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cope, the surplice, and the wedding-ring. These latter numbered amongst their supporters the most eminent men in the state,— sir Edward Coke, sir John Eliot, sir Thomas Cotton, sir Robert Philips, Selden, Pym, Granville, Noy, and many others, whose conduct in this parliament and throughout the whole struggle exhibits a high degree of patriotism and moderation.
In a purely political point of view these last two factions may be considered as identical, since on most measures of national importance they coalesced and formed a large majority in the house, while the court party, being in the minority, rather endeavoured to palliate and excuse than to defend the abuses of the government. In this state of affairs Charles opened his third parliament, and told the commons plainly, that "if they did not vote the necessary supplies, he would be compelled to use those other means which God had placed in his hands ;" adding, that they need not take this by way of reproof, for, said he, "I disdain to threaten any but my equals." The commons heard this with all due reverence, but when the question of supply came to be debated, they refused to grant anything unconditionally, and passed a vote declaring it an infringement of the subject's liberty for any man to be imprisoned without sufficient cause assigned, or to be refused to be admitted to bail, and further declaring that all methods of raising money without consent of parliament were illegal, it being contrary to the subjects' liberties to billet soldiers on them, or to compel them to loans by imprisonment. The substance of this memorable vote was embodied in the form of a remonstrance called the Petition of Rights, and presented to the king for his assent, praying,-1, that no loan or tax might be levied but by consent of parliament;-2, that no man might be imprisoned but by legal process;-3, that soldiers might not be quartered on people against their wills;-4, that no commissions be granted for executing martial law. To which the king answered, "I will that right be done according to the laws and customs of the realm.” Dissatisfied with this ambiguous reply, the commons refused to proceed with the vote of subsidy, and threatened to bring an impeachment against Buckingham, whom they styled the griev ance of grievances.' The king, to save his minister, went down to the house in person, ordered his former answer to be erased, and, amidst loud applause, registered his assent to the bill in the ordinary formula, "Soit droit comme il est desiré." commons then proceeded, as they had promised, with the vote of supply, and granted to the king five subsidies to be paid within the year; but they still persisted in desiring the dismissal of Buckingham from court, attributing to him all the misfortunes which had befallen the kingdom, and introduced a bill for the
resumption of tonnage and poundage, which had originally been a parliamentary grant. On this the king determined to dissolve the parliament as he had done its predecessors, and thus ended the session. As soon as the parliament was dissolved, the king manifested his insincerity by ordering the whole of the first impression of the Petition of Rights, which had been printed for circulation by order of parliament with the royal assent, to be cancelled, and another copy with his first answer to be circulated, with the intention, as Mr. Hume observes, of deceiving the people into the belief "that he had in nowise receded from his former claims and pretensions."
On the 8th of September, 1628, as the fleet was preparing to sail for the relief of Rochelle, which had revolted at the persuasion of England, and was now closely besieged by the king of France, the duke of Buckingham, who was to have taken the command, was stabbed in the heart whilst conversing with M. Soubize. The man who committed the deed was one John Felton, an Irishman, who had formerly served as lieutenant in the army, but being disgusted at the partiality shown to the duke's favourites, had retired from the service. When brought to trial he declared that he had no accomplices, and was not desirous of injuring the duke, but having been convinced by the late remonstrance of the parliament that he was the real cause of the sufferings of the people, and the promoter of the dissensions between the king and country, he had travelled seventy miles to perform the deed. The king suspecting that other men of more political importance were implicated in the design, desired to have Felton racked, in order to make him disclose his accomplices; but the judges, contrary to their usual practice at this time, decided in favour of right and justice, and informed the king that it was against the law of the land to use torture under any circumstances whatever. This was an important decision, as it abolished for ever that odious practice, which had frequently been resorted to even so late as the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. "For though," as Mr. Hallam says, "it be most certain that the law never recognized the use of torture," yet it had become of such frequent application as not to be rejected without a severe effort, and thus we cannot escape the conclusion "that amidst all the arbitrary measures of the time, a truer sense of the inviolability of the law had begun to prevail, and that the free constitution of England was working off the impurities with which violence had stained it." A short time after this, the cause of liberty gained another triumph in the case of Pine, when the judges asserted that no words could of themselves amount to treason within the statute of Edward III. After the death of
Buckingham, the king had no special favourite; Wentworth, whom he had seduced from the liberal side, was made viscount Wentworth and afterwards earl of Strafford, but he exercised no further command over the king than his political ability and his devotion to the crown entitled him to. If there was any one who encouraged the king in his unlawful and tyrannical acts, it was his queen Henrietta, a skilful and unprincipled woman, desirous of political command, and bigoted in religion. Through her influence the popish priests were permitted to walk about in public in their habits, and mass was regularly performed at court. The king indeed did not attend, but he favoured the introduction of ceremonies into the service of the church, and preferred such men as Montague, Mainwaring, Sibthorpe, and Cousins, who were little better than papists, to ecclesiastical livings. These proceedings greatly displeased the people, and the popular discontent was roused still further by the severity with which loans and other arbitrary tallages were exacted. In this state of affairs Charles opened his fourth parliament, on the 20th of January, 1629, with a speech desiring the grant of tonnage and poundage for life, not as of right, but de bene esse, as it had formerly been granted to his ancestors. The commons, however, refused