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We have been thus minute in our account of the trial and death of this distinguished man, because we think it affords an index to the motives and conduct of the popular leaders. These are judged, even at the present day, more by feeling and prejudice than by reason; and while the admirers of republican principles see in Pym and his coadjutors a species of demigods, men raised far above all selfish objects and private feelings, the advocates of kingly power regard them as mere factious demagogues, anxious only to destroy the monarchy. Here too, as elsewhere, the truth lies between. Pym and his friends were politicians and statesmen; and it is not among such that any one versed in history and human nature will often look for perfect virtue. They had noble objects in view, no doubt : it was a glorious task to build up a barrier against despotism, and thus secure to the nation civil and religious liberty. But, in the attainment of these objects, they were not sufficiently scrupulous as to means; and, while hastening after justice, they at times trampled it under their feet. In the prosecution of Strafford it is easy to discern a feeling of personal vindictiveness, only to be satisfied by his blood, and which no security against his return to power would have appeased. It was this which led we may deem the precedent dangerous, and the better course of a magnanimous lenity unwisely rejected; and in condemning the bill of attainder, we cannot look upon it as a crime.” Much as we respect this writer, we cannot agree with these sentiments; we think there is something of crime in inflicting a greater penalty where a less might serve, and in taking life where no positive Jaw had been transgressed. * Nothing,” says Fox (Hist. of James II., p. 10), in the spirit of true political wisdom, “but a case of clear self-defence can justify a departure from the sacred principles of justice; but, whenever an individual can be brought to trial, he is within the power of his prosecutors; and, therefore, when there has been no law distinctly provided against the species of offence of which he is accused, the present delinquent should be allowed to escape, and a legislative enactment be made to meet the crime in future."
* Clarendon (Life, ii., 232) ascribes the death of Strafford chiefly to the animosity of the Scots, “and this fury of them,” he adds, “met with a full concurrence from those of the English who could not compass their own ends without their help."
ARTS OF THE POPULAR LEADERS.
them, when distrusting their power of convicting him legally of treason, to bring in their fatal bill of attainder. As for the conduct of the king on this occasion, we have no excuse to offer for it. If faithless to his country, Strafford had been but too faithful to him ; and, as a stand was to be made somewhere, it might far more honourably be made in defence of the life of a man whom he believed to be innocent, than in the support of his despotic power in church and state. But Charles never in reality loved the earl, and the queen is thought to have urged him to sacrifice him.
This important trial also reveals to us the skill of the popular leaders in raising and sustaining what is now termed a “pressure from without." The following were the instruments principally employed. 1. The press, whence issued swarms of pamphlets, answering to the “leading articles” in newspapers of our days, which, as Baxter tells us, were greedily bought up throughout the land, which greatly increased the people's apprehension of their danger.”. 2. The pulpit. This had been too frequently diverted from its legitimate purpose to serve political ends. The patriots and Puritans had often and justly complained of its being employed to inculcate the doctrines of passive obedience: and still, in the day of their own power, they recognised its efficacy, and hesitated not to make use of it unsparingly. The clergy attended the parliament, and there received their instructions; and the congregations learned from the pulpit what they should do in support of their leaders in the commons. 3. Petitions, which gave opportunity for large bodies of people to approach the house, often armed, and thus to daunt the opponents of the popular cause. titions were frequently drawn up in London and sent down to the country to be subscribed ;* and, if we may * See Dugdale, Short View, p. 66.
“ The parliament drew up petitions
To itself, and sent them, like commissions,
Hudibras, p. i., c. ii., 610.
