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Title: A history of England principally in the seventeenth century, Volume II
Author: Ranke, Leopold von
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A history of England principally in the seventeenth century, Volume II" ***

Transcriber’s Notes

Variations in hyphenation and accents have been
standardised but all other spelling and punctuation remains
unchanged, except as noted below.

    Page 203 - Corrected “Parliamen” to “Parliament”
    Page 216 - Corrected “PARLIAMLNT” to “PARLIAMENT”
    Page 481 - Corrected “wa sno” to “was no”
    Page 538 - Corrected “devoloping” to “developing”

Italics are represented thus _italic_, superscripts thus


    _L. VON RANKE_



    [Illustration: CLARENDON













    [_All rights reserved_]






    CHAP. I.  Peace with France and Spain                                  3

      ”  II.  Share of England in the events of the Thirty Years’
              War 1630-1636                                               15

      ” III.  Monarchical tendencies of the Home Government               31

              Taxes levied without a grant of Parliament                  33

              Charles I’s relations with Catholicism                      38
              State of opinion in the Church of England at this time      45

              Further designs of the Government                           51

              Public Affairs                                              54

      ”  IV.  Conflicting tendencies of the Age, and within the Kingdom
              of Great Britain                                            59

      ”   V.  Origin and outbreak of Ecclesiastical Disturbances in
              Scotland                                                    71

      ”  VI.  The Scottish Covenant                                       88

      ” VII.  Attempts at an accommodation.  Independent Assembly
              of the Church                                              105



    CHAP. I.  Campaign of Charles I against Scotland                     121

      ”  II.  Relations of the English Court with the Court and
              Policy of France                                           138
      ” III.  Relations of England with the army of Bernard of
    Weimar and with the Spanish fleet under Oquendo                      157

      ”  IV.  Renewed disturbances in Scotland                           169

      ”   V.  Strafford and the Short Parliament                         182

      ”  VI.  The Scots in England                                       199



    INTRODUCTION                                                         215

    CHAP. I.    Summoning of the Parliament                              216

      ”   II.   The first sittings of the Long Parliament                225

      ”   III.  Progress of aggressive tendencies in the Lower House.
                Debates on Episcopacy                                    240
                The Proceedings against Strafford                        246

      ”   IV.   Attempt at a Reaction                                    253

      ”   V.    Parliamentary and popular agitation. Execution of
                Strafford                                                264

      ”   VI.   Concessions and new demands                              272

      ”   VII.  Charles I in Scotland                                    280
                The Irish Rebellion                                      283

      ”   VIII. Days of the Grand Remonstrance                           290

      ”   IX.  Formation of a new Ministry. Tumultuous agitation
                 in the Capital                                          304

      ”   X.  Breach between the King and the Parliament                 315



    INTRODUCTION                                                         335

    CHAP. I.  Origin cf the Civil War                                    338

      ”   II.  The Campaigns of 1642 and 1643                            362

      ”  III.  Fresh interference of the Scots. Campaign of 1644         383

      ”   IV.  Preponderance of the Scots. Reconstruction of the
                 English army                                            405
               The Westminster Assembly                                  408
               The Negotiations at Uxbridge                              412
               Dissensions in Parliament. The Self-denying Ordinance     415

      ”    V.  The Campaign of 1645                                      423



    INTRODUCTION                                                         447

    CHAP. I.    Flight of the King to the Scots                          448

      ”   II.   Charles I at Newcastle                                   465

      ”   III.  The Parliament and Army at variance                      480

      ”   IV.   Influence of the Agitators                               495

      ”   V.    The so-called Second Civil War                           511

      ”   VI.   Fall of the King                                         530





If we consider the embarrassment in which Charles I had
been involved by his conduct of the war, we are tempted to
assume that, in order to extricate himself from it, he must
have opened negotiations with the two great powers with
which he was at war whilst they were still at variance with
one another. This however was not the case.

Negotiations with France were opened at the instigation
of the powers combined to resist Spain, between which
an agreement had first been set on foot by James I, and
had been renewed by Buckingham. Those powers regarded
the breach between England and France as a misfortune,
which they must endeavour to obviate if they would carry
on the war against Austria and Spain with full vigour.
The Republic of Venice, which felt itself most seriously
threatened by these powers, made a great point of promoting
a reconciliation between France and England by the agency
of its ambassadors.

A few days before his unhappy end, Buckingham withdrew with
the Venetian ambassador, Aluise Contarini, into a retired
chamber in one of his country-houses, and there concerted
with him a letter of pacific import to his brother envoy
in France, for him to communicate to the French court[1].
While Buckingham was preparing to strike a blow, he still
hoped to procure from France tolerable conditions for the      [A.D. 1629.]
besieged town of Rochelle. All other difficulties he
thought might then be removed in a couple of hours.

But Buckingham was assassinated. When the Venetians after
this event brought their negotiations before the King, who
as yet knew nothing about them, he even refused to hear
them. He quite recognised the necessity of finding some
arrangement: ‘I acknowledge all that,’ he said one day to
the ambassador; ‘but,’ he added, ‘I have arms in my hands,
not to negotiate, but to save the town. My honour is at

Though Rochelle, as we have seen, failed to hold out,
the result cannot be ascribed to King Charles. After
Lindsay’s attempt to break through the mole had proved
unsuccessful--we do not quite know whether on account of
the superiority of the French, or from the above-mentioned
deficiencies on the side of the English--Charles I gave
orders to renew the attempt again, without any regard
to the danger to his ships, and not to retire from the
town whatever might be the cost[3]. On this the council
of war had in fact resolved to lead the ships against
the palisades by a way hitherto untried, when the town,
despairing of help and overpowered by unendurable
hardships, capitulated.

After the fall of Rochelle the Venetians resumed their
attempts at mediation with redoubled ardour. King Charles
was brought into a more favourable frame of mind by the
tolerable conditions granted to the town in regard to the
profession of religion, and by the evident impossibility of
doing anything effectual in France: and Contarini now found
him inclined to listen. But the ambassador was considerate
enough not to urge the King, after he had been beaten in
the strife, now to make overtures for its adjustment[4]:
the negotiations were left more than ever in the hands of
the Venetian ambassador in France, Zorzo Zorzi.

They were principally concerned with two points. The           [A.D. 1629.]
French demanded above all the execution of the provisions
laid down in the marriage contract for the constitution
of the Queen’s household. Charles I not only refused to
revert to these, he even rejected the conditions which
he had consented to when Bassompierre was in England,
and which the French at that time did not accept. He
insisted that her court should continue as it was. He had
made other arrangements for filling the offices in the
household;--how could he take away their places again
from the English lords and ladies who were in possession
of them? He would not have any misunderstandings at his
court, in his house, and as he said plainly, in his
marriage bed. The Venetian ambassador in England remarked
that it would be disadvantageous to the Queen if these
demands were persisted in. And she herself also had already
begged that they should be dropped, on the ground that
she was satisfied with the present arrangements of her
court: she did not even think fit to write about them
to her mother[5]. However disagreeable it might be for
the Queen-mother herself, and for the zealous advocates
of the Church about her, her son and Cardinal Richelieu
sympathised with the point of view of Charles I, or else
they saw that he would not give it up: at all events
they contented themselves with stipulating that, if an
alteration in the court were necessary, they should
come to an amicable arrangement on the subject, to suit
the requirements of the Queen’s service[6]. Even these
words were merely accepted by the English in the avowed
expectation that they would never be used to disturb the
repose of the kingdom, or the mode of life of the King[7].
In brief, the execution of the former stipulations was
given up by the French. In this matter, which most nearly
concerned King Charles, he carried the day.

The second point affected the old connexion between the        [A.D. 1629.]
English and the Huguenots. The former had hitherto claimed
to regulate through their intervention, and to fix by
compact, the relations between the French government and
the Reformed Churches. Buckingham had already been disposed
to drop this claim: and after the last turn which affairs
had taken, there could be no more thought of maintaining
it. The English plenipotentiaries were satisfied with a
general pardon bestowed on the Huguenots by the King of
France, reserving to them their Protestant worship. But the
English had wished that it should be indicated, if even by
the slightest expressions, that this concession was the
effect of the peace[8]. Not that it should be a condition
of the agreement, nor even that any interest in the result
should be ascribed to England, but something was to be said
about regard for peace as the foremost public good, and
about the joint action between the two nations which was
in immediate prospect. They thought that this was demanded
by their honour, and they would not at once renounce all
common feeling with the Calvinists. But the French returned
a decided refusal. True as it was that the concessions
that were vouchsafed to the Huguenots were based on the
necessity of a closer connexion with England and Holland,
which but for these could not have been agreed on, yet the
French would not allow any hint of this to be dropped. They
would have feared that occasion might thus be given for
interference at some future time: in any case the authority
of the government would have been damaged. The Venetian
ambassador in London makes a merit of inducing Charles I
finally to desist from this request. The principal reason
alleged by him in support of his advice was that not only
a question of religion, but an actual rebellion was here
concerned, inasmuch as the Huguenots had leagued with

Thus was this peace concluded at Susa, April 1, 1629. In       [A.D. 1629.]
estimating the historical relations of the two kingdoms
in general, great importance must be assigned to it. What
had been brought about in the times of the Normans and
Plantagenets, and once more during the great wars of the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries--I mean a most intimate
connexion of French and English interest--had, as it were,
repeated itself, although on a far smaller scale, during
the religious wars. In the times of Queen Elizabeth and
James I the French Reformed ranged themselves under the
influence of England: even in the time of Charles I this
had not ceased. On the other hand the French had sought
to establish a counteracting influence on their side,
especially by the late marriage contract. Neither of the
two governments profited by this. In the peace of Susa they
agreed to desist from this mutual action on one another.
The French resigned the literal fulfilment of the marriage
contract: the English renounced the connexion with the
Huguenots which had hitherto been acknowledged. Relations
into which religion entered could not be avoided, but the
political sting, so to speak, was taken out of them. In
France from that date the ascendancy of Catholicism could
more decidedly be erected into a principle of the state:
in England the court once more asserted its Protestant

For the moment the result of the peace was to untie the
hands of France for the conflict with Spain. Every one
knows what vast dimensions this assumed: it set fresh
enmity between the parts of the world of that day which
it rent asunder, and laid the foundation of the state of
affairs which prevailed in the following epoch.

While France carried her arms into Italy, in order to force
back the Spanish influence there, the King of England was
to direct his forces to North Germany, in order to check
the spreading power of the Emperor and the League. Maritime
affairs at that time principally attracted the general
attention. Wallenstein advanced a claim to sovereignty
over the Baltic, but at the same time he intended to
hold the ports of the German Ocean and the mouth of the
Elbe in behalf of the Empire: and a combination between
the Hanseatic shipping and the Spanish naval power was         [A.D. 1629.]
contemplated. Roused by this unexpected danger, the Kings
of Sweden and Denmark held a conference in February 1629
on the confines of the province of Halland, and united to
defend the ‘Regalia of the northern crowns on the Baltic
sea[10].’ The Danish ambassador exerted himself most
zealously to kindle the sympathies of the Dutch and English
also. And in fact the King of England, in transmitting the
official notification of the peace with France, announced
to the States-General that he had sent a squadron under
Pennington and Colonel Mackay to the Elbe in order to
encourage the King of Denmark[11], and he invited the Dutch
likewise to support him. A short time before, Colonel
Morgan with another considerable body of troops, among whom
were newly enlisted French and Scots, had started from the
islands of Sylt and Föhr and made an attack upon the troops
of the Empire and of Gottorp at Nordstrand. But at this
moment, when a new coalition embracing the South, West,
and North of Europe, was again just about to be formed to
check the advance of the house of Austria, Denmark, which
was to have been supported in the first instance, came to
an agreement with that power. In the beginning of June, at
Lübeck, King Christian IV renounced his operations against
the German empire; but in return he received back without
loss of a foot of land his possessions in Holstein and
Jutland, the greater part of which was in the hands of the
enemy. If we ask what induced the Imperialists to make so
extensive a concession, it was no doubt anxiety about that
maritime coalition, for which great exertions were being
made at Copenhagen. Even without this aid the Danish fleet
was able to defend itself with much more success than
the army: the Imperial and German navies, with all their
combined force, were still far from being a match for it.
The generals were afraid of reverses, and of a mischievous     [A.D. 1629.]
action of the Danish fleet upon the coast towns of which
they had taken possession, and upon the German empire in
general[12]. Charles I had just sent one of his ablest and
most zealous diplomatists, Thomas Roe, a particular friend
of his sister the Electress Palatine, to Hamburg, in order
to bring about a northern alliance between the two kings,
the Republic, and the Hanse towns[13]. He hoped still to
delay the ratification of the treaty between Denmark and
Austria, and to make it abortive. But all was in vain; the
peace was far too advantageous to Denmark for the Danish
councillors to give it up again.

Upon this most of the adversaries of Austria and Spain,
even those in Italy, directed their gaze to the King of
Sweden. The forces of the Emperor, which were no longer
engaged with Denmark, were now twice as dangerous to him,
and he appeared quite ready to take up arms if he should
be supported by France and England. Cardinal Richelieu
showed an inclination, if England would send a fleet to
sea against Spain, to furnish a third of the vessels, and
to make common cause in general with that power: he only
wished that the undertaking should be carried out in the
name of England. But the withdrawal of Denmark had quite
a different effect upon the King of England, to whom the
preservation of his uncle had supplied a motive for taking
arms: he inclined on the contrary to follow the example
set him by that prince. The Lord Treasurer Weston, who had
to provide the money, looked upon the Danish peace as a
relief: he breathed more freely when it had been concluded;
for after the unhappy results of the last Parliament the
want of money was so sorely felt by the government, that
no one reckoned upon their fulfilling their engagements,
and they themselves would undertake none. And such great
injury had been inflicted on trade by the war, that the        [A.D. 1629.]
whole people cried out not only for peace with France, but
also, just as loudly, for peace with Spain[14].

Under these circumstances Peter Paul Rubens, the painter,
arrived in London bearing proposals from the court of
Spain. The painter was also a clever diplomatist; his art
served to cloak his missions. Two years before he had had
an interview with Balthasar Gerbier, a skilful miniature
painter, also a native of Antwerp, who had been employed
by Buckingham on secret business: they had conferred at
Delft in July 1627 on the establishment of peace between
England and Spain. Rubens belonged to the court of the
Infanta Isabella, and had made communications to her on the
subject, but was reluctant to send his papers to Spain[15];
and besides, no one, he said, would have been able to
extract information from them. He was therefore summoned
to Spain in person, and was sent to England charged with
overtures of peace on the basis of the plans sketched out.
Extremely remarkable were the overtures which Rubens made.
Although the estrangement between England and Spain had
grown out of the affair of the Palatinate, Rubens made
no attempt to settle this: he declared, on the contrary,
that it was not in the power of Philip IV to restore the
Palatinate to its former owner; that he would gladly set
about it, but that it was dependent mainly on the Emperor
and the Elector of Bavaria. Rubens however saw in this
disagreement no absolute hindrance to the renewal of
friendly relations, especially in regard to commerce, nor
to the return of the ambassador of either power to the
court of the other: he thought that the two governments
must only abstain from framing new articles, and revert
to the peace which King James had concluded with Spain at
the very beginning of his reign, and which left several
important controversies unsettled; that in the same way
at this time the affair of the Elector Palatine, and           [A.D. 1629.]
even of the Dutch, might remain untouched; that Charles
I need not give up either the one or the other, and yet
might maintain peace with the Spaniards[16]. From our
knowledge of this prince, these proposals, especially after
the conclusion of the Danish peace, must have been most
welcome to him. He also had now a freer prospect. Almost at
the first moment when the arrival of the French ambassador
was talked of in the Queen’s presence, he had said to her
that in the course of the year she might see the arrival
of another from Spain. She answered, for she was not yet
of his opinion, that he must only take care that no one
deceived him afresh.

The world was already prepared for negotiations with Spain.
The Venetians had so zealously promoted the arrangement
with France, principally in order to anticipate them.
People saw those persons again appear at court who were
thought to favour Spain, and had been obliged to retire
when Buckingham’s ascendancy was established. To men’s
astonishment, Lord Bristol, once the great antagonist of
Buckingham, now on the contrary himself acquired influence
over the King. The Earl of Arundel, of the house of Howard,
resumed his former place in the Privy Council. Closely
allied with these men was the Lord Treasurer Weston, who
principally exerted himself to save money with the object
of relieving the King from the necessity of reassembling
Parliament: it was owing to him that dissensions at home
furnished a real motive for peace abroad. Weston himself,
and Cottington, who was regarded as a staunch adherent
of Spain, and who professed Catholicism with hardly any
disguise, were selected to confer with Rubens; and that to
the exclusion of the other members of the Privy Council,
even of the Secretaries of State. Before the end of July
they had made such progress that the matter could be laid
before the Privy Council[17]. The King loved to sit in
council: but on important questions he expressed his           [A.D. 1630.]
opinion so decidedly, that no one ventured to contradict
him. Thus on the present occasion also he gave Weston’s
scheme his unqualified approval. Cottington, much to the
annoyance of the French, set out for Spain: while on the
part of Spain, Don Carlos Coloma, one of the Infanta
Isabella’s most trusty ministers--for a subordinate would
not have been thought of--was appointed ambassador in
England. Coloma was an old friend of Weston; and it is
supposed that the basis of an agreement had been concerted
between them beforehand[18].

In the negotiations however the question of the
Palatinate presented a great obstacle; for King Charles
and his ministers sometimes seemed unwilling to come to
a conclusion unless the Spaniards undertook a formal
obligation with regard to it. But the latter rejected
conditions by which they would very likely have even
been compelled to go to war with Austria and the Elector
of Bavaria, and that at a time when peace had not been
concluded between Spain and France[19]. Looking to the
existing state of affairs in Europe, they refused to
give up the fortresses that were so extremely important
strategically, and which in that case might easily have
fallen into the hands of others who were hostile to them.
They adhered to a view of the situation fundamentally the
same as that which had moved the King to break with them
in the first years of his reign. But the lofty courage of
that period had now abandoned him: he now dispensed with
a stipulation like that which he had then demanded, and
contented himself with a simple promise that satisfaction
would be given him in the affair of the Palatinate. At the
signature of the peace, an assurance of Philip IV on this      [A.D. 1630.]
subject, written with his own hand, was solemnly delivered
to him by Don Carlos Coloma[20].

And already there were indications that the Spanish
influence might possibly this time produce more effect
on the Emperor than before. The Emperor allowed a
plenipotentiary from the Elector, whom he had laid under
the ban, to appear at Ratisbon; and he showed a disposition
to withdraw the ban and to allow the expelled sovereign an
income out of the revenues of the country. Notwithstanding
these offers the restoration of his territory was still
very far off. Charles said to his sister, the Queen of
Bohemia, that the agreement was a remedy which could do
no harm, even if it did no good; that he acquired thereby
a right to the co-operation of the King of Spain; that
moreover he was taking steps to conclude a defensive and
offensive league with France and the States-General for the
restoration of the Palatinate, but that unhappily he did
not find these powers so willing as he had expected[21]. We
know from Queen Elizabeth’s letters that she was calmed by
these assurances[22].

The States-General had again rejected the proposals of the
Spaniards for a peaceful arrangement, which in themselves
were not acceptable; for they feared to endanger their
existing government. The treaty of 1630 therefore caused
them certainly not less uneasiness than that of 1604 had
done. Charles I repeated to them assurances similar to
those which were then made, that his alliance with them, as
far as their state and religion were concerned, should not
be prejudiced on that account.

It was the wish of Charles I to revert to the policy of
his father. Experience had taught him that he could no
longer advance in the path on which he had entered while       [A.D. 1630.]
still Prince of Wales, and which he had continued to
follow after he became King. He had plunged himself into
the gravest political embarrassments; and, although the
hostility between Crown and Parliament had long been
threatening, he had caused the first open outbreak. He now
wished to establish tolerably good relations with both the
two neighbouring powers alike. With France he felt himself
more intimately connected in the great affairs of Europe,
and he took good care not to loosen this tie: he did not
drop the cause of the Elector Palatine; but he wished at
the same time to open commercial intercourse between his
country and the extensive and wealthy provinces of the
Spanish monarchy. When Cottington returned home from his
embassy, he had the silver brought by the ship in which he
came laid upon wagons, and carried in a sort of procession
through the town. For he intended the inhabitants to be
impressed by the opulence of the country, the commerce of
which was reopened to them by the treaty just concluded.

Charles I shrank from bringing his whole strength to bear
upon the great questions of religion and politics which
engrossed the continent, that he might above all be the
King of Great Britain. We may certainly ask whether he was
morally entitled to renounce his connexion with European
affairs after he had contributed so largely to increase
the existing confusion, and to bring the Protestant cause
to destruction. And moreover such a severance was hardly
possible any longer. Religious and political sympathies
and conflicting tendencies had become so strong on the
continent of Europe, that in one form or another they could
not fail to react upon Great Britain as well.


[1] Aluise Contarini, 20 Agosto 1628: ‘Essendo trattenuto
ben quatro hore a disputar, risolver et adomesticar il
negotio: sempre coll’ assistenza di Carleton che in questo
fatto si è portato egregiamente.’

[2] ‘Tutto è vero, ma il mio honor importa più.’

[3] ‘That they should hazard for the relief of the town all
his ships, that he purposed not to have it left re infecta,
whatever it might cost.’ Mead to Stuteville, in Ellis iii.

[4] Contarini, Nov. 18. ‘Non può con doppio dishonore et
parlare et perdere.’

[5] Contarini to Zorzi: ‘Mi manda a dire in molta
confidenza che non vorrebbe disgustar il re interessandosi
troppo in questo affare.’

[6] ‘S’il y a quelque chose à ajouter ou à diminuer, se
fera de part et d’autre de gré à gré.’ Traité de paix fait
à Suze, 24 Avril 1629, Art. iv. Dumont v. ii. 580.

[7] Zorzi to Contarini, Jan. 20, 1629: ‘Che la Francia non
vorrebbe servirsene, che da sola apparenza senza sturbar il
riposo del re et il gusto degli Inglesi.’

[8] Contarini to Zorzi, Nov. 21: ‘Questo parte (l’Inglese)
piu non insiste d’esserne direttrice--punto grande
guadagnatosi--ma vederebbe volentieri che Ugonotti non si
dolessero da lei che li havesse abbandonati et il re vi ha

[9] A. Contarini designates this view as ‘la massima con
la quale credo d’ haver portato questo negocio.’ (8 Giugno

[10] Cp. Slange ii. 1. 378. Schlegel’s doubts are done
away by the news which Anstruther gave to England about
the ‘abboccamento seguito tra il re di Danimarca e Suecia,
et i buoni concerti stabiliti tra loro per difesa del mar
Baltico.’ Dispaccio Veneto 1 Mayo, 1629.

[11] Aitzema: Saken van staet en orloogh i. 243. Contarini
avers that the squadron, consisting of five ships, had gone
in the direction of the Elbe.

[12] ‘Istis locis nullam esse classem, deesse navigia,
quibus bellum mari possit sustineri,--Danis in promtu esse
classem quam indies Sueci, Angli, Batavi novis augeant
subsidiis.’ Extract from the report of the Generals in
Adlzreiter, Ann. Boici iii. 1821.

[13] Contarini, 29 Giugno: ‘Per unir seco con qualche buon
concerto tutto questo settentrione.’

[14] Contarini, 2 Giugno 1628: ‘La pace gridata a piena
bocca dei popoli o con Francia o con Spagna o con tutti,
rispetto al commercio.’

[15] ‘Je ne doute pas, que Rubens n’ait declaré nettement
ce que Gerbier lui a proposé.’ Lettre de l’Infante 1628,
31 Mai (Gachet, Lettres de Rubens); so that it seems as if
people in Spain had doubts about it.

[16] ‘Che si confermi semplicemente l’ultima pace fatta col
re Giacomo, lasciando il negotio del palatinato vergine
senza parlarne, admettendosi nel resto in quel trattato
l’assistenza a stati et altri amici di questa corona.’
Contarini (here our principal authority), 20 Luglio 1629.

[17] According to Contarini (Aug. 3) we must date the
decisive meeting of the Privy Council on July 19/29, 1629.

[18] There is an order to the vice-admirals extant, dated
March 8, 1630, in which they are admonished to allow no
rudeness or insolence to be shown to the ambassador of the
King of Spain, who was expected to arrive shortly. Bruce,
Calendar of State Papers 1630, No. 50.

[19] Contarini gives us part of the contents of a note of
Coloma to the King of England: ‘Pienissima attestatione che
nel cattolico sia vivo e cordiale desiderio de sodisfare al
re della Gran Brettagne in tutto quello pin si possj--che
per ridurre in stato di riuscita il negotio della
restitutione del palatinato sia necessario che prima di
tutte le cose segua la pace tra le due corone nella quale
debbe esser incluse il principe Palatino.’ (26 Aprile 1630).

[20] ‘A writing under the King of Spain’s own hand and
seal, promising never to take off his hand from that
negotiation, until the King our master should have entire
satisfaction touching the restitution.’ Windebank to Aston,
in the Clarendon State Papers i. 780.

[21] Letter from the King to the Queen. Rushworth ii. 61.

[22] ‘Though I am not much rejoiced at it, yet I am so
confident on my dear brother’s love and the promise he
hath made me not to forsake our cause, that it troubles me
the less.’ (Elizabeth to Carlisle, June 1630, in Green’s
Princesses of England v. 482).



Charles I had told his sister that the conclusion of peace
with Spain did not hinder him from forming an alliance with
Sweden. And in fact, in the summer of 1630, as soon as
Gustavus Adolphus appeared in Germany, we find one of the
principal nobles of Scotland, James Marquess of Hamilton,
collecting English and Scottish levies with the support of
the King, who handed over to him the proceeds of a Scottish
tax for that purpose. One part of this force embarked at
Leith, the other at Yarmouth; and towards the end of July
1631 they landed at Usedom, as Gustavus Adolphus had done
a year before. The English have always affirmed that the
arrival of Hamilton with a considerable body of troops
contributed materially to the decided successes of this
year of the war. And with good reason; for they gave the
Protestant princes greater confidence in their cause and
made the Emperor anxious for his territory of Bohemia.
Hamilton was one of those personages of high rank who
gave themselves up to the cause of the Queen of Bohemia
with chivalrous devotion. While the King of Sweden was
pressing forward into Saxony to try his strength against
the arms of the League, Hamilton guarded the passage of
the Oder to provide for the possible contingency of a
retreat: but after the decisive battle at Breitenfeld,
not far from Leipsic, he turned his steps to Lusatia and
Silesia. How advantageous would King Charles have found it
for his purpose, which he thought to promote by combining
Spanish influence and warlike demonstrations in support of     [A.D. 1631.]
it, if he had been able to offer places in Silesia in
exchange for those in the Palatinate! Hamilton had taken
Guben, and was on the way to Glogau, when Gustavus
Adolphus, chiefly out of regard to Saxony, gave him orders
to turn aside towards the Elbe to besiege Magdeburg.
Hamilton looked upon this as an intentional injury done
to Queen Elizabeth and her consort. As the King of Sweden
was advancing into West Germany without a check, Hamilton
hurried after him, hoping to be put at the head of a
separate division, and charged with the reconquest of
the Palatinate. But the number of the Scots and English
had already melted away to a great extent, owing to the
unhealthiness of the climate and to their marches through
a devastated country: they were besides at variance among
themselves, so that he now threw no weight into the scale.
It was intimated to him that every one knew quite well that
he was not prosecuting his own cause, but that of the King
of England: but that no one would help him to attain his
party-end by these means.

Gustavus Adolphus was convinced that the enemy would not
be able to drive him out of Germany. He was more afraid of
the coldness and jealousy of his allies, who could easily
undermine his authority[23]: and he looked upon Charles I
as one of them.

At Frankfort on the Main Henry Vane presented himself
before Gustavus Adolphus as ambassador of the King of
England, in order to invite him to restore the Elector
Palatine to his country. The King of Sweden made various
objections, founded on his relations with France, which was
again showing much regard for the Catholic princes; but
he principally urged the request that King Charles should
break with Spain[24]. People feared that whenever the King
of England saw his brother-in-law restored, he would throw
himself entirely on the side of the Spaniards. If, as
Charles I said, his relations were such that an agreement
with Spain did not prevent him from forming a connexion
with Sweden, they yet involved the consequence that this       [A.D. 1632.]
was never very close; for Sweden was allied with France,
whose interests ran exactly counter to those of Spain.

Gustavus Adolphus saw with pleasure that the Elector
Frederick, with the support of the States-General, of the
Prince of Orange and the King of England, joined his camp
and followed it for a time. Frederick was present when
Gustavus Adolphus conquered Kreuznach, formerly one of his
towns; and it appears possible that the reviving affection
of his subjects contributed to the result. A couple of
English regiments were also engaged here[25], and Frederick
welcomed them with satisfaction. He attended the King on
his victorious march to the Lech and into Bavaria; every
word the King uttered strengthened his hopes of returning
in a short time to his country as sovereign. But when he
now desired to come forward on his own account and to arm,
Gustavus Adolphus would not accede to his wish. He gave him
to understand that this would interfere with the success of
his own enlistments. The King even hesitated to replace in
his hands the government of those circles of the Palatinate
which had been reconquered; at all events he annexed to
his consent the condition that the Lutherans should be
allowed free profession of their faith. Everything led
men to expect that if he wrested from the Spaniards the
two strongholds which they still retained, he would keep
them for a time in his own hands. Even in this moment of
apparent success Frederick endured hours of sadness and
heavy sorrow of heart. He once with tears in his eyes told
Hamilton and Vere that he had rather be out of the world
than obliged to submit to the conditions imposed by Sweden.

In October 1632 Frederick returned to his country. But in
what a plight did he find it on his return! Oppenheim,
where he wished to take up his residence, was half burnt
down; the houses that were left standing had no bolts or
bars, no doors or windows. To avoid being carried off by
the first active bands of marauders, he set out for Mainz;
but a pestilent sickness was raging there; he was attacked
by it and perished, far from his wife and children. He had     [A.D. 1633.]
paid for the short possession of a throne, which his
own unassisted strength was too weak to maintain, by
a fugitive’s life, in which many yielded him their
sympathies, but none the help of which he stood in need.

At that time his death was hardly remarked, in presence of
the great loss which the whole Protestant cause and the
world in general experienced when the King of Sweden fell
on the battle-field of Lützen.

The two events exercised a concurrent influence upon
England. King Charles, after his brother-in-law’s death,
regarded it as his duty to identify his nephew’s cause
still more closely with his own. The death of the King of
Sweden made his task easier, inasmuch as the strong will,
which had hitherto controlled every design, had now ceased
to act. Charles I now immediately invited the Protestant
sovereigns of Germany to carry on the war, by which the
Palatinate was to be restored; and in return he offered to
continue to them the subsidies which he had contributed
to the King of Sweden. And Chancellor Oxenstiern, who
guided the Swedish policy, had weighty reasons himself for
respecting the interests of the Palatinate, as they were
linked not only with so many others in the Empire, but with
those of the Netherlands besides, and just now with those
of Great Britain[26]. In May 1633, at the convention of
Heilbronn, where the English ambassador Anstruther appeared
among others, the cause of the Palatinate received more
consideration than it ever had before. Electoral rank was
conceded for the first time to the plenipotentiary of the
Palsgrave Louis Philip, who came forward as administrator
of the Palatinate in the name of the Elector Charles Louis,
who was still a minor. The Chancellor of Sweden promised
them the restoration of the whole country, so far as it
was in Swedish hands: and in the Consilium formatum,
which it was determined at Heilbronn to set up, to act in
conjunction with him, the Palatinate occupied the first
place. In return the administrator granted the restoration
of the Lutheran faith: he left Mannheim, as well as other      [A.D. 1633.]
important places, in the hands of Sweden for the time, and
made himself answerable for the payment of 60,000 reichs
thalers. These however the English ambassador undertook to
furnish; and in fact we find that immediately after this
time £15,000, which at that time was about equal to the sum
stipulated, was despatched to Germany. The King and Weston
were well pleased that England was not named in the treaty,
nor pledged to further advances[27]. They now thought it
preferable to leave the matter alone.

But the help of England could not but be often claimed
hereafter in aid of this cause.

In the summer of 1633 there was much talk of invoking the
sympathies of the English nation in behalf of the widowed
Queen Elizabeth and her children. Her friends flattered
themselves that half a million thalers might be raised by
voluntary contributions; and Nethersole, one of the Queen’s
most trusty friends, was in the country to conduct the
transaction, which was to be carried out in the name of the
Princess and of the King. But it was soon perceived that
the nation was not so forward as had been expected; for it
saw in this scheme an attempt to evade the necessity of a
Parliamentary grant. In order to meet this suspicion the
sketch of a proclamation was laid before the King, in which
the remark was made that he would measure the loyalty of
his people by the amount of their voluntary contributions,
and would be the more ready to seek their help in another
way when the time for this should have arrived[28]. But
this clause displeased the King, because it contained a
promise which he was reluctant to give, that Parliament
should be summoned; and he struck it out with his own
hand[29]. On this the whole project fell to the ground, for
without an assurance of this sort the Queen’s friends had
no hope of effecting anything.

Towards the end of the year 1633 there was a moment            [A.D. 1634.]
when the Emperor again obtained advantages on the Upper
Rhine; and the attention of King Charles was called to
the inability of the territory of the Palatinate to
resist even a feeble attack from the side of Alsace. The
administrator asked for only a small force of 6000 infantry
and 1000 cavalry, which after it was once raised might be
kept in pay for £6000 a month. The Queen of Bohemia, the
States-General, and the French ambassador united their
requests with his; the Chancellor of Sweden sent his son
over to recommend the King most strongly to accede to
them: but the King and his treasurer shrank from a new and
regular outlay, which in the present instance was sure to
entail much other expenditure. At last they raised 100,000
thalers for Germany, and sent the administrator a gold
chain in order to keep him in a good humour: but they could
not be moved to undertake an obligation which could lead to
the assembling of Parliament.

We should remark however that they were withheld from
decisive action, not only by want of money and by fees of
Parliament, but also by general political considerations as

In the last few years, since the leading of the King of
Sweden in Germany, the importance and power of the French
had immeasurably increased. They had the Protestant
interest in Germany on their side, and they already
exercised a decisive influence on the Catholics also. In
all their proceedings it was seen that, notwithstanding
the advantages which they won, their allies derived no
benefit, but that on the contrary they only endeavoured to
make their own position so strong in order to be raised
above all need of considering the interests of other
powers. Only one other state, Holland, raised itself side
by side with them to daily-increasing importance. Just at
that time the Dutch had thrown their English rivals into
the shade: they had founded their East Indian empire, they
had established a footing in Brazil, they had captured in
the West Indian waters the Spanish register-ships which
went from Mexico to Havanna with all their rich cargo--an
achievement which the English had so often attempted in        [A.D. 1635.]
vain; and in their domestic waters, in the narrow channel
of the Slaak, they had annihilated the fleet of the Infanta
Isabella which was sailing to attack them. In consequence
of this they also became masters of the neighbouring seas.
They did not hesitate to seek out ships under the Spanish
flag, especially those of Dunkirk, in English ports, or
in English waters, and to take them across to Holland as
their lawful prize. And even on land at that time they
achieved important results. By the successful surprise of
Wesel they not only again secured their own frontier, but
once more infused some portion of vital power into that
principality on the Rhine, which had been formerly founded
there by Brandenburg in conjunction with England, but which
certainly required a longer time for its development. The
sieges of Bois-le-duc and Maastricht, notwithstanding
so many other great events, riveted at that time the
attention of Europe. The success of the Dutch in these two
enterprises appeared a proof of their general superiority;
the provinces of the Spanish Netherlands were much
straitened by it. And as it revived in those provinces the
hereditary feeling of dislike to a foreign rule, Holland
and France on their part might well think of availing
themselves of this dissatisfaction, and of putting an end
for ever by a sudden attack to the rule of Spain.

It is quite plain how great a blow the English would have
sustained if the whole coasts of this part of the continent
had fallen into the hands of these two neighbours, whose
close alliance was in itself very offensive to them[30].
Against the danger of being entangled in continental
affairs, and of feeling their reflex action in Great
Britain, Charles I had to set off the other danger, if
he held aloof from them, of seeing new powers develop
during their progress, which might make his position most
critical. In order to acquire the means of resisting the
ascendancy of France and Holland, he was obliged to make
fresh advances to Spain.

We can hardly form an idea for ourselves how much the
relations between England and Spain changed and shifted        [A.D. 1634.]
in the great conflict which was going on. In the year 1631
a scheme was drawn up for a great attack of the English and
Spaniards upon the United Netherlands, as a result of which
Zealand should fall to the lot of the former. As yet indeed
there was no treaty, but only a plan sketched out for
further consideration, which Charles I avoided accepting,
although Cottington seems to have approved of it[31]. But
we see at all events to what the aim of the Spaniards was
directed. After a short time, when they found themselves
deceived, they entertained designs of an entirely opposite
character. A detailed plan of Count Olivarez is extant,
according to which Spain and France were to undertake
a general attack upon England[32]. England, Scotland,
and Ireland, were each to be attacked separately, and
internal animosities of every kind were to be invoked in
aid of the invaders. An idea was entertained of placing
the young Elector Palatine on the throne of England,
under the condition that he guaranteed full religious
liberty and restored the expelled Irish to their lost
inheritance. On the other hand, in the summer of 1634 an
alliance between Spain and England was again in progress.
Weston, Cottington, and Windebank, took counsel with the
Spanish resident, Don Juan Nicolalde, for this object,
in such entire secrecy that even Coke, the Secretary of
State, had no information about it. The King besought the
court of Brussels, which on this occasion as on others he
was obliged to take into his confidence, to apply to no
one about this matter except himself and Windebank. The
overtures which he made to Spain at that time are accounted
for by the ascendancy of the Dutch marine and the rise
of that of the French. The claim of England to exercise
a sort of supremacy over the neighbouring seas, was once
more called in question. The English contended for this
right in learned treatises[33]; the King of France on the     [A.D. 1635.]
other hand showed a determination no longer to acknowledge
it. For, as his ambassador said, everything must have its
foundation in reason; the usage of the sea only required
that the less powerful should show honour to the more
powerful; even England could have no other claim: and what
would happen if the relative power of different states
varied? The English would not entertain this supposition,
for they clung to the principle that their navy must have
the superiority over that of all their neighbours[34], for
this reason, if for no other, that, if it had not, their
neighbours could throw a far superior army on the shores
of England. And another principle was asserted at that
time, which did not find full acceptance until a quarter
of a century later, viz. that there must be an equilibrium
between the European powers; for fears were already felt
lest France should become supreme by sea as well as on
land[35]. Moreover King Charles was implored by English
merchants to protect them against the insults to which
they were exposed, while he was not even in a condition to
give effect to his ordinances, e.g. those which concerned
the fisheries: he therefore cherished the ardent wish to
be able again to show himself strong by sea; it was to a
Spanish loan that he looked for the requisite means. For
even in reference to this object he was cramped by his
misunderstanding with Parliament. We shall see hereafter
how fatal to the development of domestic affairs were the
measures which Charles I was induced to adopt in order to
attain this end. Certainly Spain, fully occupied by the war
in Germany, and threatened just now by a French war in the
Netherlands, could not give him the assistance he desired.
But even though no subsidy was forthcoming, yet at all
events a common tie of interest between England and Spain
again grew out of the situation of affairs.

And this necessarily produced its effect on the treatment      [A.D. 1636.]
of the controversy about the Palatinate. For, if in the
general conduct of affairs the King was inclined to favour
Spain, how was it to be expected that in the affairs of
Germany he would with all his heart support the allies of
the French, whose ascendancy he was already beginning to
fear? The relation in which England thus stood had already
at times been advantageous to the Palatine dominions. After
the battle of Nordlingen, which restored to the Imperial
arms their superiority in Upper Germany, those districts
had had some mercy shown them, at least for a while,
owing to this consideration; though on other occasions
it was completely lost sight of. In England an intention
was cherished of supporting the young Elector with the
whole weight of the British name, when in January 1636, on
entering his eighteenth year, the time should come for him
to claim his hereditary rank and position; for whatever
guilt the father had incurred, they thought that it could
not be imputed to his children. In this matter the King
had reckoned on the good offices of Spain, and on the
favour of the Emperor. Then came the news of the treaty
of Prague, the fulfilment of which was based upon a new
dynastic connexion between the whole house of Austria and
Bavaria, and upon the concurrence of the Elector of Saxony.
The former stipulations made in favour of Bavaria with
regard to the Elector’s dignity, and the dominions of the
Palatinate were therein expressly confirmed: the sister of
Charles was promised her personal property, and his nephews
a maintenance proportioned to their rank so long as they
submitted; but these concessions were granted as a favour
and not as a right[36]. These tidings produced on Charles I
an impression of the most painful surprise; he would hardly
believe them: but he thought that, if they were true, every
effort must be made to cancel the agreement. Now too, very
much as in the year 1623, the Stuart policy depended on
the conclusion of an agreement with Austria and Spain.
Instructions of this import were given to Lord Aston, who      [A.D. 1636.]
went as envoy to Madrid: and John Taylor, an agent who was
not without experience in these transactions, was sent by
Charles to Vienna to protest against the provisions of the
treaty, and to bring the Emperor to another determination.

Taylor was one of those diplomatists who find their whole
happiness in the success of the mission committed to them:
who accept as perfectly genuine all the overtures made
to them in regard to this object by foreign courts; and
therefore try to induce their own government to accept
them. In Vienna he fell in with John Leslie, one of the
agents in the murder of Wallenstein, who at that time was
in high favour with the court, and who introduced Taylor
at the different princely houses and procured him a good
reception there. They both thought the alliance of Charles
I with the house of Austria the only hope for the world.
How glorious, they thought, would be the position of this
monarch: he would then be the most powerful of European
sovereigns. The Jesuits had already on one occasion, in
a play performed at their seminary at Prague, celebrated
King Charles as the restorer of universal peace. And how
could the Imperial court itself fail to be sensible of
the advantageous prospect held out to them by a connexion
with England? On the 24th of February, 1636, the Emperor
declared that he would free the Count Palatine, Charles
Louis, if he made proper submission, from the ban under
which he had been laid owing to his father’s guilt; that he
would again receive him among the Princes of the Empire,
and enfcoff him with no mean portion of his father’s
possessions: that if negotiations about the electoral
dignity were then opened, he would give proof of his
favourable disposition to the King, as well as to the young
Prince, conceding everything which could be granted to
them under fair conditions[37]. These were well-considered
words, which made no promise but held out all the greater      [A.D. 1636.]
hopes. Taylor interpreted them to mean that the Lower
Palatinate on both sides of the Rhine would be restored at
once; that negotiations about the Upper Palatinate would
be set on foot, and that the dignity of Elector would be
transferred to the young Palsgrave after the death of
the Elector of Bavaria. He reported that Charles I would
receive an assurance on the subject in writing from the
Emperor, and his son the King of Hungary, and also from
the King of Spain; and that the young Prince would be
married to an archduchess, and become greater that any
Elector Palatine had ever been. He said that the Queen of
Hungary, to whom Charles had once paid court in Spain,
had not yet forgotten him, and that the old Elector of
Bavaria was derided by her court; that it was intended to
restore the old Burgundian alliance between the two houses;
that even the Spanish ambassador Oñate, who was at first
less favourable to the plan, had said that Spain wished
for the friendship of the King of England, not in part
but altogether, and only hoped that he would renew his
ancestors’ claims on France[38].

In England, Taylor’s ardour had never been approved; but
the affair seemed to have reached a point at which further
negotiations might be committed to one of the magnates of
the kingdom, Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel and Surrey,
Earl Marshal of England, whom the King had once rightly
styled the most distinguished of his subjects[39]. From the
statements of the Secretary employed in these affairs, it
is clear that Charles would have been quite contented with
such terms as might be hoped from the tenor of Taylor’s
despatches. In June 1636 we find Arundel at Linz, where at
that time the Emperor had arrived on his way to the meeting
of the Electors, which was to be held at Ratisbon, for the
choice of his successor.

But a very unexpected difficulty showed itself at once.
The full powers entrusted to the Imperial commissioners        [A.D. 1636.]
appointed to negotiate with Arundel, rested on the
assumption that an offensive and defensive alliance would
be concluded between England and the house of Austria.
Arundel was one of those statesmen who were generally
considered to favour Spain; but he was haughty and
measured, and had neither inclination nor authority to
form so close an alliance. England wished to conclude a
treaty with both lines of the house of Austria as secretly
as possible, in order to be able on the one hand to offer
resistance to the French by sea, and on the other to
promote the interest of the Elector Palatine: but she did
not desire to plunge into open war with Holland and France.
The Imperial ministers referred to Taylor’s overtures; but
the latter proved that he had spoken, officially at least,
only of an intimate understanding, and not of an offensive
and defensive alliance[40]. Arundel remarked, that the
understanding could only be of such a character that all
other sovereigns also might be admitted into it. He was out
of humour that the other side should have intended to lead
him unperceived further than his King thought of going.

Although this beginning certainly argued no good, the
negotiations were still by no means rendered hopeless, so
long as the prospect of a close connexion was maintained.
On the contrary, though Arundel had at first pressed
for the restoration of the Elector Palatine to his full
rights, he now only asked whether such a restoration
might be expected, at least at some future time. The
Imperial ministers repeated the declaration given on the
24th of February, with the additional statement that the
King of England might promise himself the more affection
from the Emperor as the ambassador gave assurance of the
sincere good intentions of the King towards him: but they
proceeded to indicate the conclusion of an alliance as a
necessary condition. Further progress was deferred until
the time of the negotiations, which were to be conducted at

For these negotiations nothing was more needful than that      [A.D. 1636.]
the Imperial ministers should first of all be agreed among
themselves how far they were willing to go. But how could
they have taken any steps at all without conferring with
Bavaria? In the face of the impending Diet of the Electors,
they could least of all have ventured to affront the
powerful sovereign, with whom so many others took part.
They sent a special mission to invite him to express his
views to them categorically: at the same time they called
his attention to the importance of the English fleet at
that juncture.

The Elector Maximilian attached little weight to this.
He answered, that Germany certainly had nothing to fear
from this fleet, and that France, which was just as well
equipped by sea, would not be deterred even by the enmity
of England from extending its power in Germany: that
Charles I moreover could not long keep his fleet at sea,
for that he was on bad terms with his Estates of the realm,
without whose assent he certainly could not reckon upon
any permanent contribution. It is remarkable that this
consideration which exercised so much influence on the
decisions of the King himself, also affected the attitude
of other powers towards him, and influenced a negotiation
carried on between Austria and Bavaria.

But even apart from this, what would come of it, Maximilian
asked, if concessions were made to the presumptuous
demands of England? He said that for his part he was not
disinclined to surrender under certain conditions the
district of the Lower Palatinate, which he had in his
hands, but not the Upper Palatinate, which he held in
pledge: that the Emperor by virtue of his authority had
made over the electoral dignity to him and his house for
ever: that this settlement had been made in concert with
the other Electors, and that his father and cousin, the
Emperor, would not wish to reverse it: that he could not,
if he would.

On the resumption of negotiations with England, Count
Olivarez remarked that they had been broken off for other
reasons, no doubt those very reasons which arose out of
the stipulations of Saxony and Bavaria with regard to the
Palatinate. He thought however that even now Charles I         [A.D. 1636.]
would take no decided action in behalf of Spain, and would
always look to his own interests alone. The great successes
of the Spanish army in the year 1636 perhaps enhanced his
self-confidence: and when negotiations were renewed, the
Spaniards were rather on the side of Bavaria than on that
of England.

The Imperial court was then confronted by the same question
which had formerly been discussed in Spain in the year
1623. Was it to show compliance towards England, and for
the sake of this break off its connexion with Bavaria,
and quarrel with Spain? The question was submitted to the
Emperor’s successor, who decided that in this case England
must be disregarded[42].

A formal answer to this effect was communicated to Arundel
at Ratisbon on September 12. The restoration of the Count
Palatine to the Electorship was deferred until events
should have happened, which seemed to Arundel about as near
as the end of the world. He remarked that, if his sovereign
had been told this before, he would never have sent him to
Germany. He returned to England deeply incensed, for he
thought that, personally as well as officially, he had not
met with the consideration which he had a right to claim.

