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PRINCIPAL LEGISLATIVE MEASURES.
upon any principle consistent with the just balance of the monarchical and democratic interests in the State. Nothing but a well-grounded suspicion of the designs of the king could have induced both Houses hastily to pass such a measure, upon the simple allegation that money could not be borrowed under the authority of parliament if there was a prospect of its being suddenly dissolved. "It is impossible to think," writes sir Philip Warwick, "how so intelligent a person as this king was, should by any persuasions, which certainly were great on the queen's side, or treachery, which certainly was great on the side of many of his great courtiers, be induced thus to divest himself of all majesty and power.' The queen, under the influence of terror, as some have believed, but more probably with the hope of procuring the interference of foreign powers to restore the absolute authority of Charles, was preparing to leave the country. The princess royal was betrothed to the eldest son of the prince of Orange. A secret article of the treaty stipulated that the prince should assist the king, if the disputes with his Parliament came to an open rupture. The queen, a few months later, alleging her illhealth, wished to seek a remedy in the Spa-waters. Upon the remonstrance of both Houses of Parliament she consented to remain in England. Amidst the contradictory and obscure traces of court secrets, one thing is manifestthat there was not the slightest approach to a real union between the king and the Parliament for the public good. The royal concessions were made with a sort of recklessness which argues that there was a hope and belief that they might become nugatory under some turn of fortune. The suspicions of the Commons were never wholly set at rest.
In the great legislative measures of this session, the Houses were invariably anxious to rest their reforms upon the ancient foundations of law and liberty. Thus in the Statute granting Tonnage and Poundage, it is declared and enacted, "That it is and hath been the ancient right of the subjects of this realm, that no subsidy, custom, impost, or other charge whatsoever ought or may be laid or imposed upon any merchandise, exported or imported by subjects, denizens, or aliens, without common consent in Parliament." In "An Act for the declaring unlawful and void the late proceedings touching ship-money," it is declared that the writs and judgments thereupon ❝ were and are contrary to and against the laws and statutes of the realm, the right of property, the liberty of the subject, former resolutions in parliament, and the Petition of Right made in the third year of the reign of his majesty that now is." Again and again the principle of arbitrary taxation was made to hear its death-knell. In the Act for dissolving the Court of Star Chamber and taking away the whole of its powers, all the ancient statutes, including the Great Charter, which declare that no freeman shall be imprisoned or condemned but by judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land, are recited ; and it is affirmed that the authority of the Star Chamber, under the Statute of Henry VII., has been abused, and the decrees of the Court have been found "to be an intolerable burthen to the subjects, and the means to introduce an arbitrary power and government."§ This Statute not only abolishes the Court of Star Chamber, but the jurisdiction of the Courts of the Marches
16 Car. I. c. 14.
+16 Car. I. c. 8.
PRINCIPAL LEGISLATIVE MEASURES.
of Wales, of the Northern Parts, of the Duchy of Lancaster, and of the County Palatine of Chester. Under these arbitrary Courts one-third of the people had been deprived of the protection of Common-law, and were at the mercy of such local despots as Strafford.
In the Act for abolishing the Court of High Commission, it is maintained that, under the Statute of the first of Elizabeth "concerning commissioners for causes ecclesiastical, "the commissioners "have to the great and insufferable wrong and oppression of the king's subjects used to fine and imprison them, and to exercise other authority not belonging to ecclesiastical jurisdiction." The Act of abolition goes farther, and takes from the Ecclesiastical Courts the power to inflict temporal penalties for spiritual offences.* The "Act for the certainty of forests, and of the meres, meets, limits, and bounds of the forests," goes back to the days of Edward I. as to ancient boundaries, and, reprehending their real or pretended extension confines forests within such limits as were recognised in the twentieth year of James I. † In "An Act for preventing vexatious proceedings touching the order of knighthood," reference is made to an ancient usage that men seised of lands to the yearly value of forty pounds might be compelled to take upon themselves the order of knighthood, or else to make fine; but it declares that many have been put to grievous fines and vexations, for declining to receive the same dignity, being wholly unfit for it in estate or quality. In all these enactments for the removal of great oppressions, constant reference is had to the origin of the abuses. There is no unreasoning pretext for their abolition, as if the subject were to be benefited by arbitrarily curtailing the prerogative of the Crown. Clarendon fully admits all the abuses which these enactments swept away; and yet, in the spirit of that ignoble belief which he has done so much to perpetuate, that justice to the subject can only be derived from the favour of the sovereign, he says, of these Acts of Parliament, that they"" will be acknowledged by an uncorrupted posterity, to be everlasting monuments of the king's princely and fatherly affection to his people." Much more rationally do we now feel that, " in by far the greater part of the enactments of 1641, the monarchy lost nothing that it had anciently possessed; and the balance of our constitution might seem rather to have been restored to its former equipoise than to have undergone any fresh change." § It is to the Long Parliament, in this triumphant session, that we owe a new era of civil liberty. If they had rested here in their great work, they would have placed the political rights of Englishmen upon the broad foundation upon which the national greatness and security has been since built up. Other questions, incident to the particular crisis, prevented that concord between the sovereign and the people upon which the safety of the monarchy must rest.
