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name; and whoever he was, it was natural to believe that he had already fled far enough not to be found without a hat.
In this hurry, a man without a hat was seen walking verv composedly before the door. One crying out, “ Here is the fellow who killed the duke;" every body ran to ask, “Which is he?” The man very sedately answered, “I am he." The more furious immediately rushed upon him with drawn swords: others, more deliberate, defended and protected him: he himself, with open arms, calmly and cheerfully exposed his breast to the swords of the most enraged; being willing to fall a sudden sacrifice to their anger, rather than be reserved for that public justice which he knew must be executed upon him.
He was now known to be that Felton who had served in the army. Being carried into a private room, it was thought proper so far to dissemble as to tell him, that Buckingham was only grievously wounded, but not without hopes of recovery. Felton smiled, and told them, that the duke, he knew full well, had received a blow which had terminated all their hopes. When asked at whose instigation he had performed the horrid deed, he replied, that they needed not to trouble themselves in that inquiry; that no man living had credit enough with him to have disposed him to such an action; that he had not even intrusted his purpose to any one ; that the resolution proceeded only from himself, and the impulse of his own conscience; and that his motives would appear, if his hat were found; for that, believing he should perish in the attempt, he had there taken care to explain them.*
When the king was informed of this assassination, he received the news in public with an unmoved and undisturbed countenance ; and the courtiers, who studied his looks, concluded, that secretly he was not displeased to be rid of a minister so generally odious to tne nation.t. But Charles's command of himself proceeded entirely from the gravity and composure of his temper. He was still as much as ever attached to his favorite ; and during his whole life he retained an affection for Buckingham's friends, and a prejudice against his enemies. He urged too, that Felton should be put to the question, in order to extort from him a discovery of his accomplices; but the judges declared, that though that practice had formerly been very usual, it was altogether illegal : so much * Clarendon, vol. i. p. 27, 28.
of Warwick, p. 34. 5
more exact reasoners, with regard to law, had they become from the jealous scruples of the house of commons.
Meanwhile the distress of Rochelle had risen to the utmost extremity. That vast genius of Richelieu, which made him form the greatest enterprises, led him to attempt their execution by means equally great and extraordinary. In order to deprive Rochelle of all succor, he had dared to project the throwing across the harbor a mole of a mile's extent in that boisterous ocean; and having executed his project, he now held the town closely blockaded on all sides. The inhabitants, though pressed with the greatest rigors of famine, still refused to submit; being supported, partly by the lectures of their zealous preachers, partly by the daily hopes of relief from England. After Buckingham's death, the command of the fleet and army was conferred on the earl of Lindesey; who, arriving before Rochelle, made some attempts to break through the mole, and force his way into the harbor: but by the delays of the English, that work was now fully finished and fortified; and the Rochellers, finding their last hopes to fail them, were reduced to surrender at discretion, even in sight of the English admiral. Of fifteen thousand persons shut up in the city, four thousand alone survived the fatigues and famine which they had undergone.*
This was the first nécessary step towards the prosperity of France. Foreign enemies, as well as domestic factions, being deprived of this resource, that kingdom began now to shine forth in its full splendor. By a steady prosecution of wise plans, both of war and policy, it gradually gained an ascendant over the rival power of Spain; and every order of the state, and every sect, were reduced to pay submission to the lawful authority of the sovereign. The victory, however, over the Hugonots, was at first pushed by the French king with great moderation. A toleration was still continued to them, the only avowed and open toleration which at that time was grant. ed in any European kingdom.
[1629.] The failure of an enterprise in which the English nation, from religious sympathy, so much interested themselves, could not but diminish the king's authority in the parliament during the approaching session : but the commons, when assembled, found many other causes of complaint. Buckingham's conduct and character with some had afforded a reason, with
* Rushworth, vol. i. p. 636.
others a pretence, for discontent against public measures : bu after his death there wanted not new reasons and new pretences for general dissatisfaction. Manwaring's pardon and promotion were taken notice of: Sibthorpe and Cosins, two clergymen, who, for like reasons, were no less obnoxious to the commons, had met with like favor from the king : Montague, who had been censured for moderation towards the Catholics, the greatest of crimes, had been created bishop of Chichester. They found likewise, upon inquiry, that all the copies of the petition of right which were dispersed, had, by the king's orders, annexed to them the first answer, which had given so little satisfaction to the commons; an expedient by which Charles endeavored to persuade the people that he had nowise receded from his former claims and pretensions, particularly with regard to the levying of tonnage and poundage. Selden also complained in the house, that one Savage, contrary to the petition of right, had been punished with the loss of his ears, by a discretionary or arbitrary sentence of the star chamber: * so apt were they, on their part, to stretch the petition into such consequences as might deprive the crown of powers which, from immemorial custom, were supposed inherent in it.