This was the second time that the Austro-Spanish house
refused to draw closer to England from regard to its
relations with Germany. There is no doubt that, for
the German branch in the present state of affairs, the
maintenance of Catholicism and of an alliance with Bavaria
outweighed all other considerations. But was this the case
also with the Spanish branch? For it, both for the sake of
the monarchy and its general position in European politics,
a closer agreement with England even under the Stuarts
would have been of inestimable advantage. Olivarez differed
from Lerma, in that the latter studied most carefully the
general and maritime interests of Spain, the former her
interests in Germany and on the continent. The mistake of      [A.D. 1636.]
the first Stuarts lay in this, that they thought to find
in Spain the centre of gravity of the joint relations of
the two houses, even after it had been transferred to
Austria. In that long and bloody conflict between all the
continental powers, which we term the Thirty Years’ War,
England also had her interest. James I and Charles I never
wholly lost sight of the principal aim of their continental
policy, the restoration of the Elector Palatine. But they
never staked their whole power on the issue. They once
stirred up Denmark to conduct the cause; they then allied
themselves with Sweden in order directly to attain their
object. But for all that they would never adopt as their
own the common political point of view of the Protestant
powers. They would far rather, from first to last, have
procured from the Emperor the recovery of the Palatinate by
means of Spanish influence. But even for securing this the
means which they set in motion were not sufficient. Their
misunderstandings with Parliament rendered strong measures
on their part impossible, just where it was most necessary.
In the great continental struggle which must be decisive
as to the future condition of Europe, the Stuarts could
not interfere to influence the result. Meanwhile they were
pursuing their own special end.

Whilst the agitation of the world was at high tide, Charles
I in his insular domain, which was affected by it without
feeling its full force, was scheming to establish for ever
the kingly power.


[23] Roe to Henry Earl of Holland, in Bruce Calendar
1631-1633, Pref. x.

[24] Report in Rushworth ii. 132.

[25] Letter to Lechhausen, April 1632. Rushworth ii. 175.

[26] Chemnitz: Schwedischer Krieg ii. 87.

[27] Gussoni, 27 Maggio 1633; ‘Ha fatto vedere il
secretario, che nell’ estesa della scrittura, con avveduto
riguardo dell’ Armstruder a niente rimaneva impegnata
l’Inghilterra,--il trattato si stipulò tra l’Oxistern et
l’administratore solamente per mezzo di deputati di quel
duca, il che qui piacque sommamente.’

[28] Ib. 29 Luglio. ‘Il motivo pare habbia risvegliato nei
sudditi nuovi susurri che no convenga esborso di danaro per
altra via che per l’ordinaria del parlamento.’

[29] Documents in the Clarendon Papers i. 57.

[30] The French ambassador Seneteire writes on the 28th of
April 1635. ‘La grande liaison de M^{ss} les états avec le
roy (de France) leur donne grande jalousie.’

[31] Arandel to Windebank, in the Clarendon Papers i. 611:
‘Oñate confessed that the paper given My Lord Cottington
was never any ground of treaty, but only as considerations
of conveniency between the two crowns, which must fall to a
fit consideration after.’

[32] Parrafos de un papel del conde duque. 1633, Archives
of Brussels.

[33] Selden: Mare clausum. The title-page of the English
translation contains the words; ‘In the Second book is
maintained, that the King of Gr. Br. is lord of the
circumfluent seas.’ The book was looked over by Charles I,
and expressly sanctioned by the Privy Council, March 26,

[34] Gussoni, Relatione 1635: ‘É massima fondamentale di
stato in Inghilterra d’invigilare sempre ad essere più
polente di tutti i suoi vicini sul mare.’

[35] Coke says to the Venetian ambassador, who is speaking
to him about the old alliance of the Union: ‘Tutto sta
bene, ma bisogna avvertire che le cose restino in fine nel
proprio equilibrio e che la bilancia non preponderi nè
dall’ uno nè dall altro canto.’ (Gussoni, 16 Maggio 1634.)

[36] The articles in Khevenhiller xii. 1696.

[37] ‘Ubi ad tractatus ventum fuerit quoad dignitatem
electoralem et reliqua petita, cum (S. C. M.) servatura sit
modum, ut in iis quae aequis conditionibus concedi poterunt
habeat cum serenissimus Britanniae rex, unde studium in
se at benevolentiam, tum supradictus quoque Palatinus
propensam in se gratiam possit cognoscere.’ Clarendon
Papers i. 461

[38] Taylor to Windebank, March 3; Clarendon Tapers i. 454.

[39] ‘Upon a confident assurancy of Taylor that H. Maj.
shall have both the Emperors and King of Spains assurancy
under their hands for a present restitution of the lower
palatinate and of the electoral dignity after the death of
Bavaria, H. Maj. hath made choice of the Earl Marshall.’
Windebank to Aston, ibid. i. 508.

[40] ‘Foedus arctissimum,’ out of which, in the letter of
authorisation to the Emperor’s plenipotentiaries, had grown
a ‘foedus tam offensivum quam defensivum.’

[41] The declarations exchanged are in Khevenhiller xii.

[42] The King of Bohemia delivers his opinion that ‘whereas
owing to their unreasonable wishes either the crown of
Spain and Electoral Bavaria, or England must be rebuffed,
it were desirable to retain the old confidence and tried
friendship of Spain and Electoral Bavaria, rather than
to commit themselves to an untrustworthy alliance with
England.’ Khevenhiller xii. 2122.



Among the English ministers Lord Treasurer Weston, who at
that time exercised the greatest influence upon foreign
affairs, and had almost the sole direction of domestic
matters, afforded, a signal instance of successful
activity. He had formerly taken office, when matters were
almost desperate. The English were still at war with both
the neighbouring powers; enormous demands were made for
the support of the forces by land and sea. The former
moreover were burdensome to the districts on which they
were quartered: none of the civil officials had been paid
for several years: the considerable burden of debt which
James I had bequeathed to his successor (£1,200,000),
was increased a third by the years spent in war; and as
interest was paid at the rate of 8 per cent. for the
earlier, and 12 per cent. for the later loan, it absorbed
the greater portion of the revenue. But this latter, which
was principally derived from customs, had been rendered
precarious by the dispute about tonnage and poundage. Bales
of woollen goods had been sent back from the ports to the
manufacturing towns because the owners refused to pay the
duty; and foreign merchants had abstained from having their
wares landed because they expected unpleasant treatment
from the population if they paid the customs. The trade of
the country was at a standstill. How entirely matters were
altered after five years of Weston’s strict and watchful
administration! Peace was concluded and maintained; the
counties freed from the soldiers quartered on them;
the customs regularly levied; at least half of the old         [A.D. 1634.]
debts paid off; English commerce developed into the most
flourishing and productive in the world, if for no other
reason, because the continent, and all the neighbouring
seas, were distracted with war.

Richard Weston had attained a certain reputation among
legal circles in the Middle Temple, and in embassies of
the second grade: he had then been engaged by Buckingham
in higher political affairs, and after the death of the
latter had to a certain extent stepped into his place. His
policy however was altogether different. The active desire
for war was replaced by a readiness for peace at any price.
Weston informed the French that even in the service of his
King he loved their interests. If, in spite of this, he
had dealings with the Spaniards, the French had no fears
on that score: they found that he would never break either
with them or with their opponents, because his thoughts,
as well as those of the King, were directed solely to the
maintenance of neutrality in foreign affairs[43], and
in domestic affairs to economy and the avoidance of a
Parliament. Weston himself did not long remain the pliant
and complaisant person which he had formerly been. He
now appeared inaccessible, close, rude, imperious[44].
He was always careful to have a sum of money in hand, of
which he could dispose: in order to avoid expenditure he
stopped the despatch of a foreign mission: the most rigid
barriers were erected round the royal generosity. After
the fashion of the statesmen of that period, he did not
forget his own interests: he was made Earl of Portland,
and by the marriage of his son with a lady of the house
of Lennox, he became related to the royal family. All who
enjoyed a certain importance in the kingdom were on his
side, Arundel, Cottington, Wentworth, as well as James Hay,
Earl of Carlisle, among the Scots who had come over with       [A.D. 1637.]
James the only one who knew how to make himself at home
in England: he was regarded as the man who understood
the position of foreign affairs better than any one in
England. Weston could not but have rivals and adversaries.
At their head was Henry Rich, Earl of Holland, who had
taken a considerable share in the negotiations for bringing
the Queen home, and who since then had always adhered to
her. He appeared the most brilliant and, owing to the
favour shown him by both of the royal pair alike, the
most prosperous member of the court. For a time he had a
good prospect of becoming Buckingham’s successor in the
admiralty as well as in the royal favour. But neither
he himself, nor his friends, were of such importance as
to become dangerous to the Treasurer. When Cottington
returned from Spain, efforts were made to separate him from
Weston. He was advised to attach himself immediately to the
Queen, who was no friend of that minister; but Cottington
preferred his old political connexion, which secured him
greater prospects. Weston knew how to obliterate all
unfavourable impressions in the King’s mind, and to regain
his confidence, which once or twice seemed to waver.
Besides this, it was a principle of the King to bestow
his chief confidence upon one man alone, and to cling to
him, and let people say against him what they would; for
he thought that the nature of political life was such that
every one attacked the possessor of authority[45].

_Taxes levied without a grant of Parliament._

Economy did not suffice to secure for the government
complete independence in administration: means had
therefore to be adopted to increase the receipts. Tonnage
and poundage, the amount of which had in a few years
increased by £80,000, offered the principal resource for       [A.D. 1633.]
effecting this object. But when old records were searched,
other crown rights of earlier date were discovered which
had fallen into oblivion, and might be revived with

How many persons, it was said, had been bound by old usage
to appear at the King’s coronation, in order to be knighted!

The government called to account all who had incurred the
guilt of neglecting this duty, in order that a pecuniary
fine might be levied on them[46]. Another feudal right
of royalty had a still wider application. In April 1633
the Earl of Holland, who sometimes took part with the
government although he did not love it, was seen driving
through London in a royal carriage to Stratford in Essex,
in order to hold his court there as Lord Forester in the
fashion of the twelfth century. He cited all those who
had built within the borders of the ancient royal forests
to appear, that he might investigate their titles. The
occupants in vain affirmed that the claims of the crown
against them had long ago been redeemed by purchase: as
they had no documentary proof of this, they were compelled
to pay a sum in acquittance, which in Essex alone amounted
to £300,000[47]. Lord Holland opened his court in August
at Winchester, to try cases connected with the New Forest:
in September, attended by five judges, he went into
Northamptonshire to the site of those same woods, which
had once served as a refuge for the Britons, and then as a
hunting-ground for the Norman kings, that he might exact
penalties for encroachments on the forest of Rockingham.
Some of the leading nobles, the Earl of Westmorland, Lord
Peterborough, Lord Newport, and the Earl of Salisbury,
were condemned, the last-named on account of an estate
which had been presented to his father, Robert Cecil, by
Queen Elizabeth[48]. And these claims were constantly being
stretched further: it appeared as if the greater part of
England would soon be considered as having been forest-land    [A.D. 1634.]
in former days. Even the government now felt itself in
a critical position from the agitation kindled by this
conduct, and suspended proceedings for a moment[49].

In spite of so many declarations made to Parliament,
monopolies of different kinds were again granted by the
crown, especially to associations which were formed for the
exclusive prosecution of some branch of trade, and which
were regularly invested with the rights and constitution of
companies with governor, assistants, and society. They were
obliged to purchase their title by yearly payments, but in
return were then supported in those vexatious regulations
which they made to enforce it. Other sovereign rights
furnished an opportunity of levying considerable taxes on
separate articles[50]. It is calculated that up to the
year 1635 Charles I had raised his income from £500,000 to

The King, says Correro the Venetian, moves among the rocks
by which he is surrounded, slowly but surely. The judges
explain the laws in his favour, as there are no Parliaments
to contradict them: and his subjects do not then venture to
withstand him. ‘With the key of the laws he seeks to open
the entrance to absolute power[51].’

By far the most important and remarkable of all his claims
was the demand for ship-money.

Those were times in which he thought it necessary to
oppose the resistance of a powerful navy to the maritime
encroachments of the Dutch and French. We have seen that
for this purpose he asked for subsidies from Spain, but
was unable to obtain them. In the embarrassment into which
he was thrown in consequence, a very welcome prospect of
assistance was held out, when some of his supporters who
were learned in the law maintained that he had the right
to demand the aid of the country for this object even
without the assent of Parliament. As by English usage the
duty of defending the country and of guarding the sea          [A.D. 1634.]
was laid on him, this duty, it was said, carried with
it also the right of making the necessary dispositions
for that purpose. They adduced a series of precedents,
according to which monarchs on their own authority, without
the support of Parliament even when it was sitting, and
only with the consent of the Privy Council, had issued
the requisite proclamation for equipping naval armaments,
and had met with obedience down to the end of the reign
of Edward III. To the objection that this was more than
two centuries and half ago, the King’s supporters replied,
that the continuance of an opposite usage for any length of
time could not cancel the right of the sovereign, and that
even in the most recent times an instance had occurred, for
that the whole warlike preparations by which the attack of
the Spanish Armada had been repulsed in the year 1588, had
been set on foot at the sole order of Queen Elizabeth[52].
At the present moment, when the old sovereignty of England
over the seas was contested by the neighbouring powers, a
similar proceeding appeared peculiarly justifiable. Not
only were the seaport towns summoned to furnish the King
with a specified number of ships of a certain tonnage for
a period of six months, but the obligation was extended to
the inland counties and towns, and in their case the ships
were commuted for an assessment of money, which was to
be raised in the same way as a subsidy. There was even a
design entertained of having a number of men embodied for
the defence of the coast.

Much agitation had been caused by the previous renewal
of old claims; and it was naturally doubled by this last
claim, because it was the most comprehensive, and might be
renewed at pleasure. The loudest remonstrances were heard.
The official interpreters of the laws however came forward
on the side of the crown, and acknowledged its right. In
November 1634 the Judges gave sentence that the inland as
well as the seaboard towns might be called upon for the        [A.D. 1636.]
defence of the coasts. This judgment did not contain a
declaration that Parliament need not be consulted in the
matter; but in February 1636 a decision on this point
also followed[53]. It was declared by a sentence of the
Judges, that if the kingdom were in danger, and the king
thought it necessary, he had the right of ordering his
subjects under the Great Seal of England to equip as large
a number of ships as seemed to him necessary; and that in
case they should refuse to do so, the law gave him perfect
right to compel them. The judges could not have delivered
a more important decision: it is one of the great events
of English history. The King commanded that it should be
entered in the records of the Star Chamber, and of the
Courts of Justice at Westminster, and that all possible
publicity should be given to it, in order that every one
who had doubted the King’s right might be taught to know
better. But even the sentence of the Courts of Justice had
no longer absolute authority in England, where they were
now deemed subservient or even corrupt. A gentleman of
Buckinghamshire, John Hampden, who had there a very old
family estate, refused to pay the sum for which he had been
assessed, twenty shillings, not because of the amount,
which was only trifling, but in order to bring the matter
once more publicly under discussion. When he was cited
before the Star Chamber to answer for it, he requested to
hear the writ. After it had been read, he denied that it
had any legal authority over him. The King, who thought
himself perfectly certain of his right, had no objection
that the question should once more be publicly discussed.
Nor did he order others also who refused payment to be
visited with penalties of real severity: the sheriffs in
each case merely seized possession of property to the
amount which they had to raise from each according to the
assessment. They met with no resistance in this; but men
refused to acknowledge the claim by voluntary payment.
‘They stick to their laws,’ writes one of our Venetian         [A.D. 1637.]
informants, ‘and allow legal proceedings to be taken,
solely to make it known that the laws are violated, and
that they are compelled to pay by force[54].’

But what a state of affairs hereupon set in! The whole
administration of the state depended on the receipt of
tonnage and poundage, the payment of which Parliament
declared illegal, while the government insisted on it, on
the ground that it had been made to the earlier kings; and
all refusals of payment were overridden by the coercive
power of the state. All other fiscal measures as well were
considered wanton attacks on the fully acknowledged rights
of private property, or as illegal. People gave way, but
only in the expectation of better times.

The opposition between what the government and what the
nation or the Parliament thought legitimate, was presented
in the sharpest outlines, when it led to acts of personal
oppression. The members of Parliament, against whom the
King had claims, refused to be brought to trial before the
Courts of Justice before which they were summoned; for they
affirmed that Parliament alone had the right to pronounce
judgment on their conduct. They were condemned however, and
the most resolute of them, Sir John Eliot, was treated with
a severity bordering on cruelty: he died in the Tower[55].

At times however the King’s indulgence and mercy in turn
appeared illegal, especially when they were extended to
Catholics. This had so important an influence in the life
of the King, that we must devote to it a closer examination.

_Charles the First’s relations with Catholicism._

The old severe laws of Parliament against priests and
Jesuits still existed, but, as the King had promised           [A.D. 1636.]
in his marriage-contract, they were no longer enforced. It
was not only that the bloody executions of former times
could not now be thought of, but even the pecuniary fines
incurred by non-attendance at Protestant worship were
reduced to half their amount, or redeemed in perpetuity by
compositions allowed under the Great Seal. The spies who
had formerly forced their way into houses, in order to look
for priests who were thought to be hidden there, no longer
showed themselves; and steps were taken under the influence
of the Queen altogether to annul their authority to do so.
The English Catholics affirmed that they had never enjoyed
so much repose and security as under King Charles[56]. Yet
they felt anxious, because the existing laws could legally
be revoked only by Parliament. The King certainly thought
the power of dispensing from them an essential part of the
prerogative; but public opinion took a different view, and
the adherents of Parliamentary authority, especially the
Puritans, on the contrary insisted that the laws must be as
strictly enforced on this point as on any other.

And had they not in fact some ground for feeling anxious
lest Catholicism in this way should again obtain the
ascendancy in the country? In the Netherlands, in France,
in Spain, and at Rome, those seminaries were still
flourishing, from which in former times young and zealous
priests had been sent to England. At that time there might
be counted in England five hundred secular priests, about
three hundred ecclesiastics belonging to the great orders,
and about a hundred and sixty Jesuits. Most of them were
entertained in the principal families in the country, who
secretly or even openly professed Catholicism, and in the
houses of the rich proprietors, nobles, and gentry. In
countless places the Catholic service was celebrated, but
with most splendour in the residences of the ambassadors,
where men vied with one another, especially in keeping Holy
Week with devout pomp, with sensuous representations and       [A.D. 1636.]
musical services. On high festivals the Queen and her
court appeared in her public chapel, which was served by
Capuchin monks in the dress of their order: besides this
she had a private chapel. Just as an agent of the Queen had
gone to Rome, so now an agent of the Papal See, although
under another pretext, appeared at the English court.
Even there Catholicism found rich and powerful patrons.
At the head of these was Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel,
who now, as has been mentioned, stood high at court: the
King’s ministers, Weston and Cottington, and Windebank, the
Secretary of State, belonged to this party. The opinion had
spread, and is still constantly echoed, that King Charles
also shared in these tendencies, and sought to bring back
his kingdom to Catholicism.

We are in possession of the copious letters of the Pope’s
agent Cuneo--a Scot whose real name was Con, but whom we
shall speak of under the Italianised form of his name--from
which we may gather with certainty how far the opinion was
true, and how far it was not.

The negotiations on which Cuneo was engaged principally
concerned the form of oath by which King James had long
ago wished to ensure the loyalty of the Catholics. By the
wording of the oath as adopted by Parliament, the doctrine
that the Pope could absolve subjects from their obedience
to their prince, was not only rejected, but expressly
termed heretical[57]. The first archpriest who had the
supervision of the Catholic clergy in England was induced,
as we have seen, to take this oath; and many missionaries,
among whom were even some of the regular clergy, the
Benedictines especially, followed his example. Others
thought that the scruple would be removed by a declaration
that the King required obedience only in civil matters. The
Jesuits, following the example of Bellarmin, rejected every
expedient of this sort, and zealous believers sided with
them. This point however, according to Charles’s views,
was one of great importance. He seldom caused the oath to
be tendered; but when he had once done so, he required it
to be taken; if it were not, the objector was put under        [A.D. 1636.]
a sort of civil excommunication. The matter had been
already mentioned by Giorgio Panzani in a former mission,
and the Papal court had empowered Cuneo to prevail on the
King to alter the oath[58]. The inadmissibility of the
present form was put especially on the ground that no one
could call a doctrine heretical, until it had been declared
so by the Church: it was demanded that the King should lay
down such a formula as would only affect the obedience of
his subjects in temporal matters, without touching the
spiritual question. And a very earnest endeavour was made
to find such a formula. It was proposed to say nothing
about a ‘damnable doctrine,’ but only to speak of the
conviction of each individual: and Cuneo assured the King
that no Catholic would refuse to take such an oath, if
only at the same time he were relieved from the other.
Against this the King had two objections. He called Cuneo’s
attention to the fact that the oath had been prescribed
by Parliament; that for its removal it would be necessary
to call Parliament together and to lay the alteration
before it--a proceeding which might have very unpleasant
consequences, most of all for the Catholics. ‘Sire,’
broke in Cuneo, ‘we Catholics hold that your Majesty is
superior to Parliament[59].’ The King thought that even
here he might invoke his dispensing power: but to put a
new formula in the place of the old, and merely to drop
the enforcement of a law, were quite different things.
The former course was neither congenial to the King, nor
could have been ventured on by his ministers, who in their
departure from parliamentary government still kept always
within a line which they did not overstep. But besides this
the King would not deviate from his own doctrine, viz. that
the right of kings was a divine right, and could not be
superseded by any man, not even by the Pope[60]. The           [A.D. 1637.]
opposition between the Papal and the Royal power might
perhaps be smoothed over in practice, but could never be
adjusted in theory. People at Rome were not content with
the proposals of Cuneo, which were rejected by Charles.

In the course of these negotiations, or perhaps in the
course of friendly conversation, a further step was made.
Something was said of the necessity of a closer political,
and of the possibility of a closer religious approximation.
Cuneo set before the King the prospect that in the event
of an union with Rome, which still formed a great centre
of European politics, he would have as much power as
any continental potentate: and the King might well feel
tempted to enter the lists at Rome as elsewhere against
Spain and France. But Cuneo did not go so far as to make
a real attempt to convert him. The amiable ecclesiastical
diplomatist and courtier felt far too strong a conviction
that he could not venture on this. At times the prevailing
controversies between the two churches were touched upon
in conversation. The King did not conceal that, from all
that he had seen in Spain, or even heard from theologians
there, an impression of estrangement had been left on
his mind[61]. His Anglican heart rejected the adoration
of saints and the invocation of the Virgin, and was
completely repelled by other forms of popular worship.
Cuneo once asked him what he held to be true besides Holy
Scripture[62]. Charles answered that he held the three
creeds and the decrees of the first four councils; and
he expressed his astonishment that any one could put the
decrees of the Council of Trent on a level with those of
the old councils. Once, after a decision had been given in
favour of the Catholics, Cuneo fell on his knee and kissed
his hand. ‘You will, nevertheless,’ said the King, ‘not
make a Papist of me.’ On one matter Charles would have
been glad to hear the expression of the Pope’s sentiments,     [A.D. 1637.]
namely, on the divine right of bishops, on the assumption
of which the constitution of the English Church, and the
ecclesiastical policy of the English kings mainly rested.
But that was a very serious question for the Pope, who
wished neither to outrage the convictions of the King, nor
to lead the Catholic bishops to renew their former claims.
Pope Urban VIII avoided expressing even a personal opinion
on the subject.

A very lively impulse was given to the spiritual movement
of the seventeenth century by the attempts to reunite
the two communions. It had become clear as a result of
a worldwide conflict again and again repeated, that
Protestantism could not be overpowered. The inroad of the
Swedes into Germany, the revival of the Protestant credit
which was connected with it, the alliance of France with
the Protestant powers, all gave a shape to European affairs
in presence of which the hope of effecting a restoration of
Catholicism must have appeared a cobweb of the brain. This
led naturally to a revival of the old plans for bringing
to pass some kind of reconciliation between the opposing
churches. We meet with them in France, in Germany, in
Poland, over the whole Continent. They were cherished by
well-intentioned kings, powerful ministers, and learned
writers of the first rank.

In England there was in each of the two great parties a
fraction which closely resembled the corresponding fraction
on the other side. In the one party there were found many
who took the oath of allegiance without hesitation, who
acknowledged the supremacy of the crown, and attended
Anglican churches, who made a figure in high places, and
then perhaps after all declared themselves Catholics on
their deathbeds. We might almost suspect that, from a
superstitious opinion of the saving power of ceremonies,
or because it was the safest course, they kept priests in
their houses only for this last hour. But even among the
Protestants we discover not a few who sought to strengthen
the resemblances to Catholicism which were retained in the
English Church. This was done principally out of dislike
to the Puritans, who declared that the Pope was the
Antichrist foretold by Scripture; while the others were
inclined to recognise in him the true Patriarch of the         [A.D. 1637.]
West, if he would only admit some moderation in the
exercise of his power. From this point of view they had
publicly condemned the schism in sermons, at which the
King and the court were present. They praised auricular
confession and the bowing of the knee at the sacred name or
before the crucifix[63]. Even in the local arrangements of
churches the innovations of the Reformers were done away.
Everywhere the communion table had again to give way to
the altar. Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, acknowledged
that the Church of Rome had an uncorrupted tradition on the
main points of the Christian faith. He avoided the harsh
expressions of controversial theologians about that Church,
and loved to speak of a reunion between the divided members
of the whole body of the Church. But he was by no means a
Papist. Like the King he condemned the popular worship,
especially the invocation of saints: in the adoration of
the sacrament, the refusal of the cup, and the doctrine of
purgatory, he also saw error, or superstition, or both.
When, after his appointment, the question was put to him
whether he would not be willing to become a cardinal of
the Roman Church, that was only an attempt to kindle his
ambition, and to open negotiations, which might have
had further consequences: but he did not fall into the
snare. After a time people on the contrary spoke of the
probability that Cuneo might be raised to this dignity,
which he hoped to achieve by the aid of the Queen, and that
he might then remain in England wearing the purple. The
Roman court was apprehensive lest a violent ecclesiastical
quarrel for precedence might thus be raised. Between Cuneo
and Laud, who outside the English court were considered
allies, harmony by no means prevailed: they did not get
beyond the external forms of ordinary politeness to one
another. From the beginning Laud could not endure that
another ecclesiastical influence should exist at court
beside his own. Cuneo’s letters to Rome show an ill-feeling
towards the Archbishop[64] which is mingled with               [A.D. 1637.]
bitterness, and even with a kind of contempt. Cuneo
declares him incapable of contributing in the least to the
removal of the English schism.

With absolute certainty we can pronounce that the
statement which was then made, that Charles in connexion
with Cuneo and Laud designed to bring back the English
nation to Catholicism, is erroneous. The supposed allies
were personally bitter antagonists. The King, with his
Archbishop, adhered to the point of view of the Anglican
Church, which they only endeavoured to raise to complete

_State of Opinion in the Church of England at this time._

The controversy which then most busily engaged men of
active minds, did not concern the differences between
Catholicism and Protestantism. Only as to the frontiers
of the spiritual and temporal power were opinions still
wavering: on all other points every man had already taken
his side. Even the old dispute between Lutherans and
Calvinists about the Lord’s Supper, although it still
went on, attracted no special attention. The questions,
which are properly traced to the spirit of the age, were
fought out within the domain of the Reformed Church.
They concerned the doctrine of election by grace, which
determined the system of dogmas, and the influence in
spiritual affairs appertaining to the temporal power, which
was of decisive importance for the constitution of the
Church. The Synod of Dort derived widespread importance
from its adherence to the strict Calvinistic doctrines of
unconditional election by grace, and of the independence of
the Church. It condemned the Arminians, who were inclined
to less rigid views on both questions: they were expelled
from their offices in the Netherlands.

At an earlier period James I also had condemned Arminianism    [A.D. 1619.]
as promoting tendencies towards Catholicism. But the
theories of this sovereign were always thrust into the
background by his interests; and when the decrees of this
synod, in which some English theologians had also taken
part, though to a very slight extent, roused controversies
in England which threatened to disturb the repose and
even the system of the Church of England, it no longer
commanded his sympathies. He forbade the theological
question to be discussed publicly in the pulpits; just as
in the articles of the English Church it had already been
handled with great caution. Still more repugnant to him
was the article in the conclusions of the Synod of Dort,
in which equal authority was ascribed to all ministers of
God’s Word, whatever position they might hold[65]. The
English members of the Synod, who looked upon this as an
indirect condemnation of the constitution of the Church of
England, protested against it, of course without obtaining
a hearing. But how obnoxious must this article have been
to the sovereign, who designed to found his state upon
the alliance of the Protestant mitre with the sceptre!
His Presbyterian opponents now acquired the support of an
assembly which, by its very strictness on other points,
gained for itself great authority in the Reformed Church.
What was termed Puritanism was, strictly speaking, the
combination of the dogmatic decrees of the Synod of Dort
with resistance to episcopacy. So far as we know, the
Archbishop of Spalatro, Marcus Antonius de Dominis, who at
that time had taken refuge in England, was the first who
used the word in this sense[66].

There could be no more hearty admirer of the Anglican
Church than this foreign Archbishop. His works on this
controversy, which although voluminous are written with
learning and candour, have contributed to maintain the         [A.D. 1633.]
reputation of the constitution of the English Church in the
eyes of the literary and theological world[67].

In August 1633 a great alteration took place in the
state of the English Church. George Abbot, Archbishop
of Canterbury was removed by death; a man who himself
inclined to Puritanism, for he was a zealous Calvinist,
and in the exercise of ecclesiastical authority displayed
an amount of indulgence and clemency that brought on
him the reproaches of many. He had long ago ceased to
influence the court, or the relations which the church
and the crown bore towards each other. Charles I reposed
his whole confidence in William Laud, at that time Bishop
of London, whose opinions agreed with his own, or at any
rate were in harmony with his tendencies. But in regard
to doctrine Laud’s Arminianism went even beyond that
of Arminius; and the combination witnessed at Dort, of
strict Calvinistic opinions, which he rejected, with
resistance to episcopal government turned him completely
into a declared opponent of the Synod. For his own part he
considered episcopacy a divine institution, and contested
the Christian character of all those churches which
were not episcopally organised. And just because this
institution was so deeply rooted in Christian antiquity,
he endeavoured in every respect to return to the oldest
usages. Before his eyes and those of the King floated
the vision of an episcopal church independent of the
Papacy, which, purified from all human additions, should
embrace the whole world. Laud was very highly educated,
and showed an appreciation of universal learning: he did
much for the printing of Greek, for the acquisition of
Arabic and Persian manuscripts, and for the promotion of
Oriental studies in general. He was blameless in private
life, and extremely beneficent: out of his ecclesiastical
revenue he always set aside a considerable portion for
the poor. But he was one of those men in whom the temper
of persecuting orthodoxy seems to be innate. Even in his
youth he noticed chiefly those passages in the lectures
of professors which ran counter to the Anglican system,        [A.D. 1633.]
of which he early formed a high conception. In this
temper he read the writings which were called forth by the
controversies of the day, and then invoked the vengeance
of the temporal and spiritual power on the deviations
from accepted formulas which he noticed in them. In the
disputes between the Government and the Parliament be lent
his pen to the service of the former with vigour and not
without success; and Buckingham, with whom he was most
closely connected, promoted him to the see of London. After
Buckingham’s death the King transferred to the Bishop a
portion of the confidence and favour which he had bestowed
upon the Duke. Laud might be considered his ecclesiastical
favourite. On the first intelligence of Abbot’s death,
Charles I saluted the Bishop of London as Archbishop of
Canterbury. For what could be nearer to his heart than to
transfer the authority of Primate of England to the man
who fully shared his point of view? On this the Anglican
zealot stepped into an official position which opened the
widest sphere of action for his ecclesiastical tendencies.
He was a man of comprehensive energy, which operated
in all directions, and at the same time retained its
ardour. With large general designs he united indefatigable
attention to details[68]. But all defects which Laud
observed in the Church he attributed to the indulgence
of his predecessors, especially of the late Archbishop,
George Abbot: he had resolved to take an opposite course,
and to suffer no departure from the law of the Church and
from rigid obedience. Such deviations were punished in the
bishops when they made any resistance to the institution
of ceremonies, as in the case of Williams, Bishop of
Lincoln[69]; how much more in the Puritans, whom he
regarded as the most dangerous adversaries of the orthodox
system. Woe to the man who ventured to bring forward a
controverted point in the pulpit, when once it had been
forbidden there: the smallest hint of it was fatal. Laud       [A.D. 1637.]
set himself against even the religious strictness of the
Puritans. In the Sabbatarian controversy, which was then
being set on foot, he advocated the Sunday amusements of
the people as warmly as the King. An ordinance issued
by him on the subject roused disapprobation even among
clergymen who conformed in other respects. The Archbishop
appears to have thought that by this indulgence he would
attract the people to his side. But even in this matter he
went to work with an intolerance that could not fail to
alienate men’s sympathies from him. We know how zealously
the Puritans condemned theatrical representations, which
just at that time, when French actresses were introduced,
appeared doubly obnoxious. William Prynne, of Lincoln’s
Inn, who wrote a copious book called Histriomastix,
suffered in consequence the most degrading penalties; he
was branded and lost his ears. The same punishment was
inflicted on Bastwick, a physician, who on his return from
travelling related much that was discreditable to foreign
bishops, and which might be unfavourably applied to the
English bishops also. The theologian Burton, who blamed
as novelties some alterations that were introduced into
the Church, fared no better. These were educated men, and
belonged to the upper classes; and their exposure in the
pillory, which was intended to disgrace them, was turned
into a kind of triumph. Laud indeed intended to establish
for ever the unassailable authority of the ecclesiastical
jurisdiction, just as he had emancipated afresh the
ecclesiastical courts from the influence of the temporal:
but without doubt he undermined it; for no one has ever
insulted natural human feelings with impunity. His idea was
conformity at any price, subordination of the people to the
clergy, subordination of these latter to their own chiefs,
and of all to the King.

It is not quite clear whether he consciously cherished
the design which is attributed to him of expanding the
archbishopric of Canterbury into a patriarchate of the
British Islands, and of holding this dignity himself:
but his efforts aimed without any disguise at giving the
episcopal system and the usages of the Anglican Church the
supremacy in the other two kingdoms as well as in England.

We know how zealously James I had struggled to obtain this     [A.D. 1634.]
end in Scotland; and we shall soon see what further
advances were made on his footsteps. In England itself
conformity of all individuals, in Scotland conformity
with English institutions, was the most prominent motive
of everything which was done in regard to the Church. In
Ireland also the same attempt was made.

When colonies were established in Ireland, in which many
Scots took part, articles for the Irish Church, which might
satisfy the Scots as well as the English, were accepted
in that country. They were introduced by James Usher, who
at that time was Provost of Trinity College, Dublin, and
afterwards Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of Ireland. But
little was said in them of the necessity of the episcopal
constitution, although it was retained. The difference
between presbyters and bishops was passed over in silence.
The Pope, after the example of the Synod of Gap, was
termed Antichrist: the observance of Sunday as though it
were the Jewish sabbath was ordained; and many distinctive
Calvinistic tenets were accepted. King James, it is true,
once called Doctor Usher to account for this; but at all
events he confirmed the articles just at the time when
he himself was maintaining strict Calvinistic opinions,
owing to his connexion with the Prince of Orange. Now
however under Charles I these opinions were no longer to be
tolerated; for the King felt that the variety of Protestant
opinions was a scandal in the eyes of the Irish Catholics,
and that their conversion was hindered by the violence of
the contrast presented by Calvinism. And it is evident that
the consolidation of perhaps the most zealous adherents
whom the Pope had in the world into one single state, such
as Charles I contemplated, with those who declared him
to be Antichrist, was impossible. Consistently with the
prevailing policy, the Lord Deputy, Thomas Wentworth, in
the Parliament of 1634 undertook to procure the abrogation
of the Irish articles in substance if not in form. The
Lower House of the Convocation of the Irish Protestant
Church made the canon law of the English Church the subject
of free discussion, and a committee of Convocation had
already framed a canon which insisted on the maintenance       [A.D. 1634.]
of the Irish articles, even under pain of excommunication.
Wentworth regarded this as a sort of revolt. In severe
language he pointed out to the Convocation its presumption
and want of subordination in wishing to pronounce judgment
on laws of the English Church. He himself drew up a canon,
in which assent to the Thirty-nine Articles in general
was promised. The Archbishop of Armagh, who could not
act inconsistently with his former behaviour, but at the
same time could not resist the plans of the government,
proposed a less stringent form: but Wentworth insisted
upon his canon, and had the pleasure of seeing it carried
in Convocation almost without opposition, in the very form
in which he had drawn it up; for the members were one and
all enchained by his sovereign will. This is perhaps the
last canon drawn up for the Irish Church as such, which was
thus inseparably united with the English[70]. Wentworth
gave Archbishop Laud triumphant tidings of his unexpected

_Further designs of the Government._

The Irish Parliament, which stood side by side with
this Convocation, was the same which made the general
administration of Wentworth famous. It was composed partly
of Catholics and partly of Protestants; for his main
object was to unite both creeds in one community: but in
disputed questions the Protestants had the preponderance,
and among the Protestants the Anglicans. In the Upper
House the bishops as a rule had the decision in their own
hands. Parliament was induced to grant supplies by which a
well-ordered government of the country was for the first
time rendered possible.

What a vital union is here displayed between the elements
of spiritual and temporal obedience! Wentworth adds to the
information above mentioned the remark, that in Ireland the    [A.D. 1636.]
King was as absolute as any other sovereign in his own
country, provided only that he had as his representative
a man of insight and loyalty, whose hands were not tied.
The Lord Deputy can be as little accused as the King or
the Archbishop of wishing to pave the way for Catholicism:
Wentworth was known as a very staunch Protestant.
Their thoughts were only directed to the development
of Anglicanism expressed in its most rigid form, and
administered without indulgence. What James I had already
intended and attempted to carry out, but with vacillation
and with fresh concessions to the other side, Charles I and
his statesmen undertook in earnest. They wished to make
episcopacy one of the chief foundations of the monarchy.

Did they entertain the thought of sweeping away the English
Parliament altogether, or at least of not calling it
together again? This is not likely. King Charles affirmed
on more than one occasion that it lay with him to summon
or not to summon Parliament, and a resolution had been
formed to issue no fresh summons as long as the royal
authority was not firmly established on its own foundation.
The Archbishop once said at a later time, that Parliament
was intended to maintain the power and greatness of the
crown, but that nothing in the world was more lamentable
than the corruption of what was good: that Parliament had
once ventured to depose a king, but that it never ought to
be allowed to proceed to this length again: that for his
part he had never thought of setting aside Parliamentary
government; though he had perhaps thought it right, in
cases of urgent necessity, to collect taxes which had not
been granted by Parliament.

We become still more accurately acquainted with the
direction in which affairs were moving, through a letter
from Wentworth to the King. After the miscarriage of
Arundel’s mission, much was said of the expediency of
again forming a connexion between England and France
and the States-General, of imposing certain conditions
on the Spaniards, and then exacting their performance
even by force of arms. Wentworth declared himself most
decidedly opposed to the scheme, and that not only because
he preferred the alliance of Spain to that of France on        [A.D. 1636.]
general grounds, but most of all, as he states at full
length, because the power of the King was not sufficiently
confirmed in Ireland, much less in England, to allow him to
interfere decisively in European affairs. Whatever weight
might attach to the declaration of the courts of justice
that the King was entitled to levy ship-money, yet he
considered this decision far from sufficient. If a war were
to break out, he thought that the tax would be refused,
and that the government would have less power to exact it:
what would happen then if any disaster occurred? It would
certainly be necessary in that case to summon Parliament,
and to claim its assistance--a course which under the
present circumstances no one could wish to adopt. So long
as it had not been decided that the King had the same right
to raise an army which he now enjoyed with regard to the
navy, Wentworth thought that his authority had only one
foot, and that he must be put in a position to raise forces
for service on land, which he could lead into foreign
countries according to his own judgment, like the old kings
of England; that this state of things must be brought about
first in England, and then step by step in Scotland; and
that till then the goal could not be reached, and no great
undertaking could be hazarded[71].

On principle Wentworth was as little opposed to a
Parliament in England as in Ireland; but he wished to have
only such a Parliament as would be subservient. He thought
of making the government and the royal power independent
of grants of Parliament in great affairs, such as peace
and war and foreign enterprises generally. The King was no
longer, as in the late sessions, to be compelled to make
concessions in order to maintain his proper position in
European affairs. His immediate intention was to uphold
the decision of the Judges with regard to the payment of
ship-money, and to obtain a similar authorisation in regard
to the support of the army.

It is apparent however what would have been the
significance of such a decision. The political importance
of Parliament had arisen from the power of granting the        [A.D. 1635.]
money required for the purposes of war: if the latter were
taken away, how could the former endure? The King had not
only an acknowledged right of judging whether the kingdom
was in danger, but it was laid down as his duty to forestal
such a contingency. If he were now authorised to call out
the military and naval forces of the kingdom in case he
thought fit, how could he be refused the needful resources
for keeping them up when called out? Parliament would have
played a very inferior part; and, in England as on the
Continent, the monarchy would have taken the form of a
military administration.

_Public Affairs._

Among the King’s advisers there was no lack of men of
ability to connect the ascendancy of the monarchy with the
great interests of the country and with their furtherance.

Wentworth bequeathed to the Irish no contemptible monument
of his autocratic sway. He founded their linen manufacture,
in the first instance at his own expense, with the definite
expectation that it would form an inexhaustible source
of wealth for the country[72], just as wool and woollen
manufactures were for England.

The English had their factories at Alexandria, Aleppo, and
Constantinople, as well as in Persia and India: for their
cloth was in request all over the East. Among the motives
in Charles I’s mind for entering on friendly relations with
the Pope, one was the intention of opening the harbour of
Civita Vecchia to his subjects.

The arrangement concluded with Spain was of immense value
for commerce, which was carried on in a very peculiar
manner during the continuance of the general war. The
Spaniards sent their gold and silver to England, from
which country their payments could be made in Flanders
and Germany through the bills of English houses which
enjoyed good credit on the continent. The precious metals      [A.D. 1635.]
were sent from Spain in bars: the English crown thus gained
the advantage of coining them. The transport of goods,
and even of the necessaries of war, between Spain and
the Netherlands, was carried on in English merchantmen,
or under English escort. The Portuguese kept up their
intercourse with their American colonies under the English
flag, which assured them against the attacks of the Dutch;
and they were glad to hire English ships, which were better
armed than their own[73].

The construction of the English vessels aroused the
admiration of experts: the ships of the East India Company
by their solidity and their provision for every possible
requirement, appeared to carry off the palm from all others.

As the King’s policy contributed to the extension of
commerce, so the religious disputes contributed to the
extension of the colonies. To those who would not submit to
Laud’s ordinances New England offered a refuge: we shall
return to the circumstances under which the colonies were
planted there. But even for the toleration of Catholics in
England there was no legal security. The first attempt at
an ecclesiastical order of things, in which Episcopalianism
came to terms with Catholicism on fixed principles, was
made on the other side of the Atlantic, in Maryland. This
may be the reason why this colony received a constitution
that was to a great extent independent of the mother
country. Maryland was peculiarly the creation of Charles
I: the name it bears is derived from the Queen of that
sovereign. A scheme was entertained at that time of
colonising Madagascar in the interest of a Palatine prince.

As yet the colonies had no towns: London was the market to
which they resorted for their supplies, and for the sale of
their products: under these circumstances she began to be
the emporium of the general trade of the world.

The cultivation of English commerce was almost a matter of
personal care with the King. Not only the administration of
his state, but even the maintenance of his court, rested       [A.D. 1637.]
upon the proceeds of the customs; and the court was still
suitably and brilliantly kept up[74]. And however little
Charles may have thought of endangering the repose of his
kingdom for the sake of the Palatinate, yet he had never
been loath to provide for the necessities of his sister and

But besides this he loved to support literature and art. He
directly offended the scruples of the Puritans by attending
the theatre. A splendid and costly masquerade, which the
four Inns of Court combined to exhibit in the Carnival of
the year 1633, was counted as a proof of their loyalty.
They drove from Ely House through Chancery Lane and
Whitehall in their carriages surrounded by torches; and the
King sent to request them to take a route that would enable
him to see the spectacle twice. The ladies and gentlemen
of the court mustered in their richest dress, and later in
the evening the Queen mingled with the dancers. Shirley,
who was in the Queen’s service, Massinger, and old Ben
Jonson still prevented the English stage from degenerating:
Cymbeline, Richard III, and other plays of Shakespeare
were favourite pieces with the public. Ben Jonson lived
till 1637: from time to time he had the opportunity of
celebrating the generosity of Charles I, of which he
was greatly in need. In his later writings, such as his
‘Discoveries made upon Men and Matter,’ a ripe and lively
feeling for literary culture and for culture generally is
displayed which does honour to the age.

Charles I developed not only a preference, but a real
appreciation, for art. Inigo Jones, whom many consider as
the man of the greatest artistic talent whom England on
the whole has produced, and in whose works we perceive a
steady progress from an overcharged romantic style to purer
forms, was one of his personal friends. It is easy to see
why a man of architectural genius should attach himself to
the court, for which he built chapels and banqueting halls,
and to Archbishop Laud, who undertook to restore churches
in the style of Christian antiquity, rather than to the        [A.D. 1637.]
Puritans who looked for salvation in the bare gospel.
Among the King’s servants we find Vandyke, who in his
incomparable portraits has preserved for us the forms of
those who moved in high society; and Rubens, who reconciled
his political commissions with constant practice of his
art. On him as on others the obstinacy of the popular
resistance with which Charles came into collision in his
last Parliament produced an unfavourable impression. He
blames the learned Selden for getting him involved in
this confusion, to the prejudice of his art[75]. But as
for the rest he was astonished by the zeal for study
displayed by the English, and by the richness of their
collections of works of art. The Arundel marbles were
already rousing the attention of students of antiquity:
Kenelm Digby procured for the King himself some of the
finest monuments of ancient Greek art from the Levant. From
Italy and Spain there was brought to him, as one of his
contemporaries says, a whole troop of emperors and senators
of ancient Rome, which he himself took pains to arrange in
their chronological order: and he was capable of showing
impatience if any one disturbed him in his task. He may be
regarded as one of the best connoisseurs of art that has
ever sat on a throne: he was able after short consideration
to distinguish with delicate and certain judgment between
those Italian masters who are closely allied in style
and touch. There was no surer road to his favour than
bringing him a picture of some celebrated master as a
present, or pointing one out for purchase, which could
still be effected with remarkable ease. The catalogues
of his property show nine Correggios, thirteen Raphaels,
forty-five Titians--among which are some of the greatest
works of these masters, such as ‘The Education of Love,’ by
the first; ‘The Holy Family,’ known under the name of ‘The
Pearl,’ by the second; and among others by the third, ‘The
Venus of the Prado.’ These catalogues present a many-sided
interest in the history of art: they enumerate 400 works
in sculpture, and 1400 in painting. Inigo Jones built a
gallery for them: the King wished to have the principal
works about him in his chambers at Oatlands, Hampton Court,
St. James’s and Whitehall[76]. In the gardens of York House
he put up the figures of Cain and Abel, by John of Bologna,
the imitator of Michael Angelo, one of the finest groups
by that master, a present from Philip IV of Spain. It was
the intention of Charles I to adorn the squares and public
gardens of London in general with works of artistic merit.

It is worth while to remark the connexion between
these efforts in favour of art and poetry, and the
social cultivation, the general tendencies in favour of
toleration, of ecclesiastical ceremony, and of antiquity,
and the cosmopolitan sympathies, which mark the ascendancy
of royal authority. Could Charles I ever have succeeded
in leading the English mind in this direction, and in
instigating it to produce works of its own? We may feel
ourselves tempted to agree with those who have at all times
made it the bitterest reproach of the Puritans, that they
opposed these intentions, and even frustrated them. But in
the struggles between different tendencies, which give the
tone to an age, the question in dispute cannot be settled
by the encouragement which they afford to this or that
branch of culture. They are like the forces of nature,
which create but at the same time destroy. The other party
also had its rights, its ideas, and, if we regard the
general state of the world and of the time, a still greater
destiny in the field of universal history.


[43] Relation de Mr. Fontenay, 4 Juin 1634: ‘Le tresorier
veut la paix et pour sa subsistance et par sa foiblesse:
c’est pourquoy il demeure neutre entre France et Espagne.’
Cp. the instructions to the ambassador Poigny in the 4th
vol of Avenel’s Lettres du Cl. Richelieu.

[44] Gussoni. ‘Gode la fortuna d’esser il piu autorevole
e superiormente favorito di S. M.--sogetto di cupo e di
sagace ingegno, benche nell’ esteriore si dimostri non
amabile, anzi ruvido di natura.’

