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That the sarne violence by which he had so long been oppressed might not still reach him, and extort his consent to the militia bill, Charles had resolved to remove farther from London; and accordingly, taking the prince of Wales and the duke of York along with him, he arrived by slow journeys at York, which he determined for some time to make the place of his, residence. The distant parts of the kingdom, being removed from that furious vortex of new principles and opinions which had transported the capital, still retained a sincere regard for the church and monarchy; and the king here found marks of attachment beyond what he had before expected.* From all quarters of England, the prime nobility and gentry, either personally or by messages and letters, expressed their duty towards him; and exhorted him to save himself and them from that ignominious slavery with which they were threatened. The small interval of time which had passed since the fatal accusation of the members, had been sufficient to open the eyes of many, and to recover them from the astonishment with which at first they had been seized. One rash and passionate attempt of the king's seemed but a small counterbalance to so many acts of deliberate violence which had been offered to him and every branch of the legislature ; and, however sweet the sound of liberty, many resolved to adhere to that moderate freedom transmitted them from their ancestors, and now better secured by such important concessions, rather than, by engaging in a giddy search after more independence, run a manifest risk either of incurring a cruel subjection, or abandoning all law and order.
Charles, finding himself supported by a considerable party in the kingdom, began to speak in a firmer tone, and to retort the accusations of the commons with a vigor which he had not before exerted. Notwithstanding their remonstrances, and menaces, and insults, he still persisted in refusing their bill; and they proceeded to frame an ordinance, in which, by the authority of the two houses, without the king's consent, they named lieutenants for all the counties, and conferred on them the command of the whole military force, of all the guards, garrisons, and forts of the kingdom. He issued proclamations against this manifest usurpation; and, as he professed a resolution strictly to observe the law himself, so was he determined, he said, to oblige every other person to pay it
* Warwick, p. 203.
a like obedience The name of the king was so essential to a. I laws, and so familiar in all acts of executive authority, that the parliament was afraid, had they totally omitted it, that the innovation would be toq sensible to the people. In all commands, therefore, which they conferred, they bound the persons to obey the orders of his majesty signified by both houses of parliament. And inventing a distinction, hitherto unheard of, between the office and the person of the king, those very forces which they employed against him they levied in his name and by his authority.*
It is remarkable how much the topics of argument were now reversed between the parties. "The king, while he acknowledged his former error, of employing a plea of necessity in order to infringe the laws and constitution, warned the parliament not to imitate an example on which they threw such violent blame ; and the parliament, while they clothed their personal fears or ambition under the appearance of national and imminent danger, made unknowingly an apology for the most exceptionable part of the king's conduct. That the liberties of the people were no longer exposed to any peril from royal authority, so narrowly circumscribed, so exactly defined, so much unsupported by revenue and by military power, might be maintained upon very plausible topics : but that the danger, allowing it to have any existence, was not of that kind, great, urgent, inevitable, which dissolves all law and levels all limitations, seems apparent from the simplesi view of these transactions. So obvious indeed was the king's present inability to invade the constitution, that the fears and jealousies which operated on the people, and pushed them so furiously to arms, were undoubtedly not of a civil, but of a religious nature. The distempered imaginations of men were agitated with a continual dread of Popery, with a horror against prelacy, with an antipathy to ceremonies and the liturgy, and with a violent affection for whatever was most opposite to these objects of aversion. The fanatical spirit, let loose, confounded all regard to ease, safety, interest; and dissolved every moral and civil obligation.t
Each party was now willing to throw on its antagonist the odium of commencing a civil war ; but both of them prepared for an event which they deemed inevitable. To gain the
* Rush. vol. v. p. 526.
people's favor and good opinion was the chief point on both sides. Never was there a people less corrupted by vice, and more actuated by principle, than the English during that period : never were there individuals who possessed more capacity, more courage, more public spirit, more disinterested zeal. The infusion of one ingredient in too large a proportion had corrupted all these noble principles, and converted them into the most virulent poison. To determine his choice in the approaching contests, every man hearkened with avidity to the reasons proposed on both sides. The war of the pen preceded that of the sword, and daily sharpened the humors of the opposite parties. Besides private adventurers without number, the king and parliament themselves carried on the controversy by messages, remonstrances, and declarations; where the nation was really the party to whom all arguments were addressed. Charles had here a double advan. tage. Not only his cause was more favorable, as supporting the ancient government in church and state against the most illegal pretensions ; it was also defended with more art and eloquence. Lord Falkland had accepted the office of secretary ; a man who adorned the purest virtue, with the richest gifts of nature, and the most valuable acquisitions of learning. By him, assisted by the king himself, were the memorials of the royal party chiefly composed. So sensible was Charles of his superiority in this particular, that he took care to disperse every where the papers of the parliament together with his own, that the people might be the more enabled, by comparison, to form a judgment between them : the parliament, while they distributed copies of their own, were anxious to suppress all the king's compositions.
