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1641.] IMPOLICY OF THE KING.

259 John Conyers, and who was also engaged to treat with the Scottish army for their neutrality. The plan, however, proved abortive; and, soon coming to the knowledge of the parliament, it greatly augmented their distrust of the king. *

On the 22d of June, the commons presented to the king an act granting him tonnage and poundage, and also one for the poll-money. These were accompanied by two others, for suppressing the courts of Star Chamber and High Commission. The king came down on the 2d of July, and signed the money-bills, but demurred to the others. Learning, however, how much dissatisfaction this had produced, he came again on the 5th and passed the other two bills : thus, in his usual unhappy manner, foregoing the credit he might have gained by a prompt and cheerful compliance with what he could not avoid.

The king's attachment to his sister and her family is an amiable trait in his character; and his anxiety for the recovery of the palatinate led him into negotiations and civilities with the pope and the Catholic princes, which caused alarm to his more zealous Protestant subjects. He now, with the hearty concurrence of the parliament, prepared a manifesto on that subject, which Sir Thomas Roe was directed to present to the emperor at the approaching diet at Ratisbon. Another act which had given much satisfaction to the people, as a proof of his Protestant feeling, was the bethrothal of his daughter Mary (now, however, only in her tenth year) to the Prince of Orange, which had been solemnized at Whitehall on the 2d of May. Had Charles, indeed, been inclined to rule as a constitutional monarch, the path was now plain before him to the hearts of his people.

The historian May observes, that the parliament had at this time lost much of its popularity. This he ascribes to different causes : to their lifting-at the bish

* Great confusion has arisen from jumbling, as Clarendon does, this with the former army-plot. He heedlessly assigns this petition to the former; and as, in such case, it contains anachronisms, Mr. Brodie boldly accuses him of forging it.

ops, which turned the universities and most of the clergy against them; to their not checking the rabble, who frequently disturbed the church service, and tore the books and surplices, they being, he says, “ either too much busied in a variety of affairs, or, perchance, too much fearing the loss of a considerable party whom they might have need of against a real and potent enemy;" and to the reports of the preachings of tradesmen and other illiterate persons of the lowest rank. Others, again, were disappointed that political miracles had not been performed, and were alienated by the heavy taxes that had been imposed. He appears to agree in opinion also with those who thought that the parliament greatly injured their cause by mixing religion so much with it.*

It is necessary that the reader should here be informed of the proceedings of the parliament up to this period, in relation to religion. On the presentation of the “ Root and Branch” petition, it was carried by a small majority to refer it to the committee of religion. Sir Edward Dering, an honest, dull man, then brought in a bill for the abolition of episcopacy; and, though we are assured that very few of the members desired any such thing, the second reading was carried by 139 to 108. Hyde, however, the chairman of the committee, gave it so much interruption that no progress was made in it; and petitions, numerously signed, were presented from various counties, praying that episcopacy and the liturgy might be reformed, but not abolished. In July the house voted in favour of a scheme of Archbishop Usher's, for making every county a diocese, with a presbytery of twelve divines, presided over by a bishop, who should, with them, have authority" to ordain, suspend, deprive, degrade, and excommunicate."

On this occasion also, some members maintained that it was unlawful for bishops to sit in parliament. As the lords were disinclined to any measure of this nature, and the bishops stood their

* It may, however, be doubted if, either at this time or in 1688, the assertors of the public liberties could have succeeded without the aid of religion.

1641.] CHARLES VISITS SCOTLAND. 261 ground firmly, on the 4th of August articles of im. peachment, on account of the late canons, were exhibited against one half of the bench. The prelates, however, did not shrink ; they merely required time and counsel to prepare their answer, which was granted. The commons had already, on the 5th of July, voted Wren, bishop of Ely, “unworthy and unfit to hold or exercise any office or dignity in the church or commonwealth ;” and he had been committed to the Tower. They moreover passed an order, which Sir Robert Harlowe was empowered to execute,“ to take away all scandalous pictures, crosses, and figures within churches and without ;" and the “ zealous knight,” we are told,“ took down the cross in Cheapside, Charing Cross, and others the like monuments, impartially.