[45] A Contarini, Aug. 24, 1637: ‘Ha saputo dar ad
intendere al re’ che tutti gli altri cerchino d’ ingannarlo
e che lui solo vole conservarlo nella sua autorità
independente della volontà di parlamenti.’

[46] Summary in Rushworth ii. 71. Cp. Hallam,
Constitutional History ii. 76.

[47] A. Correro gives the sum (Relatione di 1637). Cp.
Garrard to the Lord Deputy, in Stratford Letters i. 413.

[48] Garrard to the Lord Deputy, in Stratford Letters ii.

[49] A. Correro: ‘Per dubio che mettendosi in scompiglio
tutte le provincie, non si sollevassaro.’

[50] A. Correro mentions ‘Imposte annuali perpetue in
virtù della regalità nominatamente sopra abloni, che sono
ingredienti per far la birra, vini, taverne, tabacco,
carboni di terra, saponi e simili.’

[51] Or, as he says again, ‘havendo fatta strada all’
autorità assoluta per la legale.’

[52] Mr. Attorney General, his second day’s argument (in
Rushworth ii. 573): ‘I find by the books that are kept in
the council chamber, that the preparations were in October
ao. 87; I find no parliament called that year; yet by the
letters and orders from the council board these ships and
defence that were made, was adsumpt of the subject.

[53] The charges that were afterwards brought against
individuals with regard to this transaction, and are still
repeated at the present day, may be passed over, especially
as the intentions of each person cannot be ascertained.
There can be no doubt that Lord Coventry had a great share
in it.

[54] A. Correro, Relatione 1637: ‘Stanno attaccati alle
leggi come ad un asilo e litigano le cause sotto la loro
protestatione con solo fine che le leggi si veggano violate
ed essi costretti.’

[55] Forster, Statesmen ii. 122.

[56] Panzani, Relatione dello stato della religione:
‘Ognuno confessava che non mai si erano veduti tempi
migliori: non e però che l’ uso della religione sia libero,
essendo ancora vive tutte le leggi severissime, ni possono
essere rivocate, se non da un parlamento.’

[57] Ex registro literarum Georgii Cunei. Brit. Mus. 15390.

[58] Cuneo to Cardinal Franc. Barberini, Jan. 7, 1637.

[59] Dispaccio 16 Settembre, 1636: Io dissi, Sire, noi
(cattolici) teniamo Vra Maestà sopra il parlamento. Egli
rispose che era vero, ma che bisognava pensare alla
difficoltà grandissime.’

[60] ‘Il re dimando se non mi pareva che fosse opinione
cattiva di supporre l’ autorità regia ai capricci d’un

[61] 12 Marzo 1637. ‘S. Maestà mi contò discorsi passati
tra lui ed il confessor del re di Spagna in materia di
religione e del tutto S. M. mostrò d’ essere restata poco

[62] Cuneo: ‘Demandai al re, che dottrina teneva egli per
buona, fuori quelle che era nella scrittura sacra. Il re
me rispose, che credeva li primi quattro concilii ed i tre

[63] Conference with Fisher the Jesuit. History of the
Troubles, 460.

[64] Cuneo’s Letters, June 5, 1637. ‘Il Cantuarense seguita
en li soliti artificii a mostrarsi buon capo della chiesa
Anglicana. Ho procurato di far tastare il Cantuarense,
in ordine di levare lo scisma, ma egli è molto vario nel
suo discorso ora mostrando di voler aderire alia dottrina
delli primi 400 anni ed ora lamentandosi del concilio di
Trento--timido ambicioso ed inconstante e poco abile all’
imprese grandi.’

[65] Ubi sint locorum verbi dei ministri eandem illi atque
aequalem omnes habent tum potestatem, tum autoritatem,
ut qui sint aeque omnes Christi unici illius episcopi
universalis et capitis ecclesiae ministri. Art. 31.

[66] Fuller, Church History x. 307.

[67] De republica ecclesiastica. T. ii (1620), lib. vi.

[68] Brace’s Calendar, 1633-4 furnishes in the preface and
in the extracts which it contains, much new information
about Laud.

[69] According to Correro, Relatione 1637, his offence was
‘d’aver parlato alla tavola contre il presente governo. La
sua pena--ha eccitato le lingue quasi dell’ universale alle
maggiori exclamationi.’

[70] Dated at Dublin Castle, December 16, 1634. Strafford
Letters i. 344. The Canon in Collier ii. 763.

[71] Considerations, in Strafford Letters ii. 60.

[72] Forster’s Statesmen ii. 380.

[73] Gussoni, Relatione 1635: ‘Gli Inglesi navigano molto
meglio armate di quelle caravelle Portoghesi, quali erano
per la maggior parte preda degli Olandesi.’

[74] Gussoni: ‘Abonda con molta superfluità cosi per il
numero d’ offiziali et ministri d’ ogni qualità, come per
le assignationi del piatto quotidiano che si da lauto e
splendido anche eccedentemente.’

[75] Gachet, Lettres de Rubens. Guhl, Kunstlerbriefe ii.

[76] Old Parliamentary History xix. 83; Waagen, Kunstwerke
und Kunstler in England, i. 450.



If we adhere to the view that the Latin and Teutonic
nations, in the development which they have reached under
the influence of the Western Church, make up a great
indivisible community which furthermore appears as an unit
in the world; and if we further look for the characteristic
features by which this system of nations is distinguished
from all other growths of worldwide historical importance,
we find that they are principally two; the close connexion
between Church and State involving a constant struggle
between these two principles; and next the mixture of
monarchical with representative institutions in each single
country and the internal conflicts thence arising. At times
republican formations made their appearance; yet they were
hardly able to emancipate themselves from aristocratic
and even from monarchical forms. At times absolute
monarchy obtained the upper hand; but, if we consider the
governments which are most conspicuous in this respect,
we find that the supreme will of the sovereign was hardly
ever able to prevail over the great obstacles presented by
provinces and individuals. So there have been centuries
in which the great monarchies appear to have been broken
up or oppressed by the hierarchy: but even the Papacy met
with opposition; the authority of those self-same popular
bodies, which were perhaps originally allied with it, in
later times was opposed to it. The characteristic life
of the West, the continuity of its development, and its
ascendancy in the world, are due to this conflict between
ecclesiastical and political influences, between the           [A.D. 1637.]
tendencies towards monarchical and those towards
representative government, and to the mutual action of
independent nationalities, within an unity which embraced
all, but yet was never complete, and was rather ideal than
actually realised.

The great secession from Rome which came to pass in the
sixteenth century did not break up this system of nations.
The more remote were brought at times into closer relations
with one another by the universal opposition and struggle,
which in turn very materially affected the shapes into
which the domestic relations of the individual states were

If Protestantism contributed to strengthen the power of the
sovereigns under whose lead it was carried out, yet the
temporal estates also shared the gain which accrued from
the defeat and curtailment of ecclesiastical interests;
for by this means their own power became more firmly
established. The restoration of Catholicism at a later
period had a very different effect. The concessions which
the Papacy voluntarily made to secure it, redounded mainly
to the advantage of the sovereigns. The Popes themselves,
in order to revive their ecclesiastical authority in every
country, employed all the pecuniary resources which could
in any way be raised in their newly conquered state, which
now for the first time was entirely reduced to obedience.
In Italy they created for themselves a new Grand Duchy,
by the erection of which the rights of the municipalities
comprised within it were entirely destroyed. The Spanish
monarchy, which in this epoch played the most important
part, had not, it is true, annihilated, but had kept down
the independence of the provinces in the Italian as well
as in the Spanish peninsula, which in earlier times had
been so powerful; and as by the aid of American gold it
had obtained a power independent of the good will of the
Estates, the authority of the sovereign was asserted far
and wide. These two agencies reacted most powerfully upon
Germany. Even before the Thirty Years’ War the territories
of the ecclesiastical and Catholic princes followed the
example of Rome. During the war, and by means of it, the
house of Austria brought into subjection the representative
constitution of the kingdoms and countries belonging to it     [A.D. 1637.]
which had attached themselves to the principles of
Protestantism. Frederick Elector Palatine stood at the head
of these independent bodies, but they did not understand
how to support him effectively. They fell with him. The
same thing then happened in the central districts of
Germany, where the combinations between sovereigns and
estates were so weak from their rivalry with one another
that they went to ruin.

In France Catholicism had once helped the Estates in their
struggle against the monarch, but this alliance could not
be maintained. After the hereditary sovereign had reached
throne by the going over to Catholicism, he still based his
authority upon the maintenance of an equilibrium between
the two religious parties. But for his successors this
policy was no longer necessary. The Catholic portion of
their subjects attached themselves to them without any
regard to a title conferred by the Estates; and though
the magnates then sought for safety principally in an
alliance with Protestant interests, the result was that
ecclesiastical and political independence sustained a
common defeat at the hands of the sovereign and of the
Catholic party. The power of the state assumed a deeper
Catholic colour the more it aimed at absolutism.

The principle of monarchy combined with Catholicism now
appeared in different forms in three great kingdoms. In
that of Spain it was intolerant of Protestantism, but was
surrounded by provincial assemblies of estates, whose
action, although subdued, was not altogether annihilated:
in the French monarchy it appeared more tolerant of the
Protestants even on its own ground, but was master of the
Estates, which just at this period were completely subdued:
in the Austrian monarchy it was intolerant both towards the
Protestants who were persecuted and ejected, and towards
the Estates which had just been conquered. The struggle
which had broken out between France on the one side, and
Spain combined with Austria on the other, caused the two
latter kingdoms to adopt, or at least to try to adopt, the
principle of unity under an absolute monarch which had
been carried out in the former. There is a very peculiar
difference in the relations of the three powers with the
German Protestants, who were saved from utter ruin by the      [A.D. 1637.]
intervention of the King of Sweden. The French sought to
make the Protestant Estates of the Empire as independent
as possible of Austria: Spain at that time was willing to
tolerate their faith, but wished to bring them back under
the control of the Emperor: at the Imperial court itself
there was a tendency prevailing, at least for a time, to
suppress both their belief and their independence.

Thus the Western world at this epoch was pervaded by a
threefold hostility: by the religious dispute between the
two great parties, in which the Catholic party had obtained
an immeasurable superiority: by the great opposition
in regard to foreign policy between France and the
Austro-Spanish power; and by a third antagonism in regard
to domestic affairs. The monarchical had become more than
ever supreme over the constitutional principle.

Let us now sum up the position which England under the
Stuarts occupied in these great questions.

From the posterity of Mary Stuart, who at the same time
were the successors of Queen Elizabeth, and to whom the
alliances of both queens descended, nothing else could be
expected than that they should interfere but little in the
religious struggles of the continent. They sought to keep
on good terms, and even in alliance with both parties. They
had certainly been implicated in the great struggle by the
affair of the Palatinate: Charles I had on one occasion
even taken up a position at the head of the Protestant
party; but he had suffered a defeat in that character. This
connexion had even turned out ruinous to the Protestants:
henceforward he left them to shift for themselves as far
as the principal question was concerned, and followed only
his private end, the restoration of his nephew, the Elector

In his disputes with the two great continental powers,
James I had carried out still further the policy for which
Elizabeth had paved the way. He had contributed to the
emancipation of the Republic of the Netherlands from Spain,
for the ascendancy of this monarchy by land and sea was
obnoxious to James himself. But he would go no further. It
was altogether contrary to his wish and intention that he      [A.D. 1637.]
was involved at the end of his days in a quarrel with
Spain. As in the religious, so also in the political
conflict, the Stuarts did not wish, properly speaking, to
take the side either of France or Spain. From this radical
tendency of their policy they sometimes deviated, but
always returned to it again.

In both those great questions in fine which decided the
future of the world, Charles I, after his interference had
once resulted in failure, no longer took a pronounced and
independent part. We saw what was the issue of his wish
to be the ally at the same time of Sweden and of Spain.
In domestic affairs on the contrary he had fixed his eyes
upon a definite aim. Here, although the questions which
were agitated might be altogether native to the English
soil and atmosphere, his policy had some analogy with
that which prevailed on the continent. He also, like the
great Catholic sovereigns, sought to crush the pretensions
of the Estates in political affairs; and he, like them,
endeavoured to strengthen the royal power by means of the
attributes of the spiritual.

It was not that Charles I had thought of subjecting himself
to the Papacy. We know how far his soul was averse to this:
he could not come to an understanding with the Pope even
about the formula in which the Catholics were to promise
their obedience, in order to make their toleration possible
for him. The English crown could not be strengthened, as
was the case with other powers, by encouraging the ideas
of Catholicism: on the contrary, it was rather supported
by the authority which it had wrested from the Papacy. The
royal supremacy over the Church was intended, by means
of the closest alliance with the Protestant bishops, to
become, in the hands of the supreme power, a weapon which
should be employed in all three kingdoms. The bishops were
confirmed in their possessions and dignity; moreover the
common opposition to their opponents, who had been hated by
the Stuarts before they left Scotland, united the bishops
as closely as possible with the sovereign, whose cause
they defended as their own. When the crown found that its
interest lay in sparing the Catholics and suppressing the      [A.D. 1637.]
Puritans, an extraordinary effect followed; the
ecclesiastical power which had grown out of the Reformation
proved more favourable to the adherents of the old creed
than to the zealous champions of the new.

This was completely in harmony with the position of the
Stuarts when they received their crown. They wished to be
Protestants, but to avoid the hostility of the Catholics
and, if possible, to annihilate Puritanism. Their relation
with the Episcopal Church was on the whole the same with
that which Elizabeth had established; but it differed from
it, inasmuch as the Queen persecuted the Catholics with
decided hostility and tolerated the Presbyterians as her
indispensable allies in this conflict, while the Stuarts
hated the Presbyterians, and wished to grant toleration to
the Catholics.

The hereditary right of the Stuarts, which was acknowledged
by both religious parties, had been the ground of the union
between Scotland and England, and of the greater obedience
of Ireland: it was therefore natural that the Parliaments
should appear to these monarchs to be subordinate
provincial bodies, which had only a limited influence
on the government of the whole monarchy. They thought
themselves fully warranted in enforcing the rights which
the monarchy derived either from the abstract idea they had
formed of it, or from the customs of their predecessors,
without regard to the Parliaments. They regarded them as
assemblies of counsellors which they might consult or not
at their discretion, and whose duty it was to support the
crown, without the right of dictating to it in any way, or
of obstructing it in its movements.

The whole system arose out of the views, experiences, and
intentions which James I brought with him to the English
throne. But this sovereign was as skilful in practice as
he was aspiring in theory. Incessant oscillation between
opposite parties had in him become a second nature. He
avoided driving the adversaries with whom he contended to
desperation: he never pushed matters to an extremity. He
never lost sight of his end for a moment, but he sought
to effect his designs if necessary by circuitous paths,
and by means of clever and pliant tools; he had no scruple     [A.D. 1637.]
about sacrificing any one who did not serve his purpose.
Charles I deemed it important to avoid this vacillation.
He loved to be served by men of decided tone and colour,
and thought it a point of honour to maintain them against
all assaults. He adhered without wavering to those maxims
and theories which he had received from his father, and
which he considered as an heirloom. He always threw himself
directly upon the object immediately before him. In the
world which surrounded him, Charles I always passed for
a man without a fault, who committed no excesses, had no
vices, possessed cultivation and knowledge to the fullest
extent, without wishing to make a show in consequence:
not indeed by nature devoid of severity, which however he
tempered with feelings of humanity;--for instance, he could
hardly be brought to sign a sentence of death. Since the
death of Buckingham he appeared to choose his ministers
by merit and capacity, and no longer by favouritism:
even his queen seemed to exercise no political influence
over him. But this calm, artistic, religious sovereign,
certainly did not add to his qualities the cleverness
which marked the administration of his father. James could
never be really affronted: he put up with everything
which he could not alter. Charles I had a very lively
and irritable sense of personal honour: he was easily
wounded and sought to revenge himself; and then perhaps
he committed himself to enterprises, the scope of which
he did not perceive. He wanted that general sense of the
state of affairs which distinguishes what is attainable
from what is not. He prosecuted the quarrels in which he
was involved as zealously and as long as possible, and
then suddenly renounced them. People compared him to a
miser, who turns over every penny, as we say, before he
parts with it, but then suddenly throws away a large sum.
Yet still when Charles I made concessions, he never made
them unconditionally. This trustworthy man could bring
himself to balance the promises he made in public by a
secret reservation which absolved him from them again.
With Charles I nothing was more seductive than secrecy.
The contradictions in his conduct entangled him in
embarrassments, in which his declarations, if always
true in the sense he privately gave them, were only a          [A.D. 1637.]
hair’s-breadth removed from actual and even from
intentional untruth. His method of governing the State
was in itself of an equivocal character, inasmuch as he
declared that he wished to uphold the laws of England,
and then notwithstanding made dispositions which rested
on obsolete rights and ran counter to what all the world
deemed lawful: he affirmed that he did not wish to encroach
upon Parliamentary government, and then nevertheless did
everything to relieve himself for a long period from the
necessity of summoning Parliament. Notwithstanding all the
forbearance from shedding human blood which he had imposed
on himself, yet he had the severest punishment inflicted
upon the opponents of his system, by which even their lives
were endangered. For his political aim outweighed all other
considerations, and he did not hesitate to employ any means
to attain it.

The system of Charles I consisted in making the royal
prerogative the basis of government. He had no military
forces however which he could employ to secure that object,
such as at this time were used in France to maintain
the supreme authority: on the contrary, foreigners were
surprised to see how completely the King was in the hands
of his people; that there were hardly any fortresses
to which he could fly for safety in time of need; that
everything depended on the laws and their interpretation.
This was just what gave importance to the fact that some
of the heads of the judicial body, and those too the
very men who had formerly belonged to the Parliamentary
party, such as Noy and Littleton, now became champions
of the prerogative. Their change may have been due to
altered convictions and lawyer-like attachment to one
side, as there was much found in the laws which could be
urged in favour of their present view; or it may have
arisen from slavish ambition, animated by the desire to
obtain the highest offices. Many persons in England as
well as in France, and with the same zeal which was shown
in that country, espoused the idea of the sovereignty
of the crown; they thought that it was older than all
Parliaments, and was acknowledged in the laws. From the
duty of defending and ruling the kingdom they inferred the
right of the King to demand from his subjects the means
of fulfilling that duty. All the provisions of Magna           [A.D. 1637.]
Charta, or of the laws of Edward I to the contrary, or the
doctrines of law-books, which in fact contained much that
was indefinite and dependent upon the circumstances of
the time, were of no account in their eyes in comparison
with this right. And while the advocates of these views
thus had a position which could be regarded as legal,
the administration had already found in the Lord Deputy
of Ireland a man who had the will and the capacity to
develop government by prerogative to its full proportions.
And the Archbishop of Canterbury, who had never wavered
for a moment, so conducted the government of the Church
as to uphold the King’s prerogative of supremacy in
ecclesiastical affairs. He appeared to aim at establishing,
or rather, properly speaking, already to possess in
substance a British patriarchate, such as that which long
ago in Constantinople had stood beside the throne of the
Greek emperors, and had promoted their views. Although
different in procedure, and in the foundation on which
they rested, these efforts had a general coincidence with
the policy which was being carried out in other great
monarchies in the name of the sovereign by ambitious
ministers, obsequious tribunals, and devoted bishops. Where
in England was the power which could have resisted it? In
order to realise the dull dissatisfaction and the despair
of the mother-country which was spreading in consequence,
we must recollect that the colonisation of New England was
due to emigration from English shores. Even at an earlier
time a troop of exiled believers, who termed themselves
pilgrims, and who in fact were seeking a refuge in
Virginia, had been driven further north, where they founded
New Plymouth. After existing for ten years, the colony
reckoned no more than three hundred members, and it still
lacked legal recognition. But the increasing ecclesiastical
oppression which prevailed in England now impelled a number
of families of some property and position in Suffolk,
Rutland, Lincolnshire, and Northamptonshire, to turn their
steps in the same direction. Their principal object was
to erect a bulwark in these distant regions against the
kingdom of Antichrist, which was being extended by the         [A.D. 1637.]
Jesuits[77]. For they thought that they had to fear lest
the English Church also should fall a victim to the ruin
which had overtaken so many others. How much better, they
imagined, would the faithful in the Palatinate and in
Rochelle have done, if they had seized the right moment
to secure an asylum for the exercise of their religion on
the other side of the ocean! That country in which they
could best serve God seemed to them their fatherland. As it
conduced to their safety that they should not cross the sea
as fugitives without rights, they obtained for themselves
a transfer of Massachusetts Bay and the neighbouring
territory, drawn up according to the forms of English law.
But even this was not enough to satisfy them, for they did
not wish to be governed from England, after the fashion
of other colonies. They did not decide on transplanting
themselves until they had received by charter the right
of transferring the government of the colony to the other
continent. John Winthrop, if not in wealth, in which some
others surpassed him, yet in descent and position the most
distinguished among those who conducted the enterprise was
the first governor of the society and of the colony. In the
year 1630 the emigrants, numbering about 1500, crossed to
America in seventeen ships, sailing from different ports.
But year by year other expeditions followed them[78]. For
on this side of the water the pre-eminence accorded to the
English Church was constantly becoming more decided, while
on that side Presbyterianism, in the strict form in which
it was now embodied, had free scope. In the year 1638 the
colonists were reckoned at 50,000, and they had already
established a number of settlements in the country.

And this colony even then appeared a place of refuge for
political exiles. We must certainly reject as unfounded
what has been so often related and repeated, that Hampden
and Pym were hindered by the government itself from going
to America: but it is true that they had entertained the
thought of going. Their names are found on the list of         [A.D. 1637.]
those to whom the Earl of Warwick assigned as a settlement
a large tract of coast which he had acquired[79].

The catalogue of these names is also remarkable in other
ways. We find on it the names of Lord Brook, and of Lord
Say and Seale, who, like the Earl of Warwick himself,
were among those members of the aristocracy who offered
the most decided opposition to the designs of Charles I
and of his ministers. They passed for opponents of Weston
and of the Spaniards, and for friends of Holland and
even of France. Another special bond of union was the
Presbyterian interest which was, as it were, the element
in which the colony lived and moved. Lord Warwick, one of
the largest proprietors in England and America, was one
of the principal patrons of the colony. His mother’s name
is conspicuous among those of the benefactors of the new

But the nobility in general were by no means upon the
side of the King. Their influence indeed had been already
felt in the attacks directed by the Lower House against
the rising power of Buckingham. If the King abstained
from convening another Parliament, they would thus lose
the principal influence upon public affairs which they
possessed. The English aristocracy did not share the
fiery impulses of the French; as it did not at once rise
in insurrection, it did not incur those chastisements
for disobedience with which the other was visited by an
inaccessible power in the State. It waited for a convenient
season to come forward.

Like the great nobles, and even in a higher degree than
they, the landed gentry felt themselves threatened and
endangered by the revival of laws which had fallen into
abeyance, and claims to rights which had been forgotten.
The extension of the forest-laws was effected without
their participation by juries of foresters, wood-rangers,
and other persons interested in the advantages which were
to be expected from such an extension: their verdict was
afterwards confirmed by judges discredited by the suspicion
of partiality.

The displeasure of other circles was roused by the
degrading penalties which the ecclesiastical courts
inflicted on men of no mean position. Very few might find      [A.D. 1637.]
pleasure in Prynne’s attack upon the drama; but to crop his
ears for some words which referred to the Queen appeared
an affront to his University degree and to the barrister’s
robe which he wore.

And how deeply was public feeling humiliated when the
sentence of the judges followed affirming the royal claim
to ship-money: men were seen passing one another in silence
with gloomy looks. Even those who did not grudge the
King a new source of revenue, and esteemed it necessary,
were yet alarmed that it could be assured to him without
grant of Parliament. The doubtful legality, to say the
least of it, of this proceeding inspired anxiety lest
the untrustworthy, morally contemptible and covetous men
who contended for the claims of the crown, should become
masters of the government, without any possible expectation
of a Parliament to instil into them some fear and respect.

Such however was now the condition of affairs: no one
had a position which enabled him to raise his voice to
remonstrate; and any free expression of opinion involved
the extremest danger. The authority of the Church and of
the judges, supporting itself on its own interpretation of
the laws, now governed England. This system was extending
itself over Scotland by the agency of the friends and
adherents of Laud: in Ireland a resolute will drew the
reins as tight as possible. It seemed likely in fact that
the union of monarchical and ecclesiastical power, which
prevailed in the rest of the Teutonic and Latin world,
would also take possession of England, and would thus gain
a complete ascendancy.

The foreign policy of England was fairly in keeping with
these tendencies in domestic affairs. The great Anglicans
and champions of the prerogative showed little ardour for
the cause of European Protestantism. On the other hand the
adherents of Parliament, and the Nonconformists, regarded
the cause of this creed as almost identical with their
own:--opposite views which were found even at court, but
threw the nation most of all into confusion, and were
the main cause why the efforts of the King encountered a
resistance which by degrees proved insuperable.

The great struggle began in Scotland.


[77] From a letter of the younger Winthrop in Bancroft i.

[78] In the year 1634 D’Ewes (Autobiography ii. 112)
expresses his astonishment at the number of God-fearing
people of both sexes who were resorting to that far-distant
region, ‘there to plant in respect of the doctrinal part
one of the most absolutely holy orthodox and well-governed

[79] In Hutchinson i. 64.



Not one of the governments of Protestant countries had had
so little share in carrying out the reform of the Church as
that of Scotland. The change had taken place in opposition
to Mary Stuart, or the representatives of her rights. James
I had accepted it, so far as doctrine was concerned; but he
had from the first shown a dislike for the ecclesiastical
constitution in which it was embodied.

His ancestors had always found support in their connexion
with the hierarchy; and in the same way we have noticed
that this prince, induced in the first instance by the
relations of the different elements in the state, had
sought to restore episcopacy. Political reasons were
supported by considerations of a strictly religious
character, but above all by the example of England. The
establishment of episcopacy appeared to him the principal
step towards effecting the union of both countries: he
regarded it as one of the great tasks of his life.

Properly speaking the revival of episcopacy passed through
two different stages of development during his reign.

So long as George Gladstane was Archbishop of St. Andrews
(1607-1615), the Scottish episcopate remained pretty nearly
what it was originally intended to be--a superintending
body such as had previously existed. Gladstane showed great
indulgence in the exercise of his archiepiscopal rights
themselves. He tolerated everywhere the ecclesiastical
usages which had been imported from Geneva, and which
allowed much freedom to the minister. Among learned
theologians a school was developed, principally by             [A.D. 1618.]
Cameron’s action in opposition to Melville, which
reconciled itself to the episcopal system in this shape,
and many ministers adhered to it. A sensible addition was
made to the strength of Anglican and episcopal tendencies
when, in the year 1615, John Spottiswood became Archbishop
of St. Andrews, and thereby primate and metropolitan of
the Scottish Church: he was one of the three bishops who
had received their episcopal ordination from English
bishops, and had in consequence espoused the theory of
apostolical succession. Even Spottiswood did not go so far
as to wish to take the legislative power of the Scottish
Church out of the hands of the General Assembly of the
clergy: on the contrary he himself, in conferring with the
King, opposed a scheme of legislation which aimed at this
object; but, while he reserved the rights of the Assembly,
he thought himself justified in using it to promote the
reception of episcopal authority, and to bring about a
nearer approach to the Anglican system. In this he sided
with the King, even if he was personally not convinced of
the necessity of a change. He cherished the opinion that
obedience must be shown to the King in everything which was
not in contradiction to the faith; and he asserted this
principle in the Assembly of Perth in the year 1618, with
such success that the King’s proposals were accepted by a
considerable majority. These proposals were embodied in the
decrees known under the name of the Five Articles of Perth.
They decided various points, among which the practice of
kneeling at the reception of the Lord’s Supper, and the
observance of high festivals were the most important.

But whilst the Archbishop satisfied the King, he provoked
the hostility of those zealous Presbyterians who looked
upon the conclusions of the Assembly, which they affirmed
to have been this time influenced by the bishops, as a
falling away from former laws, and were ready to urge many
objections to them on the ground of doctrine. The practice
of kneeling at the reception of the Lord’s Supper was
objected to by them, because no mention was made of it in
the words of institution. They met the demand that they
should observe high feast-days with the assertion that
they contained points of agreement with heathenism; as for     [A.D. 1627.]
instance Christmas Day was only another form of the
Norse Yule Feast[80]: and they laid the greatest stress
on keeping Sunday strictly as the Sabbath. The rest of
the Articles of Perth were almost entirely disregarded,
and these two, the most important of them, were very
imperfectly carried out[81].

The distinction between active and passive resistance
in regard to the will of the sovereign, which appears
at this moment, is significant of the state of affairs.
The ministers did not wish to resist the King, for they
were still doubtful whether such conduct was reconcilable
with the Divine commands; but they refused on their part
to follow ordinances which they deemed unlawful and
inconsistent with the established religion. This obedience
which they refused would be active obedience: merely to
abstain from resisting they also considered obedience, and
this they denominated passive obedience, and believed that
they might satisfy their duty by paying it[82].

James I had no desire to go further, and resisted the
demands of those who urged him to do so; for, as he said,
he knew his people, and did not wish to fall out with them
as his mother had done.

In the first years of his reign Charles I also allowed
toleration to prevail. When the preachers who had been
appointed before the introduction of the Articles of Perth
neglected to obey them, he overlooked their omission. The
affairs of the Scottish Church were left in the hands of
Spottiswood, who, in spite of all counter-influences,
conducted them peacefully, with foresight, and with a
certain moderation. But when, after the conclusion of
peace with France and Spain, the system of combining
ecclesiastical with political authority began to prevail
in England, affairs assumed another aspect in Scotland
as well. The vacant bishoprics, which had hitherto been
filled up according to the recommendation of the Scottish      [A.D. 1633.]
bishops, were now disposed of according to the wishes of
William Laud, whom the King made his counsellor in the
affairs of the Scottish Church as well as of the English.
He, however, selected young men who concurred with him in
his hierarchical and theological opinions. A new system,
the Laudian, later indeed also called the Canterbury
system, found acceptance in regard to the constitution and
dogmas of the Church. General assemblies of the Church
were as carefully avoided in Scotland, as Parliaments in
England; and that with the definite object of concentrating
ecclesiastical power entirely in the hands of the bishops,
on which subject the testimony of the early Church was
collected and put forward. At the same time favour was
shown to those Arminian opinions which ran counter to the
common feeling of the country in favour of Calvinism, that
had been strengthened and advanced by the Synod of Dort.
When Charles I came to Edinburgh in the year 1633, he
was attended by Laud; and his design of introducing into
Scotland the external forms of divine service in use in
the Anglican Church was displayed without any disguise.
In the royal chapel their introduction was attended with
no difficulty; but elsewhere no one would hear of it. In
Parliament the King met with opposition in his attempt to
determine the most purely external matter of all,--the
dress of the clergy. In proportion as the government
favoured the introduction into Scotland of usages similar
to those of the Anglican Church, zeal for Presbyterianism,
which in contrast with these usages was identified with
Puritanism, gained the upper hand. In May 1633 an address
was presented to the King, in which the absence of binding
force in the Articles of Perth was again pointed out, and
a restoration of independent ecclesiastical jurisdiction,
and of the old constitution in general, was demanded. It
was urged that a General Assembly of the clergy ought to
be held every year; that the prelates called to a seat in
Parliament were bound by the instructions of the Assembly,
and were responsible to it. What the petitioners desired to
restore was the old independence of the Scottish Church as
established on its first erection, free from all encroachments
of the crown, and with a merely nominal episcopate such as     [A.D. 1633.]
that established by the statutes of 1592 and 1597, which
the King was requested to restore.

Under the pressure of encroachments, which increased
notwithstanding these manifestations of opinion, a peculiar
form of opposition grew up in the Scottish Church, which
at any rate went perceptibly beyond the bounds of passive
obedience[83]. The ministers hit upon the institution of
private meetings, which were held with the faithful who
were in agreement with them. At the beginning of every
quarter notice of these meetings was secretly given, and
every member prepared himself for them beforehand by
fasting. The assembled congregation then set itself to
take into consideration the danger which threatened the
true Church from the action of the bishops. Prayer was
made to God that He would put an end to this danger by
wholesome means[84]. At times there were even conflicts in
those congregations whose ministers had submitted to the
ordinances of the government. When meetings, instituted
after the model of Geneva, were held before the Communion
for putting an end to all mutual complaints, the ministers
were called to account by some members of the congregation.
People would no longer receive the Lord’s Supper at their
hands, nor according to the prescribed ceremonies; but they
sought for men who observed the old ritual, or else they
abstained altogether from communicating. To the official
church of the King and the bishops, almost as in former
times, when the revolt from the Papacy took place, a secret
worship was opposed which united men’s hearts in inward
resistance to the attempts of the government.

And on this as well as on the former occasion the
opposition spread to the highest circles in the country.

The Stuart kings of Scotland had striven from the beginning
to break down the importance of the great vassals, which
was due to the old clan relationship, but especially to        [A.D. 1633.]
wrest from them the administration of justice. King James
on his last visit had instituted public discussions
about questions of this sort, and with an air of triumph
had announced to the chieftains the joy he felt when he
vindicated his claims on these occasions. But Charles I
now assailed the position which the nobles at that time
occupied with regard to property. The collection of tithes
had given the nobles great authority over the proprietors
themselves and over the clergy who were interested in
them, although only to a small extent: these he now made
redeemable. He attempted to take back, either in the
interests of the crown or for the endowment of bishoprics,
a part of the property of the Church which had passed into
the possession of the nobles during the tumultuous times
of the Reformation. Even this occasioned great agitation,
especially as it was intended to carry out the measure
without giving compensation. Lord Nithisdale, who attempted
to enforce it in the name of the King, ran a risk of losing
his life in consequence. The violence of feeling was still
further increased by the favours granted in political
matters to the Protestant hierarchy[85]. Controversies
about precedence arose between the temporal dignitaries
of the state and the bishops, who were reinstated and,
arrayed in silk and velvet, rode to Parliament in the midst
of the nobility with all the old ecclesiastical pomp. At
the coronation of 1633 the King wished that the Archbishop
and Primate should take precedence of the Chancellor for
that one day only. The Chancellor Hay, Earl of Kinnoul,
answered that, so long as the King left his office in his
hands, he would retain it with all its privileges, and that
no man in a stole should walk before him. But not rank and
honour alone, but very substantial elements of power, were
at stake in this dispute. Among the thirty-two Lords of
Articles, upon whom in Scotland the previous discussion
of all resolutions to be laid before Parliament devolved,
the eight bishops were the chief: they nominated the eight
noblemen, and these latter the sixteen other members. It is
plain that by this means they exercised a very active          [A.D. 1635.]
influence upon the deliberations of Parliament. But the
ecclesiastical jurisdiction which was set up was still
more burdensome to the Lords. In Scotland, as well as
in England, a High Commission based upon this supreme
jurisdiction of the King was instituted, in order to bring
before the tribunal all transgressions of ecclesiastical
ordinances, and even those persons who were only suspected
of transgressing them. The Privy Council, which exercised
the power of the King in Scotland, was commissioned to
enforce its sentence. The clergy and the men of learning
first felt the pressure of this authority, but neither
birth nor rank were a defence against its proceedings.
The Scots affirmed[86] that the tribunal outdid even the
Spanish Inquisition in harshness and cruelty. While in this
way bitter feelings were raised by the collision between
the high nobility and the bishops, the most disagreeable
impression of all was made on the former when King Charles
introduced a number of bishops into the Treasury-board,
into the temporal courts of justice, and into the Privy
Council. In old times the seals of the kingdom had been for
the most part in the hands of learned clergymen, because
from their experience in canon as well as in civil law
they could best advise the King: following this practice,
Charles I in the year 1635, after the death of Kinnoul,
nominated an ecclesiastic, no other than Archbishop
Spottiswood himself, to the Chancellorship of the
kingdom[87]. This dignity had been latterly an object of
emulation and ambition among the temporal lords; and they
felt themselves aggrieved when a clergyman, who thereby
combined the supreme spiritual with the supreme temporal
authority, was preferred to them. The person most mortified
was Archibald Lord Lorne, afterwards Marquess of Argyle,       [A.D. 1636.]
a man who thought that he had a definite claim to the
office, and who indisputably possessed all the capacity
required for it. The aspiring Bishop Maxwell roused the
jealousy of the treasurer, Lord Traquair, who suspected an
intention of dispossessing him of his place, and investing
the bishop with it.

In this way the advancement of the ecclesiastical element
had already roused various antipathies of a political
and religious nature. The nobles feared for their
possessions and for their jurisdiction, especially as some
well-grounded objections might be made to the latter;
principally however for their share in the authority of
the state, which seemed doomed to pass into the hands
of the clergy. The country clergy cherished anxiety for
their independence, and the people for the accepted
ecclesiastical usages with which religion itself appeared
to them to be bound up. Yet all this would hardly have led
to an open outbreak of discontent. Meanwhile, however,
the King and Archbishop Laud again took up an old plan
which had been formed by James I, had been long ready for
execution, and had only been postponed on account of the
difficulties into which the King had feared to fall in
consequence,--the plan of fortifying the episcopal power
in the Scottish Church by issuing a new book of canon law,
and at the same time of binding Scotland more closely to
England by bringing the Church service of that country
into conformity with the English. A similar attempt on the
part of the Lord Deputy had just succeeded in Ireland: why
should not such a measure be forced through in Scotland?
The majority of the Scottish bishops held out hopes of

The Book of Canon Law was first brought out. It was drawn
up by three English bishops, the Archbishop of Canterbury,
and the Bishops of London and Norwich, who belonged to the
prevailing school of opinion. It was sent to Edinburgh,
there amended, ratified in this shape by the King, in May
1635, and promulgated in the year 1636.

It stands in sharply-defined contradiction to the
ecclesiastical customs and to the opinions of the Scots.

The Scottish Church had always opposed the royal supremacy:
but in the new law-book this was laid down and enforced on     [A.D. 1636.]
pain of excommunication against all who should resist it,
on the ground that it had been exercised by the Christian
emperors of the first age. The Scots had originally claimed
an independent legislative authority for their Church
assemblies: the new law not only ordained that they must be
summoned by the King, but also that even the bishops should
not be authorised to introduce any alteration without the
previous consent of the King. Single ordinances, as for
instance those which prescribed the form of prayer in
the Church, or the consequences of divorce, ran directly
counter to Scottish usage. But the authority of the
bishops, which all the measures aimed at securing, gave
the greatest offence. The bishops alone were to have the
right of expounding the Scriptures; private meetings of
ministers for this purpose were to be forbidden; no one
was to be allowed to controvert the opinion of another
minister of the same diocese from the pulpit without
permission of the bishop; without this permission no one
was to give instruction either in public or in private;
the bishops were to inflict punishment at their discretion
when any publication appeared in print without the approval
of the censor[88]. It is plain that these provisions
put the whole internal life of the Church in regard to
opinion and doctrine into the hands of the bishops. And
was not the constitution of the Scottish Church virtually
abolished when canons which made so thorough a change were
to be introduced without the participation of the General
Assembly? This was an affront to the national feeling of
the Scots. ‘Supposing it were true,’ they said, ‘that the
Scottish Kirk belonged to the province of York (as was
formerly pretended), yet more than the bare warrant of
the King would be required to introduce ordinances which
affected the life of the Church collectively.’ The laws
enforced beforehand, and that under threat of the severest
penalties, the acceptance of a liturgy which had not yet

In October 1636 this liturgy was proclaimed by the King,
and the order to conform to it was promulgated amid the
sound of trumpets. No one had yet seen it. But a rumour        [A.D. 1637.]
circulated to the effect that to the English ritual, which
already retained too much of Roman Catholicism, it added
still further ceremonies of a decidedly Popish tendency. It
was to be introduced at Easter 1637: at last it made its
appearance, at any rate in single copies.

The introduction into the Scottish Church of the
English Prayer-book in its entirety had been originally
contemplated, and in no other way can the arguments be
explained which are given in the preface. The union of
Christian churches in one system of doctrine and under
one ritual was therein stated to be the most desirable
end possible, which, as the authors lamented, could not
be universally attained, but must be striven for in those
countries which obeyed the same sovereign. The Scottish
bishops, however, had thought that the book would meet
with a better reception in their country, if it were not
simply the English Prayer-book. Draughts of alterations
were more than once forwarded from England to Scotland,
and sent back again from the latter country: the King
himself had a personal share in them. For the most part
they were attempts to return to ancient rituals that had
existed before those ages which could properly be called
hierarchical. If the choice lay between Protestant forms
of expression, the older were accordingly preferred to the
more recent. The greatest stir was made by the formula
which was prescribed for the administration of the Lord’s
Supper. The selection of this was connected with the
differences between the first Book of Common Prayer of
the year 1549, and the second of 1552, which was drawn up
at a time when Swiss doctrinal conceptions exercised a
stronger influence. The first form clings to the doctrine
of the Real Presence: the second corresponds more nearly to
the idea of a commemorative meal. Under Queen Elizabeth,
who believed in the Real Presence, both formulae had been
combined; in the Scottish Liturgy Laud returned to the
first. Nothing is there said about Transubstantiation: the
formula could not be called Catholic but Lutheran. But it
was at any rate a departure from Calvinistic conceptions,
which regarded Lutheran views as far too nearly allied
to Roman Catholic: popular comprehension interchanged          [A.D. 1637.]
the one with the other. But nothing more was wanting to
give prevalence to the opinion, for which the way had
already been sufficiently prepared, that the Liturgy was to
pave the way for the re-introduction of Catholicism.

Neither Charles I nor Archbishop Laud had any such design.
But could any one be surprised that they were charged with
entertaining it? The toleration which the King allowed the
Catholics to enjoy, and from which the Catholic element
received fresh life in the neighbouring kingdom of Ireland;
his connexion with the Catholic powers; his dilatoriness
in the affair of the Palatinate; his inclination to
Spain, which was constantly re-appearing; the presence of
a Papal envoy at the English court; the authority which
men professing Catholicism acquired in the administration
of the State,--all these considerations might well
supply reasons why this anxiety might be felt without
any discredit to those who entertained it; though rumour
exaggerated their importance. Further indications were
supplied by the book of Canon Law, which gave to the power
of the bishops an extension corresponding with Catholic
rather than with Protestant ideas; and even if fears were
not exactly entertained about the further existence of
Protestantism, yet the introduction of Anglican forms into
Scotland could not fail to create general excitement.
Tidings had just come of the shocking punishments
which were inflicted in England upon the opponents of
hierarchical tendencies: were men to be exposed to a
similar procedure in Scotland? An instance had already been
furnished of the lengths to which ecclesiastical tendencies
could lead when supported by the laws against high treason,
so extraordinarily severe in Scotland. Lord Balmerino had
been condemned to death for the share which he had taken in
drawing up, or even in merely spreading about, the Puritan
address before referred to: he owed his life solely to the
mercy of the King.

The introduction of the Canons and of the Liturgy was not
due to fondness for ceremonies nor to a passing fancy, but
it was the keystone of the system which James I had all
his life kept in view without carrying it out. Charles I
took steps to bring it into execution. The Liturgy would       [A.D. 1637.]
not have had much importance without the Canons: with
the latter it completed the edifice of political and
ecclesiastical subordination, which for the first time
reduced Scotland to complete subjection. Properly speaking
the whole country was against it: it was opposed by the
Presbyterian element, nowhere stronger than there, by the
native government itself, and by the great nobles, who
felt themselves specially threatened and alarmed by the
precedent established.

Not precisely on Easter Day, but soon afterwards, the
introduction of the Liturgy was begun. It did not appear
in print till April, when the arrangement by which every
parish was to be supplied with two copies, could be carried
out. Here and there divine worship after the new form was
introduced, for instance in Galloway. Opposition indeed
showed itself even during service, but it was treated as a
disturbance of outward order, and had no further effect.

As people delayed to purchase copies the Privy Council
renewed its ordinances, threatening the refractory with the
pains of rebellion. On this the bishops thought that they
could no longer delay in the capital, although the murmurs
were loudest there. They appointed the last Sunday before
the end of the regular session of the courts of justice
for introducing the new Liturgy, in the hope that people
on their return home would spread over the whole land the
tidings of its introduction in the capital, and that this
example would be followed. They perceived a sullen movement
under their feet which they hoped to put an end to by
prompt and consistent action.

But the adversaries of the Liturgy would not allow matters
to go so far. The execution of the measure in the capital
must have been followed by so great an effect, that they
deemed it necessary to resist it.

Immediately before the day appointed, a number of proud
nobles and ministers zealous for the faith were seen
assembling in Edinburgh. Tradition affirms, although as
often happens the statement is not fully attested, that the
opposition which was then offered was excited and prepared
by them.

On the 23rd of July, 1637, the dignitaries of Church           [A.D. 1637.]
and State had assembled in the great church of St. Giles
in Edinburgh. The Chancellor-Archbishop, many bishops,
among whom the Bishop of Edinburgh did not fail to appear,
the members of the Privy Council, although these were not
all there, the members of the High Court of Justice, and
the magistrates of the town, were there; they wished by
their presence to give authority to this solemn proceeding.
But the Dean had hardly opened the book when fierce cries
arose from the midst of the assembled audience, which were
redoubled when, at a signal from the Bishop, he began to
read. Abusive epithets were directed against both, giving
utterance to the opinion that they were lending themselves
to an anti-Christian proceeding, for the sake of their
own personal advantage; that the book was papistical, nay
Satanic, and that Satan was already introduced into God’s
house. The women of the lower class who were present showed
that rough impetuosity which characterises them in their
personal behaviour: they rose up and threw their stools at
the heads of the Bishop and the Dean. It was necessary to
remove the tumultuous crowd before the Liturgy could be
read or the sermon preached: even then this was done only
amid noises at the doors and showers of stones discharged
against the windows. The Bishop was attacked on his way
home, and was saved only by the escort and protection of
a temporal lord[89]. And so lively and powerful was the
excitement, that the lawless and seditious proceedings
which had taken place could not be punished.

On the 28th of July the Provost and Baillies of the town
promised to provide for the peaceful introduction of the
Liturgy on the next Sunday, and for the security of the
persons concerned in it. The Privy Council wished for
an assurance on the part of the citizens, over whom the
magistrates had not complete power. The arrangements made
for this purpose were thereupon to be proclaimed with beat
of drum, but the repugnance to the measure exhibited itself    [A.D. 1637.]
so strongly that no one ventured to stir it up to fresh
outbreaks. On Saturday, July 29, the Archbishop and Bishops
saw reason to propose that the use of the new Book of
Common Prayer in Edinburgh should be postponed until the
King should make known his pleasure in respect of the
punishment of the tumult which had occurred, and should
have taken measures for its peaceful execution. Meanwhile
neither the old nor the new Liturgy was to be enforced,
but only the sermon was to be delivered by obedient and
compliant ministers[90]. The Privy Council assented to this.

The civic authorities took a fatal step when they gave
way to an outbreak of the seditious feeling of the
capital, and claimed the immediate interference of the
distant sovereign in its behalf. In order to explain the
commotion, people compared the noisy crowd with Balaam’s
ass, which was obliged to speak because men held silence:
an expression in the Biblical phraseology of the time,
which however may intimate the silent agreement of the
upper ranks with the masses. They had been told that the
Liturgy would destroy the old faith and bring back Popery.
But what is more popular among great Protestant peoples
than hatred of Popery? The ministers had from the first
aimed at teaching the people that in matters of religion no
blind obedience was due to the ruling powers, but that God
must be obeyed rather than men. And with this doctrine on
the present occasion an uprising of the multitude in the
town against the magistrates was immediately connected,
like those which had accompanied religious excitement on
countless occasions, especially in the sixteenth century.
The magistrates would have been glad to conform; but the
populace held out and carried the day.

The public peace in the kingdom of Great Britain rested
upon the undisturbed observance of the ordinances
introduced, and on the customary obedience paid to
constituted authority: the monarchy as we have seen was
without weapons. But if order was to prevail anywhere, it
must be disturbed nowhere. If a breach occurred in any one
place, as at this time in Edinburgh, it affected the whole     [A.D. 1637.]
country. The capital of the second of the two kingdoms had,
by throwing aside its spiritual, at the same time thrown
aside its temporal obedience.

