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began to appear full of scandal and reproach, whereby the conduct of great and wise men was aspersed, innumerable false reports spread through the nation, and the spirits of the people sharpened for war. On the side of the king was Mercurius Aulicus; and on the side of the parliament Mercurius Britannicus: when the king fixed his court at Oxford, the learned garrison drew their pens for the king, as the politicians of London did for the parliament; and while the armies were in the field, these gentlemen employed themselves in celebrating their wonderful exploits to the people ; so that beside the above-mentioned weekly papers, there appeared Mercurius Rusticus-Pragmaticus-Publicus-diurnals and intelligencers without number. The pulpits also were employed in the same work; the preachers dealt too much in politics, and made free with the characters and actions of their superiors: there were incendiaries on both sides : the king's preachers enhanced his majesty's character, and treated the parliament as rebels and traitors*; and the parliament-ministers were no less culpable, for though they avoided speaking disrespectfully of the person of the king, they declaimed against the hierarchy, against evil and Popish counsellors, and glanced at the queen herself, as preventing the harmony between his majesty and the parliament, and pushing him upon nieasures that were destructive to the Protestant religion and the constitution of their country; which, how true soever in itself, was a subject very unfit for the pulpit.
The great resort of the nobility and gentry to the court at York, gave his majesty new life, and encouraged bim to treat his parliament with very sovereign language; he sent them word, that “ he would have nothing extorted from him ; nor would he grant them any thing farther that the law had put into bis hands. +" At the same time his majesty attempted to seize upon the magazine of Hull, pursuant to the scheme formed at Windsor in January last ; and accordingly appeared before the town with three hundred horse, April 23, but was denied entrance with more than twelve attendants; whereupon, after an hour's time allowed for deliberation, his majesty caused sir John Hotham the governor to be proclaimed a traitor by two heralds at arms, and then retired to York full of resentment for the affront he had received, which he did not fail to communicate to the parliament, demanding justice against sir John Hotham according to law; however, the parliament stood by their governor, and ordered the arms and ammunition in Hull to be removed to the Tower of London, except what was necessary for the defence of the place.
Upon his majesty's return to York, he commanded the committee of parliament, which were spies upon his actions, to retire to London, but they excused themselves, as being ordered to continue by those who employed them. His majesty also summoned the nobility and gentry of the northern counties to meet him at York [May 12], when he acquainted them with his reasons for refusing the militia-bill
* Rushworth, part 3. vol. 1. p. 760.
Rapin, p. 354.
, and with the treasonable behaviour of sir John Hotham in keeping him out of Hull, and depriving him of his magazine, being his own proper goods.
" Since treason is countenanced so near me (says his majesty,) it is time to look to my safety; none can blame me to apprehend danger, I am therefore resolved to have a guard--" The gentry were divided in their sentiments about the king's conduct, and gave answers as they were differently affected, though all were willing to serve his majesty according to law. After several other assemblies of the nobility, gentry, freeholders, and ministers of York, had been held by his majesty's command, in all which he declared, that “ he was resolved to defend the true Protestant religion established in the reign of queen Elizabeth ; to govern by law for the future; and that he had no intention to make war with his parliament, except it were in way of defence * ;" a regiment of horse was raised for the security of his majesty's person, and the command given to the prince of Wales. This was the first levy of troops in the civil war, his majesty having as yet only a regiment of the militia of six hundred men, besides the reformadoes that attended the court.
About the same time [May 17] the king ordered the courts of justice to remove from Westminster to York, and sent for serjeant-major Skippon, an old experienced officer, to attend him in person, which the parliament prevented; but were not so successful in relation io the great seal, which the keeper sent privately to the king by the messenger that came for it (May 22,] and next day followed himself. This was a sensible disappointment to the parliament, especially as it was attended with the loss of nine other peers, who deserted their stations in the house about the same time, and went over to the king, as did considerable numbers of the commons, his majesty having now given orders to all his friends to leave the house and repair to him, which, instead of breaking up the parliament, as was intended, strengthened the hands of the country party, and gave them an opportunity after some time of expelling the deserters.
