« السابقةمتابعة »
given or delivered by them or any of them, or other thing done by them or any of them, contrary to the purport and true meaning of this act, shall be utterly void to all intents, constructions, and purposes.
Thus the peerage of the bishops and the whole secular power of the clergy, ceased for about twenty years; how far they contributed to it by their pride and ambition, their sovereign contempt of the laity, and indiscreet behaviour towards their Protestant brethren, has been already observed. Their enemies said the hand of God was against them, because they had given too much countenance to the ridiculing of true devotion and piety, under the name of godly Puritanism * ; because they had silenced great numbers of ministers eminent for learning and religion, for not complying with certain indifferent rites and ceremonies, while others who were vicious and insufficient for their office, were encouraged; because they made a stricter inquiry after those who fasted and prayed, and joined together in religious exercises, than after those who were guilty of swearing, drunkenness, and other kinds of debauchery ; because they discouraged afternoon sermons and lectures, and encouraged sports and pastimes on the Lord's day; because they had driven many hundred families out of the land ; and were, upon the whole, enemies to the civil interests of their country. Others observed, that most of them verged too much towards the see of Rome, and gave ground to suspect that they were designing a union between the two churches, which at a time when the Roman Catholics in Ireland had imbrued their hands in the blood of almost two hundred thousand Protestants, and were so numerous at home as to make large and public collections of money to support the king in his war against the Scots, was sufficient to make every sincere Protestant jealous of their power. Besides, the bishops themselves had been guilty of many oppressions; they had in a manner laid aside the practice of preaching, that they might be the more at leisure for the governing part of their function ; though even here they devolved the whole of their jurisdiction upon their chancellors and under officerst. They did not sit in their consistories to hear complaints, or do justice either to clergy or laity, but turned over the people to registrars, proctors, and apparitors, who drew their money from them against equity and law, and used them at discretion. Few or none of them made their visitations in person, or lived in their episcopal cities: by which means there was no kind of hospitality or liberality to the poor. Divine service in the cathedrals was neglected or ill performed, for want of their presence and inspection. Instead of conferring orders at the mother-church, they made use of the chapels of their private houses, without requiring the assistance of their deans and chapters upon such solemn occasions; they pronounced the censures of deprivation and degradation in a monarchal and absolute manner, not calling in the deans and chapters to any share of the administration. And upon the whole, they did little else but receive their rents, indulge their ease, consult their grandeur, and lord it over their brethren. These were the popular complaints against them, which made the citizens rejoice at their downfal, and attend the passing the bill with bonfires and illuminations. However, if all these things had not concurred in a nice and critical juncture of affairs, the attempts of the house of commons would have been in vain ; neither the king nor peers being heartily willing to deprive them of their seats in parliament. This was one of the last bills the king passed ; and the only law which he enacted in prejudice of the established church*. Here his majesty made a stand, and by a message sent to both houses, desired not to be pressed to any one single act farther, till the whole affair of church-government and the liturgy was so digested and settled, that he might see clearly what was fit to remain, as well as what was fit to be taken away.
* Baxter's History, Life, and Times, p. 33. + Collyer's Ecclesiastical History, vol. 2. p. 820.
FROM THE KING'S LEAVING WHITEHALJ. TO THE COMMENCE
MENT OF THE CIVIL WAR.
All things now tended to a rupture between the king and parliament; the legislature being divided and the constitution broken. While the royal family was at Hampton-court, the officers and soldiers who were quartered about Kingston, to the number of two hundred, made such disturbances, that the militia of the country was raised to disperse them. After a few days the king removed to Windsor, where a cabinet-council was held in presence of the queen, in which, besides the resolution of passing no more bills, already mentioned, it was further agreed, that her majesty being to accompany the princess her daughter to Holland, in order to her marriage with the prince of Orange, should take with her the crown jewels, and pledge them for ready money ; with which she should purchase arms and ammunition, &c. for the king's service. She was also to treat with the kings of France and Spain for four thousand soldiers, by the mediation of the pope's nuncio. It was farther resolved, that his majesty should come to no agreement with the parliament, till he understood the success of her negotiations, but should endeavour to get possession of the important fortresses of Portsmouth and Hull, where the arms and artillery of the late army in the north were deposited. Mr.
