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whole fabric, hardly could have come into his mind. For who knows not, that the inclination of a prince is best known either by those next about him, and most in favour with him, or by the current of his own actions ? Those nearest to this king, and most his favourites, were courtiers and prelates; men whose chief study was to find out which way the king inclined, and to imitate bim exactly : how these men stood affected to parliaments cannot be forgotten. No man but may remember, it was their continual exercise to dispute and preach against them; and in their common discourse nothing was more frequent, than that “they hoped the king should now have no need of parliaments any more.” And this was but the copy which his parasites had industriously taken from his own words and actions, who never called a parliament but to supply his necessities; and having supplied those, as suddenly and ignominiously dissolved it, without redressing any one grievance of the people :(18) sometimes choosing
(18) The House of Commons, even so early as 1625, resolved, after voting some sligbt supplies, that they would grant no more, until certain grievances should have been redressed ; upon which, Charles, August 12th, haughtily dissolved it. (Guizot Histoire de la Revolution, &c. t. i. p. 25.) Money being still wanting, it was determined to raise it by forced loans; and orders were immediately issued for the purpose, with further directions that the names of all who were backward, or who refused to lend, should be transmitted to the court. “On comptait encore," says the historian, “sur l'affection et sur la peur." (ibid.) In six months another parliament was assembled, (Feb. 6th, 1626,) which commenced operations with the impeachment of the Duke of Buckingham, whom Warburton describes as
rather to miss of his subsidies, or to raise them by illegal courses, than that the people should not still miss of their hopes to be relieved by parliaments.
16. The first he broke off at his coming to the crown, for no other cause than to protect the Duke of Buckingham (19) against them who had accused him, besides other heinous crimes, of no less than poisoning the deceased king, his father; concerning which matter the declaration of No more addresses hath sufficiently informed us. And still the latter breaking was with more affront and indignity put upon the house and her worthiest
“ the most debauched, the most unable, and the most tyrannical (minister) that ever was.” (Clarendon's History, t. vii. p. 513.) This parliament was again dissolved, (June 15th, 1626 ;) and another (17th of March, 1628,) assembled, to which, at its opening, the king addressed a most haughty and menacing speech. (Parl. Hist. vol. ii. col. 218; Guizot Histoire, &c. i. 37.) It was prorogued ; (June 26th, 1628,) and it again assembled (January 20th, 1629,) when Oliver Cromwell made his maiden speech, which is very ludicrously described by Guizot, (Histoire, &c. i. 55.) After a violent struggle between the House of Commons and the court, this parliament also was dissolved, (March 10th, 1629.) Such was the fickleness of Charles I., who knew not how to govern the country with or without parliaments, (Guizot, Histoire, &c. i. 58, 59.)
(19) Clarendon was too much a courtier to speak boldly or honestly of Buckingham. His laboured character, (vol. i. p. 55—79,) however, contains admissions sufficient to enable a judicious reader to see farther than the historian, perhaps, intended, into his temper and principles. Guizot, though a hesi. tating and too-timid writer, more successfully paints the insolent and profligate favourite; (Histoire, i. 25. sqq.) but no writer has done him more justice than Bishop Warburton, in the words quoted in the preceding note.
members, than the former. Insomuch that in the fifth year of his reign, in a proclamation, he seems offended at the very rumour of a parliament divulged among the people; as if he had taken it for a kind of slander, that men should think him that way exorable, much less inclined : and forbids it as a presumption, to prescribe him any time for parliaments; that is to say, either by persuasion or petition, or so much as the reporting of such a rumour: for other manner of prescribing was at that time not suspected. By which fierce edict, the people, forbidden to complain, as well as forced to suffer, began from thenceforth to despair of parliaments. Whereupon such illegal actions, and especially to get vast sums of money, were put in practice by the king and his new officers, as monopolies, compulsive knighthoods, coat, conduct, and ship-money, (20) the seizing not of one Na
(20) Even Clarendon, whose work is rather an apology for Charles I. than a history, relates with disapprobation these flagrant invasions of the people's rights. “ Supplemental acts of state,” as he curiously phrases it, “ were made to supply defect of laws; and so tonnage, and poundage, and other duties upon merchandises, were collected by order of the board, which had been positively refused to be settled by act of parliament, and new and greater impositions laid upon trade: obsolete laws were revived, and rigorously executed, wherein the subject might be taught how unthrifty a thing it was, by a too strict detain. ing of what was his, to put the king as strictly to inquire what was his own. By this ill husbandry, the king received a vast sum of money from all persons of quality, or indeed of any reasonable condition, throughout the kingdom, upon the law of knighthood; which, though it had a foundation in right, yet, in the circumstances of proceeding, was very grievous. And no less unjust projects of all kinds, many ridi
both's vineyard, but of whole inheritances, under the pretence of forest or crown-lands; corruption and bribery compounded for, with impunities granted for the future, as gave evident proof, that the king never meant, nor could it stand with the reason of his affairs, ever to recal parliaments : having brought by these irregular courses the people's interest and his own to so direct an opposition, that he might foresee plainly, if nothing but a parliament could save the people, it must necessarily be his undoing.
17. Till eight or nine years after, proceeding with a high hand in these enormities, and having the second time levied an injurious war against his native country, Scotland; and finding all those other shifts of raising money, which bore out his first expedition, now to fail him, not “ of his own choice and inclination,” as any child may see, but urged by strong necessities, and the very pangs of state, which his own violent proceedings had brought him to, he calls a parliament; first in Ireland, which only was to give him four subsidies and so to expire; then in England, where his first demand was but twelve subsidies to maintain a Scots war, condemned and abominated by the whole kingdom :(?) promising their grievances should be considered afterwards. Which when the parliament, who judged that war itself one of their main grievances, made no haste to grant, not enduring the delay of his impatient will, or else fearing the conditions of their grant, he breaks off the whole session, and dismisses them and their grievances with scorn and frustration.
culous, many scandalous, all very grievous, were set on foot ; the envy and reproach of which came to the king, the profit to other men.” (History, &c. i. 119, 120.)
(21) Warburton, in his shrewd and interesting notes on Cla. rendon, (vol. vii. p. 523,) observes, on the following words of the historian,—" there was almost a general dislike to the war, both by the lords of the court and of the country,” &c.—“that is, almost all the nobility of England, (Laud and Strafford, and their creatures, being absent,) had a dislike of this war. What possibly could occasion so general a dislike, when the Scottish nation was as generally hated, but their belief that the king intended to govern arbitrarily; and nothing could so facilitate that project as his conquest of Scotland. Hence their dislike of this erpedition.”
18. Much less therefore did he call this last parliament by his own choice and inclination; but having first tried in vain all undue ways to procure money, his army of their own accord being beaten in the north, the lords petitioning, and the general voice of the people almost hissing him and his ill acted regality off the stage, compelled at length both by his wants and by his fears, upon mere extremity he summoned this last parliament. And how is it possible, that he should willingly incline to parliaments, who never was perceived to call them but for the greedy hope of a whole national bribe, his subsidies; and never loved, never fulfilled, never promoted the true end of parliaments, the redress of grievances; but still put them off, and prolonged them, whether gratified or not gratified; and was indeed the author of all those grievances ? To say, therefore, that he called this parliament of his own choice and in