After this first step in resistance, a second and more
definite one was immediately taken. Some zealous ministers
in Fife met the repeated summons to introduce the book by
a demand that they might be allowed to prove it first,
especially as it had not been laid before the General
Assembly, which was the representative body of the
Church. The Bishop of Ross replied to them that they were
mistaken; that the representation of the Church was in
the hands of the bishops. But this question was the great
question of the day. The ministers, who insisted upon
their old established claims, presented a petition to the
Privy Council which, amid all this commotion, thought it
expedient to hold a session on August 23, in the middle of
the vacation. In this petition they based their request
for a suspension of the order issued to them simply on
the ground that the Liturgy had not been confirmed either
by the General Assembly, which since the Reformation had
always, they said, had the management of Church affairs,
or by Parliament[91]. ‘This Church,’ they exclaimed, ‘is a
free and independent Church, just as the kingdom is a free
and independent kingdom.’ They thought that as the patriots
should decide what was best for the kingdom, in the same
way the pastors should decide what was best for the Church.
They held that the Romish Church, to which this book
brought them nearer, was just as idolatrous, superstitious,
and anti-Christian now as at the moment when they had
separated from it. The expressions which the speakers used
were echoed back from all parts of the country. The Privy
Council remarked with astonishment, that even those who
had hitherto obeyed the will and the laws of the King,
made common cause with his opponents. The Council thought
that it was justified in suspending all further steps for
introducing the Liturgy until the King had again taken
the matter into consideration, and had expressed his will

And in truth there could never perhaps have been a more        [A.D. 1637.]
opportune moment for seriously weighing the position of
affairs, for investigating the causes of the discontent,
and for meditating how to remove them. If any one had
called to mind by what means James I had once succeeded in
quelling the rebellion of the town of Edinburgh, he would
have found that his success had been principally due to the
King’s agreement with the nobles of the country. If it had
been asked how he had achieved so much in ecclesiastical
matters, it would have been seen that the scale was turned
in his favour, because among churchmen too he always had a
party on his side, and knew how to avoid steps which would
excite prejudices universally felt. But on the present
occasion there were found, even among the bishops, some
who resisted the introduction of the Liturgy, so that the
Archbishop of Canterbury himself expressed a wish to learn
the objections which were made against certain articles,
and showed an inclination to pay heed to them. But it is
quite clear that the matter could now no longer be settled
in this way. Men’s minds had been seized by anxiety lest
their old native Church with which the independence and
freedom of the country were bound up, should be brought
to an end. This fear could no longer be dispelled by the
surrender of one or two controverted points of theology.
The King, dissatisfied with the Privy Council, which
had not, as he thought, done all that lay in its power
to enforce the two books, and extremely incensed by the
tumult in the Scottish capital, demanded the punishment
of the disorder, and the performance of divine worship
according to the prescribed form[92]. He did nothing to
calm either the nobles or the clergy; his declaration was
not calculated to meet the existing state of affairs,
of which the disturbances were symptoms, but rather the
symptoms themselves, which he regarded as manifestations
of a disobedience which the weight of his authority would
soon suppress. But while he entertained this hope, he was
forced to learn by experience that the cause of resistance     [A.D. 1637.]
and disobedience received almost universal support in

Expectations were rife that an answer from the King would
shortly be communicated to the people; but at the same
time fears were entertained lest an attempt should be made
to introduce the Liturgy in Edinburgh by force on the
arrival of the Earl of Lennox, who was on his way from his
ancestral castle to the English court. At this juncture
some of the more eminent among the great nobles, such as
the Earls of Sutherland, Rothes, and Dalhousie, a great
portion of the gentry, especially from the neighbouring
counties, such as Fife, where hardly any remained at home,
some deputies from the boroughs, and about a hundred
ministers, assembled in Edinburgh in order to prevent the
enforcement of any obnoxious measures, and to defend the
ministers informed against by giving them free support
in the Scottish fashion. When the reasons urged by these
ministers had been stated, the assembled body declared that
the introduction of the Liturgy would disturb the peace
of men’s consciences and the harmony of the country. They
called upon the Privy Council to represent to the King the
importance of the matter, which they said he ought not
to regard as an ordinary tumult, and to prevail upon him
not to tamper with the religion they professed. The Privy
Council accepted the petition, which had the assent of its
lay members; Lord Traquair had himself looked through the
petition, and had softened some harsh expressions in it.
The Earl of Lennox promised to do everything at court to
put the King into a frame of mind favourable to it.

Thus the King’s designs were met by a demonstration on
the part of the most distinguished Scots, and indeed of
almost the whole country itself; and it is clear into what
embarrassment he must have been thrown by it, between the
desire to give effect to his will, and the wish to continue
at peace with the land of his birth. But from the first
moment the opposition between them was too strong to be
controlled by such considerations as these.


[80] We know that the boar’s head, which was eaten,
conveyed an allusion to Gullinbursti, the bristly boar
who signified the sun. Bede derives Easter from a German
goddess Eostra.

[81] According to a notice by Spottiswood 1627. Aiton, Life
of Henderson 118.

[82] Calderwood, the author of the history, put this
distinction before the King himself, according to his
account, vii. 263: ‘We will rather suffer than practice. To
suffer is also obedience.’

[83] Grivances and petitions--presented by me, Mr. Thomas
Hogge, minister of the evangell, in my aven name, and
in name of others of the ministry. Balfour Annales, ii.
207. Among their complaints was one relating to the name
Puritans. ‘Pastors and people adhearing to the former
professione and practisse are nick-named puritans.’

[84] The Memoirs of Bishop Guthry 9.

[85] From the report of the King-at-arms. Aiton, Life of
Henderson, 129, 137.

[86] ‘La quelle (it is said in an instruction of 1640) en
rigueur et cruauté surpasse l’inquisition d’Espagne, car
en cette nouvelle cour les evesques seuls commandoient
à la baguette, avec un pouvoir absolu--à l’encontre de
toutes sortes de personnes, de quelque condition et qualité
qu’elles fussent’ Russel, Life of Spottiswood xliii.

[87] Baillie, Jan. 1637. ‘The last year (1636) our bishops
guided all our estate, and became very terrible to our
whole country.’ A later petition (1638) of the Scottish
Privy Council complains of ‘the illimited power which
the lords of the clergie in this kingdom have of late
assumed--its unwarranted power.’

[88] Canons and Constitutions Ecclesiasticall--ratified
by H. Maj. royal warrant--and ordained to be observed:
Aberdene, 1636. Cp. Collier, Eccl. Hist. ii. 762.

[89] Account of the riots on Sunday, July 23, 1637. From
Wodrow’s Life of Lindsay, in Aiton, App. I.

[90] The Clergie’s report about the Service-book. Apud Edr.
29 Julii, 1637.

[91] Supplication of certain ministers of Fyffe, and
Information given to several counsellers, in Baillie, App.
i. 400.

[92] A relation of proceedings concerning the affairs of
the King of Scotland from Aug. 1637 to July 1638, by John
Earl of Rothes.



The cause of Presbyterianism in Scotland was also the cause
of the Presbyterians in Ireland and England. We hear of
violent pamphlets which arrived from England and poured
oil upon the flame. The greatest activity was displayed
by the ministers who had been banished from the Scottish
colonies in Ireland. Unable to offer further resistance
in that country to the ordinances of Wentworth and of the
Irish bishops, they sought refuge in Scotland: and as
they found there a spirit like their own ready to meet
them, they threw themselves with ardent and unbounded
zeal into opposition to the progress of that episcopal
authority which had compelled them to retire from Ireland.
That discipline and subordination which had hitherto been
maintained in Scotland had been broken up by the course
of affairs above mentioned. All obstacles had thus been
removed from their path in that country: the injustice
which they had suffered doubled their hatred of the system
of Charles I and his ministers; and they exercised an
incalculable influence upon the excitement of Puritan and
Calvinist feelings prevailing in Scotland[93].

But the cause of the Scots appeared to be at the same
time the cause of Protestantism in general, which had
been everywhere placed at a disadvantage in consequence
of the defeat of Nordlingen. In the year 1637 the arms         [A.D. 1637.]
of the Catholics asserted their supremacy on the Rhine and
in the Netherlands. The Swedes were driven back to the
coast of the Baltic, and were not disinclined to accept
a pecuniary indemnity. The Peace of Prague, which united
the interests of the Emperor and of Spain with those of
certain powerful princes of the empire, but did not satisfy
the just demands of the Protestants, appeared destined to
become an inviolable law of the empire. By this superiority
of the Austro-Spanish power, France, which the year before
was obliged to withstand a most dangerous invasion from
the side of the Netherlands, felt herself threatened. We
shall return hereafter to the political complication in
the midst of which France and the other powers defended
themselves against this ascendancy. They believed
that by so doing they were at the same time defending
Protestantism. It would have seemed very damaging to that
cause if King Charles, to whom all the world ascribed an
inclination in favour of Spain, had succeeded in carrying
out his designs in Scotland. But, even apart from this,
the advance which Catholicism was once more beginning to
make roused the Protestant spirit to the utmost vigilance.
From the Protestant point of view, the re-establishment
in a Protestant country of institutions resembling the
old form of worship and the old constitution appeared
exceedingly dangerous. This is the true reason why people
detected a tendency towards Catholicism in the introduction
of the Liturgy. It was not found in the words, but the
general tone which was felt to pervade it led men to this
interpretation. The Scottish troops which served under the
Swedish flag, their connexion with their native country,
and their movements backward and forward, were the means
through which the common feeling for Protestantism at large
was kept alive in their country. If the fear lest the great
religious struggle should have an unsuccessful issue was
in the minds of so many Englishmen one of the principal
motives for emigrating to America, how could the same cause
fail to act upon the Scots as well? They thought that,
supported by their ancient rights and laws, they could
offer resistance without incurring on this account the
guilt of rebellion.

The 17th of October was the critical day for the course        [A.D. 1637.]
which they afterwards adopted.

The harvest had now been gathered in, and a still larger
number of persons than before had assembled in Edinburgh,
with the intention of moving the capital, where the
magistrates still adhered to the side of the King, to
join in the petition which had been presented; and at
the same time they wished to await there the answer of
the King. A courier had already brought one, which was
made known on the evening of that same day. It had not
exactly the character of a refusal, but rather that of
a postponement[94]. The King declared that he could not
yet give instructions on account of the disturbances
which had not yet been suppressed. For this reason he
suspended the competence of the Privy Council in church
matters as the first step, and caused orders to be given
that all who had come to the town should leave it within
twenty-four hours. In order to remove the Privy Council
from contact with the excited multitude, he ordered its
sittings to be transferred from the capital to Linlithgow.
In this manner he thought to check the influence of
popular excitement upon legislation and government. But
it would be impossible to describe what a storm broke out
at this announcement among the assembled people. They saw
in it the intention and will of the King to carry out
the introduction of the Liturgy, at any rate as soon as
he should find an opportunity, in spite of the wishes of
his people to the contrary. One of the ministers present,
himself a Presbyterian and an opponent of the Liturgy,
expresses his astonishment nevertheless at the violent
agitation by which his countrymen were seized: he says
that it could not have been greater if any one had wished
to force upon them the Mass-book itself[95]. In this
frame of mind they were not satisfied with repeating and
enlarging the petition, but a project began to gain ground
which gave its whole tone to the movement in Scotland.         [A.D. 1637.]
Not content with standing on the defensive against the
Liturgy and the Book of Canon Law, the assembled people
resolved to go further and to attack those to whom, in
their opinion, the attempt to introduce them must be
ascribed, on the ground that the measure was contrary
to law. They resolved to make a formal charge against
the bishops. For they thought that the bishops were the
original promoters of both these books by which the
doctrine and constitution of the Church established by law
was to be upset; that it was intended to bring back the
country to superstition and idolatry; that the King issued
these commands at their instigation; and that the people
were thrown into the unfortunate dilemma of being obliged
either to suffer prosecutions and excommunication, or else
to break their covenant with God; that every one, in fact,
must endure either the vengeance of God or the wrath of
the King. The nobility, the gentry, and the clergy, held
separate meetings: each order had its own subjects for
deliberation. However much the clergy might be divided into
different schools, comprising adherents of Melville, of
Gladstane, and even of Spottiswood, who sought to adjust
their differences, they all agreed in opposing the present
innovations. The complaint was first proposed and resolved
upon among the clergy, then among the gentry, then among
the nobility. Before the close of the evening a commission
from the three orders was appointed to draw it up, and
executed a draught of it without delay[96]. In this the
reasons assigned were first set out. It was therein said
that the petitioners, as in duty bound, addressed their
complaints against the prelates and bishops, to God, the
King, and the country, and prayed to be heard against them
before a legal tribunal. Next morning this document was
signed by twenty-four lords and three hundred gentlemen,
and in the afternoon by all the ministers present. To many
the expressions seemed too harsh; others thought the whole
proceeding too violent: but it was the only step from which
they promised themselves any result. A skilful lawyer,         [A.D. 1637.]
Archibald Johnstone, the advocate, who combined zeal for
the cause with a capacity for finding amid the flames of
legal controversy forms which could be justified, had
principally influenced the assembly at this moment, and had
led them to think of a petition. They were wise in taking
his advice, for what they required was not a manifestation
of feeling, but the certainty of firm ground in the further
conflicts that were to be expected. People felt that they
would be brought to account for what had happened, and that
the petition submitted to the King would be an object of
judicial proceedings. The complaint against the bishops
was first of all intended to put them in the position
of parties concerned, and to prevent them from being
able any longer to sit or to give judgment in the court
of justice from which a sentence of condemnation might
emanate. But this complaint had also a more comprehensive
scope. Its authors did not intend to oppose the King
as such, but to oppose the combination of temporal and
spiritual authority, which constituted the essence of the
form of state government he intended to set up. While the
leaders of the movement recurred to the old laws, and
considered the anti-hierarchical usage of the country as
the foundation of all legality, and as that which above all
must be represented in independent courts, an opportunity
was gained for attacking the existence of episcopal power,
whether in its present extension or under any form at all.
From the existing order they went back to the circumstances
of the time when Presbyterianism was in its vigour as the
only legal state of things.

But if everything now depended on maintaining the legal
ground, no inconsiderable obstacle appeared to arise
from the inability of the Privy Council to adopt the
new petition and complaint;--for this reason if for no
other, that according to the last mandate of the King its
commission in ecclesiastical affairs had been withdrawn.
Manifestly therefore it could not take any legal action.
Nothing else could be expected than that the spiritual
courts, especially the High Commission, should begin
proceedings against the petitioners.

The danger was increased by the fact that Edinburgh was        [A.D. 1637.]
not only still liable to punishment for the old offence,
but that it exposed itself to still heavier penalties by
fresh tumults. While the three orders were pursuing their
deliberations there, a rush was made in the town upon the
council-house. The magistrates were actually compelled to
pass their word that another petition in accordance with
the prevailing temper should be sent up on the part of
the town, deprecating alterations in the Church[97]. The
nobles exerted their influence in this tumult in order
to check acts of extreme violence, to which the people
themselves appeared greatly disposed. But at all events,
public order had been disturbed afresh by this means; and
people felt that they must make up their minds that the
government would do everything to chastise this fresh act
of insubordination.

In order to meet this twofold danger, the assembled
nobles and others, to whom on their request permission
had been given to remain four-and-twenty hours longer in
the capital, adopted a second resolution, which like the
first entailed very wide consequences. This took place at a
supper of the nobility, at which deputies from the clergy
and the gentry also appeared. They agreed in refusing
to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the High Commission,
in case it should summon such as then signed or should
afterwards sign the petitions against the two books, and
to support one another in common in this refusal. By
this means they not only secured themselves, but also
the citizens of Edinburgh, who joined in supporting the
petition, and who were expressly allowed to do so.

These were the events of October 17 and 18, 1637. If we
consider merely the tumults in Scotland, they appear, as in
so many other cases, to be the chance result of momentary
ebullitions; but if we look at the legal steps which were
coupled with them, we perceive connexion and consistency in
the leading ideas. The Scots had now won a position, which
they secured by mutually engaging to resist all steps          [A.D. 1637.]
which the government was expected to take immediately, and
which might be detrimental to those who had shared in the
resistance. At the same time, by means of the petition,
the way was paved for a return to the old condition
of the country, which had preceded the establishment
of episcopacy; and the widest prospect was opened in
consequence. The petitioners already came forward as a
great association embracing the whole country.

In a new assembly which was held in the middle of November,
but which was appointed at the earlier date just mentioned,
an additional step was taken which imparted a certain
organisation to this association.

This assembly had a different character from the preceding.
All tumult was carefully avoided: those who were present
were hardly noticed in the street. Conferences about the
petition and the acceptance of the complaint were held with
Traquair, who had come with two of his colleagues from
Linlithgow to the town for this object; but the importance
of the day was derived from another feature.

Those who were assembled set up a claim to be allowed to
leave behind in Edinburgh representatives invested with
full powers, assigning the very plausible reason that
this would conduce to the general tranquillity, as they
would then not be obliged to return frequently and in
great numbers. It did not escape the Privy Council how
obnoxious these representatives in their turn might also
become: but another learned lawyer, none other than Thomas
Hope, the King’s Advocate, declared himself in favour of
the scheme. It is affirmed that he had been in the secret
of the whole movement, and had directed the steps taken
from the beginning, and especially those of the nobility.
He gave it as his judgment that it was lawful to choose
representatives not only for Parliament, and extraordinary
assemblies of the Estates, but also for every other
public matter. On this the Privy Council could offer no
opposition. It was determined that two members of the
gentry from each county, a minister from every presbytery,
and a deputy from every borough, with as many nobles as
might choose to come, should constitute the representative
body, but that besides these a smaller committee also,         [A.D. 1637.]
presided over by some nobleman, should sit in Edinburgh,
and have the immediate management of affairs[98].

And into this great league the town of Edinburgh also was
now admitted. For it was said that what the common people
there had been guilty of in the days of the excitement
amounted to nothing more than such outcry and resistance
as suppliants might oppose to the intended alteration in
religion. The committee was charged to be on the watch lest
anything should be done to injure them, and to take care
that no attempt was made to introduce the Liturgy into the
town by a surprise.

Thus the party which took the name of petitioners, came
forward united in an organisation embracing the whole
country. From the general body went forth the elected
representatives, and from these the committee, in which the
most enterprising magnates and the most zealous ministers
were united. They formed a league to repel every movement
on the part of the authority of the State, which might
be made towards carrying out the King’s policy. The most
experienced lawyers, among whom was the King’s Advocate
himself, were on their side.

Matters had gone thus far, when in the beginning of
December the Earl of Roxburgh entered Scotland with a
reply from the King. Properly speaking it did not contain
a formal answer to the earlier petition. The delay was
excused on the score of the disturbances in the capital,
by which the honour of the King was declared to have been
insulted: but, while Charles I reserved to himself the
right of punishing these offences, he sought to quiet men’s
feelings in the matter of religion. He declared in express
terms that he loathed the superstition of the Papacy from
his very soul, and that he would never do anything which
ran counter to the religious confession or the laws of his     [A.D. 1637.]
kingdom of Scotland. The Privy Council did not delay for a
moment to have this declaration everywhere proclaimed to
the sound of trumpets, and as it produced a very soothing
impression, it led them to hope that they might effect an
adjustment of affairs on this basis. They said that the
King manifestly gave up the introduction of the Liturgy:
what more, they asked, could be expected from so kind
and gentle a sovereign? Traquair said that a symptom of
submission on the part of the capital, a single prostration
on the part of its representatives, the deliverance of
their charter into the King’s hands, would content the
King, for that he was most interested in preventing
foreigners from believing that his authority was despised
by his own people.

But the united petitioners were not to be satisfied so
easily. They wished to be assured of the withdrawal of
the Liturgy not by equivocal expressions, but in distinct
and final terms. Above all, moreover, they wished to
uphold the view that theirs was the truly legal mode of
proceeding. They had taken counsel afresh with the most
eminent advocates--the names of five of them are given--how
the movements that had been begun, on the part of the town
as well as on their own, might be justified by their aim,
which was the restoration of the laws; and how on the other
hand, the illegality of the spiritual tribunals might be
proved. They showed signs of an intention to institute
legal proceedings against those who calumniously asserted
that their behaviour had been seditious. They upheld
the complaint against the bishops with unabated zeal.
Traquair had already at the meeting in November held out
to them a prospect of reaching their end, if they would
take their stand on the rejection of the two books alone.
They answered that so much damage had been done to the
constitution of Church and State, and to the freedom of the
subject in regard to person and property by the bishops
and the High Commission, that they could not be tolerated:
that if the Privy Council would not receive the complaints
against them, it might at least allow an information to
be laid before it in regard to these questions. The Privy
Council at any rate did entirely reject this proposal: it      [A.D. 1637.]
declared itself disposed to receive both petition and
information, in case the King’s answer, when it came,
should fail to satisfy the petitioners. But this had now
actually happened. The confederate Scots demanded with
impetuosity the acceptance of the petition and complaint.
The Privy Council long refused to accede to the demand;
it required that at least some violent and offensive
expressions should be moderated; but as these affected the
gist of the matter, the petitioners remained immovable.
On their threat that if their demands were refused they
would betake themselves immediately to the King with
their petition, the magistrates, who did not wish to be
passed over, resolved to receive the petition as it stood
(December 21, 1637[99]). Lord Loudon, after the fashion
which prevailed in the courts in Scotland, appended to
it (in the name of all) a ‘declinatory,’ that is, a
repudiation of every judicial sentence, which the bishops
might take part in drawing up, on the ground that they were
the accused, and that they would, if they sat, be judges of
their own cause.

Thus what was clearly in itself a struggle against the will
and intention of the King acquired the appearance of a
legal controversy with the holders of episcopal power: the
resistance in both cases was based on the same principle.
For both attacks aimed at setting up again the old Kirk, so
bound up with the independence of the country, as the only
legitimate Church.

But all was not yet complete till the King had accepted
the complaint against the bishops. Traquair set out for
the court with the petition in which the complaint was
embodied, with the declinatory of the petitioners and all
other documents. He hoped, by giving thorough information
about the state of affairs in Scotland, to induce the
King to grant yet further indulgence beyond that of which
Roxburgh had held out hopes.

King Charles did not really require new information about
the particulars of what had occurred in Scotland; he was
only too well informed of each and every circumstance          [A.D. 1638.]
by his adherents, especially by the bishops. The petitions
and complaints had been given him to read before they
had yet been addressed to him: he knew who had drawn
them up, what exceptions had been taken to them, how
they had at last been adopted: he knew the behaviour of
each individual, and liked or disliked him accordingly.
Traquair set before him, most of all, the power of the
opposition, which he thought it was no longer possible to
break down; he said that the King would require an army to
procure acceptance for the book of the Liturgy: that in
Scotland, now at all events, people would not allow the
national Church to be governed by any one in England: that
they would not submit to the influence of the Archbishop
of Canterbury: that they demanded a parliament in order
to bring controversial questions to a decision in the
country itself; and that people would give way to such
a body alone[100]. At least he himself affirmed that he
had expressed these views. But Traquair was not a man
whose statements could be accepted without reserve. He
was himself one of the opponents of the bishops: he, as
little as the other Scottish statesmen, wished to see them
politically powerful: but at the same time, while he was
aiming at acquiring importance in the estimation of the
people, in order to increase his importance in the eyes of
the sovereign, he fell into an equivocal position: no one
trusted his assurances entirely. Other representations had
also been made, according to which nothing but resolution
and quiet perseverance were needed to revive the wonted
obedience of the people. What a demand, it was said, was
made when the King was asked to receive a complaint against
the bishops who had been leagued with him in the same
enterprise! He would by compliance have declared his own
conduct illegal, and have broken up the constitution, which
had been founded in Scotland at the cost of so much trouble
by himself and his father.

The decision which he gave was the opposite of that which      [A.D. 1638.]
had been expected from him. In order once for all to avert
the blow which threatened the bishops, Charles I took upon
himself the responsibility of everything which had been
laid to their charge. He met the suspicions which had
been thrown upon the Liturgy by the assertion that it was
only intended to serve as a means of strengthening true
religion and of dispelling superstition: he took praise
to himself for the trouble which he had personally taken
in its composition: he said that there was no word in it
which he had not approved: he continued firm in his resolve
that it must and should be accepted. He still adhered to
his point of view on church matters with a full sense of
his dignity. He said that if meetings had been held and
petitions forwarded to him in opposition to the book, he
would ascribe this conduct rather to mistaken zeal than to
intentional disobedience, and that he would pardon it; but
that for the future he forbade every assembly of this kind
under threat of the penalties inflicted on treason.

James I had always succeeded in keeping alive the idea of
the obedience that was due to him. Following his example,
Charles I came forward personally, as it were, in defence
of his cause: was it not likely, he thought, that the
disturbance would be kept within bounds on this occasion
also by the interposition of the supreme authority? Would
men refuse to seize the means of escape afforded by the
amnesty which the King offered, and prefer to break with
him instead?

But already during the last tumult astonishment had been
excited by the slight effect which the name of the King had
produced. We read in a contemporary letter that any one
wishing to take King Charles’s part would have endangered
his life, that a demoniacal frenzy possessed the people,
that men had now a notion that Popery was at their doors,
and would not let it go. Baillie expresses his fear lest
they should be forced to drink the dregs of God’s cup
which had been so bitter for the French and Dutch, and his
apprehension not merely of a schism in the Church, but of a
civil war.

The King had been supposed, from his previous declaration,     [A.D. 1638.]
to disapprove of the innovations attempted; for he had
then said that he would maintain the laws, to which
these innovations were plainly seen to be opposed: if
nevertheless he now approved them, this change was also
regarded as the work of the bishops only, by whom the
name of the King was thought to be abused. But people
could never bow to this, and allow the bishops in any
way to resume those powers of which they were thought to
have been virtually deprived. As the royal proclamation
declared all previous assemblies and their resolutions,
supplications, and petitions to be null and void, it was
thought necessary, before it was received throughout
Scotland, to forestal it by a protestation, and in this way
to keep the declinatory in force. Measures were taken with
this object at the Castle of Stirling, in Linlithgow, and
above all in Edinburgh, where the main body of petitioners
now again appeared. In order to keep them together, and to
enable those who resisted the royal proclamation to take up
an imposing position, a still more universal demonstration
seemed requisite. More than half a century before, when the
Western world was most violently shaken by the conflict
between Catholicism and Protestantism, and the Scots feared
that they had secret adherents of Catholicism present among
them, they had set up a confession of faith in which all
leanings in that direction were abjured in harsh terms
(March, 1581). This confession, which King James had
approved, had been considered as a covenant of the nation
with its own members and with God, for it was sworn to in
the high name of God. A design was now embraced not only
of renewing it, which had been done more than once, but of
giving it a fresh and immediate importance by adapting it
to the prevailing tone of affairs. Alexander Henderson and
Archibald Johnston the lawyer, who were the leaders and
pioneers of every step of the movement, were commissioned
to draw out the alterations, which they then laid in the
first instance before Lords Rothes, Loudon and Balmerino.
It was not altogether an easy matter to find a formula with
which not only those who had previously conformed would be
contented, but those also who from the beginning had placed    [A.D. 1638.]
themselves in opposition: at last however one was arrived
at. The gist of the declaration drawn up lies in the
identification of the King’s efforts to reduce them to
Anglicanism with the hostile movements of the Catholics
in former times. It was laid down that the religious
abuses noticed in the last petitions and declarations
might be looked upon in the same light as if they had been
condemned in the old confession: every one pledged himself
to withstand them with all his might as long as he lived,
and in so doing to defend each man his neighbour against
every one: whatever was done to the meanest among them on
this account was to be considered as affecting each and
all of them in their own persons. On February 28, 1638,
this agreement--of all which bear the name of Covenant the
most famous--was read in the church of the Black Friars at
Edinburgh from the original parchment on which the clerk
had written it, and after the scruples which some few
ventured to express had been easily set aside, was at once
signed. The first who then and there appended his name
was the Earl of Sutherland: a whole series of the most
distinguished names in the country followed his: then the
members for the counties and the gentry signed, and the day
after, the citizens and the clergy. The document was spread
out on a tombstone in the churchyard. Many are said to have
opened a vein in order to sign it with their blood; others
added to their names words which gave additional force to
their signature. With the religious enthusiasm of those who
signed--for in fact people thought that they were opposing
an insuperable barrier to Popery, and were establishing
for ever the prevailing faith--the feeling found vent that
only in this way could they secure themselves against
the hostility of the bishops and the strong arm of the
King. But this was more important for the inhabitants of
Edinburgh than for any one else. The original document was
carried through the streets of the town attended by women
and children who cheered and wept at the same time.

Every one still avoided mentioning the King’s name with any
feeling of hostility in these proceedings: they asserted
on the contrary, that they were contending for God and         [A.D. 1638.]
for the King. But who could have failed to perceive that
the current of the agitation would be turned against the
King himself, in proportion as he declared that the cause
of the bishops was identical with his own? He had once
more solemnly proclaimed the old policy of an alliance
between hierarchical principles and the monarchy. But the
Scottish petitioners, in a meeting which he declared to be
treasonable, set before him demands which aimed at dividing
the sceptre and the mitre for ever. They explicitly stated
that the recal of both books would not content them:
they demanded the withdrawal of the High Commission, the
origin of which they said was illegal, on the ground that
powers such as it possessed could only be conferred by the
General Assembly and by Parliament. They demanded, not
exactly the abrogation of the Articles of Perth, for they
had been adopted in Parliament, but the abolition of the
penalties annexed to their infringement, for which no such
authority was found. They did not in so many terms desire
the removal of bishops, but asked for the restoration
of the restrictions under which they had formerly been
appointed: they adhered to their demand that the bishops
should be called to account for their transgression of the
laws of the land, and that before the Presbyterian General
Assembly, by virtue of the statute of 1610: they wished
that this should be summoned yearly for the future: that
the Church should be secured by statute of Parliament, so
that no alteration affecting it should ever be introduced
unless the General Assembly had been previously informed of

It was Henderson and Johnston who put these demands into
shape, as well as the preceding: they were laid before the
King almost as conditions of peace from which no abatement
could be made.

Charles I was surprised, affected, and deeply mortified.
What he had undertaken was nothing new, nor strictly
speaking arbitrary. He felt himself free from any real         [A.D. 1638.]
inclination towards Catholicism. All that he had set his
heart on was the close union of Scotland with England,
the removal of oppressive aristocratic privileges, and
the strengthening and confirmation of the monarchy. His
ordinances were but a fresh step along the path on which
his father had entered. But downright crying acts of
violence are not needed to call forth violent and general
storms. What stirred men’s feelings and provoked opposition
on this occasion was the stronger pressure which the King
thought himself entitled to use, but which the people and
the great nobles feared would effect the completion of a
detested system. Taking their stand on the ancient laws
of the country, which they expounded in a popular and
Presbyterian sense, the Scots set themselves with logical
consistency to curtail the importance of the monarch. From
defensive they passed to offensive measures. King Charles
thought it almost mockery in them to set the new Covenant
on a level with the old[102]: for although in both the
duty of mutual defence had been set forth, yet in the old
steps were to be taken under the lead of the King; in the
new, on the contrary, they were directed against every
one, without excepting even the King, and therefore under
certain circumstances even against him: and he thought that
the man who entered into such a League could be no good
subject. The demands moreover which were laid before him
at the same time, ran directly counter to the principles
with which he started: they annihilated the power of
inflicting punishment, which had hitherto been based
upon the co-operation of royal with episcopal authority,
and transferred it to the General Assembly, which at the
same time retained an extremely strong lay element. This
power of inflicting punishment however, combined with the
interpretation of the laws, constitutes in a non-military
state perhaps the most important attribute of the sovereign.
The idea of divine right and power from above to which         [A.D. 1638.]
Charles I adhered, was speedily and boldly met by another
theory, which, although it did not reject monarchy, yet in
substance undertook to build up the edifice of Church and
State from beneath.


[93] Spottiswood considers that it is most necessary to
repress them by ‘taking order with the deprived and exiled
ministers of Ireland, that have taken their refuge hither,
and are the common incendiaries of rebellioun, preaching
what and where they please.’ Letter to Hamilton: Baillie,
App. i. 466.

[94] The letter is given in Balfour ii. 236; the
proclamation in Rushworth ii. 402.

[95] Baillie to Spang: Letters and Journals i. 23. ‘I think
God, to revenge the crying sins, is going to give us over
unto madness, that we may every one shoot our swords in our
neighbours hearts.’

[96] Supplication against the Service-book, with a
complaint upon bishops: in Rothes 49.

[97] Rothes: ‘They might concur in the common way of
supplicating against the Service-book.’

[98] I do not find any confirmation of the definite
statements of Aiton, Life of Henderson 207, according to
which four noblemen, three lairds from the counties, &c.,
were said to have constituted this small commission. Rothes
names only Sutherland and Balmerino, with six barons and
some citizens (p. 34). Immediately afterwards (p. 34) six
or seven noblemen appear as commissioners. The nobility had
certainly a great amount of independence in the commission.

[99] Rothes, p. 25; but it was intended that the King’s
consent should be obtained.

[100] A. Correro, 5 Marzo, 1638: ‘Il regno di Scotia,
rettosi per tanti secoli colle proprie leggi nel viver
civile cosi bene come nel ecclesiastico soffirebbeio
gia mai dichiararlo subordinato a questo, il che
s’intenderebbe, quando quelle chiese ricevessero da questo
arcivescovo di Canterbury le regole di laudar Dio.’

[101] ‘The least that can be asked to settle this Church
and Kingdom in a solid and durable peace.’ Rothes 97.
According to Balfour ii. 252 these demands are referred to
the date of March 1638.

[102] The King in one of his declarations characterised
the difference between the old and new Covenant: the old
required ‘that they should mutually assist one another,
as they should be commanded by the King or any entrusted
persons’; but the new bond, which he repudiated, ‘was made
without our consent, and by it they swear mutually to
assist one another, not excepting the King.’ St. P. O.



King Charles thought that the Scots wished to give him
somewhat of the position of a Venetian Doge, but that he
would not yet be reduced to the necessity of complying.
He was confident that he still had a party of his own in

The signature of the Scottish Covenant had run the natural
course of a great political party movement. The universal
bias of men’s minds, the esteem in which a few great names
were held, the insistence of active leaders, made up for
any lack of conviction. A number of copies on parchment, to
which were appended the most influential names, were set
in circulation in the provinces: noblemen and important
landed proprietors canvassed for the signature of their
friends: certain objections were silenced by assurances
of loyal intentions: here and there recourse was had to
threats, and even to active measures against recalcitrants.
Yet there were still many who refused to sign. They felt
themselves repelled by the violent character and method of
the proceeding, by the absence of higher authority, and by
the comparison of Anglican with Popish institutions; or
else they had some regard for the King: many indeed thought
that Episcopalianism would still gain the upper hand. The
learned school of Aberdeen called attention to a statute of
1585, which forbade all associations of which the King had
not been previously informed. One at least among the great
nobles, George Gordon, Marquess of Huntly, who had adopted
the doctrines of the episcopal system at the court of James    [A.D. 1638.]
I, adhered to the side of the crown in spite of all
incentives to the contrary. He said that his house had
always been connected with the royal family, and that
it should stand or fall with it[103]. And though the
Privy Council had at first promoted the movement by its
connivance, it immediately withdrew it, as soon as it was
perceived that the centre of gravity of ecclesiastical and
political life was to be placed in the General Assemblies
independently of the government: from that time most
official persons severed themselves from the leaders of the
nobility. They thought that they would be able to resist
the anti-monarchical alliance which had been formed between
the aristocracy and the popular and religious elements, and
to defeat it, if only the King would show discretion at the
right moment. They acted consistently with their original
position in asking him to do away with the two books in
which his system had reached its culminating point, and
to modify the Court of High Commission: as for the rest
they only wished that he should promise himself to take
the grievances of the country into consideration, and so
remove them in accordance with the laws. Traquair and his
friends by no means wished for a General Assembly with such
extensive powers as the Covenanters demanded: they had
reached a point beyond which they did not mean to go.

Charles I at that time, to use an expression current even
in England, had formed a Junta to deliberate on the affairs
of Scotland. It consisted of Arundel, Cottington, the
Secretaries Coke and Vane, and a few Scots of high rank,
the Duke of Lennox, the Earl of Morton and the Marquess of
Hamilton. Archbishop Laud was only now and then admitted
to take part in it, for the embarrassment of affairs in
Scotland had already entered on a stage in which principles
at once episcopal and monarchical were no longer a safe
guide. Even in this Junta the views of the Scottish
statesmen asserted themselves: one of their number, the        [A.D. 1638.]
Marquess of Hamilton, was selected, and undertook to go to
Scotland as Lord High Commissioner representing the King,
and to make an attempt to compose the disturbances on the
basis of concessions to be made by the King in accordance
with the views of the Scottish Privy Council.

Hamilton had lived at the English court from his youth.
Early in life he had married a niece of Buckingham, and,
supported by this connexion, in consequence of which his
wife filled an important office at court, had been brought
into the closest relations with the royal family. The King
bestowed on him his unreserved confidence. He had once been
warned against Hamilton, who had an hereditary claim to the
crown of Scotland: the effect of this warning was that, the
very next time he saw him, he invited him to share the same
sleeping apartment with himself on the following night.
Hamilton had given no special attention to study, but he
possessed natural gifts; a keen and solid understanding,
sound judgment, and imperturbable calmness in discussion:
his counsels had the greatest influence upon the King. In
his political and even in his personal attitude, he as well
as the King was dependent upon the change of circumstances.
His mind had a natural tendency to conciliation and
compromise, in consequence of which he had supported John
Dury, who travelled about promoting with unwearied zeal
the union of the Protestant confessions. Devoted to the
King, popular with the Scots, averse from all extremes,
he appeared to be the man best fitted to stem the further
progress of the quarrel that was every day becoming more

In May 1638 James Marquess of Hamilton set out for
Scotland. The royal declaration seemed very well calculated
to further his design. He communicated it privately in the
first instance, in order to found his negotiations on it;
and in the beginning of July he made it known publicly.
In it the King reasserted in the strongest terms that he
would adhere to Protestantism, and would not attempt to
introduce any innovation in Church and State in Scotland;      [A.D. 1638.]
that he would no longer insist upon the reception of the
Liturgy and of the Book of Canons; that he would bring the
High Commission into harmony with the laws of Scotland,
and would summon a General Assembly and a Parliament at
his earliest convenience[105]. The Scottish government
expressed its thanks to the King for his assurances,
and the hope that his subjects would as was proper show
themselves well satisfied with these concessions.

In fact these concessions corresponded to the original
intentions which still prevailed in many quarters. Had
the King’s instructions appeared on the memorable 17th of
October, things might have taken another turn. But they
could not satisfy those who on that day had revived their
complaint against the bishops with fresh vehemence, and had
thereupon signed the Covenant. They observed that the two
books and the High Commission were not actually abolished
by the King’s concessions, still less the Articles of
Perth; that moreover no mention of their petition was made
by the King; that no notice was taken of the guilt of the
bishops, and that the time of summoning a General Assembly
was left unsettled.

Hamilton offered the malcontents to call an Assembly and a
Parliament at once, if they would renounce their Covenant
and would deliver up the original document. But how was it
likely that that condition should be secured? The zealous
Scots declared that they would rather forswear their
baptismal obligations than the Covenant, the best document
that had been drawn up in Scotland since the fabulous days
of Fergus. They affirmed that it was a mistake on the
King’s part to think that it threatened his authority.
They said that they acknowledged that their weal depended
on the weal of the King, who was set over them as God’s
vicegerent, to uphold religion and to administer justice.

In order to satisfy the religious zeal which was still
coupled with loyalty to the King, the Scottish Council
hit upon the plan of setting up in opposition to the           [A.D. 1638.]
Covenant of February another which should emanate from the
King himself. In this the clauses referring to the latest
measures of the government and to the hostile feeling
they had aroused, or implying the possibility of offering
resistance to the King himself, were to be left out, but
the anti-Catholic tone of the first was to be retained, and
to be as prominent as ever. The Scottish statesmen affirmed
that if the two books and the Articles of Perth were then
recalled, the High Commission dissolved, and the General
Assembly acknowledged, there was ground for entertaining
not merely a hope but a confident expectation that general
contentment would revive in the nation, and that all
opposition would be put down at home: for that the movement
in the nation had been caused by anxiety about innovations
opposed to Protestantism, not by any feeling of disloyalty.

On the advice of the highest officials in Scotland and of
his friend Hamilton, the King conceded all these points.
He consented to the proposal for renewing the old Covenant
of his father’s time: he wished this to be signed at his
own injunction, and a proclamation making new concessions
was published in Edinburgh on the 20th of September[106].
The Privy Council expressed its agreement with this
proclamation, which it characterised as the only thoroughly
sufficient means of securing Church and State. They thought
that the King’s subjects should prove their gratitude
to him by hearty obedience, and that whoever henceforth
should venture to disturb the peace of the realm ought
to be chastised with all severity. The old Covenant was
signed by the members of the Privy Council, and was then
transmitted to the King in proof of re-established harmony.
Proclamation was made with his sanction that a free General
Assembly should be held on the 21st of November following
at Glasgow, and a Parliament at Edinburgh in the May of the
next year.

And in the nation these measures were received with hearty
approval in many quarters.

The provost, baillies and town council of Glasgow voted        [A.D. 1638.]
the Lord High Commissioner an address of thanks for
his exertions, with which the clergy expressed their
concurrence in glowing terms. The University of Aberdeen
had always condemned the Covenant of the Lords, because it
had been entered into without the consent of the King. Its
members signed the old Covenant without scruple; certain
restrictions were attached it is true, but such as betrayed
a leaning to episcopal government, and an aversion from
the claims of the national assemblies of the Church. Of
the fifteen Judges of Session who had been brought back
again to Edinburgh by Hamilton’s means, nine affixed their
signature to the old Covenant. Even the Lord Advocate, who
had at first assisted the opposition by his advice, now
affirmed that the King’s declaration was the greatest piece
of good fortune which had befallen the Church of God since
the Reformation.

And certainly from the point of view of religious
controversy this appeared to be the case. The King’s
concessions only needed to be maintained and to be
confirmed in the popular assemblies appointed to be held,
in order to constitute a firm foundation for the freedom
of the Church and for that of the State, which was closely
connected with it. Charles I in these negotiations cannot
be accused of obstinate adherence to a foregone system. He
granted everything which the Scots had originally demanded.

This compliance however did not content them; and we
cannot be very much surprised that it did not. It is
ever the rule that when political parties are repelling
an injury done them, peculiar tendencies of more general
application grow up in them. The development of strength,
which was necessary for obtaining some end, feels capable
of asserting itself in a yet wider sphere. Individual
positions, which the holders will not surrender,
obligations to which those who undertook them will not
prove false, contribute to the same result. In Scotland at
that time, Lord Rothes, a man of easily excited popular
and enterprising nature, found himself, to his infinite
satisfaction, at the head of a powerful and constantly
increasing party whose reverence he enjoyed. Lord Loudon,
who had not long left the schools, felt a natural
satisfaction at the scholastic element in the controversy,     [A.D. 1638.]
at the opposition of ideas, and the subtle distinctions and
syllogisms which it presented. The conflict which had been
opened offered the widest scope to his ambition, which had
been repressed by his feelings of loyalty[107]. Hamilton
represented to these noblemen that, after the King had done
so much for them, they also were bound to do something
for him. He thought that he might arrange with them what
should be brought forward and decided in the assemblies
appointed to be held. He demanded from them, if they would
not go so far as to sign the old Covenant, at least such a
modification of the new Covenant as the King could accept.
But they declared that they would thus be themselves
condemning the oaths which they had taken, and induced
others to take: they did not deny that it would have been
desirable for them to have had the King’s authorisations
for those signatures and oaths; but they added that the
less authority they had had, so much the less hypocrisy,
and so much the more truthfulness and freedom there
had been. Extensive alterations had followed from the
acceptance of the Covenant: in the presbyteries the
moderators appointed under the influence of the bishops had
been again ejected: in an assembly of burghs the resolution
had been taken to retain no magistrate who had not signed
the new Covenant. They asked whether they were again to
destroy what they themselves had founded, and to break up
the alliance which made them powerful, and which gave them
a better security than all the proclamations of the King?
For his concessions appeared only to have been extorted
by circumstances; they expected that when circumstances
altered, they would again be withdrawn.

And, moreover, the Scottish Covenanters had not yet reached
their ultimate aim. The design of abolishing episcopacy,
of which they had always been accused, but which they had
hitherto, perhaps with truth, disclaimed, was now become
their conscious intention. The main reason of their protest
against the King’s proclamation was, that they might not
appear pledged to maintain the institution of episcopacy.      [A.D. 1638.]
They now applied their whole influence to prevent the
signature of the royal Covenant.

It is worth noticing how completely aristocratic and
religious interests were blended on this occasion. In
counties in which the great lords were most powerful the
Covenant of the King did not receive a single signature. A
prophetess arose who declared this Covenant to be made by
Satan, the people’s Covenant to be given from Heaven: and
her utterances found credit. The latter Covenant was indeed
a logical result of the great commotion, and conducted to
further extremes the enthusiasm out of which this commotion
had arisen: the former was a resource taken up under the
pressure of circumstances, and gained no confidence.

These influences had their effect on the elections to the
General Assembly which now came on. The committee of the
Covenanters which sat in Edinburgh exercised the greatest
influence over them. Their instructions to the presbyteries
are extant, in which they caution them to elect no one
who had shared in the institution of bishops or in the
proceedings of the High Commission, or had acquiesced in
the imposition of the Liturgy: but on the other hand, to
make provision in the proper place for the election of
members of the nobility and gentry belonging to their
party[108]; and generally to prepare carefully for the
elections, in order that the votes might not be split up.
Even before this time a dominant influence had often been
exerted in the election of representatives, for instance,
in France, in the constitution of the Assemblies of the
League; but this was perhaps the first occasion on which
popular elections had been conducted by a committee with
such precise instructions. In the elections the adherents
of the Covenant of the nobles were completely victorious.

The Assembly of the Church which was opened on November 21,    [A.D. 1638.]
1638, in St. Mungo’s Cathedral, at Glasgow, presented a
very extraordinary spectacle. On the floor of the church
the lords and gentlemen were seen sitting at a long table
as the elected elders of the Church; but their spiritual
capacity did not prevent them from wearing swords at their
sides and daggers in their belts. Behind them on benches,
which rose as in an amphitheatre, sat the preachers:
separate galleries were erected for the public, for the
nobility, and the commons.

Hamilton had hoped to sever the interests of the ministers
from those of the lay elders, and to enlist the former body
on the side of the King. This sight was enough to teach
him how greatly he had deceived himself. He still thought
that the elections most obnoxious to him, which had not
unfrequently been conducted in a disorderly manner, might
be set aside on a scrutiny. In fact, some elections were
declared invalid: but these were only cases in which men
not partisans of the Covenant had been chosen. The Assembly
constituted itself entirely in accordance with the views
of the Covenanters. Henderson was nominated moderator:
Johnston who, as secretary of the Edinburgh Committee, had
had the greatest share in conducting the elections, was
nominated secretary of the Assembly.

Charles I had hoped that the General Assembly would be
constituted according to the forms in use when it had last
met under his father, when hardly anything had been heard
of the lay elders. In that case it might have been expected
that episcopacy would be maintained, even if it were made
subject to the general representative body of the clergy.
But without applying to him for permission, an elder had
been elected to represent every presbytery, and that
without regarding whether the elder so elected was resident
in the presbytery or not. The leaders of the movement, who
were the original promoters and subscribers of the Covenant
rejected by the King, and declared by him irreconcilable
with the duty of a subject, now confronted him as the most
prominent members of an Assembly invested with undefined

Everything had been already prepared beforehand in
the Assembly for taking the decisive step against the
bishops. Just at the time of the elections it had been         [A.D. 1638.]
recommended that proofs of their guilt should be collected,
and preparations made for an abstract discussion on the
nature of their office. The bishops now handed in a
declinatory on their part also, in which they especially
insisted on the point that an assembly composed for the
most part of laymen, had no longer an ecclesiastical
character, and by the ancient usages of the Church was
incapable of sitting in judgment on bishops. But in the
prevailing state of opinion, how could any regard be paid
to this objection? The Moderator put the question to
the Assembly, whether they did not consider themselves
nevertheless as the legally-constituted tribunal for
judging the bishops. The Lord Commissioner would have
allowed judicial proceedings to be taken against the
bishops, but only in a General Assembly summoned according
to the forms usually adopted of late, not in this Assembly,
against which he had protested from the beginning, and
which every one knew to be contemplating the entire
abolition of episcopacy. He thought that he could not
await the issue of the voting. He once more explained why
he was obliged to declare the composition as well as the
claim of the Assembly to be illegal; and he then pronounced
its dissolution in the name of the King. But the Assembly
was now in a humour which mocked at the exercise of any
authority on the part of the crown. Henderson said that
the Lord Commissioner might uphold the prerogative of
his master as much as he pleased; but that there was yet
another prerogative, that of the Church of God, and the
General Assembly must take care of this. He first put
the question to the Assembly whether, in spite of the
declaration which they had heard from the Commissioner,
they thought of proceeding with their deliberations.
Only some ten votes were given in the negative. Then he
returned to his former question, whether the Assembly
regarded itself as the tribunal which had jurisdiction
over the bishops; and this was answered unanimously in the

This took place in the seventh session of the Assembly,
on November 28, 1638. On the 29th a proclamation from
the King was read in the Market-place of Glasgow, by           [A.D. 1638.]
which all further meetings of the members of the illegal
Assembly were forbidden, and all resolutions which it
might draw up were declared null and void. The Assembly
made answer on the same spot by means of a protestation,
in which they refused to allow this dissolution to take
effect. One of their reasons was the necessity in which
they found themselves of rejecting the Royal Covenant and
of maintaining their own. The members of the Privy Council
had all of them signed the King’s proclamation: only one
name was missing, that of Lord Lorne, now Earl of Argyle,
one of those ambitious and capable men, who with sure
instinct attach themselves to the power which is strongest.
He had chosen this moment for passing over from the side of
the royal Covenant to that of the Covenant of the nobles
and the people.

