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affixed to another petition which served better the purposes of the popular faction. We may judge of the wild fury which prevailed throughout the nation, when so scandalous an imposture, which affected such numbers of people, could be openly practised without drawing infamy and ruin upon the managers.
So many grievances were offered, both by the members and by petitions without doors, that the house was divided into above forty committees, charged each of them with the examination of some particular violation of law and liberty which had been complained of. Besides the general committees of religion, trade, privileges, laws, many subdivisions of these were framed, and a strict scrutiny was every where carried on. It is to be remarked that, before the beginning of this century, when the commons assumed less influence and authority, complaints of grievances were usually presented to the house by any members who had had particular opportunity of observing them. These general committees, which were a kind of inquisitorial courts, had not then been established; and we find that the king, in a former declaration,* complains loudly of this innovation, so little favorable to royal authority. But never was so much multiplied, as at present, the use of these committees; and the commons, though themselves the greatest innovators, employed the usual artifice of complaining against innovations, and pretending to recover the ancient and established government.
From the reports of their committees, the house daily passed votes which mortified and astonished the court, and inflamed and animated the nation. Ship money was declared illegal and arbitrary; the sentence against Hambden cancelled ; the court of York abolished; compositions for knighthood stigmatized; the enlargement of the forests condemned; patents for monopolies annulled ; and every late measure of administration treated with reproach and obloquy. To-day a sentence of the star chamber was exclaimed against ; to-morrow a decree of the high commission. Every discretionary act of council was represented as arbitrary and tyrannical; and the general inference was still inculcated, that a formed design had been laid to subvert the laws and constitution of the kingdom.
* Published on dissolving the third parliament. See Parl. Hist Fol. viii. p. 347.
From necessity the king remained entirely passive during all these violent operations. The few servants who continued faithful to him, were seized with astonishment at the rapid progress made by the commons in power and popularity, and were glad, by their inactive and inoffensive behavior, to compound for impunity. The torrent rising to so dreadful and unexpected a height, despair seized all those who from interest or habit were most attached to monarchy. And as for those who maintained their duty to the king merely from theis regard to the constitution, they seemed by their concurrence to swell that inundation which began already to deluge every thing “ You have taken the whole machine of government in pieces," said Charles, in a discourse to the parliament; "a practice frequent with skilful artists, when they desire to clear the wheels from any rust which may have grown upon them. The engine," continued he, “may again be restored to its former use and motions, provided it be put up entire, so as not a pin of it be wanting.” But this was far from the intention of the commons. The machine, they thought, with some reason, was encumbered with many wheels and springs which retarded and crossed its operations, and destroyed its utility. Happy! had they proceeded with moderation, and been contented, in their present plenitude of power, to remove such parts only as might justly be deemed superfluous and incongruous.
In order to maintain that high authority which they had acquired, the commons, besides confounding and overawing their opponents, judged it requisite to inspire courage into their friends and adherents ; particularly into the Scots, and the religious Puritans, to whose assistance and good offices
No sooner were the Scots masters of the northern counties, than they laid aside their first professions, which they had not indeed means to support, of paying for every thing; and in order to prevent the destructive expedient of plunder and free quarters, the country consented to give them a regular contribution of eight hundred and fifty pounds a day, in full of their subsistence.* The parliament, that they might relieve the northern counties from so grievous a burden, agreed to remit pay to the Scottish as well as to the English army; and because subsidies would be levied too slowly for so urgent an occasion,
Rush. vol. iii. p. 1295.
money was borrowed from the citizens upon the security of particular members. Two subsidies, a very small sum, at first voted ; and as the intention of this supply was to indemnify the members who by their private had supported public credit, this pretence was immediately laid hold of, and the money was ordered to be paid, not into the treasury, but to commissioners appointed by parliament; a practice which, as it diminished the authority of the crown, was willingly embraced, and was afterwards continued by the commons with regard to every branch of revenue which they granted to the king. The invasion of the Scots had evidently been the cause of assembling the parliament: the presence of their army reduced the king to that total subjection in which he was now held : the commons, for this reason, openly professed their intention of retaining these invaders, till all their own enemies should be suppressed, and all their purposes effected. “We cannot yet spare the Scots,” said Strode plainly in the house “ the sons of Zeruiah are still too strong for us ;” † an allusion to a passage of Scripture, according to the mode of that age. Eighty thousand pounds a month were requisite for the subsistence of the two armies; a sum much greater than the subject had ever been accustomed in any former period to pay to the public. And though several subsidies, together with a poll-tax, were from time to time voted to answer the charge, the commons still took care to be in debt, in order to render the continuance of the session the more necessary.
