his will was sufficient to mark the offender for ruin. He adopted the same motto with Archbishop Laud. In their view, the King's service demanded measures of greater energy; the severities even of the reign seemed "Thorough." to them feebleness and excessive lenity; they were for rejecting all half measures; their system was "Thorough," as their correspondence constantly expressed; the complete subjugation of all, and the enforcement of obedience by sure and terrible punishment. They were conspiring, in fact, for the entire subversion of the laws and liberties of their country, and for the establishment of absolute and despotic power. This policy
was that which marked Wentworth's rule in Ireland. governed arbitrarily, harshly, sternly; yet he restrained the violence of faction, prevented the aristocracy from oppressing the people, improved the army, and kept it under good discipline, extended commerce, established the great linen manufacture of Ulster, and promoted agriculture. But with all these results, he neither reconciled the religious factions nor secured the affections of the people for English rule; and instead of healing the wounds he found, he left others to break out after his removal.* When those proceedings in the Long Parliament began which ultimately led to his execution, the Irish coalesced with his English enemies to consummate his destruction, and the Irish Commons presented a remonstrance against him to the Long Parliament.†
III. THE KING'S GOVERNMENT IN SCOTLAND.
20. Attempts to overthrow the kirk and establish episcopacy. The restlessness which existed in Scotland at the death of King James was not likely to be subsided by the rule of such a sovereign as his son and successor, who determined to follow up his father's policy. To increase his own revenue, and provide a better maintenance for the clergy, Charles early attempted to resume the ecclesiastical property, which had fallen to the crown at the Reformation, but which had been alienated during his father's minority. He partly succeeded; but thereby estranged * Hallam II., 549. + Ibid, I., 462-463; Lingard, IX., 335-344.