to make any concessions till their grievances had been redressed. The first subject of inquiry was the suppression of the first edition of the Petition of Rights, and on the king's printer being examined before the house, he confessed to having cancelled 1500 copies at the king's command: not wishing to press this matter any further out of respect to the crown, the commons proceeded to consider ecclesiastical abuses, and sent also for the officers of the customs, who had imprisoned a member of their house, Mr. Rolles, for refusing to pay the duties of tonnage and poundage. The king ordered them not to proceed, saying that what had been done by his officers had been done by his command. The commons, nevertheless, voted it an infringement of their privileges, and on the 2nd of March sir John Eliot moved a resolution to the effect that all innovations in religion, and all impositions without the consent of parliament, were illegal. The speaker, who had been directed by the king to adjourn the house, refused to put the question, saying that it had been otherwise commanded by the king. A general commotion ensued. The speaker got up to leave the chair, but was forcibly held down by two members, Hollis and Valentine: the question was then put and carried by acclamation. The king, who had hastened to the house of lords, being informed of what was passing in the other house, despatched a pursuivant to the serjeant with orders to bring away the mace, which, according to
ancient usage, would have put an end to all further debate; but he was stopped at the entrance of the lobby, the key taken from him, and the door locked. The usher of the black rod was then sent to summon the commons to appear at the bar of the upper house, that the king might dissolve the parliament; but he was refused admission. Charles next sent for the captain of the pensioners and ten guards to force the door.* Meantime the commons had passed a resolution declaring that the levying of the duties of tonnage and poundage was illegal; and that every one who should recommend their imposition, or even consent to pay them, was a traitor and an enemy to his country. When the captain of the guard arrived, he found the doors open and the house empty; the commons, as soon as they had passed the vote, adjourned till the 10th, in accordance with the king's command. On that memorable morning Charles went down to the house of lords and dissolved the parliament without summoning the commons to his presence. In his speech he declared that he had been driven to this necessity by the conduct of certain vipers' of the lower house, who, under the cloak of patriotism, endeavoured to overthrow both church and state; that he had now sufficiently shown his attachment to the constitution and his wish to govern by parliaments, but henceforth, unless he saw a marked improvement in the disposition of the commons, it would be a long time before he troubled those assemblies again. Nine of the popular members, who had taken an active part in the late proceedings, were then arrested and committed to the Tower, amongst whom were Eliot, Hollis, and Selden. Being summoned to appear before the council, they refused to answer, except before the house, for things said or done in parliament. Writs were then issued against them in the King's Bench, and "the judges, as usual, servilely and profligately acquiesced, affirming the jurisdiction and allowing a conviction- -a judgment which was solemnly reversed by writ of error, as contrary to law, after the Restoration† (1667)." Το avoid the occasion of new supplies, peace was concluded with France and Spain; but still money was required for the ordinary charges of government, and Charles found it indispensable to continue to levy the duties of tonnage and poundage, together with the tax of ship-money; an assessment which had originally only been levied on the maritime counties for the maintenance of the navy, but which was now extended to the inland districts, and made an ordinary source of revenue. The king likewise revived the old abuse of monopolies, granting to companies of mer
* Dahlmann, History of the English Revolution, chap. ii. ann. 1629. † Brougham, British Constitution, chap. vi. p. 84.
chants special privileges on payment of a certain sum, and an annual duty on the goods they sold or manufactured. The forest-laws were revived, and high fines imposed for various offences, without any judicial trial, by the sole authority of the court of Star Chamber, which now interfered in all matters of private right, and gave to the king's proclamations the force of law. "The security of freehold rights," says Mr. Hallam,* “ had been the peculiar boast of the English law. The freeholder's house was his castle, which the law respected, and which the king dared not enter. Even the public good must give way to his obstinacy; nor had the legislature itself as yet compelled any man to part with his lands for a compensation which he was loath to accept. But now this reverence of the common law for the sacredness of real property was derided by those who revered nothing as sacred but the interests of the church and crown." These were the principal charges against the government of Charles, at least so far as relates to its inroads on the subjects' property: but what, if possible, was still more grievous to the people, was the censorship on the press, which was enforced with obstinate rigour, and the adoption of Roman Catholic forms and ceremonies into the service of the Anglican church. It was at this time that many of the puritans and zealous protestants, disgusted at the innovations in the church, determined to quit their native land and seek an asylum in the uninhabited regions of America, where at least they hoped to enjoy freedom of conscience. Many attempts had previously been made to occupy these regions. Sir Walter Raleigh, in the reign of Elizabeth, had planted a colony in Virginia, and in the reign of James I. had received a patent for the settlement of Maryland; but all these attempts had proved ineffectual, owing to the dangers necessarily incident to a new settlement, and the disputes amongst the colonists themselves. The untiring constancy and energy of the Pilgrim Fathers at last overcame all difficulties, and in a short time a flourishing settlement was established on the shores of Massachusett's Bay, which received the name of New England, whither, after the decision of the judges in the case of Hampden, men of a high grade and position in society determined to go, and leave a land convulsed by tyranny and superstition. Amongst those who prepared to take their departure were the lords Say and Brook, sir Arthur Haselrig, Pym, Hampden, and his kinsman Oliver Cromwell, who are * Hallam, Const. Hist. i. p. 480, ed. 1827.
+ Some idea may be formed of the nature of these restrictions from the fact that Fox's Book of Martyrs, Bishop Jewell's Works, and the celebrated Practice of Piety, could not obtain license to be reprinted.