תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

tervals of parliament, will not be much scandalized at the warmth and vivacity of those meetings.”—Clarend. Vol. 1. p. 5.

In the next parliament, “ Hen. Bellasis, knight for the county of York, and Sir John Hotham were examined in council, and committed to the Fleet, for refusing to answer to questions concerning things done in parliament."--Rapin, Vol. X. p. 420.

" When the commons made a remonstrance against the king's taking tonnage and poundage, not granted by parliament, he calls it a detracting from their sovereign; and commands all who have or shall have any copies of it, to burn them under pain of his indignation and high displeasure."--Coke, Det. p. 123.

“I do not believe,” says Coke his apologist, any king or queen of England, and of the English race, since Henry III. ever dissolved one parliament in displeasure before king James : whereas of eight parliaments these two kings of the Scottish race (James and Charles) dissolved seven in displeasure; yet never did parliaments in any reign demean themselves more chearfully to any king than in these two. And I challenge any one to shew, that in any one respect, they intrenched upon any just prerogative of either of these kings, or did any act not warranted by former precedents."-Ibid. p. 122.

In the parliament he held in Scotland, Anno 1633, being present to awe their debates in an act relating to ecclesiastical affairs, his Majesty endeavoured to intimidate the house by “ drawing a list out of his bosom, and telling them, GENTLEMEN, I have all your names here, and I will know who will do me service, and who will not, this day; and remember both.Echard, p. 453. Hist. Stu. p. 118. “ The Earl of Rothes, and other lords, offered to argue; but the king stopt

them; bid them argue no more, but give their vote. Almost the whole commons voted in the negative : so that the act was indeed rejected by the majority; which the king knew; for he had called for a list of the numbers, and with his own pen had marked every man's vote: get the clerk of the register, who gathers and declares the votes, said it was carried in the affirmative. The Earl of Rothes affirmed it went for the negative : so the king said, the clerk of the register's declaration must be held good, unless the Earl of Rothes would go to the bar and accuse him of falsifying the record of parliament, which was capital ; and in that case, if he should fail in the proof, he was liable to the same punishment: so he would not venture on that. Thus the act was published, though in truth it was rejected. The king expressed a high displeasure at all who had concurred in that opposition. Upon that the lords had many meetings : they reckoned that now all their liberties were gone; and a parliament was but a piece of pageantry, if the clerk of the register might declare as he pleased how the vote went, and that no scrutiny were allowed."--Burnet, Vol. 1. p. 20.

In May 1641, above a year before the war betwixt the king and parliainent broke out, “a treacherous design was set on foot, not without the participation of the king, as appeared under his own hand, to bring up the English army, and by force to dissolve the parliament, the plunder of London being promised to the officers and soldiers as a reward for that service. This was confessed by Lord Goring, Mr. Piercy and others. The Scots army was also tried, and the four northern counties (Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Durham) offered to be given them

E

if they would undertake the same design.”Ludlow's Mem. p. 15. The Earl of Holland, the king's own general acknowleged, “ That he found there had been strange attempts made to pervert and corrupt the army; but he doubted not he should be able to prevent any mischief."-Clarend. Vol. 11. p. 290.

“ The conspiracy to seduce the army plainly enough shewed the king's designs. He so evidently violated the privileges of parliament (in the bill for pressing of soldiers) that there was not a single member in both houses but what was persuaded of the reality of this violation.”—Rapin, Vol. XI. p. 305.

But that which finished the breach, and opened a floodgate to all the miseries which ensued, was

a step which the king took, the most imprudent and most fatal to his affairs that he could possibly take in such a juncture. Jan. 3, 1641-2, he sent Sir Ed. Herbert, attorney-general to the house of peers, with orders to accuse of high treason, the Lord Kimbolton, and five commoners, Denzil Hollis, Sir Arthur Haslerig, John Pym, John Hambden, and William Stroud. At the same time officers were sent to their several houses, to seal up their trunks, doors and papers. Whereupon the commons ordered their serjeant to go and break open the seals, and apprehend those that put them on.—The peers also made an order to open the doors and trunks of the members of both houses which were sealed; and resolved to join with the commons in a petition to the king for a guard, and to represent to his Majesty that the privilege of parliament had been violated. A serjeant at arms came to the house of commons from the king, and required the five members accused by his Majesty. The commons appointed some of their members to wait upon the king, and acquaint

him, That his message was a matter of great consequence ; that it concerns the privilege of parliament and of all the commons of ENGLAND: that they will take it into consideration, and attend his majesty with an answer. In the mean time the five members shall be ready to answer any legal charge made against them."--Ibid. p. 308, 311, 312.

“ The king understanding that the commons had voted against the arrest or seisure of their members, went himself the next morning to the house, guarded with his pensioners, and followed by about 200 of courtiers and soldiers of fortune, most of them armed with swords and pistols. The vote of the house declares them to be 500 armed men, papists and soldiers, who came with the king. The five members receiving secret notice from a great court lady their friend, got out of the house just as the king came."-Whitelock, p. 50, 51. “They were hardly gone out, when his majesty appeared, and as he passed up towards the chair said, by your leave, Mr. Speaker, must borrow your chair a little. Looking round he said, -As long as these persons that I have accused are here, I cannot expect that this house will be in the right way: therefore I am come to tell you that I must have them wheresoever

them. Well, since I see all the birds are flown, I do expect them from you, that you shall send them uuto me, as soon as they return hither."Rapin, Vol. XI. p. 314.

“ As his majesty was going out, many members cried out aloud so as he might hear them, Privilege ! Privilege! The house was in a terrible panic while the king was in the chair, the door of the house and all the avenues being crouded with officers and soldiers.”-Neal, Vol. 11. p. 533.

I find

Upon the king's going away the house adjourned in a flame for some days, ordering a committee to sit in Guild-hall, in the mean time. Whoever they were that advised the king to this rash attempt, are justly chargeable with all the blood that was afterwards spilt; for this sudden action was the first and visible ground of all our following miseries. It was believed that if the king had found the five members in the house, and had called in his guards to seize them, the house would have endeavoured their defence, and opposed force to force; which might have endangered the king's person. But the consequences were bad enough without this; for immediately upon it there was nothing but confusion and tumult; fears and jealousies every where."-Welw. Mem. p. 64.

“So notorious a breach could not but be of infinite disadvantage to the king; being looked upon as equal to a dissolution of the parliament; since he might, they said, upon the same grounds as well seize 500, as 5 irembers. Wherefore it not only produced a union in both houses, but was a plain indication that the king would assuredly be revenged of such members as bad given him offence, whenever it should be in his power; which consideration determined the leading men to tie up his hands for the future by abridging the prerogative."--Tind. Int. p. 7.

“ The truth is, says Lord Clarendon, it cannot be expressed how great a change there appeared to be in the countenance and minds of all sorts of people, in town and country, upon these late proceedings of the king.--All that had been formerly said of plots and conspiracies against the parliament, was now thought true and real. All that had been whispered of Ireland, was now talked aloud and printed. The shops of the city were

« הקודםהמשך »