Things being come to this crisis, the parliament voted, May 20, " that it was now apparent that the king, seduced by wicked counsel, intended to make war upon the parliament. That whensoever the king maketh such war it is a breach of trust, contrary to his coronation oath, and tending to the dissolution of the government. ——That whosoever shall serve or assist his majesty in such war are traitors, and have been so adjudged by two acts of parliament, 11 Rich. II. and 1 Henry IV.--- May 28, they ordered all sheriffs and justices of peace, &c. to make stay of all arms and ammunition carrying to York, and to disperse all forces coming together by the king's commission.”
• Rushworth, part 3, vol. 1. p. 615, 624. Rapin, vol. 2. p. 434, 435, fol. ed.
To justify their respective proceedings, both parties published their reasons to the world; a summary of which being contained in the parliament's memorial of May 19, and the king's answer, I shall give the reader an abstract of them.
The parliament in their memorial avow, in the presence of the all-seeing Deity, " that the sincerity of their endeavours has been directed only by the king's honour and the public peace, free from all private aims, personal respects and passions whatsoever. They complain of his majesty's being drawn into the north, far from his parliament, which has given occasion to many false rumours and scandalous reports, to the interrupting the good understanding between the king and his parliament.
They take notice of those evil counsellors which have prevailed with his majesty to make infractions upon his royal word, as that, “ On the word of a king, and as I am a gentleman, I will redress the grievances of my people. I am resolved to put myself on the love and affection of my English subjects. We do engage solemnly, on the word of a king, that the security of all, and every one of you, from violence, is and shall be as much my, care, as the preservation of us and our children.' Since which time the studies and chambers of some of the members had been broken open, and six of them attempted to be seized in the parliament-house, the blame of which they are willing to impute to his evil counsellors. And though the king disavows such counsellors, we hold it our duty (say they) humbly to avow, there are such, else we must say, that all the ill things done in his majesty's name have been done by himself, wherein we should neither follow the direction of the law, which says, the king can do no wrong; nor the affection of our own hearts, which is to clear his majesty as much as may be of all misgovernment, and to lay the fault upon his ministers *. If any ill be done in matters of state the council are to answer for it, and if any matters of the law judges. They acknowledge the many excellent acts that his majesty had lately passed for the advantage of bis subjects," but then add, “ that in none of them have they bereaved his majesty of any just, necessary, or profitable prerogative of the crown. They declare their disallowance of all seditious libels, but complain of many mutinous petitions that have been presented to the king to divide him from his parJiament; and whereas the king bad insinuated, that the church was to be destroyed to make way for presbytery, they aver, that they desire no more than to encourage piety and learning, and to place learned and pious preachers in all parishes, with a sufficient maintenance. Upon the whole they aver the kingdom to be in imminent danger from enemies abroad, and a Popish and discontented party at home, and that in such a case the kingdom must not be without means to preserve itself. They aver that the ordinary means of providing for the public safety is in the
• Rushworth, part 3, vol. 1. p. 693.
king and parliament *; but because the king, being only a single person, may be liable to many accidents, the wisdom of the state in such cases has intrusted the two houses of parliament to supply what shall be wanting on the part of the prince, as in cases of captivity, nonage, or where the royal trust is not discharged ; which the lords and commons having declared to be the present case, there needs no farther authority to affirm it; nor is it in the power of any person at court to revoke that judgment. They then mention some proofs of the nation's danger, and conclude with praying for the protection of Almighty God upon the king, and beseech his majesty to cast from him his evil counsellors, assuring bim and the whole kingdom, that they desire nothing more than to preserve the purity and power of religion, to honour the king in all his just prerogatives, and to endeavour to the utmost of their power, that all parishes may have learned and pious preachers, and those preachers competent livings. And they doubt not to overcome all difficulties, if the people do not desert them to their own undoing; and even in this cause, they declare they will not betray their trust, but look beyond their own lives and estates, as thinking nothing worth enjoying without the liberty, peace, and safety, of the kingdom, nor any thing too much to be hazarded for the obtaining of it t.