But the great article on which the house of commons broke with the king, and which finally created in Charles á disgust to all parliaments, was their claim with regard to tonnage and poundage. On this occasion, therefore, it is necessary to give an account of the controversy.
The duty of tonnage and poundage, in more ancient times, had been commonly a temporary grant of parliament; but it had been conferred on Henry V., and all the succeeding princes, during life, in order to enable them to maintain a naval force for the defence of the kingdom. The necessity of levying this duty had been so apparent, that each king had ever claimed it from the moment of his accession ; and the first parliament of each reign had usually by vote conferred on the prince what they found him already in possession of.. Agreeably to the inaccurate genius of the old constitution, this abuse, however considerable, had never been perceived nor remedied; though nothing could have been easier than for the parliament to have prevented it. By granting this duty to each prince during his own life, and for a year after his demise to the
* State Trials, vol. vii. p. 216. Rushworth, vol. i. p. 643.
Parl. Hist. vol. viii. p. 339, 340.
successor, all inconveniencies had been obviated ; and yet the duty had never for a moment been levied without proper authority. But contrivances of that nature were not thought of during those rude ages; and as so complicated and jealous a government as the English cannot subsist without many such refinements, it is easy to see how favorable every inaccuracy must formerly have proved to royal authority, which, on all emergencies, was obliged to supply, by discretionary power, the great deficiency of the laws.
The parliament did not grant the duty of tonnage and poundage to Henry VIII. till the sixth of his reign : yet this prince, who had not then raised his power to its greatest height, continued during that whole time to levy the imposition; the parliament, in their very grant, blame the merchants who had neglected to make payment to the crown ; and though one expression of that bill may seem ambiguous, they employ the plainest terms in calling tonnage and poundage the king's due, even before that duty was conferred on him by parliamentàry authority.* Four reigns, and above a whole century, had since elapsed; and this revenue had still been levied before it was voted by parliament : so long had the inaccuracy continued, without being remarked or corrected.
During that short interval which passed between Charles's accession and his first parliament, he had followed the example of his predecessors; and no fault was found with his conduct in this particular. But what was most remarkable in the proceedings of that house of commons, and what proved beyond controversy that they had seriously formed a plan for reducing their prince to subjection, was, that instead of granting this supply during the king's lifetime, as it had been enjoyed by all his immediate predecessors, they voted it only for a year; and, after that should be elapsed, reserved to themselves the power of renewing or refusing the same concession. But the house of peers, who saw that this duty was now become more necessary than ever to supply the growing necessities of the crown, and who did not approve of this encroaching spirit in the commons, rejected the bill; and the dissolution of that parliament followed so soon after, that no attempt seems to have been made for obtaining tonnage and poundage in any other form. I Charles, meanwhile, continued still to levy this duty by his * 6 Henry VIII. cap. 14.
t Journ. 5th July, 1625. See note C, at the end of the volume.
own authority ; and the nation was so accustomed to that exertion of royal power, that no scruple was at first entertained of submitting to it. But the succeeding parliament excited doubts in every one.
The commons took there some steps towards declaring it illegal to levy tonnage and poundage without consent of parliament ; and they openly showed their intention of employing this engine, in order to extort from the crown concessions of the most important nature. But Charles was not yet sufficiently tamed to compliance; and the abrupt dissolution of that parliament, as above related, put an end, for the time, to their further pretensions.
The following interval between the second and third parliament, was distinguished by so many exertions of prerogative, that men had little leisure to attend to the affair of tonnage and poundage, where the abuse of power in the crown might seem to be of a more disputable nature. But after the commons, during the precedent session, had remedied all these grievances by means of their petition of right, which they deemed so necessary, they afterwards proceeded to take the matter into consideration, and they showed the same intention as formerly, of exacting, in return for the grant of this revenue, very large compliances on the part of the crown.
Their sudden prorogation prevented them from bringing their pretensions to a full conclusion.
When Charles opened this session, he had foreseen that the same controversy would arise ; and he therefore took care very early, among many mild and reconciling expressions, to inform the commons, « That he had not taken these duties as appertaining to his hereditary prerogative; but that it ever was, and still is, his meaning to enjoy them as a gift of his people: and that, if he had hitherto levied tonnage and poundage, he pretended to justify himself only by the necessity of so doing, not by any right which he assumed."*
This concession, which probably arose from the king's moderate temper, now freed from the impulse of Buckingham's violent counsels, might have satisfied the commons, had they entertained no other view than that of ascertaining their own powers and privileges. But they carried their pretensions much higher. They insisted, as a necessary preliminary, that the king should once entirely desist from levying these duties ; after which they were to take it into consideration, how far they would
* Rushworth, vol. i. p. 644. Parl. Hist. vol. viü. p. 256, 346.