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may, in the next place, have as hard a task to "defend our property, as we have lately had to recover it from the Prerogative. If, by multiplying "hands and petitions, they prevail for an equality "in things ecclesiastical, the next demand perhaps "may be Lex Agraria, the like equality in things "temporal.
"The Roman story tells us, That when the people began to flock about the senate, and were more "curious to direct and know what was done, than "to obey, that Commonwealth soon came to ruin: "their Legem rogare grew quickly to be a Legem ferre: and after, when their legions had found "that they could make a Dictator, they never suffered the senate to have a voice any more in such election.
"If these great innovations proceed, I shall expect "a flat and level in learning too, as well as in church-preferments: Honos alit artes. And though it be true, that grave and pious men do study for learning-sake, and embrace virtue for itself; yet it is as true that youth, which is the season when learning is gotten, is not without ambition; nor will "ever take pains to excel in any thing, when there "is not some hope of excelling others in reward and dignity.
"There are two reasons chiefly alleged against "our church-government.
"First, Scripture, which, as some men think, "points out another form.
"Second, The abuses of the present superiors."For Scripture, I will not dispute it in this place; but I am confident that, whenever an equal division of lands and goods shall be desired, there will heas many places in Scripture found out, which "seem to favour that, as there are now alleged against the prelacy or preferment of the Church. And, as for abuses, where you are now in the Remonstrance told what this and that poor man hath "suffered by the Bishops, you may be presented "with a thousand instances of poor men that have "received hard measure from their landlords; and "of worldly goods abused, to the injury of others, "and disadvantage of the owners.
"And therefore, Mr. Speaker, my humble motion is, That we may settle men's minds herein; "and, by a question, declare our resolution, to reform, that is, not to abolish, Episcopacy."
It cannot but be wished that he, who could speak in this manner, had been able to act with spirit and uniformity.
When the Commons began to set the royal authority atopen defiance, Waller is said to have withdrawn from the house, and to have returned with the King's permission; and, when the King set up his standard, he sent him a thousand broad-pieces. He continued, however, to sit in the rebellious conventicle; but "spoke," says Clarendon, "with great sharpness "and freedom, which, now there was no danger of "being outvoted, was not restrained; and therefore "used as an argument against those who were gone upon pretence that they were not suffered to deliver their opinion freely in the House, which "could not be believed, when all men knew what liberty Mr. Waller took, and spoke every day with impunity against the sense and proceedings of the house."
Waller, as he continued to sit, was one of the commissioners nominated by the Parliament to treat with the King at Oxford; and when they were presented, the King said to him, "Though you are the last, you are not the lowest nor the least in my favour.' Whitlock, who, being another of the commissioners, was witness of this kindness, imputes it to the King's knowledge of the plot, in which Waller appeared afterwards to have been engaged against the Parliament. Fenton, with equal probability, believes that this attempt to promote the royal cause arose from his sensibility of the King's tenderness. Whitlock says nothing of his behaviour at Oxford: he was sent with several others to add pomp to the commission, but was not one of those to whom the trust of treating was imparted.
The engagement, known by the name of Waller's plot, was soon afterwards discovered. Waller had a brother-in-law, Tomkyns, who was clerk of the Queen's council, and at the same time had a very numerous acquaintance, and great influence, in the city. Waller and he, conversing with great confidence, told both their own secrets and those of their friends; and, surveying the wide extent of their conversation, imagined that they found in the majority of all ranks great disapprobation of the violence of the Commons, and unwillingness to continue the war. They knew that many favoured the King, whose fear concealed their loyalty; and many desired peace, though they durst not oppose the clamour for war; and they imagined that, if those who had these good intentions could be informed of their own strength, and enabled by intelligence to act together, they might overpower the fury of sedition, by refusing to comply with the ordinance forthe twentieth part, and the other taxes levied for the support of the rebel army, and by uniting great numbers in a petition for peace. They proceeded with great caution. Three only met in one place, and no man was allowed to impart the plot to more than two others; so that, if any should be suspected or seized, more than three could not be endangered.
VOL. VI. R
Lord Conway joined in the design, and, Clarendon imagines, incidentally mingled, as he was a soldier, some martial hopes or projects, which however were only mentioned, the main design being to bring the loyal inhabitants to the knowledge of each other; for which purpose there was to be appointed one in every district, to distinguish the friends of the King, the adherents to the Parliament, and the neutrals. How far they proceeded does not appear; the result of their enquiry, as Pym declared*, was, that within the walls, for one that was for the Royalists, there were three against them; but that without the walls, for one that was against them, there were five for them. Whether this was said from knowledge or guess, was perhaps never enquired.
It is the opinion of Clarendon, that in Waller's plan no violence or sanguinary resistance was comprised; that he intended only to abate the confidence of the rebels by publick declarations, and to weaken their powers by an opposition to new supplies. This, in calmer times, and more than this, is done without fear; but such was the acrimony of the Commons, that no method of obstructing them was safe.
* Parliamentary History, Vol. XII. Dr. J.
About this time another design was formed by Sir Nicholas Crispe, a man of loyalty that deserves perpetual remembrance: when he was a merchant in the city, he gave and procured the King, in his exigencies, an hundred thousand pounds; and, when he was driven from the Exchange, raised a regiment, and commanded it.
Sir Nicholas flattered himself with an opinion, that some provocation would so much exasperate, or some opportunity so much encourage, the King's friends in the city, that they would break out in open resistance, and then would want only a lawful standard, and an authorised commander; and extorted from the King, whose judgment too frequently yielded to importunity, a commission of array, directed to such as he thought proper to nominate, which was sent to London by the Lady Aubigney. She knew not what she carried, but was to deliver it on the communication of a certain token which Sir Nicholas imparted.
This commission could be only intended to lie ready till the time should require it. To have attempted to raise any forces, would have been certain destruction; it could be of use only when the forces should appear. This was, however, an act preparatory to martial hostility. Crispe would undoubtedly have put an end to the session of Parliament, had his strength been equal to his zeal: and out of the