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entry of the
with the most marked discontent; multitudes followed his carriage, crying "privileges of parliament;" and one flung a paper into the carriage window, with these words on it, "To your tents, O Israel!" The citizens paraded the streets all night in arms; the House of Commons, which adjourned for a week, appointed a committee to sit during the recess, for the purpose of arranging matters with their partisans; and, when the house re-assembled (January 11th), the five accused members Triumphant proceeded by water to the house, escorted by 2,000 armed members. mariners in boats; by detachments of the trainbands, with eight pieces of cannon on each bank of the river; and by 4,000 yeomen, who had ridden up from Buckinghamshire to defend their representative, Mr. Hampden. As this immense multitude passed Whitehall, they asked, with insulting shouts, "What has become of the King and his cavaliers? And whither are they fled?" Charles had, indeed, fled; deserted by all, and Charles's overwhelmed with grief, shame, and remorse, for the fatal nious flight measures into which he had been hurried, he had retired with his Queen and family to Hampton Court; and when he next entered his capital, it was as a prisoner in the hands of the army. It now became evident that all hope of a reconciliation was at an end, and only one appeal-an appeal to the sword-remained. Clarendon himself says that both Pym and Hampden were much altered after this; and their nature and courage seemed much fiercer than before. The King soon became aware of the vantage ground which his conduct had thus given to his opponents, and he attempted to retrace his steps by apologising for his hastiness; he offered a "free pardon" to the members, and said he had since found that there was "good cause wholly to desert any prosecution." But these concessions only strengthened the obstinacy of the Commons, who insisted that Charles should inform them who had advised him to commit so flagrant a breach of privilege (January 13th).
39. Transactions during the King's retreat to the north. The advisers whom the Commons thus insisted upon Charles giving up to them were, the Queen and Lord Digby, the son of the Earl of Bristol, both of whom, it was known, had urged him to this rash step. Wiser counsellors, however, had been introduced into the ministry, Sir John Culpeper and Lord Falkland, the former of whom was chancellor of the exchequer, and the latter, secretary of state.* The scrupulous virtue of Falkland * Forster, in his "Arrest of the Five Members," says, however, that there is ground for believing that these two ministers, as well as Hyde, were cognisant of Charles's intended arrest. Clarendon admits that they were all suspected.
had, for some time, withdrawn him from the court; Charles was afraid of him, and did not feel easy in his presence. He opposed the abettors of revolution, not for the sake of the crown, Falkland. but for the sake of justice; for all his principles and wishes, and the impulses of his somewhat visionary imagination, impelled him towards the friends of liberty. He hated the falsehoods, the corruption, the spies, and all the other base means by which courts too often find it expedient to maintain their power and influence; and his acceptance of office was a pure sacrifice for the good of his country in this hour of her peril.
Another statesman, less scrupulous, was Hyde, afterwards Earl of Clarendon, who remained amongst the popular party in the as a spy. Every night he repaired to the King, and house. acquainted him with what had passed in the several committees during the past day; and he supplied him with answers to the messages and declarations of the Commons, even before they were regularly submitted to the sanction of the house.* While the King thus had his spies in the house, the patriots had theirs in the court, and his most secret designs were regularly reported to them. Aware of his purpose to appoint a royalist officer in command of the Tower, they established a guard round that fortress, under Major-General Skippen, to prevent a surprise; and they issued an order, that no ordnance should be removed therefrom "without the King's authority signified by both houses of parliament." Goring, the governor of Portsmouth, was instructed to hold that place under the same authority; the Earl of Newcastle, sent by Charles on a secret mission to Hull, was commanded to attend his duty as a peer, and Sir John Hotham, a rich and influential gentleman of Yorkshire, ordered to proceed immediately and secure that important place, which contained large arsenals, for the parliament.
On the 13th of January, the Commons passed their famous declaration for putting the kingdom in a state of defence, by which all officers, magistrates, and others, were enjoined to take care that no soldiers be raised, nor any castles or arms given up, without his majesty's pleasure, signified by both houses of parliament, and on the 20th, they followed this up by demanding from the King, as "a ground of confidence," that the government of the army and navy should be entrusted to officers nominated by Dispute the two houses. This was the grand question upon
about the command of the militia.
which the quarrel finally rested; for if Charles had assented to this demand, he would have deprived himself
See his Life,
of a power essential to royalty, and have thrown himself, without resource, at the feet of his enemies. Yet he did not absolutely refuse to accede to this proposal, but resorted to his characteristic duplicity; arguing, that as a commission under the great seal was of no effect if it were contrary to law, so an act of parliament had no power to bind, when it was subversive of the ancient constitution of the realm.* This specious reasoning relieved him from his present difficulties, by authorising him to resume at pleasure, what he should now concede through necessity; and he not only passed the bill against pressing soldiers, but also assented Royal to another which deprived the bishops of their seats, and concessions of all temporal employments; he offered to submit all be real. disputes respecting the liturgy to the consideration of parliament; promised never to grant a pardon to a Catholic priest without their previous consent; requested to know the names of the persons who might be trusted with military commands, approved of the list, and only requested, first, that their appointment should be limited to a certain time, and second, that the powers which they were to exercise, should first be conferred by statute on himself, that they might receive them through him. This last requirement exposed the King's faithlessness; the facility with which he assented to so much excited distrust in the Commons, and they voted that his last proposal was, in reality, a denial (February). In a few days (March 5th), they issued an ordinance (as the bills which passed the two houses, but did not receive the royal assent, were now styled), which appointed, by the authority of parliament, fifty lords and commoners lieutenants of different districts, with power to nominate deputies and officers, and to suppress insurrections, rebellions, and invasions.
