« ZurückWeiter »
[1641.) THE Scots, who began these fatal commotions, thought that they had finished a very perilous undertaking, much to their profit and reputation. Besides the large pay voted them for lying in good quarters during a twelvemonth, the English parliament had conferred on them a present of three hundred thousand pounds for their brotherly assistance. In the articles of pacification, they were declared to have ever been good subjects; and their military expeditions were approved of, as enterprises calculated and intended for his majesty's honor and advantage. To carry further the triumph over their sovereign, these terms, so ignominious to him, were ordered by a vote of parliament to be read in all churches, upon a day of thanksgiving appointed for the national pacification ; all their claims for the restriction of prerogative were agreed to be ratified; and, what they more valued than all these advantages, they had a near prospect of spreading the Presbyterian discipline in England and Ireland, from the seeds which they had scattered of their religious principles. Never did refined Athens so exult in diffusing the sciences and liberal arts over a savage world, never did generous Rome so please herself in the view of law and order established by her victorious arms, as the Scots now rejoiced in communicating their barbarous zeal and theological fervor to the neighboring nations.
Charles, despoiled in England of a considerable part of his authority, and dreading still further encroachments upon him, arrived in Scotland, with an intention of abdicating almost entirely the small share of power which there remained to him, and of giving full satisfaction, if possible, to his restless subjects in that kingdom.
The lords of articles were an ancient institution in the Scot.
* Nalson, vol. i. p. 747. May, p. 104.
tish parliament. They were constituted after this manner : The temporal lords chose eight bishops: the bishops elected eight temporal lords: these sixteen named eight commissioners of counties, and eight burgesses: and without the previous consent of the thirty-two, who were denominated lords of articles, no motion could be made in parliament. As the bishops were entirely devoted to the court, it is evident, that all the lords of articles, by necessary consequence, depended on the king's nomination; and the prince, besides one negative after the bills had passed through parliament, possessed indirectly another before their introduction ; a prerogative of much greater consequence than the former. The bench of bishops being now abolished, the parliament laid hold of the opportunity, and totally set aside the lords of articles : and till this important point was obtained, the nation, properly speaking, could not be said to enjoy any regular freedom.*
It is remarkable that, notwithstanding this institution, to which there is no parallel in England, the royal authority was always deemed much lower in Scotland than in the former kingdom. Bacon represents it as one advantage to be expected from the union, that the too extensive prerogative of England would be abridged by the example of Scotland, and the too narrow prerogative of Scotland be enlarged from the imitation of England. The English were at that time a civilized people, and obedient to the laws; but among the Scots it was of little consequence how the laws were framed, or by whom voted, while the exorbitant aristocracy had it so much in their power to prevent their regular execution.
The peers and commons formed only one house in the Scottish parliament: and as it had been the practice of James, continued by Charles, to grace English gentlemen with Scottish titles, all the determinations of parliament, it was to be feared, would in time depend upon the prince, by means of these votes of foreigners, who had no interest or property in the nation. It was therefore a law deserving approbation, that no inan should be created a Scotch peer, who possessed not ten thousand marks (above five hundred pounds) of annual rent in the kingdom.
A law for triennial parliaments was likewise passed ; and it was ordained, that the last act of every parliament should be to appoint the time and place for holding the parliament next ensuing. I
# Burnet, Mem. † Burnet, Mem. I Burnet, Mem.
The king was deprived of that power forinerly exercised, of issuing proclamations which enjoined obedience under the penalty of treason ; a prerogative which invested him with the whole legislative authority, even in matters of the highest importance.*
So far was laudable: but the most fatal blow given to royal authority, and what in a manner dethroned the prince, was the article, that no member of the privy council, in whose hands during the king's absence the whole administration lay, no officer of state, none of the judges, should be appointed but by advice and approbation of parliament. Charles even agreed to deprive of their seats four judges who had adhered to his interests; and their place was supplied by others more agreeable to the ruling party. Several of the Covenanters were also sworn of the privy council. And all the ministers of state, counsellors, and judges, were by law to hold their places during life or good behavior.t
The king while in Scotland conformed himself entirely to the establisher church, and assisted with great gravity at the long prayers and longer sermons with which the Presbyterians endeavored to regale him. He bestowed pensions and preferments on Henderson, Gillespy, and other popular preachers, and practised every art to soften, if not to gain, his greatest enemies. The earl of Argyle was created a marquis, Lord Loudon an earl, Lesley was dignified with the title of earl of Leven. His friends he was obliged for the present to neglect and overlook :- some of them were disgusted; and his enemies were not reconciled, but ascribed all his caresses and favors to artifice and necessity.
