Page images

and pathetic as distress and eloquence could A.D. 1629. make it, and to the remonstrance of the deputies, the king returned an answer to this ef- The king's fect : “ That his majesty understands there is an intention, by the mediation of some foreign princes, to propose a peace between the two crowns of England and France, which probably


under the strength of our ene- unworthy reproaches, will add
mies. Your majesty need not to your title that of “the re-
search elsewhere but in your storer of the most innocent
own profound wisdom and ex- people in the world, and the
perience to render your suc- most inhumanly persecuted.”
cour redoubtable to those that As to my own concerns, sir,
despise it, and advantageous I make no mention to your
to those people that expect it. majesty of my interests. I
By this means you will gain might (having the honour to
the greatest glory that can be be what I am) do it without
desired; you will free from blame as to outward appear-
fire and sword three hundred ance; but it is so long since I
thousand families, which pray had consecrated them to the
to God continually for your use of the public, that I shall
prosperity; will preserve a always esteem my condition
people whom God hath pur- happy enough, provided the
chased by his blood, and that church be not miserable ; and
have kept their faith towards that I may have this advantage,
God and man amidst the to be known by such occasions
greatest distractions and cruel which your majesty doth not
sufferings; will place the fide- disprove of, that I am
lity of your word, the reputa- Your Majesty's most humble
tion of your state and your and most obedient servant,
armies, in a point worthy of so

much grandeur; and, in check- At Rohan, the 12th of
ing the boldness of those who March, 1628-9.
undertake to blast it daily with


A.D. 1629. he may incline unto; and therefore adviseth the

said duke, and those of the reformed religion, timely to apply themselves to the French king, and to get as advantageous terms for himself, and those engaged with him, as he could procure: the king further informing the duke, that he was constrained to dissolve the parliament which he had lately reassembled, from whom he expected further supplies of money; but, fail. ing thereof, he was not in a condition to contribute such further aid and assistance, either by money or arms, as the Duke of Rohan, and those that adhered unto him, might expect, and their present necessities require; his majesty expressing his sorrow that the condition of his affairs were such that he could not answer his and

their expectation.” Public op- Lord Clarendon accuses this last parliament of continued. making unhappy assaults upon the prerogative;

though, at the same time, he says he does not know any formed act of either house that was not agreeable to the wisdom and justice of great courts upon extraordinary occasions. He says farther, that after some froward and obstinate disturbances in trade, (which were seizing merchants' goods, and imprisoning their persons, for


refusing to pay duties not granted by parliament), A.D. 1629. there quickly followed so excellent a composure throughout the whole kingdom, that the like peace, plenty, and universal tranquillity, for ten years, were never enjoyed by any nation. During these years, however, the king governed in an absolute manner, without a parliament. By his own authority, and by numberless obnoxious projects, he raised great sums of money. Not only the council and the star-chamber, but even the courts of justice, were made use of to support the public oppression. Armies were maintained, and soldiers billeted on the people, by order of the privy council; and those who opposed this, on account of its being contrary to law, were committed to prison. The oppres- A.D. 1633. sions of the ecclesiastical courts were likewise very great; and many who had suffered by these courts, together with several ministers who had been ejected from their livings because they would not read the declaration* for sports on a Sunday, were desirous of quitting their native

* An order of session was ales and revels on Sundays. made in Somersetshire, when Archbishop Laud complained Lord Chief Justice Richardson of this to the king: the chief and Judge Denham were upon justice was summoned to atthat circuit, for suppressing tend the council, where he was

A.D. 1633. country. But, in order to block up the passage

of these voluntary exiles, a proclamation" was published, forbidding any persons, being subsidy men, or of their value, to pass to any of the plantations without a licence. A proclamation was also published, commanding the nobility, gentry, and men of substance, except the privy council, or those who were bound to daily attendance on the king, queen, and their children, to keep their residence in their several A.D. 1633. counties, and forbidding them to inhabit in London, Westminster, and the places adjoining; and an information was afterwards lodged in the starchamber against the Earl of Clare, Lord Mohun, and other peers, the Countess of Oxford, and many persons of distinction, by which great fines were exacted for the use of the crown.

commanded to revoke his or- gentlemen of the greatest disder: the chief justice replied, tinction drew up a petition to that the order was made at the the king, showing the great inrequest of the justices of the conveniences that would befall peace in the county, with the the country, if these meetings, general consent of the whole condemned by the law, should bench, and upon view of divers be set up again ; but before it ancient precedents. He was could be presented, the king obliged, however, to go and de- published a declaration warclare at the next assizes the ranting sports on Sundays.former order revoked ; where- Rushworth. upon the justices and many

23 This proclamation is dated May 1, 1638. It is one of the most important in our history. Cromwell, Hampden, Lords Say and Brook, and Sir Arthur Haslerig, were about to seek in America that liberty which they had struggled for in vain at home. In a happy hour for their country this vindictive measure of Laud restrained their departure. The ship was already chartered for the voyage. How little did either the archbishop or his master conceive the expansive force of the spirit thus pent up, or that it would so soon shatter their laboured fabric of absolute power !

conduct in

The king, as if not satisfied with having irri- The king's tated his English parliament, treated with equal Scotland. haughtiness his parliament in Scotland. He went thither to be crowned in 1633; and when an act was passed at that time in relation to his royal prerogative, and the apparel of kirkmen, several of the barons and burgesses suspected that, under this last part, the surplice was intended to be introduced. The king was asked that question, but he made no answer. At the same time he took a list of the members out of his pocket, saying, “ Gentlemen, I have all your names here, and I will know the truth this day who will do me service and who will not.” In his progress, likewise, through some parts of Scotland, as if studious to be unpopular, he made so great a distinction between churchmen and presbyterians, and did it in such weak and un

« PreviousContinue »