« السابقةمتابعة »
them of the justice of his cause, promising, upon the word of a king, that for the future he would govern by law. Upon this assurance about forty lords, and several members who had deserted * the house of commons, signed an engagement to defend his majesty's person and prerogative, to support the Protestant religion established by law, and not to submit to any ordinance of parliament concerning the militia that had not the royal assent. Great numbers listed in his majesty's service, whereby an army was formed, which marched a second time to the siege of Hull.
A week after the king was set down before this fortress, and not before [July 12] the two houses, after long debates, came to this resolution, that an army should be raised for the defence of the king and parliament, that the earl of Essex should be captaingeneral, and the earl of Bedford general of the horse, who were empowered to resist and oppose with force all such whom they should find in arms, putting in execution the king's commission of array. The reasons of this resolution arising from the king's extraordinary preparations for war, were published at the same time; and in their declaration of August 4, they say, “ that they would have yielded up every thing to the king, could they have been assured, that by disarming themselves they should not have been left naked, while the military sword was in the hands of those evil counsellors who they had reason to fear had vowed the destruction of the two houses, and, through their sides, of the Protestant religion; but being well acquainted with their designs, they apprehend that their duty to God and their country obliges them to hazard every thing for the maintenance of the true religion, the king's person, honour, and estate, and the liberties of England.”
Bishop Warburton censures Mr. Neal for using the word “ deserted,” “which (he says) is a party-word, and implies betraying their trust." His lordship owos that the conduct of the members, who left the house and retired to the king, was so called by the parliament; but an historian's adopting, in this case, the term which impeaches their fidelity, he considers “ taking for granted the thing in dispute." But, with his lordship’s leave, his stricture confounds the province of the historian with that of the mere chronologist. The former does not merely detail events, but investigates their causes, and represents their connexion and influence. It is not easy to say, how he can do this, without forming and expressing a decided opinion on them. That opinion does not bind the reader, nor is the impartiality of the historian violated, if facts are fairly and fully stated. In the case before us, it may be farther urged, that the word “deserted” not only conveyed Mr. Neal's idea of the conduct of the members who left the parliament, but truly represented it. They forsook the seats to which they were elected; they left the post which was assigned to them; and they withdrew from the stage of debate and action, to which the king's writ had called, and to which the voice of their constituents had sent them. They were representatives, chosen to act in conjunction with the other representatives : instead of proceeding on this principle, they formed a separate junto and faction. The first duty of a representative is to fulfil the trust reposed in him. The word " deserted," says his lordship, is a party-word : grant it. Yet the use of it was not inconsistent with the impartiality of the histo. rian ; for though it should not give the most favourable idea of the conduct of these members, it conveys the judgment which the parliament had of it: and of the rectitude of this judgment the reader is still left to form his own sentiments. The matter at the time was considered in the most serious light, and greatly alarmed and distressed all who loved the peace of the nation. See May's Parliamentary History, p. 58, &c.-Ed.
On the 9th of August the king proclaimed the earl of Essex and all his adherents traitors, unless they laid down their arms within six days; and in another manifesto declared both hcuses of parliament guilty of high treason, and forbid all his subjects to yield obedience to them. The parliament also, on their part, proclaimed all who adhered to the king in this cause traitors against the parliament and the kingdom * August 12, the king by proclamation commanded all his subjects on the north of Trent, and within twenty miles south of it, to appear in arms for the suppressing the rebels that were marching against him ; and about the same time issued out another proclamation, requiring all men who could bear arms to repair to him at Nottingham, where he intended to set up his standard on Monday August 22. In the mean time his majesty gave out new commissions to augment his forces, and marching through Lincoln took away the arms of the train-bands for the use of his troops. At length, being arrived at the appointed place, he caused his standard to be erected in the open field, on the outside of the castle-wall at Nottingham, but very few came to attend it : and the weather proving stormy and tempestuous it was blown down the same evening, and could not be fixed again in two days. Three weeks after this (September 9,] the earl of Essex, the parliament's general, left London, to put himself at the head of their army of fifteen thousand men at St. Albans. The king, with an army of equal strength, marched from Nottingham to Shrewsbury, and having refreshed his forces there for some time, broke up October 12, in order to march directly for London, but the earl of Essex putting himself in the way, both armies engaged at Edgehill near Keinton in Warwickshire, on Sunday October 23, the very same day twelvemonth after the breaking out of the Irish massacre; the battle continued from three in the afternoon till night, with almost equal advantage, the number of slain on both sides being about four thousand. Thus the sword was drawn which was drenched in the blood of the inhabitants of this island for several years, to the loss of as many Protestant lives as perished by the insurrection and massacre of Ireland.
