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example, in granting the same indulgence. Commissioners were appointed for fixing the rates of composition ; and instructions were given to these commissioners not to accept of a less sum than would have been due by the party upon a tax of three subsidies and a half.* Nothing proves more plainly how ill disposed the people were to the measures of the crown, than to observe that they loudly complained of an expedient founded on positive statute, and warranted by such recent precedents. The law was pretended to be obso
lete ; though only one reign had intervened since the last execution of it.
Barnard, lecturer of St. Sepulchre's, London, used thi: expression in his prayer before sermon : Lord, open the eyes of the queen's majesty, that she may see Jesus Christ, whom she has pierced with her infidelity, superstition, and idolatry.” He was questioned in the high commission cour for this insult on the queen; but, upon his submission, dismissed.t Leighton, who had written libels against the king the queen, the bishops, and the whole administration, was con demned by a very severe, if not a cruel sentence; but the execution of it was suspended for some time, in expectation of his submission. All the severities, indeed, of this reign were exercised against those who triumphed in their sufferings, who courted persecution, and braved authority ; and on that account their punishment mạy be deemed the more just, but the less prudent. To have neglected them entirely, had
been consistent with order and public safety, had been the wisest measure that could have been embraced; as perhaps it had been the most severe punishment that could have been inflicted on these zealots.
[1631.] In order to gratify the clergy with a magnificent fabric, subscriptions were set on foot for repairing and rebuilding St. Paul's; and the king, by his countenance and example, encouraged this laudable undertaking.S.By order of the privy council, St. Gregory's church was removed, as an impediment to the project of extending and beautifying the cathedral. Some houses and shops likewise were pulled down, and compensation was made to the owners.l' As thera
* Rush. vol. ii. p. 70, 71, 72. May, p. 16.
was no immediate prospect of assembling a parliament, such acts of power in the king became necessary; and in no former age would the people have entertained any scruple with regard to them. It must be remarked, that the Puritans were extremely averse to the raising of this ornament to the capital. It savored, as they pretended, of Popish superstition.
A stamp duty was imposed on cards; a new tax, which of itself was liable to no objection, but appeared of dangerous consequence when considered as arbitrary and illegal.*
Monopolies were revived ; an oppressive method of levying money, being unlimited, as well as destructive of industry. The last parliament of James, which abolished monopolies, had left an equitable exception in favor of new inventions; and on pretence of these, and of erecting new companies and corporations, was this grievance now renewed. The manufacture of soap was given to a company who paid a sum for their patent.* Leather, salt, and many other commodities, even down to linen rags, were likewise put under restrictions.
It is affirmed by Clarendon, that so little benefit was reaped from these projects, that of two hundred thousand pounds thereby levied on the people, scarcely one thousand five hundred came into the king's coffers. Though we ought not to suspect the noble historian of exaggerations to the disadvantage of Charles's measures, this fact, it must be owned, appears somewhat incredible. The same author adds, that the king's intention was to teach his subjects how unthrifty a thing it was to refuse reasonable supplies to the crown: an imprudent project : to offend a whole nation under the view of punishment: and to hope by acts of violence to break their refractory spirits, without being possessed of any force to prevent resistance.
[1632.] The council of York had been first erected, after a rebellion, by a patent from Henry VIII., without any authority of parliament, and this exercise of power, like many others, was indulged to that arbitrary monarch. This council had long acted chiefly as a criminal court; but, besides some innovations introduced by James, Charles thought proper, some time after Wentworth was made president, to extend its powers, and to give it a large civil jurisdiction, and that in Bome respects discretionary. It is not improbable, that the
* Rush. vol. ii. p. 103. ť Rush. vol. ii. p. 136, 142, 189, 252. | Rush. vol. ii. p. 158, 159, etc. Franklyn, p. 412.
king's intention was only to prevent inconveniencies, which arose from the bringing of every cause, from the most distant parts of the kingdom, into Westminster Hall : but the conse quence, in the mean time, of this measure, was the putting of all the northern counties out of the protection of ordinary law, and subjecting them to an authority somewhat arbitrary. Some irregular acts of that council were this year complained of.*
[1633.] The court of star chamber extended its authority; and it was matter of complaint, that it encroached upon the jurisdiction of the other courts ; imposing heavy fines and inflicting severe punishment, beyond the usual course of justice. Sir David Foulis was fined five thousand pounds, chiefly because he had dissuaded a friend from compounding with the commissioners of knighthood.
