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A.D. 1603. the seeds of discord among them, and by making
servility and adulation the road to preferment. To arrive at their own selfish ends, therefore, the clergy, in their pulpits and writings, asserted that the king was not obliged to call parliaments for the making laws or raising taxes. These doctrines, and the power which the king and the clergy assumed and exercised in consequence of them, worked
ked up a general uneasiness in the minds of the people, which was still heightened by every part of the king's conduct. They laid the foundation of two hostile parties in the kingdom, which have ever since unhappily subsisted, though under different denominations at different times.
As King James brought with him from Scotland a secret prejudice against England for the death of his mother, he had, likewise, an indifference for the Reformation and the protestant religion. Though he had learning, it was the learning of a pedant: he had not the understanding necessary for a prince, nor the courage which was requisite even for a private man.
His vanity rendered him a dupe to his flatterers, and his irresolution made bim one to all Europe. He acted in every step directly opposite to the interest of England, and the conduct of his predecessor A.D. 1603. Queen Elizabeth, who understood that interest, and pursued it in a better manner than almost any of our princes have done. He fixed his notions of greatness, not in the greatness of his people, but in being independent of them. Stubborn to these notions, he protected his minister against his subjects. Though imperious and insolent to his people, he cringed to every power in Europe, to whom he conceded almost everything they demanded. He put to death Sir Walter Raleigh, one of the greatest men of the age,
in an infamous manner, to gratify the resentment of the Spaniards; and he sacrificed the interests of his own children to his fear. He neglected the honour of the nation, and abandoned the protestant interest abroad. As he lived, so he died; leaving to his son a fund of discontent in the minds of the people, an arbitrary minister for his favourite, and in himself the worst example which could possibly be followed." King
17 This character of King James is not overcharged. The probable nature of the secret which preserved Somerset, and the facts disclosed by Weldon and by Lord Hailes' Letters, would alone render the private life of this man the most disgusting episode to our history,
A.D. 1625. Charles the First had courage, and many good Charles I. qualities which his father wanted; but by his
education, his minister, and the doctrines of an ambitious and corrupt part of the clergy, he was led into the same unhappy measures. Flattered into an opinion that his will was superior to the law, he soon made that opinion the guide of his actions. He seemed to think the affections of his people and the esteem of his parliament considerations beneath his regard, and inconsistent with
his dignity. Júne 18. At the first meeting of his parliament, upon his
coming to the crown, he began to show that he His treat- would keep them at a greater distance than some parliament. of his predecessors had done. Queen Elizabeth
was accustomed to speak herself to her parliaments, to show her regard for them; and King James delighted to display to them his learning. But this did not suit with the haughtiness of Charles's temper; and, therefore, he said to them in the conclusion of his speech: “ I mean to bring up the fashion of my predecessors, to have my lord keeper speak for me in most things : *
* This fashion, thus intro- his reign, and was carried on duced or revived by him, was during the whole reign of his continued through the rest of successor Charles the Second.
ment of his
therefore, I have commanded him to speak some- A.D. 1625. thing unto you at this time, which is more for formality than any great matter he hath to say unto you."
grievances. He soon dissolved this parliament, because they expressed their dissatisfaction at the conduct of his minister, and insisted upon a redress of grievances: such as the misspending the public treasure; the neglect of guarding the seas, which was so great, that Turkish pirates landed in the west of England, and carried away several captives : and, what had extremely exasperated the minds of the people, the lending the Vanguard, a principal ship of the royal navy, and seven merchant ships, of great burthen and strength, to the French, who intended to employ them against the protestants besieged in Rochelle. Pennington, who had the command of these ships, was dissatisfied with his commission. The captains, likewise, and the soldiers and mariners in the other ships, understanding they were to be employed in blocking up the harbour of Rochelle, refused the service; and, though they were tempted with great rewards, declared they would rather sink or be hanged, than serve against those of their own religion. They returned again to
A.D. 1625. the Downs, and, in the mean time, the Duke of
Rohan and the protestants of France solicited the king against sending the ships; and applied likewise to the council, the greatest part of whom thought they had been destined for another service. But the king sent an express and strict order to Pennington, requiring him, without delay, to put his former command in execution, and to deliver up the Vanguard, with all her furniture, into the hands of the French. He ordered, also, farther, that the seven merchant ships should enter into the service of the French monarch, and that, in case of their backwardness, the admiral should use all means to compel them to it, even to their sinking, if they refused. Upon this Pennington obeyed, returned to Dieppe, delivered up the Vanguard, and commanded the rest of the fleet to do the same. But the companies, unanimously, one man excepted, who was a gunner, declined the service, and quit
ted the ships. Dissolution The Duke of Buckingham was complained of of parlia
as the author of these and other grievances. The commons unanimously drew up a declaration, in very modest and respectful terms, in which they expressed their readiness, not only to discover and