Thus these elements, whose previous struggles had still
left a hope of reconciliation, now opposed one another face
to face in open and irreconcilable hostility.

The intention originally professed was only that of
abolishing the arbitrary innovations of King Charles, and
of returning to the ordinances which James I had carried
out in the General Assemblies and Parliaments after his
accession to the throne of England. But it had always been
the opinion of the staunch presbyterians, who dated the
decay of the Church from the rise of the royal influence,
that even this course should be opposed: and the ruling
thought of the Assembly at Glasgow was directed to the
same end. Everything was there declared invalid, which had
been enacted in the Assembly of Linlithgow in the year
1606 and in subsequent Assemblies. The two Books, the High
Commission, and with them also the Articles of Perth were
not merely rejected: it was declared a crime to have taken
part in their composition or introduction. Episcopacy was
not only abolished on the ground that it had no warrant in
God’s Word, but it was abjured. Upon the Bishops who had
taken part in the ecclesiastical enactments of the last
ten years, sentence of excommunication and deposition was
pronounced; upon the others sentence of deposition alone.
And how could bishops and lay elders even exist side by
side? The former exhibit the authority of the Church as        [A.D. 1638.]
hierarchical; the latter exhibit it as democratic in
principle. The chief obstacle that prevented the Kings from
establishing the authority of the bishops was in truth the
independent origin of the Scottish national Church, and the
correspondence which existed in consequence between its
fundamental arrangements and this origin. The institution
which they had wished to make the basis of their influence
over the Church was now shattered and annihilated. The
most important agencies affecting the state of affairs
were involved in the opposition between the bishops who
supported the crown, and the lay elders whose rights were
bound up with the congregation and with the subordinate
temporal authorities.

We shall not, I think, go too far if we consider the
Scottish General Assembly at Glasgow, notwithstanding its
original ecclesiastical purpose, as nevertheless affording
at the same time a type of subsequent national assemblies
which had a purely political aim. In the conflict of
opposite tendencies a party has here grown up which enjoys
general sympathy to a wide extent, and aims at effecting a
thorough transformation of the whole condition of Church
and State: the supreme authority is compelled by it to
assent to the meeting of an assembly able to bring about
this result: this party controls the elections, and by a
definite organisation brings to pass a result wholly in
accordance with its wish: its leaders themselves are thus
invested with a public character: they obtain a position in
which they proclaim their intentions as the desire and will
of the nation, above all of the national Church, and are
able to force them upon the sovereign, whose ecclesiastical
authority they repudiate. The moment at which Henderson
refused to dissolve the Assembly at the demand of the
King’s Commissary, however widely the circumstances may
differ in other respects, may well be compared with the
first steps by which, a century and a half later, the
newly-created French National Assembly for the first time
withstood the commands of its King. The Assembly of Glasgow
held its sittings, carried on its deliberations, and drew
up resolutions after it had been dissolved by the King,
and its continued existence had been declared an act of
treason. People realised quite well what this state of         [A.D. 1638.]
things meant[110]. Into the world, already filled with
various fermenting elements, another was introduced which,
not only from its inherent nature, but from the method in
which it asserted itself, had, both here in Scotland and
everywhere else, a boundless prospect open before it.


[103] Report of James Gordon, in Napier, Montrose and the
Covenanters i. 153. ‘Some were threatened and beaten who
durst refuse, especially in great citys, as likewise in
other smaller towns: namely at Edinburgh, St. Andrews,
Glasgow, Lanark.’

[104] Burnet: Memoirs of the Dukes of Hamilton 409.

[105] ‘Statuentes ex pio eiga antiquum nostrum regnum
affectu, ut omnia gratiose stabiliantur et instaurenter
similiter adeo ac si nos in sacrosancta persona nostra
ibidem adessemus.’ Letters of Authorisation of May 20.

[106] Articles of Advise offered to His Majesty, August
1638. They were signed by Hamilton himself, Traquair,
Roxburgh and Southesk. Rushworth ii. 758.

[107] Narrative of proceedings, in Rothes 220.

[108] Note on the private articles: Baillie i. 469.
Guthrie’s assertion goes somewhat further: ‘For the ruling
elders, as there was but one from each presbytery, so they
enjoined that he should be a well-affected nobleman, and
failing there a well-affected gentleman; whereby it came to
pass that all the noblemen who were furious in the cause
were elected either in one presbytery or in the other.’ (p.

[109] Documents in Rushworth ii. 342. Aiton, Life of
Henderson 358.

[110] Cp. Laud to Strafford. Strafford Letters ii. 265.





Some few score of years before these events, the Aragonese
had rebelled against Philip II for reasons similar to
those for which the Scots rebelled against Charles I.
The pressure of the ecclesiastical and temporal rule as
exercised by that sovereign had made the Aragonese anxious
for their ancient liberties: the Inquisition was as much
hated by them as the High Commission by the Scots; and a
trivial circumstance had sufficed to cause the nobles, the
hidalgos, and the towns to revolt in quick succession. But
Philip II had arrayed against the Aragonese the power of
his principal state of Castile, to the position of which
they feared to be reduced, had recovered their obedience
by force, had still more narrowly restricted their ancient
liberties, and had established the royal authority more
firmly than any of his predecessors had ever succeeded in

The cause of the Scots involved yet more serious issues
than that of the Aragonese. If the Aragonese had been
victorious, they would only have revived within narrow
territorial limits a representative Catholic constitution,
according to the ideas of the middle ages. The Scots on the
other hand repudiated everything which reminded them of the
old hierarchy and its alliance with the crown: they laid
claim on religious grounds to a political freedom such as
had never yet existed in the world.

So much the more did Charles I believe himself entitled to
put an end to this movement by force of arms. Even at the
time when Hamilton first went to Scotland, and expressed
his anxiety lest he should be met by protestations and         [A.D. 1639.]
rebellious assemblies, the King had plainly said that in
such a case he might collect troops and scatter the rebels.
‘But,’ rejoined Hamilton, ‘what if there be not troops
enough found in the country for this purpose.’ ‘Then,’
answered the King, ‘power shall come from England, and I
myself will come in person with them, being resolved to
hazard rather my life than to suffer the supreme authority
to be contemned.’ Hamilton had offered far more than
the King originally intended, but, in spite of all his
advances he had only awakened a more violent opposition.
The letters in which he announces this result strike a
chord of self-reproach, we might almost say of contrition,
for he felt deeply that he had brought the King into an
almost untenable position. On his return he expressed his
conviction that the only course now open to the government
was to crush the rebels by force of arms. It was intended
that Scotland should be coerced by England, in the same way
that Aragon had been coerced by Castile.

In the Privy Council and among the friends of King Charles
this design was debated from various sides.

It was pointed out to him that a war between his subjects
in the two countries, whatever the issue might be, could
only bring loss to him who was King over both. And who,
it was asked, could guarantee to him that England would
bestow the assistance of which he stood in need? He would
be conjuring up a storm which after such long years of
peace would burst forth with all the greater violence. How
much better under all circumstances was an agreement, more
especially as mercy became a king.

In answer to this by the other side, it was said that the
agreement must above all be such that the King should
appear in it as master, and should assert his importance.
Of all misfortunes which a sovereign could undergo, loss
of authority was the worst; and the loss moreover was most
severe, when he had intended to make an alteration, and
had been compelled to withdraw it: the subject then became
insolent, and the sovereign fell into the plight of being
no longer master, but servant. What an unendurable position
it would be to sit still and to go on making concessions to
men actually engaged in rebellion. Even a serious war would    [A.D. 1639.]
be better than such a peace: and if the King would surround
himself with trusty counsellors, would place the nobles
under an obligation to his cause, be gracious to the
people, and then courageously take horse, everybody would
follow his example[111].

Still further considerations, of a less general but of
all the more urgent character, are stated in the letters
exchanged between the two men to whom Charles I was
accustomed to give most heed, Wentworth and Laud. They
found the reason of the embarrassment which had arisen in
Scotland, not in the King’s design itself, but in the want
of proper means for its execution. Wentworth said moreover,
that if these rough spirits were able to carry out their
disorderly designs against the honour of the King, the
danger would be as great in England as in Scotland: that
the peace of the three kingdoms depended on the course
taken by this movement. Laud answers in similar terms. He
adds, that if the King did not defeat the Scots, a second
confusion would arise greater than the first, and that
no one could see what this would bring with it in its

These two men were the principal supporters of the
unparliamentary and hierarchical system which the King
had undertaken to enforce. From the first moment they had
felt the recoil of the Scottish movement upon both the
other kingdoms: they saw that the whole system as well as
themselves personally would be endangered by its progress:
and they were of opinion that their whole strength must be
exerted to put an end to it, cost what it may.

The assertion was advanced at this very time that an
alliance between the Scottish and English nobles had
preceded the disobedience of the former: that they had
made an agreement in regular form to abolish the episcopal
constitution, and to curtail the prerogative of the

But this is without doubt too strong a statement. The          [A.D. 1637.]
Scottish nobles were aware of the discontent of a powerful
party in England which was excluded from the government.
They may have reckoned upon it, but at this time no proof
is found of a formal agreement.

What is recorded of the alliance between the religious
parties in the two kingdoms with a view to common action
has greater credibility. A Scottish clergyman, who had long
resided in London and returned to Edinburgh in the year
1637, brought with him from the English Nonconformists the
assurance that as soon as anything was done in Scotland
something would be attempted in behalf of Presbyterianism
in England also. And, in fact, after the outbreak of the
disturbances in Edinburgh, Puritanism bestirred itself in
London as well. In Cheapside, Lambeth, and on the doors of
St. Paul’s, placards were put up, in which complaint was
made against the Archbishop of Canterbury for shedding the
blood of the saints, and allowing Popish and Romanising
tendencies to have free play. It is remarkable what a
reaction at first arose in consequence. Archbishop Laud
showed some courage in seizing that moment for establishing
the supremacy of Anglican orthodoxy over Catholicism
as well as over Puritanism. He had already long felt
displeased at being sometimes hindered by the influence
of the court, or of certain nobles, from enforcing the
laws of the Church against Catholics as well as against
Protestants. He made a bold effort to show the world
that he was no Papist, and secured a decision in the
Council that the old edicts against recusants should be
revived and put in force. Catholic writings were again
forbidden. Popish writers were treated with a severity
similar to that which had hitherto been shown towards the
Puritans. Laud himself had his old controversial writings      [A.D. 1637.]
against the Jesuits reprinted. Proclamations appeared
which, although more moderate in language than before, yet
indicated afresh that spirit of hostility to the Papacy
which had originally characterised the Anglican Church as
well as other Protestant bodies. Charles himself fully
concurred in these proceedings. Cuneo had once complained
to him of the Archbishop, on the supposition that every
order proceeded from his individual determination. The
King answered that the other members of the Privy Council
as well held the same opinion. Cuneo took the liberty of
reminding him of the conditions of his marriage contract,
by which he had assured the Catholics of protection and
care. ‘I shall never break these conditions,’ replied the
King, ‘but with your permission I will show that I really
belong to the religion which I profess. I know that the
Pope wishes me to be other than I am[114].’

There is as little truth in the assumption, which has been
often made, that the influence of Cuneo, and a tendency to
Catholicism on his own part, had kept back the King from
doing justice to the demands of the Scots. The King thought
only of the supremacy of the Anglican Church: the regard
paid to Scotland operated at first even to the prejudice
of the Catholics, for the Archbishop wished above all to
convince every one that he had no leanings towards them.
But if the King and the Archbishop had hoped to calm
men’s feelings by this means, they were mistaken. The
English Puritans, no less than the Scottish, considered
the demonstrations of the rulers of the Church against
Catholicism a mask which they would soon let fall again.
They thought that if the King wished to keep the Puritans
in England in subjection, he must first put down their
fellow-believers in Scotland.

With the religious agitation in England moreover there
was now connected another of a civil character, which had
reference principally to the interpretation of the laws.
Just during those months in which the revolt in Scotland
was gaining consistency, the question about the legality       [A.D. 1638.]
of ship-money which, as has been mentioned, the King
allowed to be raised, came on for discussion before the
Judges of the Realm during the term of their regular
session, from the autumn of 1637 to the summer of 1638.
Who does not know the passionate interest which is wont
to attend proceedings of the higher courts of justice
when they bear on unsettled political questions? This was
strengthened by the compulsory exaction of the tax which
went on simultaneously with the discussion of the point at
issue. The Judges, who declared themselves in favour of the
legality of the tax, incurred hatred and obloquy. But there
were two of them. Crooke and Hutton, who pronounced against
it. Their arguments agreed with the assumptions made by
public opinion. They affirmed that the right to which the
crown laid claim belonged to it only in very exceptional
cases, and then only with the reserve of the subsequent
consent of Parliament; but that in the present case such
an extraordinary necessity had not arisen, and Parliament
had now for some years not been summoned. The two judges
contested the precedents adduced by the other party in
favour of its own view: they looked upon the question as a
simple controversy between legal justice and authority; and
they threw themselves without reserve on the side of the

This however was no reason why the sentence of the majority
of the judges may not have been consistent with former
ordinances. The refusals of payment were condemned as
illegal; but nevertheless the proofs alleged by the two
dissentients had made an indescribable impression[115].

The government did not allow itself to be driven from its
course in either of the affairs in which it was engaged.
It both kept down the English Puritans, and continued
to collect the tax to which exception was taken. But
opposition and agitation increased daily in the country.
The Scots stirred up this feeling with various pamphlets.
They sought to make the English conscious that the cause of    [A.D. 1638.]
both countries was the same. And their example itself
produced a still greater effect. From time to time anxiety
was felt lest the Scottish uprising should spread over

While already, apart from other considerations, there was
much to be said for the necessity of contending against the
rising in Scotland in open war, it was also seen that the
same course was necessary for the preservation of order in
England. Hamilton, the mediator of peace, who had returned
from Scotland after failing in his attempt, the Lord Deputy
of Ireland, and the Primate of the English Church united
their voices in favour of war. Without doubt their counsels
were what determined the King.

But it is also clear that no one could think of claiming
the help of the English Parliament in the conduct of this
war, however important it might have been under other
circumstances. The King indignantly rejected the advice to
summon a Parliament; for what could he have found in that
body but a combination of Puritans and men who had refused
to pay ship-money, with those who supported on principle
the rights and claims of Parliament? His intention was to
carry on the war upon the strength of the prerogative of
the crown with those forces which his income, that had just
now been increased, as well as the voluntary offerings of
the friends of his system should supply.

And his position in general depended upon his success
in this undertaking. If the enterprise against Scotland
prospered, the validity of the prerogative in England also
was for ever established. The King’s hierarchical and
monarchical system of government would have acquired double
force through a victory won by his own strength. Thus in
former times Philip II had first become completely master
of his own kingdom by his victory over the Aragonese.

Charles I was not without a prospect of a like success.

Large sums were brought in by those contributions which the
most eminent members of the English clergy, especially         [A.D. 1638.]
the bishops, agreed to make: for not only was the cause of
the King in substance their own, but they wished besides
to distinguish themselves by giving proof of loyalty. At
the special request of the Queen the Catholics, who were
again relieved from the burden of those oppressive measures
lately mentioned, gave something, though not indeed very
much, nor very willingly; for though they wished to acquire
the favour of the King, on whom their very existence
depended, they yet feared the vengeance of the enemy in
case of a reaction. Among the high nobility also the King
and his cause had some ardent adherents of both sexes who
made large contributions.

Those feelings of personal dependence on the hereditary
sovereign, which were the cement that bound together states
of Germanic and Latin origin, were on the whole not yet
extinguished in England. On the King’s declaration that he
would display his standard in the spring at York, many gave
in their names as volunteers. The gentry in the northern
counties especially showed zeal and devotion. The militia
was everywhere put under arms. In April we find an army of
about 20,000 men, horse and foot, assembled around the King.

The army was not intended strictly speaking to invade
Scotland. The plan, in the formation of which as in other
matters the Marquess of Hamilton had great influence,
contemplated only measures of coercion against the
Covenanters. And as their principal strength was thought
to lie in the town-populations, and the towns lived
principally by trade, especially by trade with Holland, he
had taken up the opinion that they would be compelled to
submit, if they were cut off from this commerce. He went
himself with an English squadron to the Frith of Forth in
order to carry out this measure. The land-army was intended
only to make a demonstration in his support, and above all
to secure the Border against an incursion which the Scots
might otherwise feel tempted to make.

Another design was entertained, which is worth mentioning,
although it was not carried into effect. A couple of
thousand experienced troops, made up of cavalry and
infantry, especially arquebusiers, were to be transferred      [A.D. 1638.]
from the Spanish to the English service; and the Spaniards
were to be allowed in return to enlist a corresponding
number in the British dominions. These were to be conveyed
to Scotland in Flemish ships, but at the cost of the
English, and to be stationed in Edinburgh Castle either
by amicable means or by force. From this point they were
to be put into communication with the royalists in the
northern counties, especially with Huntly, and with the
town of Aberdeen. The power of the King would have become
so strong in Scotland itself, that, under the influence
of coercive measures adopted simultaneously by sea and
land, the Covenanters in the capital and in the southern
counties might well have been expected to consent to such
an agreement as the King desired[117].

The prospect of a very widely extended alliance between
various elements of strength had thus been opened: but to
secure their co-operation, which was naturally difficult
to bring about, diplomatic negotiations of the most prolix
character with the courts of Brussels and Madrid were also
necessary. While the King was still engaged upon them the
Scots on their side were already making preparations for

But if success depended upon bringing over experienced
troops from the Continent to Great Britain, this was far
easier for the Scots than for the English. We have already
mentioned in what numbers the Scots served under the
Swedish flag in Germany[118]. If the Protestant cause which
they defended in Germany were now to be fought for and
carried through in their own native country, how could they
hesitate to return thither? The heads of their families,
for whom they still cherished an inborn attachment, now
themselves summoned them home.

Among the Scots in the Swedish service Alexander Lesley
had acquired a very distinguished position. He commanded
the first troops which Gustavus Adolphus threw into
Germany: he it was who, by crossing to occupy Rügen from       [A.D. 1638.]
Stralsund, had opened the Swedish war in Germany[119]. In
the school of Gustavus Adolphus he learned to exercise the
command-in-chief of an army in troublous circumstances.
Chancellor Oxenstierna, who made him a field-marshal,
afterwards employed him in the most difficult political
and military enterprises. His exertions in the years 1635
and 1636 had almost the greatest share in establishing
the Swedish supremacy in Western Pomerania. Even in
Germany however he had been deeply affected by the
disagreements between Scotland and England. The views
of King Charles, which were at that time represented by
Hamilton, when he appeared with the King of Sweden in
order to bring about the restoration of the Palatinate,
were distasteful to the Scottish troops: they wished to
see their King a decided enemy of Spain and Austria. The
Field-Marshal might consider that he was merely executing
a flank movement in the great war if he went to Scotland
and assumed the chief command of his countrymen, who now
opposed the doubtful policy of their King, and undertook
to maintain their religious and political independence
against him. He had moreover a special inducement for
going, because Lord Rothes, the head of the Lesleys, was
the foremost leader of the movement. People had at first
thought that the plain-looking man of mean origin and
small stature, with a lame foot and already advanced in
years, would secure little consideration among the proud
and magnificent nobles. But what is more irresistible in
the world than military experience, and more captivating
than fame for generalship? Everything was swayed by his
counsels. Following his example others also gave up far
more lucrative and important positions in the German War in
order to serve their country, so that a staff of captains
and under-officers was soon formed who rendered the greatest
service in training troops[120]. From their fellow-believers   [A.D. 1638.]
in Holland the Scots obtained munitions, and even some
pieces of ordnance.

It was important for the Scots in the first place to guard
against, or to render impossible, any hostile attempt on
the part of England. Under Lesley’s guidance they turned
their arms against the Castle of Edinburgh: the gate was
blown open with a petard. Dalkeith and Dumbarton were taken
possession of in like manner: the intended enlistment of
Spanish troops was still far from being effected, when
the royalists in the north of Scotland were compelled to
submit, Huntly was taken prisoner in violation of a promise
made to him, and was brought to Edinburgh.

Meanwhile, at the beginning of May, Hamilton appeared with
his squadron in the Frith. Beacons upon the neighbouring
heights proclaimed his approach to the country, and the
whole people hastened in arms to both shores in order to
prevent his landing. It is not clear whether he seriously
intended to land. He contented himself at present with
occupying the small islands of Inch-Keith and Inch-Colm,
and of there stopping the Scottish vessels that were
passing by. He did not let them go until the crews swore to
him that they would stand by the King.

But the royal army also, under the command of the Earl of
Arundel, had already arrived at the border. With a force
the strength of which is rated at 20,000 men, and which was
superior, at least in infantry, to that of the King Lesley
advanced to meet him: he set up his camp at Dunse Hill
immediately under the eyes of the King.

After the example of Gustavus Adolphus and Bernard of
Weimar, Alexander Lesley also took pains that the aspect
of the camp should correspond to the religious motives
of the expedition, and nowhere could men’s feelings have
been better prepared beforehand for such a proceeding than
in Scotland. The soldiers were heard singing psalms or
reading the Scriptures in their tents: the ministers were
girded with swords or carried carbines: the more fiery
their discourse, the more devoutly they were listened to.
But whilst the Scots were opposing their King under arms,
they did not wish to wear the appearance of being at war       [A.D. 1638.]
with him. They sometimes gave him a cheer: on the flags
were to be read the words ‘For God, the King, and the
Covenant.’ They did not wish to fight against the King, but
against the bishops, by whom he was thought to be misled:
they would not let their influence, so ruinous to Church
and State, rise again, at least in Scotland.

How entirely different was the appearance which the English
camp presented!

It was not merely that but few of the leaders had ever seen
war: the soldiers were unaccustomed to strict discipline,
and did not render to their officers that punctual
obedience which military service requires. The Scottish
soldier had few wants[121]; sufficient supplies had been
provided from the capital: the English soldier had many
wants; but the delivery of supplies was irregular. When
the King showed himself they even cried out for bread. No
trace was to be found among them of the military spirit of
the time; and how should the episcopal system have been
capable of calling out a religious zeal corresponding to
the Puritan enthusiasm?

Charles I moreover had not been able to assemble, even for
a military expedition, so many men of importance without
bringing to light the political opposition with which
he had to struggle. The Lords of the Opposition had not
appeared with the arms and followers which they had been
expected to bring. The King sought to assure himself of
their obedience by means of an oath, in which they were to
vow to serve obediently against all seditious combinations,
even if they were formed under pretence of religion.
Lords Brooke and Say and Sele refused to take this oath.
The King, who when in the field demanded the absolute
submission of his vassals, had them arrested; but on this
a general disturbance arose in the camp. Their friends
took the ground that the King had no right at all to
demand a new oath, which had not been approved beforehand
by Parliament. The rest of the lords went to the Earl of       [A.D. 1638.]
Arundel with a request that he would put himself at their
head in order to represent this to the King[122]. Arundel
called their attention to the danger which would thus arise
to the King’s service, and promised them redress for their
grievances. Legal authorities in London gave it as their
opinion that the prosecution against the two lords could
not be proceeded with. They were accordingly, after some
days, set at liberty again.

Thus much at least was by this means made plain to every
one,--that there could be no thought of an unanimous and
decisive prosecution of the war in favour of the King’s
prerogative, as connected with the authority of the
bishops. The state of religious opinion shook the loyalty
of obedience. The views of the Scots had penetrated even
among those who were to have fought against them.

The Scots also on their part had reasons for not driving
matters to extremities. An open conflict with the King
would have fanned into bright flame the opposition in the
North, which had hardly been quelled, and which was already
stirring again, so that it would have been necessary to
detach a military force to that quarter; and, as has been
mentioned, such a conflict was no part of their original

Hamilton had not long been stationed in the Frith when
some of the leading Covenanters presented themselves
for a conference with him, in which they offered to
pay every kind of civil obedience to their sovereign,
provided that they could obtain satisfaction as to their
ecclesiastical institutions[123]. Hamilton applied to the
King in reference to these proposals, and as from the
beginning Charles had not intended to subdue the Scots
by force, but only by taking arms to compel them to show
greater compliance in negotiation, he now acceded to their
proposals. On a further application, and on the appearance     [A.D. 1638.]
of symptoms of returning obedience in the army encamped
over against him, he issued a safe conduct to his own camp
for the four deputies whom the Scots appointed, that they
might lay their demands before a commission nominated by

The two armies had advanced into the field to meet one
another, and lay encamped against one another in open
hostility; but in temper they were not altogether opposed.
In the one, obedience to the King had not yet been entirely
thrown off: in the other it still reigned, but no longer
in full strength. How then could men on both sides not
hesitate before they caused fresh bloodshed between two
nations of common descent, who had been closely connected
together for the last century? Instead of fighting they
began to negotiate. We must now turn our attention, not
to deeds of war, but to arguments and counter-arguments
advanced before an assembled council.

The royal commission was composed of men of very different
views. With Arundel, in whose tent the meetings were held,
sat Essex and Holland: among the Scots were seen some of
the former champions of the movement, Rothes and Loudon.
The negotiations began on June 11. Hardly had Arundel
formally opened the conference when the King appeared in
order to conduct his cause in person, for he could not let
it be said of him that he was unwilling to listen to his

The Scots affirmed that their proceedings were in
accordance with the acknowledged and written laws of the
country. The King denied this: for how indeed could it be
said that the last Assembly at Glasgow had been elected or
held according to legal forms? In consequence of this he
was also unable to regard their decisions as legal or to
ratify them. He assured them that he had no intention of
altering anything in the matter of religion or law which
had been laid down by sovereign authority: but if he said
one thing and they another, who, he asked, was to judge
between them: who was to fix the sense of the laws?

This in fact was the question at issue. He had intended
to decide it in his own favour by superiority of arms,
and to break down the political and military opposition        [A.D. 1638.]
in which the Scots had engaged. As he had not succeeded in
doing this, while at the same time matters had not gone so
far as to compel him to an absolute surrender--for at all
events he had achieved one object, and had in the first
place secured England against an invasion of the Scots,
which had been feared--no final accommodation could be

The Scots declared in writing that their wishes were only
directed to the maintenance of religion and liberty in
accordance with the ecclesiastical and political laws of
the country: that they would never desire anything which
was not laid down in these; and that they were ready as
loyal subjects to obey the King. Charles I replied, that if
such were their wishes, they were also his own.

A movement towards an approximation now took place, in
which however each side reserved to itself its own views as
to what the laws really contained.

The agreement which was arrived at after some days (June
17), the so-called Pacification of Berwick, arranged that
the Scottish army should be disbanded, the English fleet
withdrawn from the Frith, the King’s castles with their
ammunition restored to him, and that any vessels that had
been detained should be returned to the Scots[124]. The
King consented that in the following August first a free
General Assembly, and immediately afterwards a Parliament
also, should be held; that they should henceforward be
regularly summoned, and that the one should have the
decision of ecclesiastical, the other that of temporal
affairs. He did not however consent to acknowledge the last
Assembly at Glasgow as legal, from considerations, as was
said in the proclamation, which were imposed upon him by
the sovereign power which had descended to him from his
ancestors. What were these considerations? Even if Charles
I allowed everything which he or his father had lately
introduced to be swept away, yet he would not permit that
any part of it should be declared illegal or papistical. He
would not allow the reproach of having ordained anything
illegal to fall either on himself or on his father. He         [A.D. 1638.]
assented to the most important enactments of the Assembly
at Glasgow; he assented provisionally even to the abolition
of episcopacy; but he held to the view that the Assembly
had been illegally summoned, and was illegal: that which
might be reaffirmed in a new assembly approved by him, and
that only, would he then ratify. In other matters also he
clung with similar inflexibility to his conception of the
supreme power which must remain in his hands. He was ready
to allow periodical ecclesiastical and temporal assemblies
to meet. His commissary was to be instructed to proclaim
the meeting of such an assembly again within a year; but
it appeared to him insufferable that he should be pledged
to do this for all future time. If he allowed that his
veto should not be exercised with regard to their next
proceedings, he was yet resolved not to allow himself to
be robbed of this veto for ever. But these are just the
most important questions which arise as to parliamentary
or representative forms of government. How could it be
expected that the strong opposition between royal authority
and the independence of parliamentary and ecclesiastical
assemblies which was implied in these questions, and which
had deep root in Scotland especially, should so easily
be brought to a settlement without a real and strenuous

The news of the Pacification of Berwick was received with
great satisfaction, especially in the Protestant world.
That the Scots had not been overpowered appeared of itself
to be an advantage; but it was thought moreover that King
Charles would desire to give employment to the Scots in
order to keep them obedient; and where else could that
employment be found but in the German war? It is affirmed
that Lesley offered him to lead his troops immediately to
the Continent for the reconquest of the Palatinate; that he
did not require the King to bear any other cost but that of
their transport; for Lesley intended to maintain his Scots
in Germany as Mansfeld and Wallenstein had maintained their
troops[125]. King Charles is said to have entered for a
moment into this plan. The rejection of his last overtures     [A.D. 1638.]
by Austria appeared to justify it, and no doubt all his
affairs might, had he accepted the proposal, have assumed
a different aspect. But so bold and reckless an enterprise
was repugnant to his character. After some reflection he
put it aside. Apart from his fears of strengthening his
opponents at home, his relations with France and Spain were
not in such a condition that he could throw his weight
decisively into the scale.


[111] I have taken the description of these contending
motives from an essay entitled, Révolte des Écossais
(Biblioth. imp. at Paris, Melanges Harlay 218), with
the inscription: ‘fait deux mois après la révolte
d’Écosse’--apparently from the pen of a French Catholic who
was closely connected with the English Court.

[112] Strafford Letters ii. 250.

[113] John Spalding: Memorials of the trubles of England
and Scotland, i. 77, gives a very detailed account. He
knew of ‘ane clandestine band drawn up and subscrivit
secretly between the malcontents, or rather malignantis
of Scotland and England, that eche one should concur and
assist utheris, while they gat their willis both in church
and policie, and to bring both kingdomes under a reformed
religion, and to that effect to root out the bischopis of
both kingdomes crop and root, quairby His Majesty should
loiss ane of his trie estatis: and likevayes that they
sould draw the King to dispenss with diverss pointis of his
royall prerogative.’

[114] Cuneo, Dec. 18, 1637: ‘Io non contraverro mai
ad alcuna di queste conditioni che voi pretendete, ma
con vostra buona licenza, io voglio mostrare essere di
quella religione che professo. So che il papa mi vorebbe
altrimente che sono.’

[115] G. Giustiniano, Oct. 1: ‘Avanzate le loro istanze
nel pretendere che anche in questo regno si chiami il
parlamento per unitamente dare la miglior forma al governo.’

[116] As early as September 1637 the Venetian ambassador
speaks of the ‘pericolo evidente che s’estenda la
sollevatione anche per questo regno, dove i popoli non
meno che gli Scocesi avidi si mostrano dell’ occasione di
sottrarsi al giogo a cui poco a poco si sono universalmente

[117] Compare ‘A design to extricate His Majesty out of
these present troubles with the Scots,’ in Clarendon Papers

[118] Chemnitz, Schwedischer Krieg i. 43.

[119] The pass given to Lesley by Charles I extends over a
year (May 1637-38). In a Venetian report of April 1638 it
is stated that Lesley had taken leave of the King in order
to go to Scotland and from thence to Pomerania into the
Swedish service. In that case Rothes must have induced him
to remain behind.

[120] ‘To help their bested mother church and country, they
have deserted their charges abroad to their great loss,
which they knew she was never able to make up.’ Baillie,
Sept. 1639, i. 223.

[121] ‘They are a people that can live of nothing, and
we that can want nothing.’ Countess of Westmoreland to
Windebank: Hardwicke Papers ii. 129.

[122] Depêche de Bellièvre, 12 Mai: ‘Les seigneurs qui
étoient à York s’étoient déjà assemblés pour voir ce qu’il
il y auroit à faire en ce rencontre, et avoient été à
trouver le comte d’Arundel, qui est le premier, pour porter
la parole.’

[123] Sir Henry Devick’s account of this conference in
Burnet, Dukes of Hamilton 133. Although it there appears to
have taken place later than the application to the King,
yet it must have preceded it. The application was made in
consequence of the conference.

[124] Pacification of Berwick. Hardwicke Papers ii. 241.

[125] Giustiniano July 1-8, 1639.



Let us now once more direct our close attention to the
relations between England and France, which at that time,
as they had almost always done, determined the general
course of European policy.

In July 1637 the two powers, between which, notwithstanding
the above-mentioned objections on the part of Wentworth,
negotiations had always been going on, came to an agreement
about the articles of an alliance for mutual assistance,
which opened a wide prospect for the general relations of
Europe, especially with regard to Germany[126].

By this agreement they combined in proposing to restore the
Estates of the German Empire, which had been overpowered by
the house of Austria, and especially the Palatine house,
to those possessions and rights which they had enjoyed
before the war. The King of England pledged himself that
he would not permit either money or the necessaries of war
to be supplied in future to the Austro-Spanish house, but
on the contrary, that he would equip a fleet which should
entirely prevent any transport of the kind: that he would
never again allow the Spaniards to enlist soldiers in
his dominions, but that he would give this permission to
the French. In return the King of France promised not to
conclude peace either with the German or with the Spanish
line of the house of Austria without the consent of the        [A.D. 1637.]
King of England, and above all not to do so unless the
complete restoration of the Palatinate had been obtained.
In order to achieve this end, their allies, Holland and
Sweden, were to be invited, in common with the two Kings,
to lay before the house of Austria and the Duke of Bavaria
conditions for a general agreement, and were to enforce
these by arms if they were not accepted within a month.
The two Kings were then to sanction any kind of enterprise
on the part of their subjects against the possessions of
the crown of Spain in America, in the East Indies, or in
Europe: they were to cut off the communications of Spain
with the distant parts of the world, as well as with
Flanders and Germany; and they were to settle beforehand
how to deal with the conquests which they hoped to make in
the Spanish Netherlands.

On the last point negotiations had not yet led to any
agreement. Charles I had demanded that if Dunkirk, or
other places in the Netherlands, were conquered, they
should then be handed over as a pledge to his nephews, the
Princes Palatine. The French, on the contrary, adhered to
their intention of erecting in the conquered Netherlands
either a Catholic republic, or a government under the
common sovereignty of the allies, like the bailiwicks in
Switzerland. In the further progress of the negotiations
Charles I expressed himself at last not disinclined to
assent to a government in the form of a common sovereignty.
All points in the agreement were to be again deliberated
on in a congress of the powers at Hamburg, and to be there
brought to a settlement.

Thus matters were settled after long negotiation. When we
read the articles it is hard not to believe that a powerful
joint effort for restoring the former condition of affairs
was to be made without delay.

A closer consideration of the circumstances however shows
beforehand that on neither side was there a decided
intention of making such an effort.

The French were convinced that Charles I wished for the
continuance of the war between France and Spain in order
that meanwhile he might revive his naval power, recover his
lost reputation, and enrich his country; but that he was
so fettered by the profitable relation which he secretly       [A.D. 1638.]
maintained with the Spaniards that he would never proceed
boldly to fight for the interests of the Palatinate: that,
if he now seemed inclined for an agreement with France,
he was only trying to induce the house of Austria by
arousing anxiety as to his alliance, to make some trivial
concessions to his nephews with which he would be content.
The obligation of keeping up a fleet on the coasts, which
Charles undertook by the treaty, was considered by the
French far too contemptible considering the greatness of
the cause which the two powers upheld.

Why then, we may ask, did the circumspect Cardinal
Richelieu consent to this alliance? His anxieties were the
reason for his conduct: he wished to keep King Charles from
allying himself more closely with the house of Austria. He
put off the definitive conclusion of the treaty until the
conference at Hamburg, because he foresaw that it would
encounter obstacles there and be delayed. In the summer
of 1637 the articles had been laid down: in the autumn of
1637 Richelieu gave to Bellièvre, the President of the
Parliament, who went as ambassador to England, instructions
not indeed to conclude anything, for this was far from
his intention, but only to keep Charles I in the belief
that France wished for the conclusion of the treaty, and
that she would promote it at Hamburg. Meanwhile he was to
induce that sovereign to throw more obstacles in the way
of intercourse between Spain and the Netherlands[127]. In
February 1638 the Council of State, which worked under
Richelieu’s directions, once more considered the treaty.
Father Joseph, who sat in this council, proposed to insert
the condition that the King of England should employ his
ships not only for the protection of his own coasts, but
for the attack of the coasts of the Spanish Netherlands, or
of the Spanish peninsula[128]. The other members agreed,
but went a step further still: they demanded that a joint
attack should be made upon some place or other in the          [A.D. 1638.]
Netherlands, to be more precisely determined by and by:
they thought that it was in the highest degree unjust that
England should not support the French, and yet should wish
to prevent them from conquering Dunkirk for instance.
They thought, moreover, that any share in governing
the conquered territory after the fashion of the Swiss
bailiwicks could be allowed to England only if that power
itself took an active share in the conquest. But however
much stress the French laid upon this co-operation,
they nevertheless also thought right not to break off
negotiations, if Charles I should still be inclined again
to defer his answer.

But if we ask what views Charles I really cherished, it
is plain that he would never have consented to engage
in direct hostilities against the strong places in the
Netherlands. He might possibly have allowed an attack to
be made by the Dutch and French, supposing that he were to
have a share in the government of the conquered places, but
he would never have taken part in such an attack. In the
summer of 1637, whilst he was acceding to the preliminary
stipulations with France, the Spaniards made advances to
him on the other side, and, to say the least, he did not
reject their overtures. He treated the Spanish court at
all times with the greatest respect. In 1638 the Elector
Palatine had been placed in a position to appear in some
force in Westphalia: the King of England had assurances
given to the Spaniards that this was not his doing,
although on the other hand he was not opposed to it; but
that he looked upon it as an exclusively German affair,
which had no reference to the Spanish crown. He assured
them that his wishes were only directed to the restoration
of general peace in Christendom, in which every one should
again enjoy his own.

Cardinal Richelieu may have been quite right in his
opinion that the main object of the King of England in his
stipulations with France was to compel the Spaniards to
show greater compliance in the affair of the Palatinate
than had been displayed at the time of Arundel’s               [A.D. 1638.]
mission[129]. But that however was not the only reason why
the projected agreement could not be executed. During the
negotiations of the allies as to the agreement on proposals
to be made to the house of Austria, England, as it had
intimated to the Spaniards, expressed the opinion that each
one ought to have his own, and therefore that not only the
Palatinate, but everything else which had been taken from
its rightful owner, must be given up. Cardinal Richelieu
was agitated by this proposal, for he thought that the
house of Austria might well accede to it, but that it was
impossible for France and for Sweden to do so; and that
the consequence of the negotiations would be that they
would lose England as their ally, whom they had hoped to

The negotiations underwent fluctuations which were often of
a petty character. Neither side was altogether in earnest
in them: but notwithstanding these uncertainties and the
momentary complications which crossed them, the great
interests at stake and the opposition between them came
under discussion. The opposition arose from the dislike of
Charles I to allow either the acquisition of Lorraine by
France or the exclusive occupation of the strongholds in
the Netherlands by the arms of France and Holland, without
any advantage or participation on his part, and his equal
dislike to the establishment of the Swedes in Pomerania.
His wishes and, in regard to the Palatinate, his interests
also were engaged in bringing about the restoration of
the old distribution of territory in the German empire,
not merely however with reference to the Princes and the
estates which had been injured by Austria and Bavaria, but
with reference to those also which had suffered from Sweden
and France. This was a scheme which even at the present
day might awaken a certain feeling of sympathy for King
Charles, especially in Germany: had it been carried out,       [A.D. 1638.]
the maintenance of the balance of power in Europe would
still have been possible. But for that object far other
efforts would have been needed than those which he could
make, and far other resources than those which he could
wield, but above all an energetic and always decided
policy. The first result was that even the suggestion
of those ideas in France, where the very designs were
entertained which he wished to defeat, made the conclusion
of the projected treaty impossible.

The political difference was aggravated by personal
misunderstandings springing from those divisions which at
that time were agitating the court and kingdom of France.
It is indispensable in this place to bestow a word upon

The marriage of Charles I with a French princess had been
desired on the part of the English in the year 1624,
because they thought by this means to find support against
other enemies: for the Queen-mother Mary de’ Medici, in
concert with Cardinal Richelieu, still ruled at the French
court, and there was every appearance that her dominion
was likely long to endure. She herself had promoted the
alliance because she wished to see her daughters the
consorts of the neighbouring sovereigns of Spain, Piedmont,
and England: she thought by this means to acquire a
personal influence in all the important affairs of Europe.

But then followed an epoch in which the interests of the
dynasty began to be thrown into the background by the
interests of the state. While Mary de’ Medici sought to
maintain the former in her dealings with Spain, and to
be just to that country, in spite of all other disputed
questions, she fell out with Richelieu, who supported the
principle of the power of the sovereign, to which he wished
to give effect in France, by the principle of the exclusive
ascendancy of that country abroad, in favour of which he
enlisted the sympathies of Louis XIII. The mother of the
King was obliged to give way to his minister. The ‘Day of
Dupes,’ though it appeared like an act of a comedy, was
nevertheless a great event both for France herself, and for
all her relations with other countries.

The quarrels between the Queen-mother and the Cardinal,
her subsequent flight, and her attempt to return in            [A.D. 1629.]
conjunction with her second son and a strong native party,
but at the same time with foreign aid as well, reacted upon
those countries in the west and south, with whose reigning
families she was allied, and on which she sought to support
herself. Her daughters--who could wonder at it?--took part
with their mother.

The English court had scarcely attained a certain measure
of domestic repose, when it was acted upon by these
divisions of the French court, and even drawn into them.

In the year 1629 the Marquess of Chateauneuf was
ambassador-extraordinary at the English court. In public
he attached himself to the policy of Richelieu, to whom
he owed his advancement; and he sought to bring about
an union between France and England against the house
of Austria. He gave satisfaction to the Cardinal in the
conduct of affairs, so that after the fall of Marillac the
great seal was entrusted to him. But, as is mentioned in
the instructions to the next French ambassador, Poigny,
Chateauneuf at that time was already secretly labouring
to poison the mind of the English Queen against the
Cardinal[131]. He had succeeded in acquiring the confidence
of Henrietta Maria: it was also affirmed that he had formed
a connexion with the Chevalier Jars who stood, through the
medium of a lady of the bedchamber, high in her favour, and
that Henrietta had been estranged from the French policy of
the time and from the Cardinal. But how much easier must
it have become to produce an effect of this kind after the
scenes at the Luxemburg and the flight from Compiègne?
Chateauneuf carried on a correspondence which, being
sometimes intercepted, revealed his unbounded ambition.

Chateauneuf at that time stood in intimate relation
with the notorious, perhaps still beautiful, certainly
seductive and ever excitable Madame de Chevreuse. We cannot
say whether she, like many other French ladies of that
time, formed connexions from inclination uncontrolled by
any regard to prudence, or from policy directed to very        [A.D. 1633.]
different ends. As Marie de Rohan she had already a very
important position in the world, through her descent from
a family related to the house of Bourbon, and itself among
the most distinguished in France. Owing to the influence
of her first husband, the Constable Luynes, the favourite
of Louis XIII, she was appointed Mistress of the Household
to the young queen Anne, whose favour she completely won
as she cheered her otherwise melancholy days. After the
early death of the Constable she married, while still
quite young, the Duke of Chevreuse, son of the greatest
of the antagonists of Henry IV, that Henry of Guise who
was murdered at Blois. She thus became a member of the
house of Lorraine, which at that time was endangered by
Richelieu’s policy, and formed the centre of the European
political combinations which countermined him. It was the
chief ambition of the Duchess of Chevreuse to oppose the
Cardinal, just because he was so powerful and was daily
becoming more so, and because he imposed upon each and
every one his own will as law. Her rank, her position, her
connexions, her personal charms, resistless to the young
and even to older men, gave her a variety of constantly
fresh means of fomenting this opposition. She had already
had the principal share in the conspiracy of Ornano: the
unfortunate Chalais fell a victim to her; for no one could
approach her without suffering for the connexion. At that
time the Keeper of the Great Seal had the highest place in
her regard, a man of adroitness and of great attainment,
of industry and ability, who seemed well fitted to become
the successor of the Cardinal, if he should once be
overthrown. Richelieu accuses him of having betrayed to the
lady the decisions of the Council, which had been directed
against Lorraine. And as the Duchess of Chevreuse also had
relations with the Queen of England, whom she had known
from her youth, these machinations extended even across
the Channel[132]. The attention of Richelieu was called by
people in England to the efforts made to overthrow him, and    [A.D. 1633.]
to put Chateauneuf in his place. Queen Henrietta was
said to have given out ‘that Chateauneuf, who was her
friend, and had no share in the pernicious designs of
the Cardinal, would manage the affairs of France better
than he.’ Even in matters of religion Chateauneuf
preferred to oppose the views of the Cardinal. But these
projects were not restricted in their application to the
administration of France. We have mentioned the various
enmities which the Lord Treasurer Weston had to encounter
at the English court. They originated to a great extent
with the Queen, who would have wished to bring her friend
the Earl of Holland, the friend of Chateauneuf, to the
head of affairs[133]. Richelieu and Weston, although in
other respects much unlike, yet resembled one another in
this:--they both had no other interest in view than the
extension of the royal power, which put out of sight all
personal considerations. It was intended to overthrow
them both, and to replace them by more accessible men,
who belonged to a different system. With this object was
connected the design of restoring the Queen-mother in
France, and with her the line of policy common to the
Austro-Spanish party and to that of Lorraine.

In the midst of this net of political entanglements and
intrigues King Charles remained calm and unconcerned. He
took pains to hinder the threatened outbreak of factious
violence, despite of which he knew how to support his

In France such proceedings were taken as were usual at that
time. Chateauneuf and Jars were arrested in February 1633:
the former, whom his enemies wished still to spare, was
sent to prison at Angoulême; against the latter criminal
proceedings were instituted. He was condemned to death,        [A.D. 1637.]
reprieved only upon the scaffold, and then thrown into the
Bastille. All their friends experienced a similar fate,
except such as were able to save themselves by flight.
Madame de Chevreuse was banished first to Dampierre; and
as she sometimes came thence to Paris in order to see the
Queen, she was sent before the end of a twelvemonth to
Tours, where she spent four long years.

From that place, so far as the secrecy enjoined by her
dangerous position allowed, she kept up a very extensive
correspondence with friendly members of the various courts,
and received messages from the Duke of Lorraine. In the
year 1637 Richelieu came upon traces of the share which
the consort of his sovereign took in these and similar
combinations. But he had no mind to suffer any deviation
from the policy to which he adhered, in any member of the
court. Queen Anne had established a correspondence with
the Cardinal-Infant, which she used to conduct by means of
English agents in Paris and at the Hague. She was forced
to confess her guilt, and was then pardoned, but only upon
promising to renounce for ever all intercourse of this
sort. Madame de Chevreuse, who knew that she was involved
in this discovery, in order to avoid arrest, fled to Spain
in the disguise of a young cavalier, as suited her bold and
adventurous character.