The pacification with Scotland was concluded by Act of Parliament ; || and by another Act, the sum of 300,000l. was agreed "to be given for a friendly assistance and relief towards the supply of the losses and necessities of our brethren of Scotland." On the 10th of August the king left London for Scotland. On the 9th of September the Parliament adjourned.
16 Car. I. c. 14.
"Rebellion," vol. i. p. 504. 16 Car. I. c. 17.
+16 Car. I. c. 16.
THE KING IN SCOTLAND.
[1641. Charles had manifested great impatience to proceed to Scotland. On his journey he passed through the English army in the north, which was disbanding; and he dined at Newcastle with Lesley, the general of the Scottish army, which was returning home. The king was accompanied by two commissioners named by the Lords, and four named by the Commons, amongst whom was Hampden. Clarendon calls them "spies." There was no discourtesy between Charles and these commissioners; but they were evidently there to watch and counteract his secret designs. The king had met the Scottish Parliament; had sanctioned all their proceedings even to the abolition of episcopacy; and seemed bent upon securing the affections of the nation by swearing to the terms of the Covenant, and attending the presbyterian worship. There can be no doubt that he was plotting to destroy those whom he chose to consider as his personal enemies. Montrose had been in correspondence with the king. Argyle had intercepted a letter in cypher, and the Parliament had imprisoned the daring man who was now the great supporter of the old order of affairs in the Scottish Church and State. Montrose contrived to correspond with Charles, through one of his pages, offering to produce proofs of the secret communications of Hamilton and Argyle, with Hampden, Pym, and other parliamentary leaders, to bring the Scottish army into England in 1640. Hamilton and Argyle, having learnt that they were in danger of liberty or life, absented themselves. For Montrose had endeavoured to persuade the king to arrest them, and if resistance was made, to remove them by assassination. Such was political and religious hatred, when mixed up with the semi-barbarism of Scottish clanship. Clarendon says,
"the king abhorred that expedient." There was great alarm in Edinburgh; but the king and the Scottish parliament thought it wise to accommodate matters; and the nobles returned to receive marks of honour from Charles. But Hampden and the other commissioners saw the danger with which they' might be threatened. "The leaders," says M. Guizot, "thought their former relations with the Scottish insurgents had been pardoned, together with the rebellion itself, by the last treaty of peace." It was natural that they should so think. The Act of Parliament for the pacification has these express words: "It is expedient for making the peace and unity of his Majesty's dominions the more firm and faithful, and that his Majesty's countenance against all fears may shine upon them all the more comfortably, that an Act of Pacification and Oblivion be made in the Parliament of all the three kingdoms for burying in forgetfulness all acts of hostility, whether betwixt the king and his subjects or between subject and subject, or which may be conceived to arise upon the coming of any English army against Scotland, or the coming of the Scottish army into England, or upon any action, attempt, assistance, counsel, or device, having relation thereto and falling out by the occasion of the late troubles preceding the conclusion of the treaty and the return of the Scottish army into Scotland; that the same and whatsoever hath ensued thereupon whether touching upon the laws and liberties of the Church and kingdom, or upon his Majesty's honour and authority, in no time hereafter may be called in question or resented as a wrong national or personal, whatsoever be the quality of the person or persons, or of whatsoever kind or degree civil or criminal the injury be supposed to be, and that no mention be made thereof in time coming, neither in judgment nor out of judgment,
THE IRISH INSURRECTION.
but that it shall be held and reputed as though never any such thing had been thought nor wrought." The Statute for the pacification does not expressly pass such an Act of Oblivion; but after the king by his royal assent had declared its expediency, this manifestation of duplicity could only tend to widen the breach between the sovereign and the legislature.
