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with party names, under which the factions might rendezvous and signalize their mutual hatred.*
Meanwhile the tumults still continued, and even increased about Westminster and Whitehall. The cry incessantly resounded against “ bishops and rotten-hearted lords.” The former especially, being distinguishable by their habit, and being the object of violent hatred to all the sectaries, were exposed to the most dangerous insults. Williams, now cre ated archbishop of York, having been abused by the populace hastily called a meeting of his brethren. By his advice, a protestation was drawn and addressed to the king and the house of lords. The bishops there set forth, that though they had an undoubted right to sit and vote in parliament, yet in coming thither, they had been menaced, assaulted, affronted, by the unruly multitude, and could no longer with safety attend their duty in the house. For this reason they protested against all laws, votes, and resolutions, as null and invalid, which should pass during the time of their constrained absence. This protestation, which, though just and legal, was certainly ill-timed, was signed by twelve bishops, and communicated to the king, who hastily approved of it. As soon as it was presented to the lords, that house desired a conference with the commons, whom they informed of this unex. pected protestation. The opportunity was seized with joy and triumph. An impeachment of high treason was immediately sent up against the bishops, as endeavoring to subvert the fundamental laws, and to invalidate the authority of the legislature. They were, on the first demand, sequestered from parliament, and committed to custody. No man in either house ventured to speak a word in their vindication ; so much displeased was every one at the egregious imprudence of which they had been guilty. One person alonę said, that he did not believe them guilty of high treason; but that they were stark mad, and therefore desired they might be sent to bedlam.
[1642.] A few days after, the king was betrayed into another indiscretion, much more fatal ; an indiscretion to which all the ensuing disorders and civil wars ought immedi
* Clarendon, vol. i. p. 339. of Clarendon, vol. ii. p. 336.
Dugdale, p. 78. À Whitlocke, p. 51. Rush. vol. v. p. 466. Nalson, vol. ii. p. 794.
Clarendon, vol. ii. p. 355.
ately and directly to be ascribed ; this was the impeachment of Lord Kimbolton and the five members.
When the commons employed in their remonstrance language so severe and indecent, they had not been actuated entirely by insolence and passion; their views were more solid and profound. They considered that in a violent attempt, such as an invasion of the ancient constitution, the more lei. sure was afforded the people to reflect, the less would they be inclined to second that rash and dangerous enterprise : that the peers would certainly refuse their concurrence ; nor were there any hopes of prevailing on them, but by instigating the populace to tumult and disorder : that the employing of such odious means for so invidious an end would, at long-run, lose them all their popularity, and turn the tide of favor to the contrary party; and that, if the king only remained in tranquillity, and cautiously eluded the first violence of the tempest, he would in the end certainly prevail, and be able at least to preserve the ancient laws and constitution. They were there. fore resolved, if possible, to excite him to some violent passion, in hopes that he would commit indiscretions of which they might make advantage.
It was not long before they succeeded beyond their fondest wishes. Charles was enraged to find that all his concessións but increased their demands; that the people who were returning to a sense of duty towards him, were again roused to sedition and tumults; that the blackest calumnies were propagated against him, and even the Irish massacre ascribed to his counsels and machinations; and that a method of address was adopted not only unsuitable towards so great a prince, but which no private gentleman could bear without resentment. When he considered all these increasing acts of insolence in the commons, he was apt to ascribe them in a great measure to his own indolence and facility. The queen and the ladies of the court further stimulated his passion, and represented that, if he exerted the vigor and displayed the majesty of a monarch, the daring usurpations of his subjects would shrink before him. Lord Digby, a man of fine parts, but full of levity, and hurried on by precipitate passions, sug. gested like counsels; and Charles, who, though commonly moderate in his temper, was ever disposed to hasty resolutions, gave way to the fatal importunity of his friends and servants.*
* Clarendon, vol. ii. p. 360.