* Rushworth, part 3. vol. 1. p. 554,
Echard says it was resolved, that the queen should remove to Portsmouth, and the king to Hull; that being possessed of those places of strength, where his friends might resort to him with safety, he should sit still till the hot spirits at Westminster could be brought to reason *; but this important secret being discovered, the parliament entered upon more effectual measures for their safety : they sent to Col. Goring, governor of Portsmouth, not to receive any forces into the town but by authority of the king, signified by both houses of parliament." Sir John Hotham was sent to secure the magazine at Hull; and a guard was placed about the Tower of London, to prevent the carrying out any ordnance or ammunition without consent of parliament. Lord Clarendon, and after him Mr. Echard, censure the two houses for exercising these first acts of sovereignty ; how far they were necessa their own and the public safety, after what had passed, and the resolutions of the councils at Windsor, I leave with the reader.
The command of the militia had been usually in the crown ; though the law had not positively determined in whom that great power was lodged, as Mr. Whitelocke undertook to prove before the commissioners at Uxbridget; the king claimed the sole disposal of it, whereas the parliament insisted that it was not in the king alone, but in the king and parliament jointly; and that when the kingdom is in imminent danger, if the royal power be not exerted in its defence, the military force may be raised without it. But waiving the question of right, the parliament desired the command of the militia might be put into such hands as they could confide in only for two years, till the present disorders were quieted. This the king refused, unless the house would first give up the question of right, and vest the sole command of the militia in the crown by form of law; which the parliament declined, and voted the advisers of that answer enemies of the kingdom.
Multitudes of petitions were presented to the houses from the city of London, and from the counties of Middlesex, Hertford, Essex, &c. * beseeching them to provide for the safety of the nation, by disarming Papists, by taking care of the Protestants in Ireland, by bringing evil counsellors to punishment, by putting the kingdom into a posture of defence, and by committing the forts and castles of the kingdom to such persons as both houses could confide in ; but their hands were tied, because the king, who has the sole execution of the laws, would act no longer in concert with his parliament. The commons, encouraged by the spirit of the people, petitioned a second time for the militia, and framed an ordinance, with a list of the names of such persons in whom they could confide. His majesty, in order to amuse the house and gain time, told them, “ that he could not divest himself of that just power that God and the laws of the kingdom had placed in him for the defence of his people, for any indefinite time.” After this they presented a third petition to the king at Theobald's [March 1], in which they protest," that if his majesty persists in that denial, the dangers and distempers of the kingdom were such as would endure no longer delay; and therefore, if his majesty will not satisfy their desires, they shall be enforced, for the safety of the kingdom, to dispose of the militia by authority of both houses of parliament, and they resolve to do it accordingly +" beseeching his majesty at the same time to reside near his parliament. The king was so inflamed with this protestation, , that he told them, “ he was amazed at their message, but should not alter bis resolution in any point .”
* Rapin, vol. 2. p. 433, folio edition.