The Queen of England, who had no share in these matters,
sided at that time in her political leanings with France.
The ambassadors report how sensible she was of every token
of friendly feeling exhibited by her brother and the
Cardinal, and how she at times even resisted proposals
made by Spain[134]. After the death of Weston she acquired
more importance, as the King exhibited a passionate and
growing attachment to her, and it was thought that she
would turn it to the advantage of France, if she were
properly advised. In Bellièvre’s despatches it was said
that the Queen was well disposed, but still had slight
influence; and that nothing more must be desired of her
than she herself thought expedient for maintaining the         [A.D. 1637.]
good understanding between the two crowns: that perhaps an
opportunity would soon arise when she could do more[135].
The Cardinal thought it worth while to secure her good-will
by fulfilling one of her most urgent requests. Nothing was
nearer to her heart than the liberation of Jars, who had
been thrown into the Bastille on her account. She made
requests in his behalf through the diplomatic agent who
attended to her especial business at the French court: she
spoke to the French ambassador in London on the subject,
and wrote to the Cardinal about it. Richelieu granted her
request. One day in May 1638 Chavigny, one of the ministers
employed under Richelieu, went to the Bastille and brought
out Jars, in the first instance to the dwelling of the
Queen’s agent, to whom he said that, at the command of the
Cardinal, he delivered Jars into his hands; henceforth he
was the prisoner no longer of the King of France, but of
the Queen of England, and she might deal with him according
to her pleasure[136]. It would have been impossible to
fulfil the wish of the Queen so as to confer a greater
obligation on her. The way seemed opened for establishing
the best personal understanding between the two courts and
the two kingdoms, as it had already for some time been
opened for establishing a cordial understanding politically
by the plan of an alliance already referred to.

But meanwhile even in the personal relations between them a
strong counteracting influence came into play.

As early as the autumn of 1637 intelligence had reached
the French court that Mary de’ Medici, the mother of the
King, weary of her residence at Brussels, which led to no
result in her favour, wished now to visit England. The
French ministers thought the matter important enough for
them to call the attention of the King of England to the
untoward consequences that might arise from it. They said      [A.D. 1637.]
to him that the whole world knew that the Queen-mother
cherished views favourable to Spain: that if she found a
reception at the court of the King of England, people would
conclude that the latter was not seriously in earnest about
the alliance with France. They added that Charles I would
not be able any more than others to succeed in reconciling
mother and son; if for no other reason, because Louis
XIII had declined the mediation of his brother and of his
brother-in-law the Duke of Savoy, and regarded the matter
as exclusively his own affair; and moreover because he was
convinced that the Queen-mother, if she returned, would,
with her friends and adherents, only give trouble[137].

In England this expression of opinion awakened some
displeasure. Charles I expressed himself surprised that any
one should think that the Queen-mother could acquire so
much influence over him as to shake him in his inclination
in favour of France. He said that she doubtless did not
even desire this: that he himself would not entertain
the thought of mediating, were he not certain that the
Queen-mother was resolved to think no more of what had
occurred, and to throw herself unreservedly into the arms
of her son through the mediation of the Cardinal[138].

It appears to have been the fact that the Queen-mother
had decided to go to England mainly in order to take
advantage of the friendly relations established between the
two courts, and so to effect her return by means of the
influence exerted by the one upon the other. But in France
people regarded her project only as a design suggested by
the Spaniards. As it had become clear to the latter that
the Queen-mother could render them no kind of assistance
so long as she lived away from France, the French thought
that the Spaniards were desirous of procuring her return to
France in order to avail themselves of her services; but
that the French government could not allow itself to be so     [A.D. 1638.]
grossly deceived; that if it was as important to the
Queen-mother as she affirmed to detach herself from the
influence of the Spaniards, she had better return to her
native place, where she might expect ample maintenance to
be given her by the King her son.

At first the matter rested here. But Madame de Chevreuse
coming from Spain made her appearance at the English
court, long before the Queen moreover, early in 1638. As a
great lady and a friend of the Queen she met with a very
honourable reception, in which no expense was spared: the
charges borne by the King every month of her stay were
reckoned at a considerable sum[139]. To her old admirers,
among whom Earl Holland was the greatest, new ones were
added: every one sought her company; and she produced a
fresh and cheerful excitement in the naturally grave court.
This however did not prevent her from showing herself a
strict Catholic in other respects, as we perceive from an
attempt she made to convert Lord Holland. She inspired
the Queen with the fatal thought of favouring Catholic
tendencies in the education of her children: all her
wishes and manœuvres were directed to the removal of the
hindrances, which seemed to obstruct a close alliance
between the English and Spanish courts: she made proposals
for an union between the Princess Royal of England, who
was still extremely young, and an Infant of Spain, without
regarding the objections advanced against it on the ground
of the experience of former times, which she jestingly
set aside. She had paid especial attention to the Spanish
ambassador Cardenas: the Papal envoy, Cuneo, relates
that on one occasion she even borrowed his carriage from
him in order to visit that ambassador without exciting
remark[140]. Charles I had been angry with Cardenas on
account of one of the ambassador’s reports which had come
to his knowledge; Madame de Chevreuse succeeded in removing    [A.D. 1638.]
the misunderstanding, and in restoring friendly personal
relations between them, which opened the door to further

If Richelieu was inclined at that time to allow Madame de
Chevreuse to return to France, and to promise her an entire
indemnity for the past, his inclination may have been
due to the material hindrances thrown in his way by her
activity at a foreign court. That she was ever in earnest
about the negotiations for her return may be doubted.

In October 1638 Mary de’ Medici found means to set out for
England from Holland, where, out of regard for Richelieu,
her residence was not altogether viewed with favour. It
was only when she put to sea that she sent to announce her
approach, adding however that she would turn back again if
she were likely to cause embarrassment to her children.
Queen Henrietta Maria in reality feared that the maternal
authority would place restrictions on her freedom: but
it also gave her great pleasure to see her mother again
after so long a separation, and to show her hospitality
in her exile; her husband also would not now offer any
opposition, although the restless activity of the people
who came with the Queen was distasteful to him[141]. The
Queen-mother, who had a rough passage of seven days, was
received with all the honour due to her rank and to the
ties of relationship. Even in England she exhibited the
self-respect which she maintained during her misfortunes.
When the Privy Council paid her a visit, she did not even
rise from her seat: the King was seen to speak to her only
with head uncovered, although she was maintained by his
kindness, which cost him no small sacrifice; the Queen took
pleasure in the performance of filial duties. Mary de’
Medici also had a Spanish match in view: she is said even
to have opened a negotiation for that object of her own
accord, without being authorised by her son-in-law. Above
all she clung to her purpose of using her residence in
England to effect her return to France.

One day in December the French ambassador Bellièvre had
had business at the royal palace. He was desirous of           [A.D. 1638.]
leaving, when he was detained by Lord Holland in one of
the galleries, and after a short time the King and Queen
of England with the Queen-mother came in through the very
door by which he would have been obliged to withdraw. He
had intentionally avoided paying her his respects, as all
the other ambassadors had done: when she came nearer she
now said to him that she had a word for his ear, and the
King and Queen left her alone with him. She then assured
him that, after so many painful experiences, she was of
quite another mind from that in which she had formerly been
when she left France: that she conjured the Cardinal to
deliver her out of her misery, and not to leave her under
the necessity of begging her bread: that she wished for
nothing except to be near her son, and that she promised
if near him to interfere in nothing: but that if this
indulgence could not be obtained for the present, she
wished to be allowed to remain anywhere else in France, and
have a maintenance given her; that she would remove from
the neighbourhood of her person all who were displeasing to
the Cardinal, and would in all things do what he advised
her[142]. Bellièvre in vain declared that his commission
did not go so far as to allow him to listen to her; that he
was merely ambassador at the court of the King of England.
She replied that she knew that the French ambassadors were
bound to report what was said to them, and that this was
enough for her.

Cardinal Richelieu however had made up his mind never
to allow her to return to France, and to give her a
maintenance only if she would repair to Florence. There was
no question of compassion with him.

The Queen of England remembered full well that her brother
had forbidden her to interfere in any way in the affairs
of the Queen-mother: but the unhappy plight of her mother,
the general interest which she awakened at court, and
her own confidence in herself, founded upon the respect
which the power of her husband must procure for her,           [A.D. 1638.]
moved her notwithstanding to make an attempt to do
something for her mother. After some time, as her first
expression of opinion had no kind of effect, she sent one
of her people, Henry Jermyn, who of them all perhaps stood
highest in her confidence, to the French court in order
to set on foot in France itself a negotiation for the
Queen-mother’s return.

Bellièvre not only did not recommend the Queen’s proposals,
but was even adverse to them.

There are everywhere petty motives of animosity which not
seldom exercise an influence upon affairs: and here also
this appears to have been the case. Bellièvre, a small
but well-shaped man, still young, and of lively aspiring
spirit, had special reasons for dissatisfaction. He was a
member of a French family that belonged to the nobility of
the long robe, and it was his ambition never to stand in
the position of an inferior. He was annoyed that the honour
of the tabouret, i.e. the privilege of being allowed to sit
in the presence of the Queen, had not been conferred on
his wife, although it had been conceded without hesitation
to the Duchess of Chevreuse. The efforts and intrigues of
this lady were therefore all the more obnoxious to him.
He believed that she brought the King offers from the
Spaniards which ran counter to those of the French: he
pretended to know that she expressed her undisguised joy
at losses which had overtaken the French in the field. On
the whole it appeared to him that, under her influence and
that of the Queen-mother, Queen Henrietta Maria herself had
contracted an inclination for the policy of Spain, from
which she had hitherto been free, and which gained ground
also among her suite; not perhaps with Lord Holland, who
continued true to French interests, but with the rest, from
whom for that very reason Lord Holland was beginning to
detach himself.

Bellièvre expressed his conviction that it would do no good
to receive back the Queen-mother into France: he thought
that, if she were replaced in exactly the same position
which she had enjoyed before, she yet would never part with
her advisers. He was of opinion, even with regard to the
Queen of England, that it would not be of much use to give
ear to her proposals. Certainly if they were declined the      [A.D. 1639.]
ministers of the Queen-mother would do everything to
sever England from France: but even if her proposals were
acceded to, the same men would for that very reason be so
much the more completely masters of the English court, and
would enforce their wishes on the Queen, and even on the

In consequence of this Jermyn not only found no opening
for his proposals, but met with a bad reception generally.
Queen Henrietta Maria made a jest of it, but nevertheless
she was irritated. Among her friends she let it be known
that she was treated in France as a daughter of the house,
that is, without any respect, and with the contempt which
had always been shown there towards England; but that
some day she would be able to take her revenge. Among
her friends Montague, who for love of her had become a
Catholic, was regarded as the one who principally confirmed
her in her views.

How long had people in France already waited for the day
when the Queen of England would acquire influence over
her husband! This came to pass for the first time in
the course of the disputes with the Scots, after which
a certain community of interest sprung up between the
Episcopal Church and the English Catholics, both of whom
had to expect their ruin from the rise of the Puritans.
The Queen was useful to the King from her influence with
the Catholics: cases had arisen in which her counsels had
proved suited to the occasion: he began to listen to her.
But when this period arrived, the Queen was no longer on
the side of the French government. She felt affronted
and rebuffed by the Cardinal: she thought him capable of
allying himself with the Scots against England; and she
espoused the cause of her mother with increasing warmth.
In March 1639 the French ambassador expresses to his court
his fears that the Queen of England, under the influence of    [A.D. 1639.]
the friends of the Queen-mother, would do everything which
the latter might suggest to her against the interests of
France. Many other opponents of Cardinal Richelieu also
happened to be in England at that time;--Vieuville whom
he had once overthrown, and De la Valette who had retired
from France because he had allowed himself to be entangled
in a plot against the Cardinal. Bellièvre reports that the
latter was almost every day in the company of Madame de
Chevreuse; that he had long conferences with the ministers
of the Queen-mother, and on those occasions also saw
the English Queen; that they all were in uninterrupted
communication with the Spanish ambassador[144].

Already long before this time new projects of wide range
had been spoken of, which were said to have been set afloat
in England by means of the friends of the Queen-mother. At
that time a Frenchman named Petit, who possessed property
in Lorraine, and was engaged in chemical researches in
London, paid a visit to the French ambassador, and told him
that they had embraced the design of hazarding an attack
upon Brittany: he said that they had selected a place (of
which he did not mention the name), which might be captured
with little trouble, and maintained without difficulty.
Moreover people in France spoke of an impending alteration
in the government on the death of the Cardinal, who was
very weak and sickly. Vieuville said to the Duchess of
Chevreuse that she would be wrong if she did not take
care to be on the spot in France at the moment when such
a change occurred. People expected everything from the
preference Queen Anne felt for her.

These hostile tendencies, which certainly were primarily
of a personal character, but which nevertheless penetrated
deeply into politics, now fell in with those differences in
the conduct of political affairs which allowed no hope of

However seriously Charles I on his part might affirm that
he would not estrange himself from France, yet Bellièvre
nevertheless adhered to the opinion that this was quite        [A.D. 1639.]
possible, nay probable. He knew that the Queen, so far
as could be seen, was an enemy of France; that many
members of the Privy Council were in the pay of Spain
and drew pensions from that power; that many others, who
had hitherto been prevented by regard for the Queen from
speaking against France, were now on the contrary invited
to do so by her change of feeling: and that nothing less
could be expected than that even the King would allow
himself to be hurried into hostility to France.

Under these circumstances people in France were very
far from expecting King Charles to come into the French
and Swedish alliance in consequence of the Pacification
of Berwick. On the contrary this agreement seemed to
constitute a danger, as it untied the hands of the King
of England. It cannot be doubted that alliances between
the Scots and Cardinal Richelieu had already been formed:
they were carried on through his almoner Chambres. They
may have inspired the Scots with a general feeling of
courage, owing to the support which was held out to them
in consequence; but they could hardly have had much effect
upon the steps which they actually took, if only because
the medium of communication was a zealous Catholic. But now
Bellièvre advised his employers to espouse the cause of the
Scots with a very definite political aim. He considered
that the old alliance between France and Scotland ought
to be renewed, and the King of England hindered from ever
embarking on hostilities against France without the fear
arising in his mind that he would have the Scots against
him. Bellièvre thought that the negotiations which were
being carried on between Charles I and the Scottish
Parliament ought to be made use of and directed towards the
attainment of this object[145].


[126] Traité auxiliaire (hitherto, so far as I am aware,
unknown). A copy is found in the despatches of Seneterre,
Bibl. Nat. at Paris, Harl. 223/21: the revised original
draught in the Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Angleterre 47.

[127] ‘De tenir ce prince dans la créance que le roi desire
l’avancement et la conclusion de la traité et que la
conférence de Hambourg se fasse le plustôt.’

[128] Memoires du Père Joseph. Ruel, 7 Fevr. ‘Il faut que
toute cette flotte ou une partie d’icelle serve à attaquer
les places dans la coste d’Espagne ou de Flandres: selon
que le roi de la Grande-Bretagne sera requis par le commun
advis des alliés.’ Archives des affaires étrangères.

[129] Windebank to the King, Sept. 1638: ‘The Conde Duke,
while that whip was over him, beginning to be better
natured.’ See Clarendon Papers ii. 13, for the effect
produced by the siege of Funeterrara.

[130] This is the tenor of the words dictated by the
Cardinal to his secreta Cherré St. Quentin, Oct. 23,
1638. ‘Les Anglois qui ne songent qu’à avoir leur compte
estimeront juste la restitution de Lorraine et même celle
de la Pomeranie, pourvu qu’on leur rende le palatinat:
nous nous mocquerons d’une telle proposition et ainsi au
lieu d’avoir gagné les Anglois par le traité, que nous
commencions à cette fin, nous les perdrons en effet.’

[131] Instruction au Marquis de Poigny 1634: ‘Le Chevalier
de Jars lequel s’étant joint avec le Sr. de Chateauneuf
lorsqu’il fut ambassadeur extraordinaire en Angleterre, fit
entendre beaucoup de choses à la dite reine.’

[132] Mémoire de M. le Cardinal contre M. de Chateauneuf:
one of the most acceptable pieces of information in
Cousin’s Madame de Chevreuse, of the date of February 1633;
Appendice No. 8. p. 235.

[133] This explains the reason why the younger Weston, the
son of the Lord Treasurer, who at that time was entrusted
with an extraordinary mission in France, was impelled to
intercept the correspondence between Lord Holland and
people in authority in France, which on his return he
laid unopened before the King. It turned out to be quite
innocent: but the King approved Weston’s conduct. The
Queen’s whole court however was thrown into a state of
excitement. Holland sent Weston a challenge to fight a
duel; but the King succeeded in preventing it. (Calendar
1633-34, ii. 14.)

[134] Cousin, Appendice No. 1, No. 3, p. 280.

[135] Mémoire et instruction au Sr. de Bellièvre,
Angleterre 46. In order to anticipate an objection which
might be founded on the correspondence of Estrades, I must
state beforehand that I consider the first part of it
spurious, or at all events falsified.

[136] From Digby’s letters to Montague, which are to be
found in the French Archives, from March to May, 1638:
‘qu’il n’étoit plus le prisonnier de ce roi, mais de la
reine d’Angleterre.’

[137] Light is thrown on Bullion’s proposal by a letter of
Leicester, Oct. 6/16, 1637.

[138] ‘Le roi nes’ entremettroit pas, sans qu’il est
confident que la reine mère désire réellement une amnistie
de tout le passé et de se jetter entièrement entre les bras
de son fils par le moyen du Cardinal.’ From a letter of
Windebank to Leicester, Oct. 26, which was intercepted and

[139] Dispaccio Veneto 14 Maggio: ‘Per la sua tavola
restano assegnate 40 lire sterline il giorno; 200 ai mese
per le spese minute: e per i vestiti li fornisce la regina
di quanto le occorre.’

[140] Cuneo, 4 Giugno 1637: ‘La Duchessa di Cevrosa meco si
è andato mostrando piena di buon mi concetti ora comincio
a farli animo et a procurare che lei faccia il simile con
la regina principalmente in ordine alla educazione dei
principi e principessa’

[141] Cuneo ‘La regina ha persuaso al re di trovar buona la
sua venuta con sdegno di tutti’

[142] ‘Qu’elle me prioit de faire savoir a Monsgr. le
Cardinal, qu’elle le conjuroit de la tirer de la misère,
où elle se voyoit reduite--qu’elle est prête de faire en
tout ce que le roy luy voudra ordonner et ce que Mgr. le
Cardinal luy ordonnera.’ Despatch of Bellièvre, Dec. 23,

[143] ‘Que si les ministres de la reine n’obtiennent ce
qu’ils desirent, ils brouilleront l’Angleterre avec nous,
et la feront joindre à l’Espagne, comme on croit que
Monsigot a proposé au Card. Infant; que si Germain rapporte
contentement, ils regenteront dans la cour d’Angleterre
et feront faire au roi et à la reine ce qu’ils voudront.’
Extract from a letter of Bellièvre of March 7, which was
submitted to the Cardinal.

[144] ‘Madame de Chevreuse voit encore plus souvent
l’agent d’Espagne, avec lequel les ministres de la reine
mère traitent par l’entremise d’un fripon nommé Gedeon.’
Bellièvre, Aug. 4.

[145] ‘Faire proposer par l’assemblée et le parlement des
choses qui étant accordées brident l’Angleterre à un point,
qu’elle ne puisse jamais être notre ennemi, sans avoir au
même tems l’Ecosse sur les bras, ce qui se pourroit faire
en renouvellant les anciennes alliances entre la France et
l’Ecosse.’ (Bellièvre, July 7, 1639.)



It is quite true that Charles I was at this time engaged,
as he had been at an earlier period, in carrying on
negotiations with the Spanish court which might easily have
led to an open quarrel with France.

In the autumn of 1638 a contract was drawn up at Brussels,
according to which Spain and England were to unite in
order to wrest from the French their conquests in Germany
and Italy; indeed it was the great interest which the two
crowns had in this object which brought them together.
On the other hand the Emperor Ferdinand III was to be
induced by the Spanish court to recall the ban which had
been issued against Frederick Count Palatine, and to
restore the Electorship to the heirs of that prince. King
Charles was quite ready to accede to the contract, if only
trustworthy security were given to him with regard to the

In the spring of 1639 accordingly the intention of Charles
I to take troops from the Spanish Netherlands into his
service, as formerly mentioned, was much discussed. The
Cardinal-Infant asked a question on the subject in Spain.

A third point on which negotiations took place was still
more urgent. The Spanish monarchy was once more collecting
all its resources to send a great fleet with troops and        [A.D. 1639.]
the necessaries of war to the Netherlands. The Spaniards
indeed boasted that they desired to chastise the insolence
of the Dutch and French: but in fact they were conscious
of the superiority of their adversaries. They sought to
assure themselves beforehand, if not of the alliance of the
English, yet at least of their protection within English
waters, if disaster or too strong a resistance should drive
their fleet thither. Charles I did not refuse this request,
always provided that satisfaction should be done to him
in return in the affair of the Palatinate, with regard to
which the Spaniards made fresh proposals[147].

What injustice is done to Charles I by any one who accuses
him of having negligently lost sight of the cause of his
nephews! It is true that he would not draw the sword in
their behalf: but they supplied the principal motive which
guided him in his diplomatic transactions. His relations
with the great parties and powers who were fighting for
ascendancy on the Continent, were principally determined
by regard for them: the ceaseless vacillation of his
policy was due to nothing but the multiplicity of the
circumstances which affected them.

It certainly seemed that he might expect the Spaniards to
do most for them; for Spain, by its influence on Austria,
could act most effectually in support of the restoration
of the Elector Palatine. But we know how often he had been
deceived in this hope: the relation between German Austria
and Bavaria especially made the designs suggested by the
Spanish ambassador impracticable. Had the King been willing
to give his unreserved support to the interests of Spain,
which were so closely connected with those of Catholicism,
he would never have effected anything. He therefore sought
an alliance with the French court: the affair of the
Palatinate formed the principal subject of the stipulations
he made with it. But Charles I could not and dared not side
unconditionally even with France: for by taking this step
he would have been compelled to come to an open breach with
Spain, which would have disturbed the profitable traffic of    [A.D. 1639.]
the English nation with the distant possessions of that
monarchy: and he would thereby have promoted the general
ascendancy of France, which was in the highest degree
disadvantageous to the position of England. Moreover he
would not even have reached his end by this path, for the
final decision still rested with the Emperor.

In these embarrassments it was the policy of King Charles
to make advances to those powers which were striving to
resist the Austro-Spanish house, while he did not exactly
make common cause with them: he hoped, as it seems, to make
such use of the fluctuations of fortune and of war as to
induce the Emperor himself at last, for the sake of his own
interest, to grant the wished-for indulgence.

The affair of the Palatinate forms as it were the woof
in the web of Charles I’s history, running through it in
all directions. And never at any time had it been of more
importance. In one of the most remarkable entanglements of
European relations, the considerations arising out of it
decided his line of policy.

The conquest of Breisach by Duke Bernard of Weimar in
December 1638 was hailed with as much joy in England as
in every other Protestant country. The establishment
of this brave general on the great continental line of
communication between the different parts of the Spanish
monarchy, could not but determine that power to devise
some way out of the difficulty. The occupation of this
place too threatened Bavaria with an immediate danger,
which could not fail to make an impression on the Elector
Maximilian, on whom everything depended. A project was even
entertained of marrying the victorious Duke of Saxe-Weimar
to a princess of the Palatinate, so as to attach him as
closely as possible to the interest of that family. Duke
Bernard for his own part sought to make himself a little
more independent of France: not that he had in view the
foundation of a third party, which would have brought
everything into confusion; he was only unwilling to be a
vassal of France: he thought of taking his place beside
that power as an independent ally. In this enterprise he
had Protestant Switzerland on his side, which was very         [A.D. 1639.]
unwilling to see the French establish themselves in
Lorraine. This design moreover exactly suited the policy
of Charles I, to whom the aggrandisement of France was

The unexpected death of Duke Bernard in July 1639, whilst
he was preparing to assume so great a position, must be
regarded as a general calamity. At first however it seemed
as if this casualty would even have consequences favourable
to the plans of England and the Palatine house. Many
Englishmen had already made preparations for taking service
in Bernard’s army: the project was now mooted of putting
the Elector Palatine at its head, by which means he would
at once have regained the position of a military power.
Charles Louis seized this idea with ardour. While he opened
negotiations on the subject at the court of Sweden through
his ambassador, he came himself to England in order to gain
for his enterprise the support of the King. The ambassador
accredited by Switzerland, who had just arrived in England,
displayed especial zeal: he tried every expedient to move
the Cantons to action in the Elector’s behalf. Letters
were instantly written to the directors of the army, who
at once returned an answer. They showed themselves quite
ready to accept the Elector as commander-in-chief, when he
should appear amongst them, but on condition that the King
of England paid them a definite subsidy monthly, in order
to maintain the efficiency of the troops and keep them in
good spirits. In spite of the want of money, which had been
rendered doubly pressing by the Scottish campaign, we learn
that the sum required for taking over the command of the
army was nevertheless got together, and hopes were held out
of further advances. A private individual, Lord Craven, who
had most abundant means at his command, and had formed the
resolution of applying them to the service of the Palatine
family, was ready to attend the Elector to Germany[148].

This enterprise corresponded exactly with the views of
the King. He hoped to achieve his great end by cleverly        [A.D. 1639.]
availing himself of a favourable moment, while at the
same time he made no great efforts, and did not actually
participate in the war itself, or come to a breach with
Spain, with which on the contrary he carried on constant
negotiations. If he had succeeded in his design, he would
have attained to a different position in foreign, and
perhaps even in domestic, affairs.

A difficulty however stood in his way, which might be
regarded as insuperable: namely, the opposition to be
expected on the side of France.

The court of France had hitherto regarded the army of
Bernard of Weimar as half its own, inasmuch as the Duke
owed the means of keeping it together in a great measure
to French subsidies: how then could it be even imagined
that France was to stand by quietly when this army not
merely claimed to act for itself, but even made itself
dependent on another power? Cardinal Richelieu on the
contrary intended to acquire both the army itself, and its
conquests, permanently for France. This was what he had
most at heart: he was nearer to the scene of action; he
had long formed relations with its leaders; he was better
provided with money: how could he fail to anticipate and
nullify the negotiations of England?

This obstacle to his plans did not escape the notice of
King Charles: but owing to the peculiar complication of
circumstances he expected to get into his hands a means of
removing it by a counter-concession.

Just at that time, in the middle of September, 1639, the
Spanish fleet appeared at sea. Long as it had been prepared
beforehand, it was not at starting sure of success, and
reckoned on the protection of England. King Charles had
been entreated, as we have seen, to grant it hospitable
reception in English harbours, if matters so turned out as
to make this necessary. And straightway this contingency
occurred. The fleet on this occasion, as before, consisted
principally of huge galleons, whose tackling was too
weak long to resist wind and tide in those narrow seas:
nor was the fleet adequately provided with artillery and
seamen. On the first collision with a much smaller Dutch       [A.D. 1639.]
squadron, which was cruising in the Channel under Van
Tromp, the Spanish admiral Oquendo found himself compelled
to seek a refuge on the English coast in the Downs near
Dover. And as his preservation from a superior enemy now
depended on the protection which Charles I would accord him
there, the admiral entreated it most urgently, saying that
the honour of the Spanish monarchy and the maintenance of
its dominion in the Netherlands were dependent on the King.
Charles I appeared strongly inclined to grant his prayer.
He opened a negotiation with the ambassador Cardenas, in
which the affair of the Palatinate was brought forward
afresh: and Cardenas promised him all possible compliance
and assistance in the matter.

The Dutch and French ambassadors, however, urged an
opposite course on the King. They called his attention
to the fact that he stood in close relations with their
governments as well as with Sweden, and had all but
concluded a treaty with them: they suggested to him that
he ought not to incur their hostility by preventing them
from annihilating the Spaniards here on his coasts; that he
ought to remember that he had never hitherto experienced
any benefit at the hands of the Spaniards, and that even
on the present occasion he could not hope that they would
fulfil their promises.

This was one of the most important moments in the life of
Charles I. The two great conflicting forces which divided
the world, and with each of which he had some connexion,
now called upon him to choose between them without delay.
This was even a source of moral embarrassment, inasmuch as
the King by his previous attitude had given both parties
a certain right to expect his support: but the political
embarrassment was the most conspicuous, and seems to have
been the only one felt by the King. He had now to put an
end to all wavering, and in one decisive instant to throw
himself on the side of one of the two parties.

Bellièvre once more brought into play the whole of the
influence which he claimed to exercise on Queen Henrietta
Maria as the ambassador of her family. He reports that she
had favoured an adverse policy, but that he had spoken with
her in a manner which might certainly have provoked her
displeasure, but which however had in fact changed her         [A.D. 1639.]
opinion. Negotiations were opened between the ambassador
and the King himself through the mediation of the Queen.

But if the promises which the Spaniards gave with regard
to the affair of the Palatinate supplied a motive for
extending shelter to them, how much stronger a motive,
under the circumstances which we have mentioned, must
the King have had for attempting to win over the French

Bellièvre, when informed of the negotiations that were
being carried on with Spain, acted on the hint that France
must oppose promises on her own part to those made by
Spain, and at last asked to be informed what was expected
of him. We learn nothing of the deliberations that may
then have been carried on between the King and Queen. But
the preference was given to the plan of purchasing support
for the Elector Palatine, in the projects that were being
agitated, by making concessions to France. In answer to the
French ambassador, the Queen expressed a hope of obtaining
a promise from him that the Elector Palatine should be
placed at the head of the army of Bernard of Weimar. She
added that in this event the King on his part would offer
no resistance to the wishes of the French: that he would
not break with the Spaniards it is true, but that he would
not interfere with any steps which the Dutch might take
against the Spanish fleet[149]. Bellièvre said that he was
not commissioned to make proposals; still he by no means
set aside those which had been submitted to him: he merely
asked how many troops the King was willing to give the
Elector to take with him to Germany. Charles I replied that
he rather left the King of France to support the Elector
with troops; that he could do no more in this way than
have some 6000 men enlisted in England and transported to
the coast of France, where he intended that they should be
taken into the pay of the French: that in return for this      [A.D. 1639.]
however, and especially for that other far greater service
of allowing the Spanish fleet to be destroyed on his
coasts, he required the King of France to promise that
he would conclude neither truce nor peace which did not
comprise the restitution of the Palatinate. This was the
same object which he had already attempted to gain in
the former negotiations: open hostilities against Spain
had been demanded of him in return. His intention was
to extract the desired engagement from France, without
committing himself to this extent, by means of the
concessions which he now expressed his readiness to make.
He allowed the ambassador fourteen days for procuring the
consent of his court: if this period expired without any
result, he intended to be at liberty to make terms with

It is indeed possible that King Charles was incensed afresh
against Spain by the tidings, which he then received, of
a renewal of the connexion between the Spaniards and the
malcontents in Ireland; and that he called to mind their
former breaches of faith. He had also certainly not given
them any definite promise of protection. Still it remains
a most odious imputation on the sovereign who laid claim
to maritime supremacy that he resolved to deliver over
the weaker party, who had come to his coast entreating
shelter, into the hands of the stronger in return for
an advantage which he bargained to obtain from them.
What seduced him was the consideration that he need not
interfere decisively: he thought that, without breaking
with the Spaniards, he could bind their adversaries to him,
and carry off the fruits of the victory without drawing
the sword himself. And moreover this was after all but a
project, not a settled conclusion. Meanwhile he continued
his negotiations with the Spaniards, from whom he claimed a
large sum of money in return for the armament which he had
been forced to equip for their protection.

But how could these counsels have had any good result,
inspired as they were by weakness and the love of peace on
the one side, and on the other by the intention of turning
an accidental combination of circumstances to the greatest
possible advantage?

The French felt the advantage of the position of general       [A.D. 1639.]
superiority in which they found themselves placed. Even
under existing circumstances they did not feel in any mood
to accede to these proposals of Charles I. They adhered
to their wish that he should at last sign the offensive
and defensive alliance, which had been so long talked of,
and which was still kept in prospect. If he would then
support his nephew the Elector Palatine with an army,
which he would be expected always to keep in an effective
condition, and if he would further himself contribute to
the actual destruction of the Spanish fleet, they thought
that he might feel assured that France would conclude no
arrangement without stipulating for the restitution of the
Palatinate, and procuring satisfaction for the Elector.
The French court passed over in silence the proposal for
helping the Elector to become commander-in-chief of the
army of Bernard of Weimar: it thought it best not to
express any opinion at all upon that subject. It certainly
expected no result from the renewal of former demands;
but it was already satisfied with the maintenance of the
negotiations: above all it wished Bellièvre to take care
that King Charles did not come to an agreement with the
Spaniards, as the Dutch fleet would meanwhile gain time to
annihilate the Spanish[150].

The interval which Charles I had allowed for the answer of
the French court had not yet expired: he was still able
to think that he had the matter in his own hands, when
the Dutch admiral Van Tromp, empowered by a resolution of
the States-General to that effect, proceeded to attack
the Spanish fleet in the English roads. The English
vice-admiral Pennington was neither strong enough to
prevent the conflict, nor had he any orders to do so.
The Dutch sank a number of Spanish ships, and burned
others: the number of those which they captured was about
eleven[151]: the greater part, however, with Oquendo
himself on board, favoured by a thick fog, escaped to the
opposite coast and ran into Dunkirk harbour.

The Spanish fleet was not, strictly speaking, annihilated;     [A.D. 1639.]
the booty which the Dutch carried off hardly equalled the
outlay which their armament had cost them. The event must
however be regarded as decisive. A similar fleet never
again set sail from Spain for the Netherlands.

Charles I, in allowing this transaction, had rendered a
great service to the Protestant cause; but at the same
time he had played an uncertain part unworthy of his great
position, from which none but consequences disadvantageous
to him could arise.

The suspicion entertained against him by his subjects went
so far that they even inferred from his dubious attitude a
secret understanding, to the prejudice of their religion,
between him and the Spaniards. They hailed the occurrence
as a victory over the King himself. True Englishmen felt
annoyed that a great battle had been fought out on their
coasts without their participation.

The Spanish ambassador complained loudly and bitterly.
Charles I answered him with contemptuous remarks on the
slight power of resistance displayed by the Spanish Armada.
The Dutch ambassador, on the other hand, who attempted to
excuse the enterprise of his countrymen, was rebuffed by
the King with harsh expressions. Disagreeable incidents
encountered him on every side.

But the most annoying of the quarrels in which he was
involved arose out of his design upon the army of Bernard
of Weimar, which he attempted to carry out even before
the defeat of the Spanish fleet. He did not even wait
for the French court to state its views in reply to his
application. As soon as a favourable answer arrived from
the Directors of that army he allowed the Elector, Charles
Louis, to set out without delay to take possession of the

And indeed the intention was that the Elector, attended
by only a few trusty companions, should take the route
through France to Breisach, which was both the nearest
way, and was least exposed to the disturbances of war.
The King said to the French ambassador, that the Elector
should make his appearance with the army merely as a
volunteer; and that any further steps should be dependent
on the answer of the French court, which was still looked      [A.D. 1639.]
for. The ambassador called his attention to the impropriety
of a prince of such high rank travelling through France
without previously giving notice to the King, in fact
without even so much as a safe conduct from him. But
Charles I would hear of no delay: he professed to think
that his ambassador, the Earl of Leicester, would still
have time enough to make a communication to the French
court on the subject. Bellièvre, however, did not himself
believe that the King was serious in his professions. In
his report he says, that such a communication, if made,
would be made only after the event; that the intention was
that the Prince should travel through France incognito,
without seeing the King, or any of his ministers. In
reality, people in England thought that if he went to
Court, he would be detained there until matters had been
settled in the army to his disadvantage: that if on the
contrary he made his appearance at the right moment, and,
what was more, with sufficient supplies of money, the
greater part of the officers would declare in his favour.
And it appeared quite possible to go through France
unrecognised, as the King himself had succeeded in doing in
his youth.

Thus it fell out that Charles I allowed his nephew to set
off for France, with few attendants, but provided with
money and good letters of credit. On October 15 Charles
Louis left England on board one of those ships which were
still lying beside the Spanish fleet in the Downs. On his
arrival at Boulogne he was saluted by all the other ships.
On October 17 he was at St. Denys, and on the following
day he proceeded through the capital to Villejuif on the
road to Lyons. He endeavoured to maintain so strict an
incognito, that he did not even see the English ambassador,
for he wished to allow no one at all to recognise him[152].

But meanwhile the French government was kept informed
of every step which he took. It knew that the object of
his journey was in complete contradiction to its own
intentions; and it was not accustomed in political affairs     [A.D. 1639.]
to show the smallest regard to others. When the Elector
arrived at Moulins he was detained for want of a safe
conduct; and was brought without further ceremony to
the fortress of Vincennes, where his captors professed
their intention of examining him. The French government
maintained that it was thereby exercising its right: for if
the intentions of this Prince were good and laudable, why
should he so carefully conceal his journey through France?
But so far as his intentions were not of this character,
but were hostile to the interests of the King of France,
they alleged that they had every reason for not allowing
him to travel any further[153].

Just at that time the convention was concluded by which
the army of Bernard passed into the service of France.
On October 22 Erlach, who had the principal direction of
the army, took the oath in the presence of Guébriant. All
counter action to which the feeling of other officers might
have given rise, if the Elector had been present in person,
was avoided beforehand by his imprisonment at Vincennes.
His presumed secrecy was what furnished a specious pretext
for making him harmless.

The King of England regarded this transaction not merely
as a misfortune, but as an affront. The services which he
had rendered to the French were returned with ingratitude,
or, rather, with the contrary of that recompense which
he had expected from them. But, while he made known his
displeasure on the subject, twice as great a feeling of
irritation set in on the side of the French. They had the
less hesitation in taking part against Charles I wherever
an opportunity of doing so presented itself.


[146] Clarendon State Papers ii. 13. The erection not only
of an eighth Electorship for Bavaria, but even of a ninth
was talked of: ‘attendue la nécessité du nombre impair des
électeurs, sa Majèsté Impériale se trouvant obligée d’en
créer un autre à son choix.’

[147] Giustiniano, 15 Aprile, 20 Maggio 1639. ‘Spagnoli
hanno procurato d’introdurre Brusselles nuove pratiche per
li interessi della casa Palatina.’

[148] Giustiniano, Aug. 19, Sep. 23, 1639: on whom we have
principally to depend for information about this matter.

[149] ‘La reine me dit, que le roi feroit tout ce que
nous et les Hollandais pourrions souhaiter en leur faveur
contre la flotte d’Espagne, sans néanmoins se déclarer
ennemi, en sorte toutefois que les Hollandais auraient lieu
d’entreprendre et faire tout ce que bon leur sembleroit:
qu’il (le roi) voudroit aussi que je lui proposasse en
recompense, de mettre Mr. le prince Palatin [he was not yet
acknowledged Elector] à la teste de l’armée, que commandoit
feu le duc de Weimar.’ Despatch of Bellièvre of October 9.

[150] Bullion to Bellièvre: unfortunately not dated.
Bellièvre’s despatch is of October 9: the battle in the
Downs took place on the 21st.

[151] The Venetian ambassador reckons them at this number.
Cp. Thysius 239.

[152] We learn from an intercepted letter of Leicester
that he entirely approved of this: ‘s’il est reconnu je ne
pourrois être soupçonné d’en être la cause.’

[153] Chavigny replied to Leicester’s complaint: ‘Le roi ne
pouvoit pas faire moins à un prince, qui vouloit passer par
la France incognito.’ Cp. Puffendorf, Rer. Suec lib xi. 59.



The French nowhere found wider scope for this policy than
in Scotland, where the Pacification of Berwick had not
only not led to peace, but had stirred up yet more violent

From the first moment different opinions were formed among
the Scots with regard to this measure. Even among the
Covenanters there were many who hailed it with delight.
For what, they asked, must have happened if the King had
continued obstinate, and they had been obliged to fight
against him? Among the English, at all events, they did
not find so much support as had been expected; even among
the Scots the old divisions were reviving; many of the
Covenanters felt their consciences smite them when they
thought that they would be plunged into a bloody conflict
with their King. But on the other hand it was remarked by
others that the literal meaning of the conditions did not
offer them any adequate security. They saw the camp broken
up with feelings of dissatisfaction: for they thought
that without such an army they would be obliged to submit
to every dictate of the King. They complained that the
agreement had been concerted in far too great haste by some
few, without the concurrence of a sufficient number of
nobility, gentry, and clergy.

Even at the moment when the Pacification was being
concluded, these differences had made their appearance. The
King had expressed himself in conciliatory and soothing        [A.D. 1639.]
terms about some clauses which gave offence by their
severity[154]. These expressions were taken down, and
passed from hand to hand: at the same time it was thought
expedient to append to the King’s proclamation, which
was made known in the camp, a remark upon the sense in
which it was to be understood. People would have been
glad to have procured a further written declaration to
this effect from the King himself; but he would not allow
himself to be persuaded to give this, just as he persevered
in maintaining a somewhat proud and rigid attitude in
general. Men like Argyle, when they appeared in the royal
camp, could not congratulate themselves on meeting with a
particularly gracious reception. Between the nobles who
attached themselves to the King, and those who belonged
to the other party, unpleasant discussions broke out in
the King’s presence. The Covenanters were discontented
and full of suspicion when they saw the sovereign to whom
they wished to restore a certain, even if not the old
traditional, measure of power, surrounded by men of high
temporal and spiritual rank, whom they regarded as their

But meanwhile the people also were thrown into a state of
excitement, mainly because the strongholds wrested from
the King’s garrisons were again to be restored to them.
In Edinburgh especially it was thought insupportable that
the Castle of that town should again receive a garrison
such as had formerly held it, and, what was more, with
Ruthven for its commander, a man who, as well as others,
had fought in the German wars, but was known to be a
decided Royalist. Popular disturbances broke out, in which
the King’s servants were insulted,--Hamilton especially,
who had hastened thither in order to enforce in person the
conditions of peace, which, for the most part, had been
suggested by him. A number of the Scottish nobility, whom
the King had ordered to come to his camp with a view to        [A.D. 1639.]
further negotiations were prevented by force from going
thither. It is probable that they were not sorry for this,
even if it cannot be proved that they had themselves
provoked it.

When the King promised to attend both the Assemblies in
Scotland in person, he cherished the hope of reviving his
power, to some extent, during the proceedings, and by means
of them and of preserving the old forms of the constitution
intact in their most important particulars. Hamilton now
came back from Edinburgh with the impression that this was
impossible, and that the King could expect nothing there
but fresh losses. A full month had not yet elapsed from the
conclusion of the Pacification; yet he already declared a
fresh war to be inevitable. In making representations on
this point, he raised a number of questions that had a wide
application: for instance--whether the King could procure
money for such a war without an English parliament? and if
not, whether he was willing to summon a parliament, and
to leave himself to its discretion[155]? No one decided
these questions; but all had made up their minds to witness
further complications, when the King unexpectedly announced
his resolution to return to London. The two Assemblies
were not on that account given up; they could not but
take place; but they appear only as attempts at a further
pacification, the results of which were to decide whether
after all recourse must be had once more to arms. Hamilton
declined to appear at them as the King’s Commissioner. The
Earl of Traquair, whose views at that time more nearly
approached those of the Scots, undertook this office. On
August 12th the General Assembly was opened at Edinburgh.

According to the terms of the Pacification the Scots
refrained from demanding a formal ratification of the
resolutions of the Assembly of Glasgow. But as to the
substance of them, they declared to the Commissioner
that they would cling to it as long as the breath of
life remained in their bodies. They would not recede a         [A.D. 1639.]
hair’s-breadth from the assertion that the ground on which
they stood was the only legal ground. In open opposition to
the King’s opinion, they again enacted that the proceedings
of the last Assemblies of the Church which had been held
under his father were null and void: if the King would
at any rate, under present circumstances, allow a new
Assembly to be convened within a year’s time, they on their
part were ready to make a permanent statute, prescribing
that the Assembly should be held once every year, and if
necessary still oftener. The Commissioner on his part could
not refuse to permit the abolition of Episcopacy: this
was the principal concession made by the King: a dispute
however arose about the wording of the resolution, which
concerned indeed only one expression, but at the same time
affected the main point of the controversy. The King had
consented to the measure, on the ground that Episcopacy was
contrary to the constitution of the Church of Scotland;
the Assembly laid down that it was absolutely unlawful.
At last Traquair assented to this expression, but the
King showed great indignation, for he thought that what
was contrary to the constitution of some one church was
not therefore absolutely unlawful[156]: and he was afraid
that the expression, if not moderated by a limitation to
Scotland, might be applied to the English Church, which,
like the Scottish, was a reformed Church. He censured the
Commissioner in harsh terms for his compliance.

Still greater and more immediately urgent differences were
to be anticipated, when on August 31 the Parliament met,
like the Assembly, in Edinburgh. The summons had been
issued under the presumption of the continuance of the
legal forms; but now the King himself had given up the
bishops; and the first question was, how the vacancies
in the Parliament were to be filled. The King thought of
replacing the bishops by clergymen selected by himself;
but the Scots were of opinion that in this way Episcopacy      [A.D. 1639.]
would be abolished only in name, while in substance it was
retained; and the nobles did not wish the influence which
the bishops had exercised upon the nomination of the Lords
of Articles, and upon the deliberations of Parliament,
to be revived. Even the Scottish clergy felt no desire
for this dignity, to which in fact they traced all the
abuses that had crept in; they at that time declared that
the participation of the clergy in civil business was as
unlawful as Episcopacy itself[157]. It was vainly objected
on the other hand, that in this way one of the three
estates was abolished, which was a criminal proceeding
forbidden under the penalties attaching to high treason.
The Scots affirmed that the concessions of the King carried
with them at the same time the removal of the episcopal
element and the necessity of constituting a parliament of
a new kind. They now themselves took in hand the work of
reconstitution without delay; for, as they alleged, the
King had promised them a free parliament. In fact their
design was to give the representatives of the shires an
independent position, almost as in the English Parliament;
they did not wish to abolish the Lords of Articles, but
to draw them from the deputies of the nobility, gentry,
and commonalty, as was then forthwith done[158]: it is
quite clear that this was not merely a question of form,
but also a question of the distribution of power. For by
the nomination of other clergy in place of the bishops,
the crown would certainly have been able to win back its
former influence over the Parliament, and the gentry would
have lost the authority which they had derived from their
participation in the movements of the Covenanters. But how
should the members of the Tables and of the Committees,
who had acquired a feeling of independence, have again
returned to their former position? They endeavoured, on
the contrary, to maintain, even under parliamentary forms,
the power which they had acquired, and they succeeded in
their endeavour. Not only was the Parliament transformed
according to their views, but the most important rights were
claimed for it. The Parliament proposed that the King’s        [A.D. 1639.]
Privy Council should be responsible to it, and that
the King should be bound to follow its advice in making
appointments to high military commands, especially in the
fortified places; and to comply with its recommendation in
alterations of the coinage: even the right of conferring
honours and dignities was in future to be exercised only
under definite conditions; the Treasury was no longer to
possess any jurisdiction. When we consider the scope of
these proposals, we understand why the royal commissioner
brought his whole power to bear, by whatever means he
could, to prevent the Parliament from advancing to
definitive resolutions in the direction on which they had
entered. He adjourned Parliament, at first for a short
time. This was repeated some eight times in succession: at
last he pronounced it to be prorogued from November 1639
until June 1640. This step however raised a question which
was as important as any of those which he was attempting to
get rid of. The Kings of England and Scotland had hitherto
exercised the right of dissolving as well as of convoking
Parliament: to other sovereigns who did not possess this
right in dealing with their representative assemblies,
this had appeared to be a most enviable prerogative. The
Scottish Parliament now denied this right; it sought
to show that the right belonged to the King and his
commissioner only in concert with Parliament. The Assembly
broke up, it is true, but it left a committee behind
it, which claimed to be considered as representing the
Parliament, and transacted public business in this capacity.