CHAPTER XII. THE STATE OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND. THE RELIGIOUS
CHARACTER OF BOTH PARTIES. WITH A SUMMARY OF THE
GROUNDS OF THE CIVIL WAR. We have already seen the unsettled state of religion upon the king's progress into Scotland, with the complaints of the royalists for want of decency and uniformity. The hierarchy had for some time been a dead weight, the springs that moved it being stopped, by the imprisonment of the bishops, and the check that was given to the spiritual courts; but now the whole fabric was taken down after a year, though when that was expired no other discipline was erected in its room; nor was the name, style, and dignity, of archbishops and bishops taken away by ordinance of parliament till September 5, 1646, that is, till the war was over, and the king a prisoner. In this interval there was properly no established form of
* Rapin, vol. 2. p. 457, folio edition.
government, the clergy being permitted to read more or less of the liturgy as they pleased*, and to govern their parishes according to their discretion. The vestments were left indifferent, some wearing them, and others, in imitation of the foreign Protestants, making use of a cloak, February 2, 1642—3, the commons ordered, that the statute of the university of Cambridge, which imposes the use of the surplice upon all students and graduates, should not be pressed, as being against the law and liberty of the subject; and three days after they made the same order for the schools of Westminster, Eton, and Winchester. Bishop Kennet says, that tithes were denied to those who read common prayer; and it is as true, that they were withheld from those that did not read it; for many, taking advantage of the confusion of the times, eased themselves of a burden for which some few pleaded conscience, and others the uncertain title of those that claimed them.
Though the parliament and Puritan clergy were averse to cathedral-worship, that is, to a variety of musical instruments, choristers, singing of prayers, anthems, &c. as unsuitable to the solemnity and simplicity of divine service, yet was it not prohibited; and though the revenues of prebendaries and deans, &c. had been voted useless, and more fit to be applied to the maintenance of preaching ministers, yet the stipends of those who did not take part with the king, were not sequestered till the latter end of the year 1645, when it was ordained, “ that the deans and prebendaries of Westminster who had absented themselves, or were delinquents, or had not taken the covenant, should be suspended from their several offices and places, except Mr. Osbaldesdon ;" but the names, titles, and offices, of deans and chapters, were not abolished till after the king's death, in the year 1649, the parliament proceeding with some caution, as long as there was any prospect of an accommodation with the king. Indeed, the beauty of the cathedrals was in some measure defaced about this time, by the ordinance for the removing crucifixes, images, pictures, and other monuments of superstition, out of churches. Many fine paintings in the windows and on the walls were broken and destroyed, without a decent repair of the damage. In Lambeth-chapel the organ was
• Here, as Dr. Grey observes, is an inaccuracy. The use of the liturgy was not permitted during the whole of this interval, as appears by Mr. Neal's own account, vol. 3; for it was prohibited, and the directory established in its room, previously to the abolition of the episcopal titles and dignity, by ordinances of parliament on the 3rd of January 1644–5, and 23rd of Angust 1645.Ed.
taken down (November 25]. The following summer the paintings, pictures, superstitious ornaments, and images, were defaced, or removed out of the cathedrals of Canterbury, Rochester, Chichester, Winchester, Worcester, Lincoln, Litchfield, Salisbury, Gloucester, St. Paul's in London, the collegiate church of Westminster, &c. “ But (says my author) I do not find that they then seized the revenues and estates of the cathedrals, but contented themselves with plundering and imprisoning some of the principal members, and dispersing many of the rest ; and several of those places coming afterward into his majesty's hands, the service did not wholly cease, nor were the doors of those stately fabrics finally closed at that time."