+ “In the treaty at Uxbridge, printed in king Charles's works, and in Dugdale's Short View of the Troubles of England, and separate by itself in quarto by Litchfield 1645, I can find (says Dr. Grey) no such offer of proof made by Mr. Whitelocke." This is true, and the reason may be assigned ; the piece referred to exhi. bits only the requisitions on one side, and the answers on the other, without going into the detail of matters that were the subjects of conversation merely; but because the assertion of Mr. Neal be not found in the Relation of the Treaty of Uxbridge, and he subjoins no authority for it, Dr. Grey adds, “ he will not I hope take it amiss, if we do not implicitly take his word." The reader will judge of the candour and liberality of this insinuation, when he is informed that Mr. Neal spoke on the best authority, that of Mr. Whitelocke himself, Memorials, p. 124; who farther tells us, that a motion was made to appoint a day to hear him and sir Edward Hyde (who advanced the doctrine of the king's absolute power over the militia) debate the point ; but by the interference of the earl of South. ampton, and some other gentlemen, the debate was declined. But the commis. sioners of both kingdoms on their return to their quarters, gave Whitelocke thanks, and said “the honour of parliament was concerned therein, and vindicated by
And instead of residing near his parliament he removed to Newmarket, and by degrees to York. Upon this the commons voted, March 4, " that the kingdom be forthwith put into a posture of defence by authority of both houses, in such a way as is already agreed upon by both houses of parliament 8;" and 'next day they published an ordinance for that purpose. March 9, both houses presented a declaration to the king at Newmarket, “expressing the causes of their fears and jealousies, and their earnest desires, that his majesty would put from him those wicked and mischievous counsellors, that have caused these differences between him and his parliament; that he would come to Whitehall, and continue his own and the prince's residence near his parliament, which he may do with more honour and safety than in any other place. We beseech your majesty (say they) to consider in what state you are, and how easy the way is to happiness, greatness, and honour, if you will join with your parliament: this is all we expect, and for this we will return you our lives and fortunes, and do every thing we can to support your just sovereignty and power. But it is not words alone that will secure us; that which we desire is some real effect in granting those things that the present necessities of the kingdom require.” They add farther," that his majesty's removal to so great a distance not only obstructed the proceedings of parliament, but looked like an alienation of the kingdom from himself and family *.” His majesty's best friends advised him to take this opportunity of returning to London ; “ and it must be solely imputed to his majesty's own resolution (says lord Clarendon) that he took not that course ;” but instead of this he broke out into a passion, and told them, he had his fears for the true Protestant profession and the laws as well as they: “ What would you have? (says his majesty). Have I violated your laws, or denied to pass any bill for the ease of my subjects ? I do not ask what you have done for me. God so deal with me and mine, as my intentions are upright for maintaining the true Protestant profession and the laws of the land.” Being asked by the earl of Pembroke, whether he would not grant the militia for a little time, his majesty swore by God, “No, not for an hour.” When he was put in mind of his frequent violation of the laws, his majesty replied, “ that he had made ample reparation, and did not expect to be reproached with the actions of his ministerst."
Dr. Grey observes, with a sneer, that among these petitions were some remarkable ones; namely, one from the porters, fifteen thousand in number; another in the name of many thousands of the poor people; and a third from the trades. men's wives in and about the city of London, delivered by Mrs. Annie Stagge, a brewer's wife. * These petitions (says the doctor) would have been worthy a place in Mr. Neal's curious collection.” The contempt which Dr. Grey casts on these petitions will not appear generous or just to one who reflects on the objects of these petitions, which were highly interesting ; who estimates things not by the fluctuation and factitious claims of rank and wealth, but by the standard of reason and rectitude ; and who respects the rights of property, how small soever that pro. perty be, of security, and of conscience, which attach themselves to every class and order of men. With respect to the petition of the virtuous matrons, and the respect with which it was treated by parliament, who commissioned Mr. Pym to return an answer in person, both are sanctioned by the Roman History: the legislature of that great empire, when towering to its utmost splendour, received and encouraged the petitions of women. Macaulay's History of England, vol. 3. p. 187, 188, the note. The female petitioners, in the instance before us, by their public spirit and the share they took in the common calamities produced by oppression, did honour to themselves and their sex; and the conduct of the house towards them was not less politic than complaisant.--Ed. † Rushworth, part 3. vol. 1. p. 523.
Ibid. p. 524. Rapin, vol. 2. p. 419, folio ed.
As his majesty insisted upon the militia, he claimed also an inalienable right to all the forts and garrisons of the kingdom, with an uncontrollable power to dispose of the arms and ammunition laid up in them, as his proper goods. This the parliament disputed, and maintained, that they were his majesty's only in trust for the public, and that in discharge of this trust the parliament sitting are his counsellors ; for if the king had such a property in the forts and magazines as he claimed, he might then sell or transfer them into the enemy's hand as absolutely as a private person may his lands and goods; which is a strange maxim, and contrary to the act of 40 Edw. III.
Many declarations passed between the king and his parliament on this argument, while each party were getting possession of all that they could. The king was contriving to make
Rushworth, part 3. vol. 1. p.
+ Ibid. p. 533.