The Irish army had been already disbanded; on the 6th of August, the English and Scottish armies were disbanded also ; "and the Scots, with store of English money and spoils,” says Whitelock, “and the best entertainment, left their warm and plentiful quarters.” On the 10th, the king himself set out for Scotland, and travelled with such speed that he reached Edinburgh in four days. He was followed thither by a committee of the commons, composed of Lord How. ard of Escrick, Mr. Fiennes, Mr. Hampden, and Sir William Armyn, to watch his proceedings, and “to preserve the good intercourse and understanding which was begun between the two nations." Before he departed he had signed a bill, making the Earl of Essex general of his forces on this side of the Trent. Parliament continued to sit till the 9th of September, when it adjourned to the 20th of October, after appointing a committee of fifty to sit during the recess.

It was the hope of regaining his power which had induced Charles to visit Scotland, where there was an individual able and willing to execute the most daring projects, and who was now wholly devoted to him. This was the Earl of Montrose, who, in disgust at the king's neglect of him at the time of his coronation, had joined the covenanters; but, becoming offended with these for preferring Argyle to him in civil affairs, and Lesley in military, he was now secretly devoted to the king, to whom he made important disclosures. Having been detected in a plot, he was then a prisoner in the castle of Edinburgh. By means of William Murray of the bedchamber, he corresponded with the king, and infused into his mind suspicions (whether well or ill grounded is hard to say) of Argyle and even of Hamilton. According to Clarendon, who had the account from the king himself," he informed him of many particulars from the beginning of the rebellion, and that the marquis was no less faulty and false towards his majesty than Argyle ; and offered to make proof of all in the parliament, but rather desired to kill them both, which he frankly undertook to do; but the king, abhorring that expedient, for his own security, advised that the proofs might be prepared for the parliament.”

It would seem that, on account of the great power and influence of these noblemen, the king consented to the employment of stratagem for their arrest. The plan is said to have been, that Argyle, Hamilton, and his brother Lord Lanark, should be invited to the royal drawing-room on Sunday, October the 2d, where they should be arrested as traitors, and handed over to Lord Crawford, who was to be at hand with a party of soldiers. They were then to be placed in a close carriage, and hurried on board a frigate which lay in Leith roads, where they were to be kept till their trial. It is added, that, if they should attempt resistance, they were to be put to death. The accused, however, had been informed of the plan to entrap them the evening before, and absented themselves from court. The next morning they wrote to the king and parliament, assigning the reasons for their withdrawal, and then went out of town, and finally retired to Glasgow.

As the letters of the Hamiltons were not without some reflections on his majesty," Charles insisted on their submitting to a public trial. It was finally, however, thought best for all parties that the trial should be before a private committee, of which the members should be sworn to secrecy.

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1641.]

IRISH REBELLION.

263

Like so many

This event is named the “ Incident." other events in Scottish history, it is enveloped in an obscurity which will never, perhaps, be totally dissipated. The plot for the arrest, however, seems to be proved, but what the exact object of the king was it is difficult to say. It may have been part of a plan to overawe the Scottish parliament, or Charles may have hoped by this means to come at the proofs, which he knew existed, of the invitation sent to the Scots by the popular leaders at Westminster to enter England, and on which he might found a charge of treason against them. When the account of the Incident was transmitted to London by the committee, the parliament felt or affected great consternation; and they applied to the Earl of Essex for a guard to protect them.

In the midst of these alarms tidings reached the king and parliament of the breaking out of a most sanguinary rebellion in Ireland. The causes which produced this horrible explosion had long been in secret operation : we will here briefly enumerate them.*

The Irish were at this time in an exceedingly rude and barbarous state, and their hatred was intense towards the English nation, name, and religion. The territory of an Irish sept or clan was somewhat of the nature of an Indian hunting-ground: no one had any particular possession in it, and every death in the sept caused a new arrangement. Tillage, therefore, could only be in scanty patches, and the native Irish actually moved about with their herds like the Eastern Turkmans. Still this rude kind of possession was property, and it galled them to lose it. In their eyes, the proportions which had been regranted them on English tenures were not of equal value, and they little prized the civilization which had been thus introduced. This was the case in three of the provinces. There had been no English plantations as yet in Connaught, and no insurrections; and here, in the last two reigns, the Irish proprietors had surrendered their es

* The principal authority for the following details is the narrative of Sir John Temple, who was master of the rolls at the time in Ireland.

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