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had become so sensible of the necessity, that those ancient laws in favor of personal liberty, while often violated, had never been challenged or revived during the course of near three centuries. Though rebellious subjects had frequently, in the open field, resisted the king's authority, no person had been found so bold, while confined and at mercy, as to set himself in opposition to regal power, and to claim the protec. tion of the constitution against the will of the sovereign. It was not till this age, when the spirit of liberty was universally diffused, when the principles of government were nearly reduced to a system, when the tempers of men, more civilized, seemed less to require those violent exertions of prerogative, that these five gentlemen above mentioned, by a noble effort, ventured, in this national cause, to bring the question to a final determination. And the king was astonished to observe, that a power exercised by his predecessors almost without interruption, was found, upon trial, to be directly opposite to the clearest laws, and supported by few undoubted precedents in courts of judicature. These had scarcely in any instance refused bail upon commitments by special command of the king; because the persons committed had seldom or neger dared to demand it, at least to insist on their demand.
[1627.] Sir Randolf Crew, chief justice, had been displaced, as unfit for the purposes of the court: Sir Nicholas Hyde, esteemed more obsequious, had obtained that high office : yet the judges, by his direction, went no further than to remand the gentlemen to prison, and refuse the bail which was offered.* Heathe, the attorney-general, insisted that the court, in imitation of the judges in the thirty-fourth of Elizabeth;t should enter a general judgment, that no bail could be granted upon a commitment by the king or council. f But the judges wisely declined complying. The nation, they saw, was already to the last degree exasperated. In the present disposition of men's minds, universal complaints prevailed, as if the kingdom were reduced to slavery. And the most
invidious prerogative of the crown, it was said, that of imprisoning the subject, is here openly, and solemnly, and in numerous instances, exercised for the most invidious purpose; in order to extort loans, or rather subsidies, without consent of parliament.
of State Trials, vol. yü. p. 147.
* Rushworth, vol. i. p. 462.
State Trials, vol. vii. p. 161.
But this was not the only hardship of wnich the nation then thought they had reason to complain. The army which had made the fruitless expedition to Cadiz, was dispersed through. out the kingdom; and money was levied upon the counties for the payment of their quarters. *
The soldiers were billeted upon private houses, contrary to custom, which required that, in all ordinary cases, they should be quartered in inns and public houses.t
Those who had refused or delayed the loan, were sure to be loaded with a great number of these dangerous and dis. orderly guests.
Many too, of low condition, who had shown a refractory disposition, were pressed into the service, and enlisted in the feet or army. Sir Peter Hayman, for the same reason, was despatched on an errand to the Palatinate. Glanville, an eminent lawyer, had been obliged, during the former interval of parliament, to accept of an office in the navy.||
The soldiers, ill paid and undisciplined, committed many crimes and outrages, and much increased the public discon. tents. To prevent these disorders, martial law, so requisite to the support of discipline, was exercised upon the soldiers. By a contradiction which is natural when the people are exo asperated, the outrages of the army were complained of; the remedy was thought still more intolerable. Though the expediency, if we are not rather to say the necessity, of martial law had formerly been deemed of itself a sufficient ground for establishing it, men, now become more jealous of liberty, and more refined reasoners in questions of government, regarded as illegal and arbitrary every exercise of authority which was not supported by express statute or uninterrupted precedent.
It may safely be affirmed, that, except a few courtiers or ecclesiastics, all men were displeased with this high exertion of prerogative, and this new spirit of administration. Though ancient precedents were pleaded in favor of the king's measures, a considerable difference, upon comparison, was observed between the cases. Acts of power, however irregu. lar, might casually, and at intervals, be exercised by a prince, for the sake of despatch or expediency, and yet liberty still * Rushworth, vol. i. p. 419. * Rushworth, vol. i. p. 419.
Rushworth, vol. i. p. 422. $ Rushworth, vol. i. p. 431. | Parl. Hist. vol. vii. p. 310. I Rushworth, vol. i. p. 419. Whitlocke, p. 7.
subsist in some tolerable degree under his administration. But where all these were reduced into a system, were exerted without interruption, were studiously sought for, in order to supply the place of laws, and subdue the refractory spirit of the nation, it was necessary to find some speedy remedy, or finally to abandon all hopes of preserving the freedom of the constitution. Nor did moderate men esteem the provocation which the king had received, though great, sufficient to warrant all these violent measures. The commons as yet had nowise invaded his authority: they had only exercised, as best pleased them, their own privileges. Was he justifiable, because from one house of parliament he had met with harsh and unkind treatment, to make, in revenge, an invasion on the rights and liberties of the whole nation ?