How completely contrary to the expectations which had been
entertained at Berwick was the course which affairs had
now taken! We do not join the complaints of treachery and
breach of faith which were raised by men of the different
parties against one another. Two powers and forces, between
which a reconciliation was hardly possible any longer, now
stood in opposition to one another. The monarchy on the
one side, which, in spite of the great concessions which
it made, nevertheless maintained its pretension to possess
lawfully within itself plenary public authority; and,
on the other, a parliamentary and spiritual power which        [A.D. 1639.]
had grown up during the rising under the patronage of
proud nobles and preachers mighty in the word, and which
would not at any price resign the independence which it
had once asserted. The attempt which the two parties had
made at Berwick to approach one another brought to light
the internal opposition between them. The Scots, proceeding
onwards with the logical consistency which from the first
moment had marked their course, achieved such a measure
of independence in determining the internal arrangements
of the State in spiritual and temporal matters, that the
monarchy was reduced to a mere name. They thought that they
were thus defending an universal interest at the same time.
Whoever reads the journals and memoirs of the Scots sees
clearly for the first time how entirely they identified
their cause at home with that of Protestantism, and with
the Continental struggle against the Austro-Spanish power.
They note the advance of the Swedes, of the German powers
allied with them, and of the Dutch and French as an
advantage to themselves. The advance of Baner into Bohemia
in the summer of 1639, when he even made Vienna tremble;
the further advance of the army of Bernard of Weimar, even
after the death of its leader, and the danger with which
it threatened Mainz, while in Westphalia and in Franconia
the friends of the Emperor were kept down, and his enemies
raised their heads:--all these events appeared to them
to indicate the general victory of Protestantism, which
indeed was their own victory also[159]. They were above all
pleased that the Spanish fleet should be blockaded, and at
last defeated on the English coast; for the embarrassment
into which King Charles was thrown contributed to their

But, it may be asked, had they not, besides the support
which they found in the relations between the great Powers
of the world, also received some special assurances from
one side or the other?

The French ambassador, Bellièvre, felt no hesitation
in putting himself in alliance with the adversaries of
King Charles in Scotland, in systematic opposition to
the tendencies prevailing at the English court, which he
regarded as dangerous to the interests of France. He was       [A.D. 1639.]
not, strictly speaking, authorised by his court to take
this step. Yet he acted in the name of his court when he
assisted a few Scots of the Covenanting party, with whom
he had become acquainted in London, to go to Edinburgh,
in order to further his designs among the members of
the Assemblies in that city. He wished them to keep
three objects before their eyes--the maintenance of the
privileges of the Scots if the Pacification was brought to
a final conclusion[160]; the renewal of the old alliance
between France and Scotland; and lastly, a representation
of the Scots in the English Privy Council. It is not to be
supposed that the emissaries of Bellièvre exercised much
direct influence upon the course of the transactions of the
General Assembly or of the Parliament, for these bodies
observed in their movements an internal consistency of
their own; but no one will venture to deny that the leaders
were encouraged to persevere in their course, even at the
risk of breaking with their King, by the thought that in
case of extremities they might reckon upon the support of
France. Under these circumstances the maintenance of this
alliance promoted their own security. As early as August
1639, Argyle, Lesley, and Rothes, addressed a letter to
Bellièvre, in which they alleged circumstances as an excuse
for the delay of the French enlistments in Scotland, about
which Bellièvre had intentionally complained in terms
intimating suspicion, though deeper than he himself felt,
while at the same time, he referred to the old alliances
between France and Scotland, which he said ought ‘not to be
disturbed by any shadow of mistrust[161]. Towards the end
of the year, King Charles refused to grant an audience to
the Commissioners of the Parliament who came to London, not
so much on account of the object stated in their commission
as an account of the nature of the authority on which it       [A.D. 1639.]
was based. Thereupon the principal member of the
Commission, Lord Loudon, did not hesitate to turn to the
French ambassador with a declaration that Scotland reckoned
upon the support of the crown of France in the event of a
breach with Charles I. A Scot of the name of Dishingtoun
was the agent of the negotiations between Lord Loudon
and the ambassador. The Scots announced their intention
of requesting the King of France, if their dispute with
Charles I were not shortly adjusted, to take cognisance of
it according to the terms of their old alliance, and to
mediate between them and their sovereign; and, in case this
was impossible, to afford them protection against him. They
remarked, that they would easily have been able to come to
an understanding with the German sovereigns or with the
Dutch instead, but that they were convinced their petition
would not be rejected by France; and, if they were right in
this, that they were determined to conclude no agreement
with their King which did not allow full restoration of the
alliance between France and Scotland. We cannot help asking
how this alliance could have been contemplated after the
crowns of England and Scotland had been united on one head.
The ambassador had himself intimated that the participation
of the Scots in Charles’ Council for the management of
foreign affairs would be necessary to effect that object.
The Scots not only caught up this notion, but turned it
into a demand for a high degree of political independence.
They wished that the King should henceforward not be
allowed to proclaim war without applying to the Scottish
Parliament on the subject; the Scots must be conceded
a regular place, not only in the management of foreign
affairs in the Council, but also about the King’s person in
the offices of his household; they must have liberty even
to keep plenipotentiaries in France as well as at the
Hague[162]. Not until these designs were accomplished          [A.D. 1639.]
could those political results be achieved, which the
General Assembly and the Parliament had desired to bring
about, in order to promote the independence of the Church,
and the change of the constitution, by which the previous
influence of the crown was to be excluded. The independence
which the Parliament demanded in the conduct of internal
affairs was now to be extended to its relation with foreign
powers as well.

Bellièvre had entirely approved of the articles which
were communicated to him, for they could only redound to
the advantage of France: thus also hopes were held out to
him of concluding a treaty of commerce in the interests
of France, and to the prejudice of England. The proposals
coincided with the most cherished aims of the ambassador;
he regarded the severance of the policy of Scotland from
that of England as the great object of his efforts. But if
we are asked whether Richelieu also was of this opinion,
and especially whether he thought it permissible, while
France and England were at peace, to support a movement
so decidedly hostile, we can only reply that such was not
his view. Soon after the beginning of the proceedings he
had directly forbidden the ambassador to mix himself up
with the affairs of Scotland. When a proposed mission
from Scotland to France was mentioned, he instructed the
ambassador to prevent it, because at present it could have
no result; for Louis XIII was very conscientious, and
would not injure any one without reason. It was possible,
he said, that England, which was constantly negotiating
with Spain, would conclude an alliance with that power; in
that case, the King, on his part, would be ready to enter
into an alliance with the Scots, whom he loved; but until
that time it would be as well to keep back the intended

He wished to let the Scots cherish the hope which they
entertained of the eventual support of France, but affairs     [A.D. 1639.]
were not in such a state as to encourage him in the wish to
make common cause with them openly at this moment.

The Scots however proceeded on their way. A letter is
extant, much disputed it is true, but of indubitable
authenticity; it is signed by six of the principal leaders,
among whom we find Montrose, but not Argyle. In this letter
the writers claim the protection of France, and formally
accredit an ambassador named Colvil at the court of Louis
XIII; even the instructions are extant which they gave
to him. According to these, Colvil was commissioned to
represent their grievances in Paris, especially touching
three points--the illegality of the High Commission, the
declaration of Charles I that the Scots were rebels, and
the dissolution of the last Parliament, not only without
its consent, but even in complete opposition to its wishes.
He was to remind the King of the repeated alliances between
the two nations, and of the services rendered by the Scots
to the royal house of France: and he was to invite the King
to procure for them, by mediating with their sovereign, a
renewal of the enjoyment of their privileges[163].

The attention of Charles I had long before been called to
the connexion formed between the French and the Scots; his
confidential agents were now indefatigable in seeking to
come upon the trace of it.

Bellièvre had become odious to the English court,
apparently because he was conjectured to be the agent of
that connexion, but still more because he had taken an
active part in the negotiations with regard to the Spanish
fleet, and the journey of the Elector Palatine, and seemed
to be responsible for their unsuccessful issue. One day
he was walking up and down in confidential conversation
with the King of England, such as he had for a long time
been accustomed to hold: the conversation turned on the
imprisonment of the Elector Palatine; the ambassador made
a proposal; the King suddenly checked himself, and said        [A.D. 1640.]
that he felt at a disadvantage in these negotiations; that
the ambassador was prepared beforehand with his proposals;
that he, the King, was not, and that he must ask him not
to make much account of what he said to him; that if
the ambassador wished to have a precise answer, he must
hand him in a written question; that he should receive
a written answer in return, and that this answer alone
would be valid. The ambassador felt the full force of this
intimation; the standing-ground upon which he had hitherto
rested began to sink under him. He had certainly at one
time expressed himself to the King in unfavourable terms
with regard to the Queen; he now experienced a counter
action from that side. The personal friends of the Queen
he regarded as his enemies. These were Percy, Montague,
and Jermyn, from whom he was already estranged, because
they were friends of the Queen-mother. He had introduced
the alliance with the Scots chiefly in order to counteract
the influence which they exercised in favour of Spain.
He said indeed that more was ascribed to him than he had
done: that he was thought more dexterous, more active,
and more dangerous than he was: but nevertheless it is
apparent, if we consider his proceedings, that he had a
great share in producing the growing ill-feeling between
the two courts, and even in fomenting internal disputes.
For not only the Scots, but all those who even in England
were in opposition to the court attached themselves to
him. How deep an influence can in general be exercised
by the machinations of foreign ambassadors at a time of
internal dissension, especially when those machinations
are supported by governments of strong and well-understood
political tendencies! An instance of this is afforded by
the influence exercised by the Spanish ambassador at an
earlier date in England, and in France itself at the time
of the League. Bellièvre had acquired a position similar
in kind though by no means similar in degree. But he felt
that it was no longer tenable, and in January 1640 he left

Not until after his departure did the Scots resolve, as has
been mentioned before, to send an ambassador. Notice of
their intention was first sent to Bellièvre in France: but
on this occasion the inquiries of the English government       [A.D. 1640.]
were more successful than they had been before. The
original of the letter addressed to Louis XIII fell
into its hands: it had Colvil arrested, and some time
afterwards, Loudon also, who had again come to London.

Richelieu was very fortunate in having declined to
recognise the mission of Colvil. He had Bellièvre told that
the French government had been wiser than he.

King Charles knew of the hostile intention of the French
court: the strongest impression must have been produced
on him when he now also became aware how cordially it was
met on the part of the Scots. He determined to make the
discovery a motive for the resistance which he wished to
offer to his rebellious subjects.


[154] Baillie i. 218: ‘The Kings own exposition, declared
to us by all the Communers, and taken first at their mouth
by many extemporary penns, and there set down by themselves
to be communicat to all, gave tolerable satisfaction.’ No
doubt this was the original of the promise, which at a
later period was so often brought home to the King, but
which he never acknowledged.

[155] The Marquis his advise to the King. Berwick, July 6.
Burnet, Dukes of Hamilton 144. This shows more sagacity
than anything else that fell from Hamilton, so far as I

[156] ‘For many things may be contrary to the constitution
of a church, which of themselfs are not simply unlawfull.
For whatsoever is absolutely unlawfull in one church,
cannot be lawfull in the other of the same profession.’
Charles I to Traquair, Oct. 1, in Burnet, Dukes of Hamilton

[157] ‘All civil places and power of kirkmen to be
unlawfull in the kingdom.’

[158] ‘Commissioners of shyres chosen (to be) one (of the
lords of) artickells.’ Balfour ii. 360.

[159] Baillie, Oct. 12, 1639, notices all this.

[160] ‘Persuadés que pour l’honneur de leur pays et le bien
de leur religion ils ne doivent point laisser executer
l’accord fait en termes généraux entre le roi de la Grande
Bretagne et ceux du covenant, qu’ils ne fassent bien
expliquer en quoy consistent leurs privilèges.’

[161] ‘Nous ne consentirons jamais, que tant et tant
d’alliances faites entre les deux royaumes soient jamais
teintes par la moindre soupçon de notre côté.’ 20/30 Août.

[162] ‘Ils ne feront point de traité avec le roi sans que
les conditions suivantes ne leur soient accordées: à savoir
1. que l’ancienne alliance entre les roys et les royaumes
de France et d’Ecosse sera entièrement retablie; 2. le roi
d’Ingleterre ne pourra entreprendre aucune guerre sans
l’avis et le consentement du parlement d’Ecosse, et s’il le
fait autrement, les Ecossois ne seront tenus d’en prendre
part; 3. dans le conseil des affaires étrangères et près de
la personne du roi d’Ingleterre il y aura dorénavant des
Écossois qui prendront garde, que rien ne se resolve qui
préjudice à leurs alliances, 4. que les rois d’Ingleterre
et leurs fils auront des Ecossois en chaque office de
leur maison, 5. que le roi d’Ingleterre trouvera bon que
les Ecossois tiennent un agent à la cour de France, ainsi
qu’ils font a la Haye.’

[163] Traduction de l’instruction du Sr. Colvil envoyé par
les Seigneurs d’Ecosse in Mazure, Histoire de la Revolution
de 1688, iii. 406. The letter also is printed there
according to the copy found in the French archives.



About this time the Lord Deputy of Ireland, Thomas Viscount
Wentworth, was summoned to England to take a seat in the
Council of the King: the affairs of Scotland were the
immediate cause of his return.

The statesmen of England have always been distinguished
from those of other countries by the combination of their
activity in the Council and in the Cabinet with an activity
in Parliament, without which they cannot win their way into
the other sphere. Wentworth, like others, had first made
himself a name in Parliament as a resolute and dangerous
opponent of Buckingham. But there was as yet no clear
consciousness of the rule, infinitely important for the
moral and political development of remarkable men, that the
activity of a minister must be harmonious and consistent
with his activity as a member of Parliament. In the case
of Wentworth especially it is clear that he opposed the
government of that day, by which he was kept down, only
in order to make himself necessary to it. His natural
inclination was, as he once avowed, to live, not under the
frown, but under the smile of his sovereign. The words of
opposition to the government had hardly died away from
his lips, when, at the invitation of that government, he
joined it, although no change had been introduced into
its policy. He accepted the position of Lord President
in the North, although the powers of this office, which
transgressed the ordinary limits of jurisdiction, were
repugnant to those conceptions of English law of which he      [A.D. 1639.]
had just before been the champion. He had been trained
beforehand for an office of this kind in the school of
the Law Courts, principally by the proceedings of the
Star Chamber, which he had attended for five years; he
was afterwards for a time a Justice of the Peace, and
had the reputation of knowing, perhaps better than any
one in England, what was required for the exercise of
that office. Nature, inclination, and ability, united in
fitting him to wield authority. The Council of the North,
which embraced the counties of Yorkshire, Northumberland,
and Westmoreland, the bishopric of Durham, the towns of
Newcastle, York, and Hull, was restored by him, in spite
of all opposition, to the high position which it had
possessed under the Tudors. Charles I assisted him in
this enterprise by conferring fresh powers upon him. But
Wentworth afterwards found a far larger arena for his
activity as Lord Deputy of Ireland, where we have already
met with him, and where, for the first time for centuries,
obedience to the King was once more enforced. He despised
the custom, adopted by former viceroys, of coming to an
agreement beforehand with the native nobility about the
measures that were to be taken; his only counsellors were
the exigencies of the country, his only support was the
royal authority itself. He derived great advantage from the
exclusive possession of the initiative in Parliament, which
was enjoyed by the government in Ireland: he there brought
his idea of the royal prerogative into practical operation;
he declared to the members without any circumlocution, that
reward, or even punishment, awaited each of them according
to his behaviour during the deliberations. The resolutions
of Parliament served him as his instruments in ruling the
country; he put an army into the field, and found means to
pay it: for the first time the revenues of Ireland covered
the outgoings; the island was protected from piracies by
its own naval power. While he remitted many oppressive
burdens in favour of the Catholics, he yet gave fresh
encouragement to the Protestant Churches by the agency
of learned bishops and theologians; he maintained the
conformity between the Irish and English Churches, which by
his decisive word he had restored. Under him justice was
regularly administered, principally for the protection of the
humble and weak; he considered that in his position he was     [A.D. 1639.]
justified in directing arbitrary measures against the
great, if at the same time he did not come into collision
with the actual letter of the law, which he was careful
not to do. The impulses of natural imperiousness he
nevertheless moderated by deliberating with prudent
confidants[164]. If Ireland, which needed the adjustment
of internal rivalries and enmities, not by counsel but by
a strong arm, had alone been concerned, Wentworth would
certainly have been the right man for the government of
that country; for he was, as it were, born to conduct
administration according to his own judgment of what was
best: he was indisputably one of the greatest of the
administrators who rose up among the English before they
gained possession of India. But nevertheless Ireland could
only be governed on those principles which prevailed in the
rest of the kingdom. What if these were in contradiction to
the principles which he himself followed? The Lord Deputy
was of opinion, and he thought the King’s system required,
that the whole realm should be governed as he governed

Thomas Wentworth was a man of lofty stature, who although
still in the full strength of manhood, already stooped as
he walked. When he was seated and immersed in reflection,
a cloud seemed to rest upon his face; when he raised
himself and gave expression to his thoughts his countenance
appeared cheerful and almost radiant: he spoke fluently and
with effect; and he had the gift of quick apprehension and
apt rejoinder.

In the narrow circle of persons among whom the affairs of
Scotland were first debated, Laud, Wentworth, and Hamilton,
the opinion was quickly arrived at, that nothing could be
done without resorting to arms. But the importance of the
matter made it indispensable to bring the question also
before a full sitting of the Privy Council, to which all
the members were summoned. Traquair was present on this        [A.D. 1639.]
occasion, and delivered a speech about the late proceedings
in Scotland. Charles put the question, whether he should
concede the demands of the Scots, which in his opinion
were inconsistent with the honour of the King and the
obedience due to him in temporal matters, or whether he
should not rather bring back the people to their duty by
force of arms. Every individual was invited to give his
opinion on the subject. The Council answered unanimously
that it was now advisable to have recourse to arms. But
it still remained to consider how Charles should obtain
the means requisite for the war; whether, on this occasion
at all events, he should not seek to obtain them in the
ordinary way by the help of Parliament. It seems strange
at first sight that the smaller body which surrounded the
King expressed itself favourably to this plan. But the
necessity of such a step had been already foreseen when
the King resolved not to go on from Berwick into Scotland;
for the most important turns are given to affairs at a
few decisive moments. Hamilton had at that time already
remarked that the King would be obliged to employ force,
and to claim a grant of Parliament for that purpose[165].
Yet the royal councillors did not intend thereby to make
themselves entirely dependent on the opinion of Parliament.
On the contrary, they definitely set before themselves the
possibility that Parliament might refuse its assistance.
And perhaps they looked forward with no great anxiety to
an unfavourable result. They were of opinion that in such
a case the King would be justified in the eyes of God and
man, if he had recourse to the extraordinary means which he
was still trying to avoid.

The summoning of a Parliament was also approved at a
meeting of the Privy Council: the anticipation was
expressed that Parliament would take the honour of the
King into consideration, and would provide him with the
necessary subsidies. The King, who knew the temper of the
people, was not satisfied with this conclusion: he put
forward the possibility that Parliament might perhaps even     [A.D. 1639.]
oppose his wishes, and he submitted to the assembled
Councillors the question whether in such a case they would
support him in resorting to extraordinary means. They
unanimously and cheerfully declared ‘that in such case they
would assist him with their lives and fortunes, in such
extraordinary way, as should be advised and found best for
the preservation of his state and government[166].’ On
this the King gave out that he would summon the English
Parliament for the ensuing 13th of April.

The prospect of a successful issue of the negotiations with
Parliament was not perhaps in the first instance altogether
hopeless. Some old members gave an assurance that the House
of Commons would on this occasion remain within its proper
limits, and would agree to the necessary grants. Some
effect was expected from the impression which the connexion
between the Scots and the French, that was by degrees
coming to light, could not fail to produce upon Englishmen
of the genuine old stamp. The Puritans themselves had
been put into an ill humour with the French and their
selfish policy by the imprisonment of the Elector Palatine,
from whose appearance in Germany they had expected great
things. People had said that in the next war the English
arms might be turned against France as easily as against
Scotland[167]; and the Queen, at all events, had now no
objection to such a measure. She had been formerly an
opponent of Wentworth, whose ambition had been represented
to her as dangerous; she was now one of his admirers, as
were also her friends the Countess of Carlisle and the
Duchess of Chevreuse. The most influential members of her
household, her intimate friends Jermyn and Montague, passed
for the most decided adversaries of the French. Yet there
were some who adhered to their side: the Earl of Holland
would not be deterred from visiting Bellièvre, even when
he lay under the displeasure of the court; but he and his
friends feared for the results of the next Parliament.         [A.D. 1639.]
They thought that the dominant party had laid their plans
so well that they would maintain their ascendancy[168]:
that the King would allow only the affairs of Scotland
and the imprisonment of the Elector to be brought under
discussion: that his design was to hold a Parliament
according to his own views, and after his own fashion, and
to become more powerful by its assistance than any of his
ancestors had ever been. It was thought that the opposite
party had already resolved, if all went well, not to spare
the heads of their opponents.

The opposition of religious opinions, the great European
interests at stake, and the most important questions of
internal policy, were mixed up with the quarrels of persons
in high positions, who, in the event of a political defeat,
would, according to old English custom, have to fear even
for their lives.

The King had resolved that an Irish Parliament should
precede the sitting of Parliament in England. Wentworth,
who was not until now raised to a rank fully equal to his
position, was nominated Lord Lieutenant in Ireland, and
at the same time was made Earl of Strafford, which was
the name of the wapentake in which Wentworth-Wodehouse
was situated, where his ancestors had resided since the
Conquest. He had now to go over to Ireland once more, in
order to bring matters there to a successful issue.

He fully realised to himself the importance, the
difficulty, and even the danger of his position.

In his gratitude for his promotion in rank he once more
expressed the opinion that the kingship was an image of
the Divine Majesty. After his journey to Ireland, where he
had to endure an attack of gout, he writes that whether
in health or suffering, whether lame or blind, he would
at all times be found faithful to the service of his
lord. He promises to be back in England at the opening
of Parliament, even if he should be tormented with pain,
even though he might have to expect to find his most           [A.D. 1640.]
violent enemies in that body; but he strongly urges
that everything should meanwhile be carefully prepared
beforehand in England as well as in Ireland, and especially
that the raising of troops, which had been resolved on,
should not be delayed. ‘For that this work before us,’
he says, ‘should it miscarry, we are all like to be very
miserable: but carried through advisedly and gallantly, it
shall by God’s blessing set us in safety and peace for our
lives after, nay, in probability, the generations that are
to succeed us. Fi a faute de courage: je n’en ay que trop.
What might I be with my legs that am so brave without the
use of them[169].

In Ireland the Lord Lieutenant easily attained his object.
On March 23, the very same day on which he invoked the
loyalty of the King’s Irish subjects against the Scottish
Covenanters, whose designs he declared to be detestable,
the Irish granted four subsidies, adding that they were
ready, in case the war continued, to devote all their
possessions, and even their persons, to the service of the
King. Further measures were taken to equip an army of 8000
men, with cavalry and artillery. Thus, after a stay of
fourteen days, in which he had successfully executed his
plans, Strafford recrossed St. George’s Channel.

At the English Court meanwhile negotiations with the Scots
had been resumed, but the commission appointed by the King
to manage the affair decided that, if Scotland did not
first of all acknowledge both those rights, without which
no supreme authority could exist, namely, the right of
convening and dissolving deliberative assemblies in Church
and State, as well as of vetoing any measure proposed in
these assemblies, no further negotiation could be carried
on with that country. Strafford, successful and full of
conscious pride in consequence of his success in Ireland,
thought that matters had been so skilfully arranged that
the Scottish war would be ended as soon as begun, and that
the Earl of Argyle would sell his cause at a cheap price.

The eyes of every one in the three kingdoms were now turned
upon the English Parliament, to which the question was
submitted, whether it would support its sovereign in his       [A.D. 1640.]
position in Europe, and, above all, maintain him in his
sovereignty over Scotland, or whether it would, on the
contrary, attempt to give effect to its own ancient but
hitherto repressed claims.

On April 13/23, 1640, the Parliament, as had been
announced, was opened. The Lord Keeper above all things set
before them the necessity of giving the King assistance
against the Scots. He read the despatch of the six Scottish
nobles already referred to, by which Colvil had been
accredited at the court of the King of France, whom in the
despatch, after French fashion, they simply called ‘The
King.’ Charles I himself added a few words on the matter.
The Lord Keeper’s proposal aimed at securing an immediate
grant of adequate subsidies; without this, it was said,
the war could not be conducted, and yet it must be waged
in the following summer. A formal approval of tonnage and
poundage which the King, under the pressure of necessity,
had hitherto collected without approval, was also now
proposed. If these grants should be made, which the King
regarded as a pledge of the affection and loyalty of his
subjects, he would prove himself on his part, it was said,
a just, gentle, and gracious sovereign; then, and not till
then, might petitions directed to promote the welfare of
England be brought under discussion, and the King would
then co-operate with Parliament to the advantage of the

It was intended that, before any further discussion of the
questions of domestic policy at issue, the King should
be placed by means of copious subsidies in a position
to revive the royal authority which had been shaken in
Scotland, and, in consequence, everywhere else as well.

It is evident however that the English Parliament could
not be moved to adopt such a course. In the elections
the government had been again as unsuccessful on this
occasion as it had been ten or twelve years before. The
boroughs had the preponderance at the elections, and in
the boroughs the party devoted to the Presbyterian and
Parliamentary cause were in the ascendant. The oppression
of the system previously pursued, and the apprehension of
worse consequences, had necessarily led to this result. We
learn that even in Westminster the King failed to procure      [A.D. 1640.]
a seat in the House of Commons for a confidential servant
of his court: supporters of the Opposition were elected
under his very eyes[170].

A disadvantageous influence had been exercised from the
very first by the reappearance of the man who had given
occasion to the last violent scenes in the year 1629, and
who was in ill repute with every one--John Finch, who now
came forward as Lord Keeper. His appearance awakened the
old controversies and the old hatred.

And moreover the disloyalty of the Scots failed to produce
so great an impression as was expected, because it was
partly a result of the religious conflict. France was
regarded as the protector of Protestantism, which, on the
contrary, was in danger from a King who belonged to it. The
French government had not been slow to release the Elector
Palatine from prison, on the receipt of the warning which
was addressed to it; it had removed this cause of offence
as well as others, and in both Houses of Parliament it
reckoned decided partisans.

Thus it came to pass that Charles I was encountered in the
Parliament of 1640 by an opposition no less resolute than
that which had led to the dissolution of the Parliament of

The very first speaker who made himself heard, Grimstone,
set off domestic grievances against the complaints
which the King made of the Scots; he dwelt above all on
the infringement of the obligations undertaken by the
acceptance of the Petition of Right. He said that freedom
and property had been shaken, the Church thrown into
confusion, and the true religion even persecuted. While
appealing for support to a passage of the Bible he gave
utterance to the significant opinion that men ought to
enquire how this result had come to pass, and who had given
the advice which had brought it about.

Then rose up John Pym, the man of all others in that
assembly in whom the union of Puritan and Parliamentary
principles was most clearly displayed. He had drawn up
for himself a list of the grievances, which he now set         [A.D. 1640.]
forth, with methodical and almost scholastic accuracy, but
with clear vision, and not without statesmanlike insight.
He gave especial prominence to the religious grievances, to
the failure in executing the ancient laws in consequence of
which men of the Catholic faith were placed in positions of
trust and power, and to the presence of a Papal Resident
in England, who, he said, was only carrying into execution
what a congregation sitting at Rome was devising for the
conversion of England. It was necessary, he affirmed, to
consider the Papacy in its connexion with the other states
which it governed, as the sun governs the course of the
planets; he thought it was intended that England also
should be torn from her proper path and subjected to the
same influence[171].

To this origin--for everything, he said, had its
source--most of the abuses were then referred by him and
by others; especially the suspension of the sittings of
Parliament, and the attacks made on private property by the
collection of taxes which had not been granted, measures
intended to relieve the government from any need of
convening that body[172].

The various complaints of a similar nature which came in
from every county and every class made all the stronger
impression, as they were also based on the ground of
a general danger to the religion ‘which was professed
according to the law of God and the law of the land.’

These all showed the same conception of the King’s
intentions as that entertained by the Scots, although
much more moderately expressed; yet, for all that, it
cannot be accepted as resting on an historical basis. The
efforts of the government certainly proceeded from one
fundamental design, but this was the design of uniting the
three kingdoms in a like obedience, not by the acceptance      [A.D. 1640.]
of Catholicism, but only by more lenient treatment of it;
according to the King’s idea, Great Britain far from again
becoming a satellite of the Papacy, was, on the contrary,
to describe its own course as an independent portion of the
universe, while external influence was to be neutralised.
But nevertheless Pym’s assertions made a great impression
even in England. In the religious conflict which filled the
world neutrality might well seem to be partiality to one
side; the danger lay, not merely in the intention of the
ruler, but in the nature of things, which often exercises
an influence even beyond that of individuals.

The controversy was connected with a question which has
always been one of the most important in those countries
which have a highly developed representative constitution.
When, on April 23, at the wish of the government the
proposal was made to allow the granting of subsidies to
precede the discussion of grievances, this proposal, after
long debate, was rejected in the House of Commons; it
was thought that it ought not to set so bad an example
to posterity. The House came to a resolution to grant no
money, unless it received at all events simultaneously the
definite assurance of redress on those three points under
which all others were comprised--security for religion, for
property, and for Parliamentary liberties.

By this resolution the House of Commons at once placed
itself in opposition to the intentions of the government,
which required grants of money without delay. For what
a wide prospect must have been opened by the discussion
of these points even in a friendly and indulgent spirit!
On the evening of the same day a meeting of the Privy
Council was held, and, at Strafford’s proposal, although
not without opposition, a resolution was taken to bring
the matter before the House of Lords. Not that the power
of granting subsidies was ascribed to that House; the
formal question was laid before it, whether the King
ought first to give satisfaction to his subjects, or to        [A.D. 1640.]
expect satisfaction from them[173]. In the House of Lords
a tendency in favour of the opposition was not wanting:
the Earls of Southampton and Rutland, and Lords Say and
Brooke were against the King’s proposal. But the majority
were still decidedly in favour of the government; and a
resolution was passed that the satisfaction to be given to
the King must precede the discussion of grievances[174].
The members of Convocation without waiting any longer
granted the King six subsidies. The House of Commons in
great excitement remarked that its rights were thereby
trenched upon, as the granting of subsidies belonged to
that House alone[175]. Hereon the House of Lords once more
took the matter into consideration on the 29th of April;
but on a second division they arrived at just the same
result as before. The Lords again took the side of the
government by a majority of twenty votes.

The King considered this an important advantage, and
Strafford as the only man whose advice he could follow. He
said to him that he had more confidence in him than in all
the Privy Council together, and the Queen spoke of him as
her husband’s most capable and trustworthy minister.

With renewed hopes of a favourable issue, especially as
the Lords had explained their views at full length to the
Commons, the King had his proposal again brought before
the latter House a few days afterwards by the Treasurer
of the royal household, Sir Henry Vane. In the sketch of
the message to be submitted to it, very strong expressions
were originally inserted with regard to the delay of the
grant, which was represented as unprecedented in such a
case; the King, however, for fear of making bad blood,
had struck them out with his own hand. The Treasurer
merely represented in the most urgent terms the necessity
of the grant, without which, he said, the honour of the
King and of the State would be in danger; delay in this        [A.D. 1640.]
matter was no less pernicious than a refusal[176]. The
subject was again taken into consideration at once; it
continued to be the unaltered feeling of the House that the
removal of grievances in Church and State must first be
taken in hand; its answer however was still kept back.

At the court it was thought that a grant might still be
obtained, at all events by the offer of concessions; and
the King had a declaration made that he would give up
ship-money if twelve subsidies were promised him. It was
not the sum which people would have had to pay that kept
them from accepting this offer. The Speaker, Sergeant
Glanville, who rose to address the House, (the debate was
being carried on in Committee,) calculated, judging from
his own case, that the tax would not fall very heavily on
each individual, but he did not for that reason advise
Parliament to accede to the offer; for, as he affirmed,
this would be to acknowledge the payment of ship-money as
binding, and would indirectly be authorising it. Glanville
was regarded as one of the greatest authorities upon
legal questions; and a deep impression was made by his
declaration that ship-money was against the laws, if he
understood anything about them. Others suggested other
motives besides, but the legal point was decisive. Sir
Henry Vane, when he came out of the House, told the King
that he ought not to reckon upon obtaining any grant.

That this was in fact the case is not quite certain; but
such was the impression which was made by the proceedings.
The government thought they had tangible proof that
Parliament would grant the King no subsidies, or, at
all events, would grant them only under such conditions
as ran counter to his system of government. It would
not content itself with any mere removal of grievances
by the act of the sovereign, for it thought that the
interference of Parliament was necessary for the cure of       [A.D. 1640.]
national evils: the King was to be pledged for ever
to abide by parliamentary procedure. The King found
himself not merely forsaken but threatened with
further demonstrations; he did not hesitate, before
such demonstrations were actually made, to declare
the dissolution of this Parliament, as he had that of
others[177] (May 5, 1640).

This was a decision of all the more importance inasmuch
as no resolutions of Parliament, properly speaking, had
yet been arrived at; and another decision of no less
consequence, with reference to the resumption of the
Scottish war, immediately followed. In the Commission
appointed to consider the subject attention had indeed been
called to the insufficiency of the means available for
the support of an offensive war; the question was asked,
whether it would not be better in the first instance to
leave the Scots alone. But, as we know, the leading men
had already prepared themselves for an unfavourable issue
of the deliberations of Parliament, and had determined
not to allow themselves to be thwarted on that account.
The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland encouraged the King to
proceed boldly. He said that a merely defensive attitude
would diminish his reputation; that he would exhaust and
weaken himself, and would stand, as it were, between Saul
and David; that no long time could elapse before England
rose to support him. He said that an offensive war had
been already decided on; that the King should undertake
it; that, as Parliament refused its assistance, he was
justified in the sight of God and man if, under the
pressure of these circumstances, he should seize every
other means which lay within the grasp of his power; that
he had an army in Ireland of which he could avail himself;
that Scotland could be subdued in a single summer. Were it
his own affair, he added, he would make the venture; he
would either carry it through or lose everything in the
attempt. Archbishop Laud supported the views of the Lord
Lieutenant; he said that every means had been tried, and       [A.D. 1640.]
all had failed; that if people would not grant the King
what according to God’s law was his due, he had the right
to take it. Cottington not only warmly agreed with Laud,
but also added as a general reason for action that the
House of Commons looked forward to getting rid of the
monarchy as well as of the Episcopal Church[178]. If he
meant a definitely entertained design, there was as little
truth in his statement as there was in attributing to the
King the intention of becoming a Catholic. Men on either
side, judging from what has occurred, attribute to the
opposite party the intentions which are most offensive to

On this the principle of parliamentary and military, or,
which is much the same, of limited and absolute monarchy,
once more came into conflict with one another in the King’s
Privy Council. The latter obtained a complete ascendancy.

The alliance between Scotland and a foreign power was
thought to remove all doubts regarding its treatment; it
was therefore to be attacked by sea and land at once, from
the side both of England and Ireland, with all the strength
which the Crown, unaided by Parliament, had remaining to
it. The militia of the country had already been called out
for that object. It was intended that part of the expense
should be defrayed by the contributions of the Lords, which
proved very considerable, and by those of the clergy[179].
Two days after the dissolution of Parliament the assembled
Privy Council embraced the resolution of calling the High
Sheriffs of eight counties, among which were Middlesex,
Yorkshire and Essex, to account for having improperly
neglected to collect the ship-money; they were to be dealt
with straightway, without regard for their rank, and to be
treated according to their deserts. A command was issued to
the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk to punish with imprisonment     [A.D. 1640.]
all men of any position who had shown themselves
contumacious during the levy and on the march of the
troops. Fresh negotiations were begun with a view to
obtaining a loan from Spain. It was also suggested that the
silver lying in the Tower might be coined to more advantage
than before. Strafford laid before the Council a memorial
about the French practice of raising forced loans from the
wealthy, and advised imitation of that practice.

Can we be surprised if the opinion gained ground that the
war against Scotland, which was not in itself necessary,
was intended to serve as a means of introducing absolute
monarchy on the French and Spanish model into England also.
Without doubt men like Strafford, Laud, Cottington, and
the King himself, thought of realising, despite of all
opposition in England and Scotland, the ideal of a monarchy
resting on a spiritual basis.

A document is extant which indisputably sets forth this
intention. This is the Book of Canons, drawn up in the
Convocation of the clergy, which held its deliberations at
the same time as the Parliament. In this book a theory as
to the royal authority, not very unlike the views which
Richelieu and his adherents were then contending for in
France, was strongly asserted as the doctrine of the
Church. It is therein said that the monarchy is the highest
and most sacred Estate, is of divine right, is expressly
instituted in the Old and New Testament for ruling over
every one, of whatever rank and position he might be,
and is entrusted even with the supreme government of the
Church. Whoever wished to set up a power independent of
the King’s, whether of Papal or popular character, thereby
placed himself, it was said, in opposition to the Divine
ordinance[180]: it was consonant with the law of nature,
the law of nations, and the law of God, that people should
repay the protection which they enjoyed from the King
with tribute, tolls, and subsidies: for them to bear arms
against the King, not merely in order to attack him, but       [A.D. 1640.]
even in order to defend themselves against him, was to
resist the ordinance of God. These views, which condemned
the resistance of the Scots, as well as the agitation of
the popular spirit in England, were proclaimed as the
doctrines of the Church; and an oath in keeping with them
was imposed on the clergy and on the graduates of the

The ecclesiastical ideas of Laud, and the political ideas
of Strafford, were in complete harmony with one another.
Though it was perhaps still possible to unite a form of
parliamentary government with the monarchy, such as they
would have made it, yet the former could only have been
such as would have been unconditionally subservient to the
views of the crown, and would have regarded their promotion
as its own province.

Strafford and Laud were still determined to carry these
plans into execution, and that, in the first instance, by
means of the war in Scotland; and without being really
conscious of the powerful forces which were opposed to
them, they cherished the confident hope of succeeding in
their attempt.


[164] George Radcliffe (An Essay towards the life of my
Lord Strafford, Letters app. 433) names himself, Charles
Greenwood, and Christopher Wandsford as the principal
counsellors. ‘They met almost daily and debated all
businesses and designs pro et contra.’

[165] Hamilton’s Advise, July 5. ‘If the kingly way be
taken,--how money may be levied--and if that be feasible
without a parliament.’ Burnet 145.

[166] Windebank to Hoxton, Dec. 14: Clarendon Papers ii. 82.

[167] Hugo Grotius, Dec. 1639: ‘In Anglia arma parantur, in
Scotos an in Gallos ambiguis conjecturis’ (589).

[168] Bellièvre: ‘Quelques uns de ceux, qui out
connaissance des desseins du roi, qui peut-être seroient
bien aisés qu’ils ne réussissent pas, m’ont dit, qu’ils
sont si bien projetés qu’il y a grande apparence, qu’il
vienne à bout de son entreprise.’

[169] March 16, 1639/40. Letters ii. 394.

[170] Depêche de Montereuil, 15 Mars. ‘Après un long débat
deux propriétaires de fort basse condition out été élus par
le peuple.’

[171] A more accurate draught of Pym’s speech than that
given by Rushworth is found in the State Paper Office: the
speech is there assigned to April 17. The draught which is
the basis of Forster’s account (Statesmen iii. 89) seems to
be a later amplification.

[172] Speech of Rouse, which I do not find noticed in
Rushworth or in the Parliamentary History: ‘The root of all
our grievances I think to be the endeavour of union betwixt
us and Rome.’

[173] Parliament Journal, 16 Caroli, 23 Ap.: ‘The house
sat till 3 o’cl. in the afternoon debating the question,
whether to give subsidies before a redress of grievances
or after. Concluded that the example was dangerous to
posterity. The King and Lords had conference about at 8
o’cl.’ (St. P. O.)

[174] Dépêche de Montereuil, 1/10 Mai. ‘Le Lieutenant
d’Yrland I’emporta contre l’avis de plusieurs’: the only
information about this affair which I can find.

[175] Parliament Journal. ‘That it was a tranching on the
priviledges of the house of commons from the upper house,
to chaulke them a way to give supplies first and then to
redress grievances; that the honour and thank belongs to
them for the subsidies and not to the upper house.’

[176] Speech in Rushworth iii. 1153. Parl. Hist. viii. 467.
The original words were ‘His Majesty cannot but resent it,
as that which per adventure is without any precedent of
such behaviour from subjects to the King, and not suitable
to that antient reverence and duty formerly paid by the
house of commons to the crown in the cases of this nature.’

[177] ‘For preventing quhairoff [that is to say, one of
these declarations] the parliament was broken up.’ So it
runs in the Scottish Declaration in Spalding i. 328.

[178] The protocol of this sitting, which was destined to
exercise so great an influence, is printed in Nalson ii.
208. In the State Paper Office the original document exists
among Vane’s papers: there is some doubt however about the
right reading.

[179] Giustiniano, 25 Maggio: ‘Il re continua nella
stabilita resolutione di volere con il mezzo della forza
cavare de popoli le contributioni necessarie per sostenere
la guerra contra la Scotia.’ Cp. Rushworth iii. 1173, 1179.

[180] ‘To set up, maintain, or avow, in any of their realms
any independent coactive power, either papal or popular,
whether directly or indirectly, is to undermine their great
royal office.’



As early as March 1640, on the receipt of the first
intelligence of the warlike designs of Charles I, the Scots
had resolved to renew their preparations for war. Lesley
and the other commanders were confirmed in their posts: in
every county people began to arm. Hostilities again broke
out between the castle and the town of Edinburgh: but
Ruthven did not allow himself to be overpowered as easily
as his predecessor had been. When an attack was made upon
him he replied to it by an artillery fire from the walls.

While shots were being exchanged, and men on both sides
were falling, the Scottish Parliament reassembled on June
2. Its proceedings could not fail to breathe a similar
tone of hostility. It met without the presence of the King
or of his commissioner; as men observed with astonishment
‘without sword, sceptre, and crown.’ In place of the
commissioner the Parliament established a president of its
own, elected from among its members. The session lasted
only eight days; but it was said that for six centuries
there had been no Parliament more remarkable and more
thoroughgoing. Those resolutions were repeated, and even
enlarged, which had been adopted in the last session before
it was interrupted by adjournment, and to which the King
had refused his consent. Though hitherto the clergy had
taken a high place in the constitutions of all European
kingdoms, even in Northern and German countries in spite of
the Reformation, yet in Scotland it was resolved that this
order should no longer be represented in Parliament. In
its room the gentry appeared as the third order, standing      [A.D. 1640.]
between the nobles and the citizens: they took definitive
possession, as before mentioned, of the political influence
which they had won for themselves in the late commotions.
In this new form, so it was enacted, Parliament was to
be held every three years[181]: proclamations which ran
counter to the laws and liberties of the Parliament were to
be forbidden under the penalties attached to high treason:
only natives, and moreover only those natives who were
disposed to protect the reformed religion in the shape in
which it had been established, and to maintain the union
between King and people, were to be appointed to the
command of the three strong castles of Edinburgh, Stirling,
and Dumbarton. Such further changes were introduced
into the resolutions as made it necessary that the most
important military commands should be filled according to
the wish of the Estates. The clergy were also excluded from
the Courts of Justice; for people did not wish that an
order, which had shown itself so amenable to the influence
exercised on it by the crown, should be seen exercising any
political functions. The inferior clergy were quite content
with this, as the continuance of their Assemblies and the
independence of their jurisdiction was expressly secured
to them. The monarchy was certainly allowed to remain, but
care was taken to surround it with independent powers,
which took away from it the substance of its authority.
The Parliament authorised the Committee of the Estates,
which was already appointed, to carry on the government.
This committee was so composed that the resolutions always
conformed to the wishes and proposals of the leading men,
especially of Argyle, who was considered even then as the
most important person of all, though he was not himself one
of the members.

We should mistake the feelings of the Scots, if we assumed
that these arrangements had been approved by every one.
Even Thomas Hope, the King’s Advocate, who had at first
so entirely concurred in the movement, warned the Earl of
Rothes not to go so far as to give the King good ground        [A.D. 1640.]
for saying to other sovereigns that people in Scotland
had an eye, not so much to religion, as to the abolition
of the monarchy. Hope told the Earl that they ought to
strengthen their religion, that they should then see
what he would do or suffer in its behalf, but that in
matters of civil government they must not reckon on his
going with them. The same views were entertained by many
other of the more reflecting spirits among the clergy
and scholars. The government had thought it necessary to
appoint as Professors in the Universities men who shared
its tendencies, and knew how to gain acceptance for them
in the minds of the young. These regulations did not
enjoy entire popularity. While in the English Parliament
the boroughs returned a majority, in Scotland the gentry
had an ascendancy by which the commons, at first at all
events, felt themselves oppressed[182]. And meanwhile the
Covenant was not yet by any means everywhere accepted.
Those counties that repudiated it even made attacks upon
others which had submitted: the old Scottish lawlessness
and desire for plunder now availed itself of religious
pretexts. A small army was required to be permanently in
the field in order to extinguish the flames of revolt which
kept flickering here and there. In the minds of many of the
great men who concurred in the religious demands of their
countrymen, their political demands awakened all the more
opposition because their rivals were just the people who
derived advantage from the new constitution; or else in
fact feelings of loyal devotion to the King awoke in them;
they did not wish to allow the crown to be robbed of all
its splendour and all its power.

One might almost wonder that the dominant party was still
in such good spirits.

For even the arming which had been determined on proceeded
but slowly; it appeared hardly possible to collect a
serviceable body of cavalry. A tithe-penny had been laid
upon property; but in order to collect it a valuation of
property would have been necessary, and hence a great
difficulty arose. From the first extreme measures were         [A.D. 1640.]
necessary; for example, the exaction from private
individuals of the silver they had in use, under a
guarantee of making good its value. But, as Baillie says,
what was all that compared with the requirements of the
army, for which 20,000 marks were daily needed? And what
would ultimately happen, when Scotland was entirely cut
off on the side of Ireland and England from its maritime
commerce, as was intended? The resolutions of the English
Privy Council and of the Irish Parliament created a great
impression among the Scots.

A much greater impression however was now created by the
proceedings of the English Parliament.

It has been always assumed that the Scots were strengthened
in their attitude and induced to determine on advancing
into England by overtures from English peers in the ranks
of the opposition. And there is no doubt that invitations
of this kind reached them.

Lord Loudon, the man who had first formed a connexion
with the French, and who was one of those who had signed
the letter to the King of France already referred to, had
been thrown into the Tower immediately before the opening
of Parliament; but he there received visits from English
peers, and among others from Lord Savile. The Saviles were
old opponents of the Wentworths: their families imported
their county quarrels into public affairs. It was indeed
by the favour shown to a Savile at one time that Wentworth
had been driven into the ranks of the opposition. The high
position to which, on the other hand, a Wentworth now
rose, may have contributed to turn Lord Savile into an
opponent of the whole system[183]. So far as we know, he
is the man through whom it was intimated to Loudon as the
wish of some English lords, that the Scots should advance
on England with their army. Shortly after the dissolution
of Parliament, Loudon received permission to return to         [A.D. 1640.]
Scotland[184]: he immediately sought out Argyle, who was
still stationed with his small army in the North, in order
to apprise him of the position of affairs. But it was not
possible that the expressions of a peer, who was not even
one of the most important members of his order, should
afford sufficient security. Then Savile, who had always
affirmed that he was the spokesman of many other nobles and
gentlemen, sent in a declaration on the part of some others
of great name, the Earls of Warwick and Essex, Lords Say,
Brooke, and Mandeville, in which the Scots were invited to
cross over into England. The genuineness of the signatures
was denied afterwards in terms, the truth of which can
hardly be called in question. The Scots however at that
time could entertain no suspicion of deception. And this
invitation undoubtedly produced a great impression upon
them, as they could now venture to count upon the support
of a considerable portion of the House of Lords.