His majesty, in his answer, is not willing to charge his parliament with misbehaviour, but only a malignant party in both houses. He denies the several plots and conspiracies mentioned in their declaration, and takes notice of their misapplying the word parliament" to the vote of both houses, whereas the king is an essential part of the parliament. His majesty confesses that bis going to the house of commons to seize the five members was an error in form, but maintains the matter of the aceusation to be just, and therefore thinks he ought not to be reproached with it. He neither affirms nor denies the design of bringing the army to London, but quibbles with the words “ design” and “ resolution,” as Rapin observes, king Charles I. being very skilful in such sort of ambiguities. His majesty made no reply to the parliament's reasoning upon the head, of the king's neglecting to discharge his trust, but seems to insinuate, that the parliament should in no case meddle with the government without an express law. He denies his knowledge of any evil counsellors about him; and declares that he did not willingly leave his parliament, but was driven away by the tumults at Whitehall; and adds, that by the help of God and the laws of the land, he would have justice for those tumults; nor does his majesty own the promoting or retaining in his service any who are disaffected to the laws of the kingdom; but he will not take a vote of parliament for his guide, till it is evident they are without passion or affection. The king charges them home with the greatest violation of the laws and liberties of the subject. 6 What is become of the law that man was born to? (says he). And where is magna charta, if the vote of parliament may make a law?" His majesty concludes with a severe remark on the parliament's calling the petitions presented to him “mutinous.” 66 Hath a multitude of mean inconsiderable people about the city of London had liberty to petition against the government of the church, against the Book of Common Prayer, &c. and been thanked for it? And shall it be called mutiny in the gravest and best citizens in London, and gentry of Kent, to frame petitions to be governed by the known laws of the land, and not by votes of parliament? Is not this evidently the work of a faction ? Let heaven and earth, God and man, judge between us and these men!"
* Rushworth, part 3. vol. 1. p. 699. + Ibid. vol. 1. p. 704. Rapin, vol. 2. p. 442, folio.
The reader will judge of the weight of these declarations according to a former remark. The parliament supposes the “ nation in imminent danger, and the royal power not exerted in its defence;" in which case they, as guardians of the people, apprchend themselves empowered to act in its defence. The king supposes the nation to be in its natural state, and in no manner of danger, but from a malignant party within the two houses, and that therefore the laws should have their free and ordinary course. Upon these contrary suppositions the arguments on both sides are invincible: but (as has been already observed) it was impossible they should produce any good effect, till it was first agreed whether the nation was in danger, or whether the royal promise might be relied upon with safety.
On the 2nd of June the parliament presented the king with the sum of all their desires for the reformation and security of church and state, in nineteen propositions, according to his majesty's command in January last. Those which relate to the state are built upon the supposition above mentioned, that the nation was in imminent danger; and that after so many infractions of the royal word, it was not to be relied upon for the execution of the laws but in conjunction with the parliament. They therefore pray, “ that his majesty's privy-counciilors, commanders of forts and garrisons, and all the great officers of state, may be approved by the two houses ; that the judges may hold their places quam diu se bene gesserint; that the militia may be in the hands of the parliament for the present; that all public business may be determined by a majority of the council; and that they may take an oath to maintain the petition of right, and such other laws as shall be enacted this present session. They pray that the justice of parJiament may pass upon delinquents; that the lord Kimbolton and the five members may be effectually cleared by act of parliament, and that his majesty would enter into alliances with foreign princes for the support of the Protestant religion," &c. It is hard to express bis majesty's resentment against all these propositions (except the two last), which he says were fit only to be offered to a vanquished prisoner; that he were unworthy of his noble descent if he should part with such flowers of the crown as are worth all the rest of the