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sum down, and a certain duty on the articles they sold or manufactured. 5. He extorted fines for disobedience to proclamations, even when they had been contrary to law, such as that of his father against building in and about London. 6. The forest-laws were revived, and the king's forestal rights rigidly asserted, to the great havoc of private property. The forests in Essex were so extended as to take in almost the whole county. Lord Southampton lost so much of his property in this way as to be nearly ruined, and several others were heavily fined for encroachments.* In a word, the king, looking upon all the rights and privileges of the people as so many usurpations on the absolute power of the crown, unscrupulously resorted to the most arbitrary and obnoxious measures of former reigns.

But, though much individual hardship was endured in consequence of these oppressive modes of taxation, the country was, on the whole, in a flourishing condition. The advocates of Charles would fain ascribe the merit of this to the government: but a more probable and adequate cause is to be found in the energy of the English people, which even the worst government cannot totally repress.

The year 1637 is rendered memorable in consequence of the stand made by the celebrated John Hampden and others against the arbitrary system of taxation at this time exercised by the crown. The impost which gave occasion to it was that of ship-money: a device of the apostate lawyer Noy, who, by a diligent search through the dusty records of the Tower, had discovered that, in ancient times, the seaports, the maritime counties, and even some places inland, had been required to furnish shipping for the public service. The particular use which Noy proposed to make of his discovery his death prevents us from ascertaining : but his seed had not fallen on a barren soil in the council ; 1637.]

* Lord Salisbury was fined 20,0001., Lord Westmoreland 19,0001., and Sir Christopher Hatton 12,0001., for encroachments on Rockingham forest, the boundaries of which were extended from six to sixty miles.-Strafford's Papers, il., 117.



for in 1634 a writ was issued to the magistrates of London and other ports, requiring them to furnish ships of war of a certain tonnage, and fully equipped. The citizens of London pleaded their charter, but to no purpose, and the writ was everywhere obeyed. There was a plausible pretext, indeed, for augmenting the navy at this time. The rovers of the piratical states of Africa dared to appear even in the British Channel, and even landed and carried away into slavery some of the inhabitants of the south coast of Ireland: the French and Dutch fished with impunity at the same time in the British seas. But Charles had still another reason for wishing to be master of a powerful navy, His anxiety for the recovery of the Palatinate, and probably his dislike of freedom, had caused him, in 1631, to sign a secret treaty with Spain for the conquest of Holland, in which it was stipulated that his share of the spoil should be the island of Zealand.* Yet, so inconsistent and insincere was this ill-judging prince, that the very next year, 1632, he entered into a negotiation with the malecontents of the Low Countries to aid them in casting off the yoke of Spain, in the hope of obtaining the sovereignty for himself, or perhaps with a view

to the interest of the elector palatine. But there was a Spanish party in his council, and Lord Cottington secretly informed the court of Madrid of the intrigue.f Charles then adhered to the former treaty, till, aware that the house of Austria was only deluding him, he was induced by the queen's party in the cabinet to form closer relations with the court of France. Yet he still continued to make overtures to that of Spain, and the consequence was that he drew on himself the secret enmity of both.

Charles had now a fleet of sixty sail, and the purpose for which ship-money had been exacted was thus fully answered. But it was now thought that the precedents collected by Noy might be made to extend

* Clarendon Papers, i., 49; ii., Append. xxvi. Hallam, ii., 17. + Hardwick Papers. ii' 54. Hallam, ii., 18.

much farther, and converted into a source of permanent revenue. The honour of this discovery is ascribed to the late speaker Finch, at this time chief-justice of the common pleas. Writs for the levy of ship-money were accordingly directed to the sheriffs of all the counties; and when the people began to murmur, an opinion of the twelve judges in favour of its legality was obtained by the court and published. Some, however, ventured to appeal to the laws against it. The first was the stout-hearted citizen John Chambers, who brought an action against the lord-mayor for imprisoning him on his refusal to pay it. Lord Say and Mr. Hampden also appealed to the judicial tribunals; and the decision in the case of the latter seemed to set the matter at rest, and to prove that no redress was to be looked for.