In the meanwhile Charles had sent his Queen to Holland, under the pretence of conducting his daughter Mary to her husband, the Prince of Orange, but really for the purpose of soliciting aid from foreign powers, of raising money on the crown jewels, and of purchasing arms and ammunition. He now Charles gradually withdrew from the vicinity of the metropolis, to first to Theobalds, then to Newmarket, where he held a long and painful conference with the parliamentary commissioners (March 9th); then into the more northern counties; and, at last, he fixed his residence at York (March 24th).
40. The Paper War between the two parties. A long succession of declarations and answers, petitions and complaints, remonstrances and protests, now occupied public attention for * Lingard, X., 56. + Guizot's Eng. Rev., 144-5.
several months; but, although negotiations went on, neither party hoped anything from them. They ceased, in fact, to address each other in their messages, but appealed to the nation at large. For this purpose, the press, free for the first time in England, was incessantly kept at work, and the country inundated Newspapers with publications. Now "News from Hull," "Truths pamphlets. from York," and "Warranted Tidings from Ireland,” coursed the country side; now the "Scots' Dove" assaulted and tore to pieces the " Parliament Kite," or the "Secret Owl;" and the "Weekly Discoverer" suddenly found himself "The Discoverer stript naked." The principal regular newspapers were, however, on the side of parliament; the Mercurius Britannicus, written by the famous Marchamont Needham, or foul mouthed Ned," as his opponents styled him; and on the King's side, the Mercurius Aulicus, published at Oxford, under the editorship of John Birkenhead, who was as scurrilous as the other. These newspapers produced a powerful effect. They were distributed through the country by the footposts and the carriers; at the assizes, on market days, at the doors of the churches, the people crowded to buy and read them; and, amidst this universal outburst of thought, the laws and customs of the realm were constantly appealed to as the only legitimate criterions of the dispute, although every man knew that it was the national sovereignty grappling with the sovereignty of divine right, which was at the bottom of the whole matter. Parliament, conscious that it had to carry on a revolution which, at the same time, it Peculiar was compelled to disavow, fluctuated between boldness parliament. and cunning, violence and hypocrisy. Not content with taking possession of the sovereign power, it voted, as a principle and a law, that the command of the militia did not belong to the King; that he could not refuse his sanction to bills demanded by the people; that the house, without his consent, had the right to declare what was law, and that it was good and lawful to petition for the change of customs and statutes, but that petitions for their maintenance should be rejected as nugatory.
Maxims such as these were contrary to the very existence of the monarchy, and the King took advantage of them, because they enabled him to speak in behalf of the laws and traditions of the realm. Áble and learned champions took up his cause, and such was the effect of the royal papers they drew up, that parliament made every effort to suppress them; for the Royalist party visibly increased every day. Even among the
*Forster's Lives, III., 275-276.
populace, their abuse of the patriot leaders found welcome and credit; they sneered at " King Pym," and the " sugar loaves" he had formerly received as presents; at the Earl of Warwick, "whose soul was in his shoes," and others. The parliament, alarmed at the boldness of the Royalists, even in the neighbourhood of London, resorted to tyrannical measures, and imprisoned those members who manifested the slightest interest in the King's cause; and all petitions favourable to Charles were received with insult, and thrown aside. One man, as yet little noticed Cromwell's in public, but more able and already more deeply engaged than any other in the machinations of the revolution, especially engaged himself in suppressing these obnoxious petitions. This was Oliver Cromwell, who employed his activity and influence in the external business of parliament, in exciting the people, and in watching and denouncing the tricks of the Royalists out of doors.
Oliver Cromwell was of no mean birth, as has generally been alleged, being related to the royal house of Stuart through his mother, and also to the sketch of Earls of Essex, and the houses of Hampden, St. John, and Barrington. previous His grandfather, Sir Henry Cromwell, was four times sheriff of Cam- career. bridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, and his uncle, Sir Oliver, was reputed to be the richest knight in England. He was the son of Robert Cromwell and Elizabeth Stuart (the daughter of a knightly family in the Isle of Ely), and was born at Huntingdon, April 25th, 1599; but his father, who was a farmer and brewer, resided at Hinchinbrook, hard by, and both Charles I. and James I. had made royal visits there. Cromwell, after receiving a good school education, was sent to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, whence he removed to Lincoln's Inn, and at the age of twenty-one, married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir James Bourchier, of Essex. In the parliament of 1628, he sat as member for Huntingdon; but in those of 1629 and 1640, he was returned for the borough of Cambridge. From the very outset of his career he was attached to the popular party, and his house at St. Ives was notorious as a refuge for Nonconformist ministers, whom he encouraged in their opposition, while he made known their wrongs and urged the necessity of redress. His character in his private life was above all suspicion; and his piety and selfdenying virtue were well known. He was slovenly in his appearance, rough and uncouth in his manners, being subject to fits of hypochondria. When he spoke, his language was but indifferent, though it was full of fervour, and "he was very much hearkened unto." "That sloven," said Hampden of him to Lord Digby, soon after the Long Parliament met, "whom you see before you, hath no ornament in his speech-that sloven, I say, if we should ever come to a breach with the King, which God forbid! in such a case, I say, that sloven will be the greatest man in England."
The following Royalist Epigram upon the Parliament's Beliefs, will illustrate this title, and show how far these party scribes went :
Is there no God? let's put it to a vote.
Is there no Church? some fools say so by rote.