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HAD Charles been of a disposition to neglect all CHAP. theological controversy, he yet had been obliged, in good policy, to adhere to episcopal jurisdiction, not only because it was favourable to monarchy, but because all his adherents were passionately devoted to it; and to abandon them, in what they regarded as so important an article, was for ever to relinquish their friendship and assistance. But Charles had never attained such enlarged principles. He deemed bishops essential to the very being of a christian church; and he thought himself bound, by more sacred ties than those of policy, or even of honour, to the support of that order. His concessions, therefore, on this head, he judged sufficient, when
king's book of sports; the nation found that there was no time left for relaxation or diversion. Upon application, therefore, of the servants and apprentices, the parliament appointed the second Tuesday of every month for play and recreation. Rush. vol. vii, p. 460. Whitlocke, p. 247. But these institutions they found great difficulty to execute; and the people were resolved to be merry when they themselves pleased, not when the parliament should prescribe it to them. The keeping of Christmas holy-days was long a great mark of malignancy, and very severely censured by the commons. Whitlocke, p. 286. Even minced pyes, which custom had made a Christmas dish among the churchmen, was regarded, during that season, as a profane and superstitious viand by the sectaries; though at other times it agreed very well with their stomachs. In the parliamentary ordinance too, for the observance of the sabbath, they inserted a clause for the taking down of maypoles, which they called a heathenish vanity. Since we are upon this subject, it may not be amiss to mention, that, beside setting apart Sunday for the ordinances, as they called them, the godly had regular meetings on the Thursdays for resolving cases of conscience, and conferring about their progress in grace. What they were chiefly anxious about, was the fixing the precise moment of their conversion or new birth; and whoever could not ascertain so difficult a point of calculation, could not pretend to any title to saintship. The profane scholars at Oxford, after the parliament became masters of that town, gave to the house in which the zealots assembled the denomination of Scruple Shop: The zealots, in their turn, insulted the scholars and professors; and, intruding into the place of lectures, declaimed against human learning, and challenged the most knowing of them to prove that their calling was from Christ. See Wood's Fasti Oxoniensis, p. 740.
CHAP. he agreed that an indulgence should be given to tender consciences with regard to ceremonies; that 1645. the bishops should exercise no act of jurisdiction or ordination, without the consent and counsel of such presbyters as should be chosen by the clergy of each diocese; that they should reside constantly in their diocese, and be bound to preach every Sunday; that pluralities be abolished; that abuses in ecclesiastical courts be redressed; and that a hundred thousand pounds be levied on the bishops' estates and the chapter lands, for payment of debts contracted by the parliament. These concessions, though considerable, gave no satisfaction to the parliamentary commissioners; and, without abating any thing of their rigour on this head, they proceeded to their demands with regard to the militia.
THE king's partisans had all along maintained, that the fears and jealousies of the parliament, after the securities so early and easily given to public liberty, were either feigned or groundless; and that no human institution could be better poised and adjusted, than was now the government of England. By the abolition of the star-chamber and court of high commission, the prerogative, they said, has lost all that coercive power by which it had formerly suppressed or endangered liberty: By the establishment of triennial parliaments, it can have no leisure to acquire new powers, or guard itself, during any time, from the inspection of that vigilant assembly: By the slender revenue of the crown, no king can ever attain such influence as to procure a repeal of these salutary statutes: And while the prince commands no military force, he will in vain, by violence, attempt an infringement of laws, so clearly defined by means of late disputes, and so passionately cherished by all his subjects. In this situation, surely, the nation governed by so virtuous a monarch, may, for the present, remain in tranquillity,
Dugdale, p. 779, 780.
tranquillity, and try whether it be not possible, by CHAP. peaceful arts, to elude that danger with which, it is pretended, its liberties are still threatened.