But great was at this time the surprise of all men, when Charles, baffled in every attempt against the Austrian dominions, embroiled with his own subjects, unsupplied with any treasure but what he extorted by the most invidious and most dangerous measures; as if the half of Europe, now his
enemy, were not sufficient for the exercise of military prowess; wantonly attacked France, the other great kingdom in his neighborhood, and engaged at once in war against these two powers, whose interests were hitherto deemed so incompatible, that they could never, it was thought, agree either in the same friendships or enmities. All authentic memoirs, both foreign and domestic, ascribe to Buckingham's counsels this war with France, and represent him as actuated by motives which would appear incredible, were we not acquainted with the violence and temerity of his character.
The three great monarchies of Europe were at this time ruled by young princes, Philip, Louis, and Charles, who were nearly of the same age, and who had resigned the government of themselves, and of their kingdoms, to their creatures and ministers, Olivarez, Richelieu, and Buckingham. The people, whom the moderate temper or narrow genius of their princes would have allowed to remain forever in tranquillity, were strongly agitated by the emulation and jealousy of the ministers. Above all, the towering spirit of Richelieu, incapable of rest, promised an active age, and gave indications of great revolutions throughout all Europe.
This man had no sooner, by suppleness and intrigue, gotten possession of the reins of government, than he formed at once three mighty projects ; to subdue the turbulent spirits of
the great, to reduce the rebellious Hugonots, and to curb the encroaching power of the house of Austria. Undaunted and implacable, prudent and active, he braved all the opposition of the French princes and nobles in the prosecution of his vengeance; he discovered and dissipated all their secret cabals and conspiracies. His sovereign himself he held in subjection, while he exalted the throne. The people, while they lost their liberties, acquired, by means of his administration, learning, order, discipline, and renown. That confused and inaccurate genius of government, of which France partook in common with other European kingdoms, he changed into a simple monarchy; at the very time when the incapacity of Buckingham encouraged the free spirit of the commons to establish in England a regular system of liberty.
However unequal the comparison between these ministers, Buckingham had entertained a mighty jealousy against Richelieu; a jealousy not founded on rivalship of power and politics, but of love and gallantry; where the duke was as much superior to the cardinal, as he was inferior in every other particular.
At the time when Charles married by proxy the princess Henrietta, the duke of Buckingham had been sent to France, in order to grace the nuptials, and conduct the new queen into England. The eyes of the French court were directed by curiosity towards that man who had enjoyed the unlimited fåvor of two successive monarchs, and who, from a private station, had mounted, in the earliest youth, to the absolute government of three kingdoms. The beauty of his person, the gracefulness of his air, the splendor of his equipage, his fine taste in dress, festivals, and carousals, corresponded to the prepossessions entertained in his favor: the affability of his behavior, the gayety of his manners, the magnificence of his expense, increased still further the general admiration which was paid him. All business being already concerted, the time was entirely spent in mirth and entertainments; and during those splendid scenes among that gay people, the duke found himself in a situation where he was perfectly qualified to excel.* But his great success at Paris proved as fatal as his former failure at Madrid. Encouraged by the smiles of the court, he dared to carry his ambitious addresses to the queen herself; and he failed not to make impression on a
* Clarendon, vol. i. p. 38.
heart not undisposed to the tender passions. That attachment, at least of the mind, which appears so delicious, and is so dangerous, seems to have been encouraged by the princess; and the duke presumed so far on her good graces, that, after his departure, he secretly returned upon some pretence, and, paying a visit to the queen, was dismissed with a reproof which savored more of kindness than of anger.*
Information of this correspondence was soon carried to Richelieu. The vigilance of that minister was here further roused by jealousy. He, too, either from vanity or politics, had ventured to pay his addresses to the queen. But a priest, past middle age, of a severe character, and occupied in the most extensive plans of ambition or vengeance, was but an unequal match, in that contest, for a young courtier, entirely disposed to gayety and gallantry. The cardinal's disappointment strongly inclined him to counterwork the amorous projects of his rival. When the duke was making preparations for a new embassy to Paris, a message was sent him from Louis, that he must not think of such a journey. In a romantic passion he swore, “ That he would see the queen, in spite of all the power of France; and, from that moment, he determined to engage England in a war with that kingdom.
He first took advantage of some quarrels excited by the queen of England's attendants; and he persuaded Charles to dismiss at once all her French servants, contrary to the articles of the marriage treaty. He encouraged the English ships of war and privateers to seize vessels belonging to French merchants; and these he forthwith condemned as prizes, by a sentence of the court of admiralty. But finding that all these injuries produced only remonstrances and em bassies, or at most reprisals, on the part of France, he resolved to second the intrigues of the duke of Soubize, and to under take at once a military expedition against that kingdom.
Soubize, who, with his brother, the duke of Rohan, was the leader of the Hugonot faction, was at that time in London, and strongly solicited Charles to embrace the protection of these distressed religionists. He represented, that after the inhabitants of Rochelle had been repressed by the combined squadrons of England and Holland, after peace was concluded with the French king under Charles's mediation, the ambitious
+ Clarendon, vol. i. p. 38
* Mémoires de Mad. de Motteville.
Rushworth, vol. i. p. 423, 424.