During the parliamentary recess a Committee sat at Westminster; and they instituted inquiries, and authorised acts, which were certainly beyond their legislative functions. The news from Scotland led this Committee to believe, according to Clarendon, that "there was some desperate design on foot ;" and he adds that the Scottish business, which was called " the incident," "had a strange influence at Westminster, and served to contribute to all the senseless fears they thought fit to entertain." * Other news soon came to Westminster that produced there, and throughout the kingdom, a consternation far more intense and lasting than any "senseless fears." The House of Commons re-assembled on the 20th of October. On the 25th the Lords of the Council communicated to the House that a fearful insurrection had broken out in Ireland; and shortly after the king sent a letter to the Parliament, apprising them of a "formed rebellion" which must be prosecuted with a sharp war; "the conducting and prosecuting which he wholly committed to their care and wisdom." A Committee of both houses at once took upon themselves the authority thus confided to them; "the mischief whereof, though in the beginning little taken notice of," says Clarendon, "was afterwards felt by the king very sensibly." Such a voluntary concession of the executive power to the legislature was indeed a dangerous precedent.
The Irish insurrection of 1641 was one of the most terrible events in the history of that unhappy country. It was an event which long perpetuated the hatred between the Irish natives and the English settlers, and in a series of bitter revenges kept alive the more deadly animosity between Catholics and Protestants. The Irish army, which had been raised by Strafford, had been kept together against the desire of the Parliament. The king had wished to establish that army in Flanders, to be ready for any service under the king of Spain; but his plan had been prevented by a parliamentary resolution, which afterwards became a law, against "the raising and transporting of forces of horse or foot out of his Majesty's dominions of England or Ireland." This Catholic army was therefore disbanded; and it became a dangerous power in a distracted country. The vigilant rule of Strafford was at an end. There was no resident viceroy. The government was administered by the two lords justices. The Protestant troops in Ireland were few, and they were scattered. Charles had striven to prevent the disbanding of Strafford's eight thousand papists; and after that measure was accomplished, he had intrigued to prevent the dispersion of these men. They were told to rally round their sovereign, and by defending the throne prevent the extirpation of the ancient religion. A general rising was at length determined upon amongst some Irish chieftains and some of the ancient settlers of the Pale, for the purpose of seizing the castle of Dublin, and proclaiming that they would support the sovereign in all his rights. The plot was betrayed as far as regarded the attack upon Dublin castle; but Ulster was in open insurrection on the 22nd
Appendix to "History of Rebellion," vol. ii. p. 576 (ed. 1826).
THE IRISH INSURRECTION.
of October. Sir Phelim O'Neal was at the head of thirty thousand men. What was intended to be an insurrection, for the redress of civil wrongs and the removal of religious disabilities, soon became a general massacre of Protestants. The conspirators in Ulster were rendered desperate by the failure of the plot for the seizure of Dublin. The puritan settlers of the north were especially obnoxious to those who were in arms. They were driven from their houses in an inclement season. They fled to the hills and morasses, where they perished of hunger. They were put to death, with all the horrors that only savages and fanatics can inflict. Women and children were murdered with relentless fury. Multitudes fled towards Dublin as their only city of refuge. The number of those that perished has been variously estimated. Clarendon says that "about forty or fifty thousand of the English Protestants
were murdered before they suspected themselves to be in any danger, or could provide for their defence by drawing themselves into towns or strong houses." Troops at length arrived from England; and after months of horror the insurrection was quelled. The king could never wholly remove the belief that he had instigated this fearful rising, or had connived at it. The Irish insurgents themselves pretended that they acted under the royal authority. There is a