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neglect of true religion. A broad-shouldered, plain-featured man, of the name of Oliver Cromwell, made his first speech in this session, complaining of a certain High Church divine for preaching "flat popery;" and Charles, encouraged by Laud, and relying on the loyalty of the great body of the gentry, resolved to drive matters to extremity. He took the private opinion of the judges as to whether a member who had the assurance of liberty of speech within the House was not liable for his words, spoken in Parliament, when the session was over, and kept watch on the expressions of his old antagonists, Sir John Eliot, Digges, Wentworth, and the others he had imprisoned before. A violent debate, during which the courtly Speaker was held in his chair by force, that the great protest of the House might be strictly correct in form, was the climax of the quarrel. Charles dissolved the Parliament, and instantly sent the chief promoters of the " Protestation " to the Tower. Eliot, Hollis, Selden, Stroud, and five others, were rigorously confined, and got notice of their trial before the Star Chamber.


Other patriots would have shared their fate, if Charles had not discovered they were made of malleable stuff. Wentworth was made Privy Councillor, Digges was made Master of the Rolls, Littleton and Noy were made Attorney and SolicitorGeneral, and no more was heard from those right honourable and learned gentlemen of any fault or blemish in Church or State. Mute were the tongues of the newly-appointed officials, and meek the eyes of the fiery and eloquent Wentworth, while Eliot, whose former imprisonment he had shared, and his friends, were tried for their riotous behaviour during the last day of the session, and were accused of a malevolous attempt to traduce the State, and introduce discord between the king and his people." No voice was raised among the apostate placemen when the sentence inflicted heavy fines on the defendants, with imprisonment in the Tower during his majesty's pleasure. His majesty's pleasure was shown in a


great many ways besides turning the dungeon key on a parliamentary opponent. He made Wentworth, who was now ennobled, President of the Court of York, and never had so much talent been applied to the subjugation of a people as the new-made viscount displayed in his Council of the North. The excesses of the Star Chamber were exceeded by the new institution, and it was perceived that Charles had found another Buckingham, with all the baser qualities of that contemptible favourite ennobled almost into virtues; the rashness of unreasoning vanity into the calculating courage of a statesman; the degrading devotion to the king into a sentiment of loyalty and affection; and men recognised in the new director of the royal conduct not the arrogance and frivolity of the late adviser, but a calm and severe dignity of demeanour, and a countenance infinitely more attractive than his predecessor's regularity of features or freshness of complexion; for the firm lips spoke of inflexibility of purpose, and the grand dark brow equalled in thunderous gloom "the front of Jove himself."

A counterpart of Wentworth, but with all his attributes dwarfed and vulgarized, was found in William Laud. This man we shall soon see Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, and in him we shall perceive the firmness of Wentworth degenerating into obstinacy, his courage into ignorance of danger, and his wideness of view, which embraced the whole scope of national affairs, narrowed into such a limited horizon as a man of slender talents, residing in a university, and migrating occasionally to a cathedral town, might be expected to command. To these two Charles committed the helman impetuous renegade, who hated the principles he had deserted, and a bigoted ecclesiastic who placed equal faith in the efficacy of forms and ceremonies and the truth of dreams. For the same man who whipped fantastic fanatics at the cart's tail for hearing voices in the air, or seeing visions in the field, was a most devout believer in omens and por

A.D. 1630-1632.]


tents. An indigestible supper supplied him with ideas of government; a fit of nightmare sent hundreds of dissenters to prison. A free field was left for the display of their united abilities; for after the dismissal of Parliament, in the spring of 1629, there was no House of Commons to watch their acts. Eliot and the rest were in gaol; there were no newspapers, nor clubs, nor public meetings; the sun shone down on rich harvests, the wind blew into the sails of laden vessels, wealth was growing in the land, and if physical well-doing could satisfy the minds of men the system might have gone on-the rule might have been continued till no one remembered the day of hope and independence-and England, after being habituated to her chains for thirty or forty years, might have been satisfied if they had been hidden with the gilding of a little glory, or manufactured into ornamental shapes, as if they were bracelets and not manacles. But this was not to be. The verdure was still green on the hill's side, but the fires of the volcano were gathering below.