believe Clarendon, à scandalous artifice was sometimes employed. A moderate petition would be read at a public meeting, to which few could refuse to subscribe: but, after the signatures were obtained, a petition of a very different character would be placed at the head of it, and thus people often found themselves supplicants for what they had no mind to. 4. Ru
At various times since the meeting of parliament it had been reported that the Catholics were assembling in arms secretly in Surrey, and openly in Lancashire, and, ridiculously enough, that there was a plot for blowing up the Thames, and thus drowning the city, on the supposed discovery of which there was a public thanksgiving ; that there was another also for blowing up the house of commons with gunpowder, and that Sir John Earle had actually smelt the powder. The report of this spread to the city; the drums beat, and the train-bands and crowds of the people hastened to Westminster to protect the members. A tailor, sitting under a hedge, heard two soldiers talking of how some of their comrades were to get so much a piece for killing several of the lords and commons; one night the citizens started from their beds and flew to arms, on a report that the king was coming down with horse and foot. We are told that, in the space of two or three months, these reports amounted to not less than thirty-nine. 5. Spies. Pym is said to have had an understanding with Lady Carlisle, through whom he learned all that was passing in the royal apartments; and, according to Clarendon, “all tavern and ordinary discourses” were carried to him. 6. And lastly, organized mobs of the London apprentices and others.
CHANGE OF MINISTRY.
CHARLES I. (CONTINUED).
1641, 1642. Change of Ministry.- Army-petition.- Attacks on the Church.
Charles in Scotland.-The Incident.-The Irish Rebellion and Massacre.-Return of the King.- The Remonstrance.- Proceedings of the Parliament.—The Five Members.- Petitions to Parliament.--King retires to the North.-Encroachments of the Commons. -The Militia.
After the fall of Strafford, the king seems to have abandoned all thoughts of farther resistance for the present. The plan of granting office to some of the leading patriots had been resumed; but, unhappily for him, the Earl of Bedford, an honourable and moderate man, who would have engaged to save Strafford, died at this very conjuncture. It was, however, partially carried into effect, Lord Say being made master of the court of wards, Essex lord-chamberlain, Hertford governor to the prince, and Leicester lord-lieutenant of Ireland. Bishop Juxon resigned his office of lordtreasurer, to which the influence of Laud had advanced him, but in which his conduct had been irreproachable; and the treasury was put into commission.*
The act securing them from a dissolution having now set the parliament somewhat more at their ease, they felt the less necessity for keeping the Scottish army in the kingdom ; and they began now to think seriously of disbanding both that and the English forces. In the month of February they had voted a sum of £300,000 “ towards a supply of the losses and necessities of their brethren of Scotland." There were, moreover, £120,000 of arrears due the Scots. The mode of payment was arranged ; and, in addition to six subsidies, it was proposed to raise a supply by means of a graduated poll-tax: a duke, for instance, being rated at £100, men of £100 a year at £5, &c. The English army was to be paid off in like manner; and the Earl of Holland was appointed to its command, with a view to disband it.
* The influence of Laud had procured him this office in pursuance of his plan of making the church what it had been in the
“Now if the church will not uphold themselves under God, I can do no more,” is the reflection this ill.judging man makes on this occasion in his Diary; and he writes to Strafford, “ We begin to live here in the church triumphant; and there wants but one more to keep the king's conscience (i. e., to be chancellor] to make up a triumvirate."
While Holland remained in London, the command lay with Sir Jacob Ashly. The king, ever anxious to regain his power, listened to another project for marching up the army to overawe the parliament. It was proposed to proceed in the usual way by petition, and one was accordingly drawn up, to be presented to the king and parliament in the name of the officers and soldiers ; in which, after enumerating and praising all the late measures of reform, they complain that there are certain“ stirring and practical” persons whom nothing short of the subversion of the government would satisfy, and who overawed the parliament by means of mobs ; " for the suppressing of which,” it proceeds, “ in all humility we offer ourselves to wait upon you, if you please, hoping we shall appear as considerable in the way of defence to our gracious sovereign, the parliament, our religion, and the established laws of the kingdom, as what number soever shall audaciously presume to violate them,” etc.
This petition was read and approved of by the king, in token of which he wrote his C. R.* at the bottom of it. It was then sent down to the army by Captain Legg, with directions not to show it to any one but Sir Jacob Ashly. The chief agent employed by the king in this affair was one Daniel O'Neal, an Irish Catholic, who had served abroad, and was now sergeant-major (i. e., adjutant) in the regiment of Sir
* The initials of Charles Rex, or Charles the King.