Herbert, attorney-general, appeared in the house of peers and in his majesty's name entered an accusation of high treason against Lord Kimbolton and five commoners, Hollis, Sir Arthur Hazlerig, Hambden, Pym, and Strode. The articles were, that they had traitorously endeavored to subvert the fundamental laws and government of the kingdom, to deprive the king of his regal power, and to impose on his subjects an arbitrary and tyrannical authority: that they had endeavored, by many foul aspersions on his majesty and his government, to alienate the affections of his people, and make him odious o them : that they had attempted to draw his late army to disobedience of his royal commands, and to side with them in their traitorous designs : that they had invited and encouraged a foreign power to invade the kingdom: that they had aimed at subverting the rights and very being of parliament: that, in order to complete their traitorous designs, they had endeavored, as far as in them lay, by force and terror to compel the parliament to join with them; and to that end had actually raised and countenanced tumults against the king and parliament: and that they had traitorously conspired to levy, and actually had levied war against the king. *
The whole world stood amazed at this important accusation, so suddenly entered upon without concert, deliberation, or reflection. Some of these articles of accusation, men said, to judge by appearance, seem to be common between the impeached members and the parliament; nor did these persons appear any further active in the enterprises of which they were accused, than so far as they concurred with the majority in their votes and speeches. Though proofs might perhaps, be produced of their privately inviting the Scots to invade England, how could such an attempt be considered as "treason, after the act of oblivion which had passed, and after that both houses, with the king's concurrence, had voted that nation three hundred thousand pounds for their brotherly assistance? While the house of peers are scarcely able to maintain their independency, or to reject the bills sent them by the commons, will they ever be permitted by the populace, supposing them inclined, to pass a sentence which must totally subdue the lower house, and put an end to their ambitious undertakings? These five members, at least Pym, Hambden,
* Whitlockė, p. 50. Rush. vol. v. p. 473. Nalson, vol. ii. p. 811, Franklyn, p. 906.
and Hollis, are the very heads of the popular party; and if these be taken off, what fate must be expected by their followers, who are, many of them, accomplices in the same treason? The punishment of leaders is ever the last triumph over a broken and routed party ; but surely was never before attempted, in opposition to a faction, during the full tide of its power and success.
But men had not leisure to wonder at the indiscretion of this measure : their astonishment was excited by new attempts, still more precipitate and imprudent. A serjeant at arms, in the king's name, demanded of the house" the five members ; and was sent back without any positive answer. Messengers were employed to search for them, and arrest them. Their trunks, chambers, and studies were sealed and locked. The house voted all these acts of violence to be breaches of privilege, and commanded every one to defend the liberty of the members.* The king, irritated by all this opposition, resolved next day to come in person to the house, with an intention to demand, perhaps seize in their presence, the persons whom he had accused.
This resolution was discovered to the countess of Carlisle, sister to Northumberland, a lady of spirit, wit, and intrigue.t She privately sent intelligence to the five members ; and they had time to withdraw, à moment before the king entered. He was accompanied by his ordinary retinue, to the number of above two hundred, armed as usual, some with halberts, some with walking swords. The king left them at the door, and he himself advanced alone through the hall, while all the members rose to receive him. The speaker withdrew from his chair, and the king took possession of it. The speech which he made was as follows: “Gentlemen, I am sorry for this occasion of coming to you. Yesterday I sent a serjeant at arms to demand some who, by my order, were accused of high treason. Instead of obedience, I received a message. I must here declare to you, that though no king that ever was in England could be more careful of your privileges than I shall be, yet in cases of treason no person has privilege, Therefore am I come to tell you, that I must have these men wherèsoever I can find them. Well, since I see all the birds are flown, I do expect that you will send them to me as soon
* Whitlocke, p. 50. Rush. vol. v. p. 474, 475.
as they return. But I assure you, on the word of a king, I never did intend any force, but shall proceed against them in a fair and legal way; for I never meant any other. And now, since I see I cannot do what I came for, I think this is no unfit occasion to repeat what I have said formerly, that whatever I have done in favor and to the good of my subjects, I do intend to maintain it." *
When the king was looking around for the accused mem. bers, he asked the speaker, who stood below, whether any
of these persons were in the house. The speaker, falling on his knee, prudently replied, “I have, sir, neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place, but as the house is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am. And I humbly ask pardon, that I cannot give any other answer to what your majesty is pleased to demand of me." +
The commons were in the utmost disorder; and when the king was departing, some members cried aloud, so as he might hear them, “Privilege ! privilege !” And the house immediately adjourned till next day. I
That evening the accused members, to show the greater apprehension, removed into the city, which was their fortress. The citizens were the whole night in arms, Some people, who were appointed for that purpose, or perhaps actuated by their own terrors, ran from gate to gate, crying out that the cavaliers were coming to burn the city, and that the king himself was at their head.
Next morning, Charles sent to the mayor, and ordered him to call a common council immediately. About ten o'clock, he himself, attended only by three or four lords, went to Guildhall. He told the common council, that he was sorry to hear of the apprehensións entertained of him ; that he was come to them without any guard, in order to show how much he relied on their affections; and that he had accused certain men of high treason, against whom he would proceed in a legal way, and therefore presumed that they would not meet with protection in the city. After many other gracious expressions, he told one of the sheriffs, who of the two was thought the least inclined to his service, that he would dine with him. He departed the hall without receiving the applause which he expected. In passing through the streets, he heard the cry
* Whitlocke, p. 50.