The Scots being such useful allies to the malecontent party in England, no wonder they were courted with the most unlimited complaisance and the most important services. The king, having in his first speech called them rebels, observed that he had given great offence to the parliament; and he was immediately obliged to soften, and even retract the expression.
The Scottish commissioners, of whom the most consider. able were the earl of Rothes and Lord Loudon, found every advantage in conducting their treaty; yet made no haste in bringing it to an issue. They were lodged in the city, and kept an intimate correspondence, as well with the magistrates who were extremely disaffected, as with the popular leaders in both houses. St. Antholine's church was assigned them
* It appears that a subsidy was now fallen to fifty thousand pounds.
* Digdale, p. 71.
for their devotions; and their chaplains here began openly to practise the Presbyterian form of worship, which, except in foreign languages, had never hitherto been allowed any indulgence or toleration. So violent was the general propensity towards this new religion, that multitudes of all ranks crowded to the church. Those who were so happy as to find access early in the morning, kept their places the whole day ; those who were excluded clung to the doors or windows, in hopes of catching at least some distant murmur or broken phrases of the holy rhetoric.* All the eloquence of parliament, now well refined from pedantry, animated with the spirit of liberty, and employed in the most important interests, was not attend ed to with such insatiable avidity, as were these lectures, delivered with ridiculouş cant and a provincial accent, full of barbarism and of ignorance.
The most effectual expedient for paying court to the zealous Scots, was to promote the Presbyterian discipline and worship throughout England; and to this innovation the popular leaders among
the commons, as well as their more devoted partisans, were of themselves sufficiently inclined.
sufficiently inclined. The Puritanical party, whose progress, though secret, had hitherto been gradual in the kingdom, taking advantage of the present disorders, began openly to profess their tenets, and to make furious attacks on the established religion. The prevalence of that sect in the parliament discovered itself, from the beginning, by insensible but decisive symptoms. Marshall and Burgess, two Puritanical clergymen, were chosen to preach before them, and entertained them with discourses seven hours in length. It being the custom of the house always to take the sacrament before they enter upon business, they ordered, as a necessary preliminary, that the communion table should be removed from the east end of St. Margaret's into the middle of the area. The name of the “ spiritual lords” commonly left out in acts of parliament; and the laws ran in the name of king, lords, and commons. The clerk of the upper house, in reading bills, turned his back on the bench of bishops; nor was his insolence ever taken notice of. On a day appointed for a solemn fast and humiliation, all the orders of temporal peers, contrary to former practice, in going to church took place of the spiritual ; and Lord Spencer
* Clarendon, vol. i. p. 189.
I Nalson, vol. i. p. 537.
remarked that the humiliation that day seemed confined alone to the prelates.
Every meeting of the commons, produced some vehement harangue against the usurpations of the bishops, against the high commission, against the late convocation, against the new
So disgusted were all lovers of civil liberty at the doctrines promoted by the clergy, that these invectives were received without control; and no distinction at first appeared between such as desired onlŷ to repress the exorbitancies of the hierarchy, and such as pretended totally to annihi,até episcopal jurisdiction. Encouraged by these favorable appearances, petitions against the church were framed in different parts of the kingdom. The epithet of the ignorant and vicious priesthood was commonly applied to all churchmen addicted to the established discipline and worship; though the episcopal clergy in England, during that age, seem to have been, as they are at present, sufficiently learned and exemplary. An address against episcopacy was presented by twelve clergymen to the committee of religion, and pretended to be signed by many hundreds of the Puritanical persuasion. But what made most noise was, the city petition for a total alteration of church government; a petition to which fifteen thousand subscriptions were annexed, and which was presented by Alderman Pennington, the city member.* It is remarkable that, among the many ecclesiastical abuses there complained of, an allowance given by the licensers of books to publish a translation of Ovid's Art of Love, is not forgotten by these rustic censors.
Notwithstanding the favorable disposition of the people, the leaders in the house resolved to proceed with caution. They introduced a bill for prohibiting all clergymen the exercise of any civil office. As a consequence, the bishops were to be deprived of their seats in the house of peers ; a measure not unacceptable to the zealous friends of liberty, who observed with regret the devoted attachment of that order to the will of the monarch. But when this bill was presented to the peers, it was rejected by a great majority ;} the first check which the commons had received in their popular career, and a prognostic of what they might afterwards expect from the
* Clarendon, vol. i. p. 203. Whitlocke, p. 37. Nalson, vol. i.
the Rush. vol. y. p. 171.
* Clarendon, vol. i. p. 237