§ 14. For, busy in watching affairs at home, nobody seems to have taken any notice of the foreign operations going on at this time. And yet the heart of the nation was as deeply moved by tidings from the Rhine as by tyrannies on the Thames. Charles used his deliverance from a Parliament to make peace with France, which had crushed the Huguenots, and was laying the foundations of the despotic throne which was soon to be filled by Louis XIV. He made no stipulation in the treaty for the Protestants of Rochelle. He next concluded a peace with Spain and the Emperor, and introduced no stipulation in it in favour of his brother-inlaw, the nominal King of Bohemia, whom the nation believed to be the victim of his Protestant beliefs. When at last Gustavus Adolphus, like a later Maccabee, came down from the north, and resisted and overthrew the oppressor, Charles made a feeble and abortive attempt to aid him by giving a secret permission to the Marquis of Hamilton to raise six


thousand men for his service; but the secrecy deprived the assistance of all its moral weight, and mismanagement deprived it of all its material value. The detachment was starved, decimated by fever, neglected by its chiefs, and Great Britain, in both her kingdoms, lamented that so many gallant lives had been squandered in vain.

Failure abroad is nowhere so sure of creating disaffection at home as among ourselves; and some of the incidents in the continental struggle had an ominous significance to the prophets of evil in our own country. A cruel and bloodthirsty general of the empire, named Tilly, got possession of the rich and flourishing town of Magdeburg, on the Elbe. The "soldiers of Christ and the pope " rendered the sack of this seat of liberty and commerce memorable to all succeeding time by the extravagance of their crimes. No atrocity was left unpractised which the ingenuity of man has invented against his fellows. It was thought a merciful termination to the scene when flame wrapped the whole city in its purifying embrace, and left only the remembrance of the sufferings of an innocent population,-thirty thousand of whom died by the sword, to the indignation of mankind. No touch of indignation was perceptible in the hearts of Wentworth or Laud; but the Puritan men of Leicester, the Calvinists of Glasgow, followed the steps of Tilly, waiting till the avenger of blood was on his track; and, looking on their wives and daughters, shuddered as they thought of Hamilton's dragoons or Wentworth's musketeers. They shuddered, but knit their brows and clenched their hands at the same time.

§ 15. The expedients to which the majesty of England was reduced to raise a revenue would have been laughable, if they had not brought such misery in their train. His first proceeding was not very severe, but it yielded him a hundred thousand pounds. He threatened every person who held land of the value of forty pounds a-year with knighthood. The fine, however, for exemption was very generally paid, and


the ridicule of a whole nation of Sir Johns and Sir Thomases was avoided.

The next was not so harmless. He produced old acts and proclamations forbidding the enlargement of London, and seized on all the houses built beyond the prescribed limits, surrendering them only on payment of three years' rent. His next was worse. He discovered old definitions of forest bounds on which the neighbouring gentry and freeholders had encroached for hundreds of years. Stately mansions were standing in pastoral regions twenty miles from the limits of the royal chase, as they had been known for ten generations. They were forfeited, and released at a high value, or carried to the king's account. A forest of six miles' circuit was increased to sixty, and no man could feel secure that his estate had never been included in some forgotten hunting ground in the days of the deer-loving kings.

His next was more injurious still. He re-established many monopolies in direct contradiction to the Petition of Right, and enriched himself with the sale of the sole right to sell or make articles of universal use. In all these actions he was prompted by his legal advisers, Littleton and Noy, who had so lately incurred his displeasure by protesting against the slightest exercise of his prerogative. But the good counsel of Laud was not to be rejected, and the next series of performances was under the direction of that spiritual guide.

§ 16. The Rev. Dr. Leighton had written a bitter and fanatical pamphlet against prelacy and priestcraft; a learned man, though crazed, like many of his brethren at that time, on religious subjects. Laud brought him before the Star Chamber, and he was condemned to stand in the pillory, to have his nostrils slit, and his ears cut off, to be publicly whipt, and to be branded on the cheeks with a hot iron bearing the letters S. S., for "Spreader of Sedition." As the man had two nostrils, two ears, and two cheeks, the entertainment was repeated, and he was brought out at the end of a week,

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