Prynne, a barrister of Lincoln's Inn, had written an enormous quarto of a thousand pages, which he called HistrioMastyx. Its professed purpose was to decry stage-plays, comedies, interludes, music, dancing; but the author likewise took occasion to declaim against hunting, public festivals, Christmas-keeping, bonfires, and may-poles. His zeal against all these levities, he says, was first moved by observing that plays sold better than the choicest sermons, and that they were frequently printed on finer paper than the Bible itself. Besides, that the players were often Papists, and desperately wicked; the play-houses, he affirms, are Satan's chapels; the play-haunters little better than incarnate devils, and so many steps in a dance, so many paces "to liell. The chief crime of Nero he represents to have been his frequenting and acting of plays; and those who nobly conspired his death, were principally moved to it, as he affirms, by their indignation at that enormity. The rest of his thousand pages is of a like strain. He had obtaired a license from Archbishop Abbot's chaplain ; yet was he indicted in the star chamber as a libeller. It was thought somewhat hard that general invectives against plays should be interpreted into satires against the king and queen, merély because they frequented these amusements, and because the queen sometimes acted a part in pastorals and interludes which were represented at court. The author, it must be owned, had, in plainer terms, blamed the hierarchy, the
* Rush. vol. ii. p. 202, 203.
ceremonies, the innovations in religious worship, and the new superstitions introduced by Laud; * and this, probably, together with the obstinacy and petulance of his behavior before the star chamber, was the reason why his sentence was, so
He was condemned to be put from the bar; to stand on the pillory in two places, Westminster and Cheapside ; to lose both his ears, one in each place; to pay five thousand pounds' fine to the king; and to be imprisoned during life.t
This same Prynne was a great hero among the Puritans, and it was chiefly with a view of mortifying that sect, that, though of an honorable profession, he was condemned by the star chamber to so ignominious a punishment. The thoroughpaced Puritans were distinguishable by the sourness and austerity of their manners, and by their aversion to all pleasure and society. To inspire them with better humor was certainly, both for their own sake and that of the public, a laudable intention in the court; but whether pillories, fines, and prisons were proper expedients for that purpose, may admit of some question.
Another expedient which the king tried, in order to infuse cheerfulness into the national devotion, was not much more successful. He renewed his father's edict for allowing sports and recreations on Sunday to such as attended public worship; and he ordered his proclamation for that purpose to be publicly read by the clérgy after divine service. Those who were Puritanically affected refused obedience, and were punished by suspension or deprivation. The differences between the sects were before sufficiently great ; nor was it necessary to widen them further by these inventions.
Some encouragement and protection which the king and the bishops gave to wakes, church ales, bride ales, and other cheerful festivals of the common people, were the objects of like scandal to the Puritáns.||
* The music in the churches he affirmed not to be the noise of men, but a bleating of brute beasts ; choristers bellow the tenor, as it were oxen; bark a counterpart, as it were a kennel of dogs; roar out a treble, as it were a sort of bulls ; and grunt out a bass, as it were a number of hogs: Christmas, as it is kept, is the devil's Christmas: and Prynne employed a great number of pages to persuade men top and so he saith in his index. Rush. vol. i. p. 223. + Rush, vol. ii. p. 220, 221,.etc.
Dugdale, p. 2. Rush. vol ii. p. 193, 459. Whitlocke, p. 16, 17. Franklyn, p. 437. Rush, yol ü. p. 191, 192. May, p. 2,
This year, Charles made a journey to Scotland, attended by the court, in order to hold a parliament there, and to pass through the ceremony of his coronation. The nobility and gentry of both kingdoms rivalled each other in expressing all duty and respect to the king, and in showing mutual friendship and regard to each other. No one could have suspected, from exterior appearances, that such dreadful scenes were approaching.
One chief article of business, (for it deserves the name,) which the king transacted in this parliament, was, besides obtaining some supply, to procure authority for ordering the habits of clergymen.* The act did not pass without opposition and difficulty. The dreadful surplice was before men's eyes, and they apprehended, with some reason, that under sanction of this law, it would soon be introduced among them.. Though the king believed that his prerogative entitled him to a power, in general, of directing whatever belonged to the rior government of the church, this was deemed a matter of too great importance to be ordered without the sanction of a particular statute.
Immediately after the king's return to England, he heard of Archbishop Abbot's death; and, without delay, he conferred that dignity on his favorite, Laud; who, by this accession of authority, was now enabled to maintain ecclesiastica, discipline with greater rigor, and to aggravate the general discontent of the nation.
Laud obtained the bishopric of London for his friend Juxon; and, about a year after the death of Sir Richard Weston, created earl of Portland, had interest enough to engage the king to make that prelate high treasurer. Juxon was a person of great integrity, mildness, and humanity, and endued with a good understanding.† Yet did this last promotion give general offence. His birth and character were deemed too obscure for a man raised to one of the highest offices of the crown. And the clergy, it was thought, were already too much elated by former instances of the king's attachment to them, and needed not this further encouragement to assume dominion over the laity. I The Puritans, likewise, were much dissatisfied with Fuxon, notwithstanding his eminent virtues, because he was a lover of profane field sports and hunting.
* Rushworth, vol. ii. p. 183.