BUT though the royalists insisted on these plausible topics before the commencement of war, they were obliged to own, that the progress of civil commotions had somewhat abated the force and evidence of this reasoning. If the power of the militia, said the opposite party, be entrusted to the king, it would not now be difficult for him to abuse that authority. By the rage of intestine discord, his partisans are inflamed into an extreme hatred against their antagonists; and have contracted, no doubt, some prejudices against popular privileges, which, in their apprehension, have been the source of so much disorder. Were the arms of the state, therefore, put entirely into such hands, what public security, it may be demanded, can be given to liberty, or what private security to those who, in opposition to the letter of the law, have so generously ventured their lives in its defence? In compliance with this apprehension, Charles offered, that the arms of the state should be entrusted, during three years, to twenty commissioners, who should be named, either by common agreement between him and the parliament, or one half by him, the other by the parliament. And after the expiration of that term, he insisted that his constitutional authority over the militia should again return to him."
THE parliamentary commissioners at first demanded, that the power of the sword should for ever be entrusted to such persons as the parliament alone should appoint: But, afterwards, they relaxed so far as to require that authority only for seven years; after which it was not to return to the king, but to be settled by bill, or by common agreement between him and his parliament. The king's commissioners
• Dugdale, p. 798.
Ibid. p. 791.
i Ibid. p. 820
CHA P. commissioners asked, Whether jealousies and fears were all on one side, and whether the prince, from such violent attempts and pretensions as he had experienced, had not, at least, as great reason to entertain apprehensions for his authority, as they for their liberty? Whether there were any equity in securing only one party, and leaving the other, during the space of seven years, entirely at the mercy of their enemies? Whether, if unlimited power were entrusted to the parliament during so long a period, it would not be easy for them to frame the subsequent bill in the manner most agreeable to themselves, and keep for ever possession of the sword, as well as of every article of civil power and jurisdiction.*
THE truth is, after the commencement of war, it was very difficult, if not impossible, to find security for both parties, especially for that of the parliament. Amidst such violent animosities, power alone could ensure safety; and the power of one side was necessarily attended with danger to the other. Few or no instances occur in history of an equal, peaceful, and durable accommodation, that has been concluded between two factions which had been enflamed into civil war.
WITH regard to Ireland, there were no greater hopes of agreement between the parties. The parliament demanded, that the truce with the rebels should be declared null; that the management of the war should be given over entirely to the parliament, and that, after the conquest of Ireland, the nomination of the lord lieutenant and of the judges, or, in other words, the sovereignty of that kingdom, should likewise remain in their hands.1
WHAT rendered an accommodation more desperate was, that the demands on these three heads, however exorbitant, were acknowledged, by the liamentary commissioners, to be nothing but preliminaries.
minaries. After all these were granted, it would be C HA P. necessary to proceed to the discussion of those other, LVII. demands, still more exorbitant, which a little before had been transmitted to the king at Oxford. Such ignominious terms were there insisted on, that worse could scarcely be demanded, were Charles totally vanquished, a prisoner, and in chains. The king was required to attaint, and except from a general pardon, forty of the most considerable of his English subjects, and nineteen of his Scottish, together with all popish recusants in both kingdoms who had borne arms for him. It was insisted, that fortyeight more, with all the members who had sitten in either house at Oxford, all lawyers and divines who had embraced the king's party, should be rendered incapable of any office, be forbidden the exercise of their profession, be prohibited from coming within the verge of the court, and forfeit the third of their estates to the parliament. It was required, that whoever had borne arms for the king, should forfeit the tenth of their estates, or, if that did not suffice, the sixth, for the payment of public debts. As if royal authority were not sufficiently annihilated by such terms, it was demanded, that the court of wards should be abolished; that all the considerable officers of the crown, and all the judges, should be appointed by parliament; and that the right of peace and war should not be exercised without the consent of that assembly." The presbyterians, it must be confessed, after insisting on such conditions, differed only in words from the independents, who required the establishment of a pure republic. When the debates had been carried on to no purpose during twenty days among the commissioners, they separated, and returned; those of the king, to Oxford, those of the parliament, to London. A LITTLE
Rush. vol. vi. p. 850. Dugdale, p. 737.