John Hampden was a gentleman of good fortune in Buckinghamshire, who had set in all the parliaments since the year 1620: he was the friend of Eliot, and, like him, strenuous in maintaining the rights of the people. Having been assessed twenty shillings for ship-money, he refused to pay it. The cause was brought before the twelve judges in the exchequer chamber, and was argued in behalf of Hampden by St. John and Holborne ; and on the part of the crown by Bankes, the attorney, and Littleton, the solicitor general. Hampden's counsel urged that the constitution had provided in various ways for the public safety, both by the ordinary revenues and by parliamentary supplies. They showed from Magna Charta, the Confirmation of the Charters, the statute “De Tallagio non Concedendo,” and other acts of the legislature, that the consent of parliament is indispensable to legal taxation; they asserted that none of the precedents adduced on the other side applied to the case of an inland county, and finally concluded by appealing to the Petition of Rights. The king's counsel, on their side, cited the Danegelt of Anglo-Saxon times, and the precedents collected by Noy, many of which certainly bore a strong analogy to the present case : but they were in remote times, and could not claim authority




“ But,"

like the aforenamed more recent statutes. said Bankes, “this power is innate in the person of an absolute king, and in the persons of the kings of England. It is not any ways derived from the people, but reserved unto the king when positive laws first began. For the King of England, he is an absolute monarch; nothing can be given to an absolute prince but what is inherent in his nature. He can do no wrong; he is the sole judge, and we ought not to question him.”

“ This imposition without parliament,” said Judge Crawley, “appertains to the king originally, and to the successor ipso facto, if he be a sovereign, in right of his sovereignty from the crown. You cannot have a king without these royal rights, no, not by act of parliament.” Finch maintained that no act of parliament could bar the king of his right to defend his people ; and that, therefore, acts “to bind the king not to command the subjects, their persons and goods, and their money too,” are void.

Seven of the twelve judges gave judgment for the crown, and the remaining five in favour of Hampden: Croke and Hutton, two of the most distinguished, denying in the strongest terms the alleged right of the crown, and the legality of the writ for ship-money.* The tax was now adjudged lawful : but the decision, as Clarendon observes, “proved of more advantage and credit to the gentleman condemned (Mr. Hampden) than to the king's service." The high notions of the royal authority put forth by the crown lawyers alarmed all classes of people, for they saw no limitation to it but the royal will; and, even though Charles himself were an Antonine, it would be put in the power of his successor to be a Tiberius. Ship-money after this was paid, though very reluctantly: it is said

* Croke intended at first to give judgment for the king: but his wife, “a good and pious woman,” told him, says Whitelock, “that she hoped he would do nothing against his conscience, for fear of any danger or prejudice to him or his family, and that she would he contented to suffer want or any misery with him rather than be an occasion for him to do or say anything against his judgment and conscience."


not to have averaged more than £200,000 a year; a considerable sum, however, and equal to three subsidies.

The indomitable Prynne had from his dungeon put forth a tract called “ News from Ipswich,” in which he assailed the prelates with great violence; Bastwick, too, had written diatribes against them; and a clergyman named Burton, who had been chaplain to Charles when prince, took the same ground. They were all three prosecuted in the Star Chamber, and sentenced to pay each a fine of £5000, to stand in the pillory, to have their ears cut off, and to be imprisoned during life.* They were sent to the castles of Carnarvon, Lancaster, and Launceston, and were afterward removed to Jersey, Guernsey, and Scilly.

Williams, bishop of Lincoln, though no model of moral perfection, was a man in ability greatly superior to Laud, with whose new-fangled theology he did not agree, and he had much more statesmanlike ideas on the mode of dealing with the Puritans. Though it was chiefly through Williams that Laud had obtained his first bishopric, he had no feeling of gratitude, and was bent on his ruin. Williams was therefore accused in the Star Chamber of divulging secrets of state; and, while this case was pending, he was charged with tampering with the king's witnesses, suspended from his office, fined £10,000, and sentenced to be imprisoned during pleasure in the Tower. Afterward a letter from Osbaldiston, master of Westminster school, in which the words “little urchin” and “little great man" were thought to be meant for Laud, being found among the prelate's papers, he was sentenced to pay a farther fine of £5000 to the king and £3000 to the archbishop.

The state of civil and religious tyranny to which they were now subjected made men seek for some place of retreat, and they cast their eyes on the distant shores of the New World. In 1629 a charter had

* Prynne now lost his remaining ear. There was an absurd report, that on the former occasion he had the abscinded ear stitched on again.

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