To clear up the principles of the constitution, to mark the boundaries of the powers intrusted by law to the several members, to show what great improvements the whole political system had received from the king's late concessions, to demonstrate his en.ire confidence in his people, and his reliance on their affections, to point out the ungrateful returns which had been made him, and the enormous encroachments, insults, and indignities to which he had been exposed ; these were the topics which, with so much justness of reasoning and propriety of expression, were insisted on in the king's declarations and remonstrances.f
* Rush. vol. v. p. 751. See note K, at the end of the volume.
Though these writings were of consequence, and tended much to reconcile the nation to Charles, it was evident that they would not be decisive, and that keener weapons must determine the controversy. To the ordinance of the parliament concerning the militia, the king opposed his commissions of array. The counties obeyed the one or the other, accord. ing as they stood affected. And in many counties, where the people were divided, mobbish combats and skirmishes ensued. * The parliament on this occasion went so far as to vote, when the lords and commons in parliament, which is the supreme court of judicature, shall declare what the law of the land is, to have this not only questioned, but contradicted, is a high breach of their privileges.”+ This was a plain assuming of the whole legislative authority, and exerting it in the most material article, the government of the militia. Upon the same principles they pretended, by a verbal criticism on the tense of a Latin verb, to ravish from the king his negative voice in the legislature. I
The magazine of Hull contained the arms of all the forces levied against the Scots; and Sir John Hotham, the governor, though he had accepted of a commission from the parliament, was not thought to be much disaffected to the church and monarchy. Charles therefore entertained hopes that if he presented himself at Hull before the commencement of hostilities, Hotham, overawed by his presence, would admit him with his retinue; after which he might easily render himself master of the place. But the governor was on his guard. He shut the gates, and refused to receive the king, who desired leave to enter with twenty persons only. Charles - immediately proclaimed him traitor, and complained to the parliament of his disobedience. The parliament avowed and justified the action.
The county of York levied a guard for the king of six hundred men ; for the kings of England had hitherto lived among their subjects like fathers among their children, and had derived ali their security from the dignity of their character,
* May, book ii. p. 99.
of Rush, vol. v. p. 534. The king, by his coronation oath, promises that he would maintain the laws and customs which the people had chosen," gus elegerit : the parliament pretended, that elegerit meant shall choose ; and, consequently, that the king had no right to refuse any pills which should be presented him. See Rush. vol. v. p. 580.
& Whitlocke, p. 55. Rush. vol. v. p. 565, etc. May, book üi p. 51. and from the protection of the laws. The two houses, though they had already levied a guard for themselves, had attempted to seize all the military power, all the navy, and all the forts of the kingdom, and had openly employed their authority in every kind of warlike preparations, yet immediately voted, “ That the king, seduced by wicked counsel, intended to make war against his parliament, who, in all their consultations and actions, had proposed no other end but the care of his kingdoms, and the performance of all duty and loyalty to his person ; that this attempt was a breach of the trust reposed in him by his people, contrary to his oath, and tending to a dissolution of the government; and that whoever should assist him in such a war, were traitors by the fundamental laws of the kingdom.” *
The armies which had been every where raised on pretence of the service in Ireland, were henceforth more openly enlisted by the parliament for their own purposes, and the command of them was given to the earl of Essex. In London, no less than four thousand men enlisted in one day:t And the parliament voted a declaration, which they required every member to subscribe, that they would live and die with their general.
They issued orders for bringing in loans of money and plate, in order to maintain forces which should defend the king and both houses of parliament; for this style they still preserved. Within ten days, vast quantities of plate were brought to their treasurers. Hardly were there men enough to receive it, or room sufficient to stow it; and many with regret were obliged to carry back their offerings, and wait till the treasurers could find leisure to receive them; such zeal animated the pious partisans of the parliament, especially in the city.
The women gave up all the plate and ornaments of their houses, and even their silver thimbles and bodkins, in order to support the good cause against the malignants. I
Meanwhile the splendor of the nobility with which the king was environed much eclipsed the appearance at Westminster. Lord Keeper Littleton, after sending the great seal before him,
* Whitlocke, p. 57. Rush. vol. v. p. 717. Dugdale, p. 93. May, book č. p. 54.
f Vicar's God in the Mount.