Though the discipline of the church was at an end, there was nevertheless an uncommon spirit of devotion among people in the parliament-quarters; the Lord's day was observed with remarkable strictness, the churches being crowded with numerous and attentive hearers three or four times in the day; the officers of the peace patroled the streets, and shut up all public houses; there was no travelling on the road, or walking in the fields, except in cases of absolute necessity. Religious exercises were set up in private families, as reading the Scriptures, family prayer, repeating sermons, and singing of psalms, which was so universal, that you might walk through the city of London on the evening of the Lord's day, without seeing an idle person, or hearing any thing but the voice of prayer or praise from churches and private houses.
As is usual in times of public calamity, so at the breaking out of the civil war, all public diversions and recreations were laid aside. By an ordinance of September 2, 1642, it was declared, that “whereas public sports do not agree with public calamities, nor public stage-plays with the seasons of humiliation ; this being an exercise of sad and pious solemnity; the other being spectacles of pleasure too commonly expressing lascivious mirth and levity ; it is therefore ordained, that while these sad causes, and set times of humiliation, continue, public stage-plays shall cease and be forborne ; instead of which are recommended to the people of this land, the profitable duties of repentance, and making their peace with God.”
The set times of humiliation mentioned in the ordinance refers to the monthly fast appointed by the king, at the request of the parliament [January 8, 1641], on account of the Irish insurrection and massacre, to be observed every last Wednesday in the month, as long as the calamities of that nation should require it. But when the king set up his standard at Nottingham, the two houses, apprehending that England was now to be the seat of war, published an ordinance for the more strict observation of this fast, in order to implore a divine blessing upon the consultations of
parliament, and to deprecate the calamities that threatened this
• Rushworth, vol. 2. part 3. p. 1.
nation. All preachers were enjoined to give notice of it from the pulpit the preceding Lord's day, and to exhort their hearers to a solemn and religious observation of the whole day, by a devout attendance on the service of God in some church or chapel, by abstinence, and by refraining from worldly business and diversions : all public houses were likewise forbid to sell any sorts of liquors (except in cases of necessity) till the public exercises and religious duties of the day were ended; which continued with little or no intermission from nine in the morning till four in the afternoon; during which time the people were at their devotions, and the ministers engaged in one part or other of divine worship.
But besides the monthly fast, the opening of the war gave rise to another exercise of prayer, and exhortation to repentance, for an hour every morning in the week. Most of the citizens of London having some near relation or friend in the army of the earl of Essex, so many bills were sent up to the pulpit every Lord's day for their preservation, that the minister had neither time to read them, or to recommend their cases to God in prayer ; it was therefore agreed by some London divines, to separate an hour for this purpose every morning, one half to be spent in prayer, and the other in a suitable exhortation to the people. The reverend Mr. Case, minister of St. Mary Magdalen, Milk-street, began it in his church at seven in the morning, and when it had continued there a month, it was removed by turns to other churches at a distance, for the accommodation of the several parts of the city, and was called the morning exercise. The service was performed by divers ministers, and earnest intercessions were made in the presence of a numerous and crowded audience, for the welfare of the public as well as particular cases.
When the heat of the war was over, it became a casuistical lecture, and was carried on by the most learned and able divines till the restoration of king Charles II. Their sermons were afterward published in several volumes quarto, under the title of the Morning Exercises; each sermon being the resolution of some practical case of conscience. This lecture, though in a different form, is continued among the Protestant dissenters to this day.
Some time after another morning lecture was set up in the abbey-church of Westminster, between the hours of six and eight, for the benefit of that part of the town, and especially of the members of parliament; it was carried on by Dr. Staunton, Mr. Nye, Marshal, Palmer, Herle, Whitaker, and Hill, all members of the assembly of divines. In short, there were lectures and sermons every day in the week in one church or another, which were well attended, and with great appearance of zeal and affection. Men were not backward to rise before day, and go to places of worship at a great distance, for the benefit of hearing the word of God. Such was the devotion of the city of London and parts adjacent, in these dangerous times !
Nor was the reformation of manners less remarkable; the laws