Argyle and Hamilton, being seized with an apprehension, real or pretended, that the earl of Crawfurd and others meant to assassinate them, left the parliament suddenly, and retired into the country; but upon invitation and assurances, returned in a few days. This event, which had neither cause nor effect that was visible, nor purpose, nor consequence, was commonly denominated the incident. But though the incident had no effect in Scotland ; what was not expected, it was attended with consequences in England. The English parliament, which was now assembled, being willing to awaken the people's tenderness by exciting their fears, immediately took the
+ Burnet, Mein.
* Burnet, Mem.
Clarendon, vol. i. p. 309.
alarm; as if the malignants -- so they called the king's party
had laid a plot at once to murder them and all the godly in both kingdoms. They applied therefore to Essex, whom the king nad left general in the south of England; and he ordered a guard to attend them.*
But while the king was employed in pacifying the commotions in Scotland, and was preparing to return to England, in order to apply himself to the same salutary work in that kingdom, he received intelligence of a dangerous rebellion broken out in Ireland, with circumstances of the utmost horror, bloodshed, and devastation. On every side this unfortunate prince was pursued with murmurs, discontent, faction, and civil wars; and the fire from all quarters, even by the most independent accidents, at once blazed up about him.
The great plan of James in the administration of Ireland, continued by Charles, was, by justice 'and peace to reconcile that turbulent people to the authority of laws; and, introducing art and industry among them, to cure them of that sloth and barbarism to which they had ever been subject. In order to serve both these purposes, and at the same time secure the dominion of Ireland to the English crown, great colonies of British had been carried over, and, being intermixed with the Irish, had every where introduced a new face of things into that country. During a peace of near forty years, the invet erate quarrels between the nations seemed, in a great measure, to be obliterated; and though 'much of the landed property forfeited by rebellion had been conferred on the new planters, a more than equal return had been made, by their instructing the natives in tillage, building, manufactures, and all the civilized arts of life. This had been the course of things during the successive administrations of Chichester, Grandison, Falkland, and, above all, of Strafford. Under the government of this latter nobleman, the pacific plans, now "come to great maturity, and forwarded by his vigor and industry, seemed to have operated with full success, and to have bestowed at last on that savage country the face of a European settlement.
After Strafford fell a victim to popular rage, the humors excited in Ireland by that great event could not suddenly be composed, but continued to produce the greatest innovations in. the government.
* Whitlocke, p. 40. Dugdale, p. 72. Burnet's Memoirs of the House of Hamilton, p. 184, 185. Clarendon, vol. ii. p. 299.
to Sir John Temple's Irish Rebellion, p. 12.
The British Protestants transplanted into Ireland, having every moment before their eyes all the horrors of Popery, had naturally been carried into the opposite extreme, and had universally adopted the highest principles and practices of the Puritans. Monarchy, as well as the hierarchy, was become odious to them; and every method of limiting the authority of the crown, and detaching themselves from the king of Eng. land, was greedily adopted and pursued. They considered not, that as they scarcely formed the sixth part of the people, and were secretly obnoxious to the ancient inhabitants, their only method of supporting themselves was by maintaining royal authority, and preserving a great dependence on their mother country. The English commons, likewise, in their furious persecution of Strafford, had overlooked the most obvious consequences; and, while they imputed to him as a crime every discretionary act of authority, they despoiled all succeeding governors of that power by which alone the Irish could be retained in subjection. And so strong was the current for popular government in all the three kingdoms, that the most established maxims of policy were every where abandoned, in otder to gratify this ruling passion.
Charles, unable to resist, had been obliged to yield to the Irish, as to the Scottish and English parliaments; and found, too, that their encroachments still rose in proportion to his concessions. Those subsidies which themselves had voted, they reduced, by a subsequent vote, to a fourth part ; the court of high commission was determined to be a grieve ance ; martial law abolished; the jurisdiction of the council annihilated; proclamations and acts of state declared of no authority ; every order or institution which depended on monarchy was invaded ; and the prince was despoiled of all his prerogative, without the least pretext of any violence or illegality in his administration.
The standing army of Ireland was usually about three thousand men; but, in order to assist the king in suppressing the Scottish Covenanters, Strafford had raised eight thousand more, and had incorporated with them a thousand men drawn from the old army; a necessary expedient for bestowing order and discipline on the new-levied soldiers. The private men in this army were all Catholics ; but the officers, both commission and non-commission, were Protestants, and could entirely be depended on by Charles. The English commons entertained the greatest apprehensions on account of this army, and never