But the attitude of the House of Commons no doubt supplied
them with the principal motive for their decisions. As
the Scots affirm in their manifesto, after they had been
proclaimed as rebels in every parish church, the English
Parliament--convoked with the sole purpose of supporting a
war against them--could not be moved by any threatenings,
fears, promises, or hopes, to grant any subsidies for
the war, but had rather undertaken to justify the Scots
by parallel complaints and statements of grievances. The
Scots now laid the greatest emphasis upon the coincidence
of the interests of both realms. The only design of both
kingdoms, they said, was the maintenance of true religion,
and of the just liberties of the subject; but the King
was surrounded by a faction which was endeavouring to
set up superstition and bondage in place of religion:
it was intended by the war against the Scots to stir up
the English against them that they might with their own
swords extirpate their own religion; set up a new Rome in
their midst, and establish the slavery of both countries
for ever. With such adversaries no agreement could be
concluded: no just desires were listened to by them: to sit
still and wait their hostility would be contrary to sense
and religion: they themselves, the Scots, were determined
to seek in England their own peace, the maintenance of         [A.D. 1640.]
their laws, and the punishment of the enemies of both
kingdoms. It might perhaps be doubtful whether it was
warrantable for them to advance into England, but there was
a necessity which justified proceedings of this sort, and
constituted a law above all laws. ‘The question is not,’
they say, ‘whether we shall content ourselves with our own
poverty, or enrich ourselves in England: that question is
impious and absurd. But this is the question, whether it
be wisdome and piety to keep ourselves within the Borders
till our throats be cut, and our Religion, Lawes, and
Countrey be destroyed; or shall wee bestirre ourselves and
seeke our Safeguard, Peace, and Liberty in England. Or
shall we fold our hands, and waite for the perfect slavery
of our selves, and our posterity in our Souls, Bodies,
and Estates, and (which is all one) foolishly to stand to
our defence where we know it is impossible; or shall we
seek our reliefe in following the calling of God (for our
necessity can be interpreted to be no lesse), and entering
by the doore which his providence hath opened unto us, when
all wayes are stopped beside?’ They do not enter into a
full statement of the innovations which had been undertaken
in their Parliament; they hardly touch upon them; they
bring into prominence only the great questions from which
everything had sprung, and they express the hope that
England will sympathise with them in the stress of affairs
which compelled them to overstep their borders, and will
aid them in the measures which they are taking to obtain
their just desires. They promise that in their advance they
will exact nothing by force: but should their resources be
exhausted they reckon upon the support of the English[185].

This lofty mode of expression, to which a certain amount
of truth cannot be denied, accounts for the silence of
all opposition, at all events in those circles which had
attached themselves to the religious cause for which the
Scots contended. In the army moreover there were men
serving who did not wish to see the monarchy put down.         [A.D. 1640.]
In all the churches prayers were offered for the General,
who purposed to go to England with his army, and to confer
with the King.

In the latter half of July, the army mustered at Cheslaw
Wood, near Dunse; one half of the Committee of Estates was
to accompany it, the other half was to remain behind. It
was not intended to take Highlanders across the border.
Argyle led his own men into the field against the Ogilvies
and the district of Athol, where the opposition was kept
up. It was not until August 18 that the army broke up from
the place of rendezvous. There may have been somewhat over
20,000 men: with the native leaders of high rank there were
associated a number of captains who had gained experience
in the German war, and who maintained military discipline.
Lesley, who was connected with the former by political
sympathies, and with the latter by common service in past
time, was again invested with the supreme command.

Two days afterwards the Scots crossed the river Tweed, the
boundary between the two countries. The cavalry halted in
the water, in order to break the force of the stream, while
the infantry waded across. Montrose dismounted from his
horse, and marched over at the head of his regiment; he was
the first of them all to tread on English soil.

The Scots did not find any dispositions made to meet them
at the border; they advanced into Northumberland without
opposition. It was only on arriving at the fords of the
Tyne that they came upon a couple of breastworks upon which
cannon were planted. They set up a camp, around which
hundreds of coal-fires illuminated the horizon; they still
however refrained from making any attack.

The engagement which then ensued is characteristic of the
state of feeling. On the morning of the 28th a Scottish
officer, wearing a hat with a black feather, rode his horse
to the Tyne, in order to water it. An English musketeer,
seeing the Scot fix his eye upon the breastworks, could
not resist the temptation; he aimed well, and the officer
fell wounded from his horse. Upon this the Scottish
musketeers opened fire in return; both sides discharged
their artillery upon their opponents. But the camp of the
Scots was in a higher and stronger position than that          [A.D. 1640.]
of the English; they had also, without doubt, more
practised artillerymen, and the English found themselves
outmatched. But this was quite enough to bring the matter
to a crisis. The English troops in the entrenchments
complained that they had not been relieved from Newcastle
as they should have been; they murmured that they were
expected to do double duty. But they did not give vent to
their discontent in words alone. They gave ear for a few
minutes longer to the exhortations of their commander; but
when they found that they had the worst of it, and were
in danger from the Scottish artillery, they immediately
abandoned their works and threw away their weapons, not so
much from cowardice as from ill-humour excited by the war
and the bad arrangements which had been made. On this the
Scots, both horse and foot, under cover of their cannon,
crossed the Tyne. The English were then completely driven
from all their positions. On the next morning Lord Conway
abandoned Newcastle[186].

Not less significant was the manner in which this town was
taken possession of by the Scots, into whose hands, on the
retreat of the troops, it inevitably fell.

The leader of a troop of Scots, James Douglas, on
approaching the town found the magistrates at the bridge.
He told them that the Scots were come to speak with their
gracious King; that they carried in one hand a petition
in favour of their rights and religion, in the other the
sword, in order to defend themselves against the enemies
who placed themselves between them and their King; that
their hope was that their brethren of Newcastle would unite
themselves with them for the advantage of both churches
and kingdoms, and would, in the first place, allow them
supplies of provisions and ammunition. The mayor and
aldermen observed that such conduct was against their
duty; and that as the Scots were subjects of the same
sovereign as themselves, they hoped that no violence would
be employed against them. The Scots replied that that would
certainly be unavoidable if their requirements were not        [A.D. 1640.]
voluntarily satisfied. On the next day they occupied
the gates of the town, and encamped their cavalry in
them, while the infantry entrenched themselves upon the
neighbouring heights. They first took provisions and
munitions of war from the royal magazines; they then made
out a requisition; the inhabitants were compelled to accept
the Covenant, notwithstanding the fact that they were
Englishmen; whoever opposed them was treated as a public

It was remarked as a flagrant inconsistency in the conduct
of the Scots, that they continued to pray for the King in
their public worship, while at the same time they prayed
for the army which was advancing into the field against
him. But the whole nature of their rising was involved in
the same contradiction. While they were pressing forward
into England with arms in their hands, and were taking up a
strong position there, they still kept affirming that they
were loyal subjects, as their demands were founded on the
laws, and that even now they prayed for nothing but that
the King should take these demands into consideration and
grant them.

The royal army had meanwhile assembled in York. The Earl of
Strafford, who had undertaken the command, together with
the King, who himself was present with it, even appeared
not displeased to see the Scots invade England, as he
thought that such a proceeding would serve to rouse the
old English feeling of hatred against them. He reminded
the gentry of York of the old wars, of which the present
was, he said, merely a repetition: he said that religion
was only a pretext with the Scots; that their object was
rebellion and invasion. He declared that the law of nature,
reason, and the law of England demanded that they should
support the King with their persons and property against
them; to deny this would be ignorance, to hesitate would
be little less than treachery. He added, that they ought
not to allow the Scots to taste the superior advantages of
the English soil; that they must attach themselves to the
King’s cause, or run the risk of losing everything[187].

Strafford obstinately persisted in the line of policy which    [A.D. 1640.]
he had once taken up. He persisted in attributing to the
Scots those very intentions of which they declared their
horror. Even in the proclamation of the King the enterprise
of the Scots was described as a raid of freebooters, after
the fashion of former centuries[188]. The spiritual and
temporal lords were summoned in the style of former ages,
to join the King’s standard with the followers whom they
were bound to bring.

Strafford still hoped to put down the opponents of the
sovereign authority in both countries. He thought to bring
the strength of England into the field by the means which
formerly had been at the service of the crown; he intended
that the very revolt of the Scots should help him to subdue
them. A new battle of Flodden Field would have restored the
monarchy as it once existed, on both sides of the border.

No one will make any very heavy political charge against
Strafford on the score of his government of Ireland, or
of the partisan attitude which he had taken up in the
intestine struggle in England in general; for the ideas for
which he contended were as much to be found in the past
history of England as were those which he attacked. His
royalist principles are not without basis and elevation;
he at all events had no conscious intention of proceeding
to employ illegal violence. The greatest blame which falls
upon him is incurred by his behaviour during these days;
his mistake lay in wishing to treat England in the same
way as Ireland: but a past success is an evil counsellor
under circumstances which are entirely different; both
he and his sovereign were deficient in the sense of what
was practicable in England. While they in their zeal were
proceeding to the most extreme assertion of the prerogative
for which old precedent could be found, they were placed
in a position where such an assertion could no longer be
made with effect. For whatever may be the nature of laws,
they never can be executed unless, to a certain extent,
they are voluntarily accepted. Strafford’s most imprudent      [A.D. 1640.]
act was the prosecution of the war against Scotland, after
Parliament had refused to grant the subsidies necessary for
that object. However large the sums which the Lords might
contribute in accordance with the pledge which they had
given, it was clear that these would not suffice to carry
on a great war. But what resources were left when these
were exhausted?

In that case the King would have to depend principally on
the city of London. But this was the very place in which
the dominant system had provoked the greatest discontent:
nowhere were there more staunch supporters of parliamentary
government. A proof of this assertion may be found in
the tumult which broke out in the capital after the last
dissolution of Parliament, and was directed against the
Archbishop of Canterbury, who was threatened with death
by an excited multitude. These disturbances had been
quieted and their promoters punished; but placards were
constantly put up indicative of the same feelings. For
a long time the Archbishop did not venture to return to
Lambeth; he considered himself secure only in the King’s
palaces. The middle classes were excited rather than
disposed to compliance by a threat, which Strafford held
out, of attaching the silver in the Tower, or of raising
the value of the currency. The Lord Mayor and Aldermen
refused the King a loan which he requested, not because
they lacked money, but because it seemed dangerous to allow
the necessity of the consent of Parliament to be called
in question in this manner. The government turned to the
Common Council, before which Cottington laid the most
urgent representations: but his proposals were rejected
even by this body. Strafford indeed spoke of treason;
for the money, he said, was in hand, only people refused
to lend it to the King under the circumstances: but the
threats which he founded on these statements he was unable
to carry out; even in the Privy Council he met with firm
and well-grounded opposition to his proposals. Tonnage
and poundage, as usual, brought in a certain amount:
but ship-money was paid into the exchequer in smaller
quantities even than before. The sheriffs in vain gave the
necessary directions to the bailiffs of the hundreds: they
no longer took the matter up with any zeal, but returned       [A.D. 1640.]
empty-handed. In this embarrassment Charles I betook
himself to the East India Company, to which he proposed
that the spices which it had imported should be handed
over to the King, and sold on his account: but the Company
would not trust the King either with their wares or their
capital[189]. Foreign capitalists or governments were
then solicited in the King’s name. But the former, the
Genoese for instance, demanded securities which he could
not obtain for them, as they depended on the consent of
the city of London: and the latter were engrossed in their
own affairs. Application was secretly made to the French,
and the prospect of an advantageous treaty was held out
to them as a return for an adequate loan[190]: they were
told that, if only a French ambassador were present in
England, much might be effected in their interest. It is
true that at this moment the Scots were neither supported
nor even instigated by the French. But the latter were
still less inclined to help King Charles to gain an
advantage over Scotland. And what could possibly have been
expected from the Spanish monarchy, which just at that
time was plunged into the greatest difficulties? Whilst
Charles was quarrelling with his subjects, the French
had gained the mastery over the Spaniards: this was one
of the years which decided the ascendancy of the former
power on the Continent. But if there were no pecuniary
resources available, in what manner could such an army
as was required have been created? This deficiency was
the reason why the Earl of Northumberland declined the
command-in-chief which the King offered to him. The militia
called out in the different counties was guilty of acts of
violence which made its presence intolerable; and moreover
it displayed an insubordination that was unparalleled. In
some places the soldiers assaulted their officers; in
others they refused to embark in the ships destined for        [A.D. 1640.]
a descent on the Scottish coast: the government no longer
ventured to arm them. It was even found that the Archbishop
of Canterbury, whose hierarchical system the soldiers ought
to have maintained by their weapons, was insolently scorned
and mimicked by them. In the army assembled at York there
were no doubt trustworthy officers in considerable numbers,
but the common soldiers were not of this character. Neither
the Earl of Strafford nor the King ventured to lead their
troops against the Scots, and besides, their army was too
weak for a serious attack. They could not but expect such
events as those which had occurred in the entrenchments by
the river Tyne.

In the Privy Council misunderstandings and dissensions
broke out. Pembroke and Holland absented themselves on
different pretexts, in reality merely to avoid taking part
any longer in its deliberations.

Things had now come to a crisis: the springs which the
government had been accustomed to set in motion lost all
their elasticity. No one would any longer concern himself
about its designs and undertakings, about what it did
or left undone[191]: its commands and instructions had
no longer any hold: that free co-operation was withheld
without which a government can do nothing.

Not even among the Anglican clergy, whose cause the King
had intended to conduct, did any real agreement with his
system exist. The majority rejected the canons of the last
Convocation. There were formal reasons enough for such
rejection, as the Convocation had continued to sit after
the dissolution of Parliament; but the substance of the
canons were still more fatal to their acceptance. It was
thought dangerous for the crown itself that the doctrine of
the divine right of bishops was laid down in them, for how
easily, it was remarked, might that lead to the assertion
of a claim to independence! The oath demanded of the clergy
was refused on the ground that it was illegal and contrary
to the royal supremacy[192].

But if the clergy of the State Church were dissatisfied,       [A.D. 1640.]
what was to be expected from the dissenting clergy and
their supporters? The Puritans hailed the inroad of the
Scots and even their occupation of Newcastle as a victory.
For they thought that the King would now be forced to
convene a Parliament, and that that body would overthrow
the government, which had now drawn universal hatred upon
itself, and would restore the ancient rights and liberties
of England.


[181] ‘Sexte acte rescissory--it rescindes all former actes
of parliament, which grantes to the kirk or kirkmen the
priviledge of ryding and wotting in parliament;--nynthe
acte called statutarie, ordaining parliaments to be holdin
every three yeires.’ Balfour, Annals ii. 376.

[182] ‘The commons are slaves to the gentry.’ Hardwicke
Papers ii. 143.

[183] The statement given by Sanford in his ‘Studies and
Illustrations of the Great Rebellion’ 170, as a ‘new
account,’ and attributed to Lord Falkland, has already
been printed in Nalson ii. 477. It is a fragment from the
Memoirs of Lord Manchester, the complete publication of
which is much to be desired.

[184] Montereuil, July 12. ‘Il s’est engagé de faire
beaucoup de choses; le Marquis d’Hamilton, dont il est
parent, a été le premier auteur de sa liberté.’

[185] The intentions of the army of the Kingdome of
Scotland declaired to their Brethren of England; by the
Commissioners of the late Parliament, and by the Generall,
Noblemen, Barons and others, Officers of the Army. In
Spalding i. 321.

[186] Original information in Rushworth (who was himself in
the English camp) iii. 1238.

[187] The Earls of Strafford Speech: ‘You are no better
than beasts if you refuse in this case to attend the King.’
In Rushworth iii. 1235.

[188] ‘Cum quidam rebelles regni nostri Scotiae regnum
nostrum Angliae cum posse non modico hostiliter ingressi
sunt.’ From the King’s proclamation, in Rushworth.

[189] Giustiniano, Sept. 7: ‘Di procurare a credito dalla
compagnia dell’ India tutti li peveri, portate ultimamente
giunte che ascendono alle somme di 70 m. lire, a disegno di
farne poscia la vendita con discapito a mercanti.’

[190] Montereuil was informed in Cottington’s name, ‘Qu’on
avoit besoin de 3 ou 4 millions; si le roi prestoit cette
somme, pour en tirer quelque avantage de l’Ingleterre
et l’engager à quelque traité, c’estoit à la France de
proposer les conditions,’

[191] Montereuil, Aug. 23, 1640: ‘Pour n’avoir point de
part aux conseils auxquels il y a pen de plaisir de se
trouver présentement.’

[192] Sanderson to Laud, Sept. 13: ‘Multitudes of churchmen
not only of the precise sort whose dislike is less to be
regarded, because they will like nothing that is not of
their own devising, but even of such as are otherwise every
way regular and conformable.’ He laments ‘the disaffection
which is already too great in most of our people to all
public proceedings.’



In a sense quite different from that in which James
I thought to achieve the union of the two crowns and
kingdoms, was that union destined to be accomplished;
and already everything was smoothing the way thereto.
The special object of the first two Stuart kings was to
complete, on Tudor principles, the institutions of Church
and State in England, and to extend the same to Scotland.
But they had thereby awakened in the land of their birth a
spirit of resistance at once aristocratic and religious.
In direct opposition to the King, the Scots took up an
attitude of ecclesiastical and political independence,
which never was paralleled in any other monarchy. The King
hoped to crush the Scottish movement by the strength of
royal influence in England; but the consequences were the
very opposite, for the movement spread into England also.

When the Scots entered England their first and chief
demand was that the King should settle the home affairs
of Scotland; but they added two other demands which
concerned England as much as Scotland. They pressed for the
punishment of those who had caused the troubles, that is to
say, of the chosen counsellors of the King in matters both
spiritual and temporal, and also for the summoning of an
English Parliament, in which peace might be arranged.

They thus fully expressed the wishes of all the domestic
opponents of Charles I: no further extension of them was
necessary to imply the overthrow in England also of the
political system that had hitherto prevailed. On the
question how far the King would yield depended the future
of his government, of his own life, and of the two nations.



It seemed to be going back to an ancient long-forgotten
state of things, when in the English Privy Council,
which continued its sittings in the King’s absence, and
was anxiously discussing means of escape from existing
difficulties, the Earl of Manchester, Lord Privy Seal, a
man of great age and strong sense, though somewhat too fond
of precedent, proposed to renew at this juncture the old
institution of the Magnum Concilium, which had preceded the
formation of Parliament[193]. He recalled the times when
the advice of the peers, as the born counsellors of the
King, had roused the nation to great efforts. The objection
was urged that no assembly of the kind had taken place for
fully three hundred years: moreover that it would merely
be leading indirectly to what the Scots had demanded, the
summoning of a Parliament. Archbishop Laud did not like the
prospect, but, considering the probable results of calling
a Parliament, declared for the assembly of peers. The King
without hesitation accepted the proposal, and on September
7 issued writs, whereby he summoned the Peers of the realm
to York, ‘to take counsel with them about weighty and
serious matters touching the condition of the kingdom.’

The nation however was not satisfied; and the first cry for
the immediate convocation of a Parliament arose from among
the nobility themselves.

The government was somewhat alarmed to find that without
their previous knowledge a considerable number of peers
about this time assembled in London, most of whom were         [A.D. 1640.]
known to be bitterly hostile to the existing régime. There
were the Earls of Bedford and Hertford, whose forefathers
had won their fame by the share they had taken in
forwarding the thorough reformation of the Church (what had
become of the bishops, if the ideas of Protector Somerset,
the ancestor of Hertford, had maintained their ground?):
there were Essex, Warwick, the brother of Holland, who
fully agreed with them in general political sentiments,
Lord Mandeville, the son of Manchester, but belonging
to a totally different party from his father, Say and
Brooke, who had been the first to show that their views
were opposed to the King. After a short consultation they
agreed on a petition, in which they repeated the general
grievances of the last session of Parliament, and with
special emphasis insisted on those which had first come
to light since then, such as the newly imposed oath[194].
They laid great stress on the dangers arising from the
military preparations. The recusants, said they, are
forbidden by law even to have weapons in their houses,
and now high commands in the army are entrusted to them:
what misfortunes would happen if any Irish troops were
brought over to England--a fear which had seized on men’s
minds in consequence of the known views of Strafford, long
before his expressions had been thus interpreted. The Lords
declared that there was only one remedy for all these
evils, namely the immediate assembly of Parliament, which
was necessary in order to remove the grievances of the
people, to punish the originators of them for their several
offences, to end the war without bloodshed, and to unite
the two kingdoms against the common enemy of religion. It      [A.D. 1640.]
will be seen that these Lords, who had been named to the
Scots as guarantees that they would meet a favourable
reception in England, now, as might be expected, urged as
their own the chief demands of the Scots.

On the very day on which Charles I issued his summons for
the Magnum Concilium to meet at York, the two Earls of
Bedford and Hertford appeared in London before the Privy
Council, laid their petition before it, and moved for its
concurrence in their prayer. The Earls said that they
themselves were ready to pay true obedience to the King
under all circumstances, but that they could not answer
for the friends by whom they were commissioned, and that
if their request was rejected, they would not be held
answerable for the mischiefs that might ensue[195]. The
obvious question was asked, who were their associates:
and they replied, many other lords and a great part of
the gentry in all parts of the country. The news of the
summoning of the Great Council was communicated to them:
they received it without attaching much importance to
the fact, remarking that this council durst not take any
steps towards the granting of money, nor allow any injury
to the commons and their rights. Lord Arundel referred
to the religious portion of their petition, saying that
they seemed to wish to join the Scots for the purpose of
effecting a reform in the Church[196], but that the result
might be, under the pretext of liberty and religion to make
England a prey to the Scots. The two Earls were asked if
there was not already in England an association similar to
the Covenant: but this they denied.

Without doubt such was the situation;--it is true that no
popular religious union, either in England itself, or with
the Scots, was actually formed: still that did not prevent
the Scottish cause from being sure of general sympathy.        [A.D. 1640.]
Some saw in it the cause of God and of the only true
religion, which the Scottish army had come to defend:
others cared chiefly for the support which the presence
of the Scots afforded to their own political attitude: in
many both these motives for sympathy were united. From the
beginning down to the present day, the exact understanding
which had been entered into between the parties has
continued in the profoundest obscurity. Tradition connects
the memory of it, among other places, with Broughton
Castle in Oxfordshire, the seat of Lord Say, and Fawley
in Northamptonshire, the house of a son-in-law of John
Hampden: there a table was pointed out, at which all the
plans were concocted from which the civil troubles arose.
In London it was at the house of John Pym, near Gray’s Inn,
that the meetings were held and conferences took place,
by which, as it was assumed, a close connexion with the
Scots was maintained[197]. Moreover the well-considered
and well-written manifesto of the Scots made a marked
impression in their favour: it suggested points of view
which every one could accept. They did not omit, after
the capture of Newcastle, a place which was of the
utmost importance to the English capital on account of
the coal supply, to open communications with the city:
they expressed in a special letter, as well as in their
manifesto, their good-will and even their reverence for
London, assuring them that the traffic should not be for an
instant interrupted, their purpose being to make friends
and not enemies. We learn that this declaration produced
the desired effect[198].

After the step taken by the Lords, preparations were
immediately made in the city to present a petition similar
to theirs. The Privy Council sent a letter to the Lord
Mayor and Aldermen, warning them against this proceeding;
saying that the city had from the earliest times been
treated as the King’s chamber, even as his own house,          [A.D. 1640.]
to which he would entrust his wife and children[199]:
that they ought not to press him about grievances which
he was ever labouring to remove, and that this course was
inconsistent with the customs and charters of the city. But
the Aldermen refused to interfere: still less could they be
induced to do what was suggested to them--address to the
King a petition of contrary tenour[200]. These ideas of a
special connexion vanished before the general religious
and political motives of action in the Commons as well as
in the Lords. The King was requested, in the name of his
capital also, to summon a Parliament as soon as possible,
for the removal of grievances to which, as experience
proved, the usual course of justice did not extend.

This was the demand which had been repeated for more than
ten years in stronger or weaker language, which the King
had evaded as often as possible, but which nevertheless had
often been pressed upon him. Once he had taken steps in
that direction, in the hope that complications abroad might
in the interval occur to check opposition at home: but he
was most bitterly disappointed. Should he now after all
decide on this course? The need of Parliamentary aid was
more pressing than ever, the cry for a Parliament louder:
and the impression which this demand had made was deepened
by another motive, the fear of worse consequences in case
of refusal. The idea gained ground that if the King delayed
to call a Parliament, the associated Lords would take steps
towards that end[201]. A Parliament had already been held
in Scotland without the King’s participation. What else
did the threats mean that Bedford and Hertford had uttered
before the assembled Privy Council? It was asserted that
the Queen, who was close at hand at Hampton Court, and was
taking counsel on the state of affairs with her confidants
in the Privy Council, had been induced by the impending        [A.D. 1640.]
dangers to advise the King to summon Parliament
immediately; and if he would not do this--so she was
reported to have written with the concurrence of some of
the ministers--that at least he should not lose an instant
in returning to London, otherwise irreparable disasters
would be imminent[202]. Hereupon the King adopted the
resolution which of all others was most repugnant to him,
and that immediately; no extraneous influence could have
led him to it. The time-honoured course of constitutional
deliberation appeared under the circumstances to promise
the best results: people flattered themselves that the
Earl of Strafford would exhibit his parliamentary talents
in England also. That nothing might interfere with his
presence in the English Parliament, the Irish, in which he
was equally necessary, was prorogued to Easter. The English
Parliament was to be held as early as possible: the opening
was fixed for Nov. 3.

With this declaration the King met the peers when they
gathered round him at York in the latter half of September:
the great question had already been decided without them.
Charles I claimed their assistance in two other matters
which, though secondary to this, were in themselves of
great consequence--to bring about an accommodation with the
Scots, and (inasmuch as until this could be effected the
royal army must be held together, without any Parliamentary
grant being made for its maintenance) to procure him the
means of keeping the army for a time in an efficient state.

The latter of these two points was the most pressing. There
was a talk of compulsory loans after the fashion of the old
benevolences: some of those present declared themselves
ready to make considerable efforts of that kind: but at
last they came back to the idea of trying to get a loan in
the capital. Lord Bristol observed that, as the previous       [A.D. 1640.]
proposal for one had been rejected through political
misgivings, since removed through the issue of writs for a
Parliament, they might now reckon on acceptance. Six of the
peers, among whom we find Pembroke and Manchester, in the
name of the remainder repaired to the city on this errand.
After they had conferred with the Lord Mayor and aldermen,
a meeting was held on October 2, not of the entire civic
body, a thing which was purposely avoided, but of the full
common council. It had been rumoured in the city that their
last petition had been badly received by the King: the
Lords contradicted this report, and declared themselves
fully satisfied with the behaviour and with the latest
resolves of the King. The objection was urged that they
could not grant to the Lords what had been refused to the
King, but they produced a letter from the King in which he
expressed his full assent to this course. The necessity for
keeping on foot the royal army was shown by the violence of
which the Scots had been guilty in the northern counties.
The Bishop of Durham, who had suffered most at their hands,
was present to give information on the subject. After the
Lords had retired their request was assented to[203]. So
much trouble did it cost to obtain a loan of £200,000,
the repayment of which was to depend on the grants of
Parliament, but was further secured to the city by the
guarantee of the Lords.

It remained to make some arrangement with the Scots. For
this purpose the most favourably disposed of the lords,
especially the signers of the address, were despatched
to Ripon. Men like Strafford could desire nothing more
than that the affair should reach this stage: they were
always hoping that a complete knowledge of the intentions
and demands of the Scots would induce all old-fashioned
Englishmen to combine against them. All actual negotiation
was however stopped by the question of money: the Scots
required that their army should be maintained at the cost      [A.D. 1640.]
of England. On this account they asked so large a sum,
£40,000 a month, that the lords who had been deputed to
meet them thought it necessary to refer the matter back to
the great council of peers at York. By this council the
subject was debated at length on October 6. Among others,
Lord Herbert of Cherbury, the historian of Henry VIII,
declared himself emphatically against the demand, saying
that he had read now and then of buying treaties of peace,
but never of buying negotiations, the result of which was
still as it were in the air. Others declared it to be an
inevitable necessity: they must either drive the Scots
back, or grant their demands in full. The first course
Strafford himself deemed impossible; he pledged himself to
defend Yorkshire against them, but not Westmoreland and
Cumberland[204]. Could they abandon these two counties to
be occupied by the Scots, and probably plundered as well,
together with those already in their hands? It had been
said that the Scottish army might be reduced, and then
supplied out of Scotland: but in order to attain this they
must first defeat it, and for this must before all things
be unanimous. It was determined at last to guarantee to
the Scots for the future the sum (£850) which they exacted
daily from the occupied districts, this money to be raised
at once from the neighbouring counties of Westmoreland and
Cumberland, with the promise that Parliament would make
good to them whatever they might do for the safety of the
kingdom. On these terms a truce was signed with the Scots.
They stayed in England, and thus the very extraordinary
result followed, that two armies which had been intended
to fight each other, remained facing each other with their
swords sheathed, both at the cost of the same authority.
That both armies thus depended on the grants of Parliament
rendered that body absolutely indispensable, and gave it a
necessary strength sufficient to overrule the King’s will.

In general terms it may be said that the summoning of
Parliament implied the defeat of the King. His system of
alliance between the crown and the hierarchy was thereby       [A.D. 1640.]
virtually overthrown. Between the ideas of the Scottish
spiritual and temporal assemblies which he combated, and
the tendencies which had caused him to dissolve the last
English Parliament, as well as previous ones, a league
was formed which thenceforth held the upper hand, and
threatened to dictate the law to him. The question was
merely how far the restrictions would extend, to which he
must undoubtedly submit, and what changes in the State
would be attempted in consequence.

In the elections which now began preference was given
in general to those who had most zealously opposed the
existing authorities, or were known as the most ardent
Protestants. There were no such boards in London as
in Edinburgh, formed on purpose to manage elections
systematically. But those who were of one mind were seen
to hasten from county to county, in order to exert their
influence in each to the utmost. On the side of the
government also a list was prepared: the King claimed the
aid of the chief lords in his service, such as Pembroke,
in support of his candidates in the boroughs: and some
names show that this attempt was not altogether fruitless.
But the efforts of the popular party were by far the most
successful[205]. Of the members of the last Parliament
three-fifths--294 out of 493--were re-elected. Moreover the
new members belonged almost entirely to the popular party.
Of those who had already won a reputation on this side, not
one failed.


[193] Memorial, in the Hardwicke State Papers ii. 168.

[194] Unfortunately the petition, like so many other
documents, is very badly printed. In the Record Office
copy it is not ‘grievances, which your poor petitioners
lie under,’ but more correctly, ‘which your people lies
under.’ The concluding words run, ‘The uniting [not ‘the
continuance,’ which makes little sense] of both your
kingdoms against the common enemy of their [not ‘the’]
reformed religion.’ The thing most wanted for this history
is a trustworthy critical edition of the chief authorities.
Even the signatures are not certain. The Record copy gives
at the head the name of Rutland, which is wanting in the
rest. In the same copy the name of Bristol is wanting,
which undoubtedly appears wrongly in most editions. It was
wanting also in the copy on which the Clarendon Papers were
based. Windebank says that he was present, Clarendon Papers
ii. 115.

[195] Protocol: Bedford was very shy of doing anything
without those by whom he was authorised.

[196] So says the Protocol, which is extant in the State
Paper Office, and well deserves to be printed. We find
especially ‘the end and conclusion very strange, to desire
the Scots to joyne in the reformation of religion.’
Windebank on the same day furnished a report to the King:
some points he added, and omitted others.

[197] Forster, Statesmen iii. 126.

[198] Giustiniano 12/22 Sett: ‘Il tenore di queste
artificiose lettere che si va da per tutto spargendo,
accresce motivo d’alteratione contro ministri et a ribelli
sostenta il favore delli primi applausi.’

[199] ‘Honoured from all antiquitie with the title of his
majesty’s own chambre.’ Letter of the Privy Council, 11
Sept. in Rushworth iii. 1262.

[200] Windebank to the King, 18 Sept. Clarendon Papers ii.

[201] We see from Giustiniano, 15 Sept., that the rumour
was, that in a memorial to the King the formal threat had
been expressed, ‘di chiamarlo (il parlamento) da se stessi.’

[202] ‘Di tale ardita resolutione--penetrate dalla regina
e da ministri le piu particolari notitie ha mandati in
diligenza gli avvisi al re consigliandolo a ridursi
celeremente in questa citta per divertire quei pregiuditti
che ben grandi gli sono irreparabilmente minacciati, quando
non si disponga di convocare senza intervallo di momenti il
parlamento.’ (Giustiniano, ib). Montereuil (4 Oct.) also
heard of the Queen’s influence (‘que la reine y ait fort
porté’) on the summoning of Parliament.

[203] ‘These things made such impression on them, that we
discerned as they satt, how well they were disposed--so
that we came about.’ So it is stated in the report of the
Lord Privy Seal and Chamberlain, dated October 3, in the
State Paper Office, a document which is the more welcome
since Windebank’s letter about these proceedings, to which
he himself refers, is not in the Clarendon collection.

[204] The obscure words of the protocol in Hardwicke, State
Papers ii. 247, are explained by the note of Sir Henry
Vane, p. 196.

[205] Pamphlet of 1643 on the elections of 1640: ‘We
elected such as were not known to us by any virtue, but
only by crossness to superiors.’ Montereuil reports about
the same time that the elections had begun ‘par le choix
des personnes, que l’on croit moins portées à favoriser le
roi d’Angleterre.’



On the morning of November 3, 1640, the Lord Steward
appeared in the vestibule of St. Stephen’s chapel, which
since the Reformation had served as the place of meeting
for the Lower House. The clerk of the crown called over
the names of the members, who took the oaths of allegiance
and supremacy at the hands of the Lord Steward or his
deputies appointed for the purpose. An hour after midday
the King, who had come in a barge from Whitehall, landed
close to Westminster bridge. After hearing a sermon in the
Abbey, he opened Parliament with a speech in the House of
Lords, which the Commons attended. When the latter had
returned to their own house, and taken their seats, the
Treasurer of the King’s household nominated as Speaker a
young barrister, named William Lenthall. He was accepted
with general acclamation, and then conducted by the
Treasurer and one of the secretaries to his chair, a few
feet in front of the chapel window, opposite the places
of the members, which rose in two ranks one behind the
other[206]. The government had at an earlier period thought
of designating as Speaker one of their own supporters,
but in spite of all their efforts had failed to secure
his election. It may be assumed that the hearty reception
accorded to the new Speaker did not so much apply to him,
since he was as yet little known, as express a sense of the
advantage gained through the rejection of the other.

It was remarked with displeasure and dissatisfaction that
the King came to the opening of Parliament, not with the
pomp of a splendid cavalcade, but in a plain barge, just       [A.D. 1640.]
as if a session were being opened after a prorogation[207],
and in fact this corresponded with his feelings and
language. He referred in his speech to the previous
Parliament, and now as then entered immediately on
the questions of the Scottish war, and the redress of
grievances. The difference however between the two
occasions was most marked and complete. The King no longer
claimed precedence for the question of supplies for the
war: he left it to Parliament to decide which of the two
subjects it would take up first. But it was his wish and
hope to direct their attention before everything to getting
rid of the Scots from English territory: for the pressure
which weighed on the northern counties, the welfare and
honour of the whole country, rendered this absolutely
necessary. To the same effect spoke the Lord Keeper
Finch; he brought vividly forward the innovations of the
Scots, which were opposed to the fundamental laws of the
realm, and to monarchical institutions. As it had excited
some remark that the King had directly called the Scots
rebels, he deemed it advisable, a couple of days later, to
explain himself in a second speech[208], without however
withdrawing what he had said. On this second occasion he
expressed again his expectation that the Lords would help
him to bring his Scottish subjects to reason--for such in
any case they were, though rebels so long as they were in
England--and to send them back into their own country,
whether they would or no. The Lords seemed to assent to
this. The Scottish commissioners had come to London, and
a conference between the Lords and the Lower House would
shortly be necessary, in order, as they requested, to settle
in Parliament terms of accommodation with them. After a few    [A.D. 1640.]
days the Lords actually proposed such a conference, but
the Commons declared that they were at present too busy
with other weighty matters.

Among the latter the King roused at once the liveliest
opposition when he urged in harsh language the removal
of the Scots. It was through the attitude of the Commons
in the last Parliament that the expedition of the Scots
had been undertaken. The whole course of events, the
convocation of another Parliament, originated in the
advance of the Scots into England. How could the Lower
House, which held the Scottish cause to be its own, have
declared against them?

Without paying any attention to the King’s wish to
undertake or to decide on some measure against the Scots,
the Commons, as soon as they had despatched the first
formal business, began the discussion of grievances, with
the intention not merely of removing them, but also of
punishing their authors. The first sitting in which this
took place, that of November 7, is specially remarkable for
the feelings then exhibited.

First, John Hampden submitted a complaint about the
cruelties which had been perpetrated in consequence of a
refusal to pay ship-money, for which he made the Lord Chief
Justice and Judges of the King’s Bench answerable. Next was
mentioned the far grosser ill-treatment which Bastwick and
Burton had suffered at the hands of the spiritual tribunal.
The reply which the King’s servants made, that this was a
matter of State, in which they must first enquire of the
King, was met by a reminder that the King had already given
them leave to enquire into abuses. It was resolved that
Burton and Bastwick should be summoned before Parliament
to plead their own cause. Then the member for Hertford
presented a petition from that county, in which the chief
grievances that had come before the last Parliament were
repeated. The county prayed not merely for the removal
of them, but for the discovery and punishment of their
authors. Harbottle Grimstone, member for Colchester, who
had once expiated in prison his resistance to a loan for
Charles I, called to remembrance the disappointments
which had befallen the members of the last Parliament.         [A.D. 1640.]
‘But what good,’ cried he, ‘have our complaints or our
petitions ever done? The judges have overthrown the law,
and the bishops religion.’ The same tone was adopted by
men of generally moderate opinions. Benjamin Rudyard
inveighed against the King’s counsellors, who, while they
talked of his service, really sought nothing but their own
interest; who by their conduct caused confusion, and then
used that very confusion as a pretext for measures seven
times worse than the previous ones. Francis Seymour, the
brother of Hertford, added that no man could any longer
endure the present state of things, without being false to
the duty which he owed not merely to the King but also to
his country. The assembly had thus been brought into such
a state of violent agitation coupled with self-confidence,
as might naturally result from the knowledge of having
suffered wrongs, and of being in a position to terminate
them, when John Pym, who had already spoken once, rose for
the second time to make a general reply.

John Pym belonged to the school of Coke and Cotton, which
desired to see the parliamentary rights that had been won
in Plantagenet times re-established in England. In previous
Parliaments he had appeared as one of the leading opponents
of monopolies, and other exercises of prerogative. James
I had remarked with dislike his imperious and unyielding
spirit. Moreover he like others was actuated by Calvinistic
zeal for that exclusive Protestantism which he regarded
as the only form of religion tolerated by law in England.
He had at all times contended not only against financial
extortion, but also against the favour which Catholic
tendencies found, and had more than once had to encounter
the King’s vengeance in consequence. When Parliaments were
no more held, and judicial decisions legalised ship-money,
the hope of accomplishing any good in England seems to have
failed in him as in others: we find his name among those
who were directing their gaze to the shores beyond the
Atlantic, and the colonies to be planted there. It does
not appear certain whether he or his friends had actually
formed the purpose of emigrating; but there is no doubt
that he, and other like-minded members of the nobility         [A.D. 1640.]
and gentry, took part in the commercial intercourse with
Providence, and had acquired possessions in Massachusetts.
George Fenwick, the agent of Lords Say and Brooke, for a
long time would allow no settlement in their districts; he
kept them vacant for the owners, who might at any moment
be expected to arrive[209]. Then came the troubles in
Scotland. The same sentiments which drove Winthrop and
his friends to America, now kept Pym and his associates
in England. The former gave way when the ecclesiastical
tyranny of Laud became unendurable to them: the latter,
when the first commotion began, seized on the hope of
freeing England also from it. The ideas of the Scots
were of a very similar type: rigid Calvinism in doctrine
pervaded all, together with demands for independence in
the Church, and a political constitution which should
secure this. The English and Scottish movements and the
emigration to America sprang from one and the same source.
Among those who promoted the union between England and
Scotland John Pym stands foremost. Through him above all
men it came to pass that the Parliament of the spring
of 1640, instead of voting subsidies against Scotland,
brought into prominent notice the English grievances of
like character. Thereupon followed the rising in arms of
the Scots, and a general ferment in England. John Pym
instigated the popular petitions demanding a Parliament:
he prepared and directed the elections: he was in fact
often pointed out as the author of this Parliament. At
all times a declared enemy of Spain, he had no objection
to enter into alliance with the French, whose interests
were identical with those of England[210]. His peculiar
talent lay in combining opposites, and directing towards
one end movements which were remote from one another. Pym
was no rigorous Puritan: he loved cheerful conviviality:
occasionally, in street ballads or violent lampoons, he is
accused of irregularities of conduct. But from the time
when he reached the point which made political influence       [A.D. 1640.]
possible for him, he gave his whole heart to the task he
had set himself. Personal considerations swayed him not;
the interests of his family were of no weight with him; he
died in debt: from earliest dawn till late into the night
he laboured for his end. Other men could but follow him,
or hate him from the bottom of their hearts[211]. Through
the force of the ideas of which he was the champion, he is
for all time a man of great historical importance: through
the zeal and good fortune with which he acted, he gained an
unique political position. He was the representative of the
opposition in the old Parliament, and of the alliance with
the Scots which characterised the new. He could reckon on
producing a great impression by every word he spoke.

In parliamentary assemblies the most influential speeches
will be, not those which approach most nearly to the ideal
of classical eloquence, but those which best correspond
to the education and mental tendencies prevalent at the
time. Pym’s speeches, as has been observed, move in the
fetters of scholastic distinctions: but that was the
form in which men of that epoch were wont to think, in
consequence of the style and method of teaching then in
vogue. They are solid, energetic, and altogether calculated
to win acceptance for the conclusions to which they point.
On this occasion he entered in more detail than before
into the source and nature of the evils from which England
was suffering. He attributed them to the violence of the
spiritual and perversion of the temporal courts, above
all to the contempt for the privileges of Parliament and
the favour shown to Papists, even in military employment.
He illustrated each of his positions by quoting piquant,
pertinent, and sensational particulars, in order to support
the conclusion that a plan had been formed for altering
and destroying piecemeal, not merely the established
religion, but also the constitutional form of government.
This, he said, was not only treason, but the greatest of
all imaginable treasons: it touched alike the King and the     [A.D. 1640.]
kingdom[212]. To direct the general zeal towards the
discovery and punishment of the authors of these treasons
and their accomplices was the special object of his words,
and he attained it fully.

The majority of the Lower House besides was strongly
inclined to exclusiveness. They would endure no one in
the House who had shared in the exaction of the last
imposts, no monopolist, no projector, above all no one who
was prevented by his creed from joining in the Eucharist
according to the Anglican ritual. The Lower House could
not be regarded as an assembly of lawgivers who intended
to establish the principles of equal justice for all:
their hostility to the royal prerogative led them rather
to endeavour to renew, with other laws, those statutes
against the Catholics which had been passed in the hottest
times of the religious contest. All breaches of positive
law, according to their understanding of it, they were
resolved to punish as offences, without any regard to royal
prerogative. Everything breathed a decidedly aggressive
spirit. In parliamentary meetings of the leading members
this course was systematically planned, and the resolution
taken that the Lower House should act as a sort of high
court of enquiry for the kingdom. While it was thought
expedient to combine all grounds of complaint in one great
remonstrance, it was generally agreed to spare the King,
to ignore his personal share, and always to mention his
name with respect[213]. All the blame was to be cast on his
advisers. They went through the list of men who had most
participated in the misgovernment, in the Privy Council,
on the episcopal and judicial benches, finding many who
might be held criminally responsible, and ending with the
special confidential advisers of the King, the junta by
which affairs had been managed hitherto, and against which
both kingdoms had common grounds of complaint. Hence one
of the hardest and weightiest questions of parliamentary
life came again to the front. When James I and Charles
raised their favourites to the highest posts, so that men
who were their mere personal dependants wielded the whole
power of the State, we have seen already how often and how     [A.D. 1640.]
zealously both Lords and Commons resisted such
inclinations. Charles I was always extremely sensitive
on this point: more than once parliaments were dissolved
because they harped on this topic. For a long time Charles
I had ceased to have any personal favourites, but the
leading members of his government identified themselves
with his absolutist and anti-parliamentary policy. It must
be left undecided whether the schemes of the administration
originated chiefly with the King or his ministers: they
were agreed in the idea of a government to be carried
on essentially through prerogative. This intimate
connexion between the royal authority and the holders of
administrative power decided the leaders of the Parliament
to begin operations by an attack on the ministers. Not
that they were convinced that the ministers had in fact
acted independently of the King, and merely covered with
his name their own wills and purposes; but a few great
examples would re-establish the right which Parliament had
enjoyed in early centuries, and sometimes exercised in
later times, to bring men of the highest position before
its tribunal, to subject the administration to its control,
and render it responsible. On this very ground King Charles
had avoided convoking parliaments, because he feared the
reappearance of this demand, which touched the very sources
of his power, the means by which the general direction of
affairs devolve on the crown. Now however in the course of
events a Parliament was assembled in which his opponents
had the upper hand: what was to prevent a return to the
policy of earlier Parliaments? No one as yet entertained,
at any rate consciously, the purpose of overthrowing the
monarchy; but it was intended to confine its operations
within narrow limits, and to ensure the preponderance of
the parliamentary over the royal authority. They wished too
to destroy the ministers, to take vengeance on those whom
they had hitherto been compelled to fear, from whom they
had suffered personal wrongs: it was now the ministers’
turn to experience a reverse of fortune, and feel the power
of their enemies.

No one was better qualified to lead the attack than John
Pym, who had himself announced it in the above-mentioned
speech. As in former years he had contended against            [A.D. 1640.]
Cranfield at the side of Buckingham, then against the
latter himself, so too it was well remembered, at least
by members of Parliament, with what effect he had battled
against Montague and Manwaring[214].

At the time that Wentworth deserted the popular party,
Pym is said to have told him that he was going headlong
to destruction. This was the man who now for a long time
had most thoroughly personified royalist tendencies: on
him the first and decisive attack must be made. Pym had
for some time been preparing to bring about the fulfilment
of his own prediction. When therefore, at the beginning
of the appointment of committees, Pym proposed that the
affairs of Ireland should be debated in a committee of the
whole house, every one saw what his object was. The friends
of the Viceroy demanded a separate committee. But the
majority on which Pym could reckon when it came to actual
impeachment, were on his side in the preliminary question
also: by a trifling majority, but still in legal form, the
resolution was adopted that the whole house should form the
committee on Irish affairs.

It has always excited surprise that Wentworth Earl of
Strafford appeared in Parliament at all. For even if he
could have deceived himself so far as not to believe
that impeachment and danger to his life awaited him, yet
obviously he would have been much safer with the army, or
in Ireland, or abroad. It has been said that he represented
the whole case to the King[215], but that the latter, who
still thought himself strong enough to protect his friends
under all circumstances, reassured him, and requested his       [A.D. 1640]
presence on the ground that he could not dispense with his
advice. We need not however believe that Strafford trusted
to this assurance. He knew full well, and avowed the
knowledge, that there was a necessity which overruled the
King’s good-will, for owing to the presence of the Scottish
army he was in a measure at the mercy of the Puritans.
But his friends implored him to come, in order to prevent
blunders and follies such as had already been committed.
Very unwillingly he tore himself away from Wodehouse, his
country seat: but he desired to obey the King’s wish,
and not to be untrue to his party. Moreover he had some
confidence in his cause: it is asserted that he had in his
hands proofs of an alliance between his enemies and the
Scots which could be construed as treason, and that he
intended to found thereon an impeachment against them.

Accusation against accusation: but the one depended on the
notions of old English loyalty; the other had as its motive
and aim the idea of parliamentary government: the former
treated as high treason the alliance with the Scots, the
latter the war against them. Their opposition corresponded
to that between the chief combatants, and the principles
embraced by each. Had the King obtained the upper hand in
the field, perhaps the first might have prevailed: but
after he had sustained a political defeat, the success of
the second became more probable.

Strafford came to London on November 10, and that evening
had an audience at Whitehall: next morning he appeared in
the Upper House to take his seat, and then repaired again
to Whitehall. There he was informed that the Commons were
busy with an impeachment against him: he replied that
he would look his enemies in the face. On this morning,
the 11th, the chamber in which the Commons assembled was
closed and the key laid on the table, in order that no one
might absent himself, and no stranger might come into the
house. All other business was set aside, in order that the
house might devote itself to the impeachment of Strafford.
A committee of seven members, among whom were Pym and
Hampden, was deputed to draw it up: after their draft had
been approved, Pym himself was appointed to carry it to the
Upper House. At the head of about three hundred members he      [A.D. 1640]
appeared before them: ‘My Lords,’ said he, ‘in the name
of the Commons of Parliament and of the country I impeach
Thomas Earl of Strafford, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, of
high treason. I am commissioned to request that he be
removed from Parliament and committed to prison.’ The Lords
had come to no conclusion when Strafford, with haughty and
lowering demeanour, entered the house and went towards his
seat. In the morning he had been received by every one
with respect, now a hollow murmur greeted him. He might
have intended to take part in the debate, and so have the
opportunity of at once taking his own line, but he was
obliged to retire into the antechamber until a resolution
was taken respecting him. The Upper House could not well do
otherwise than assent to the request of the Commons. The
Viceroy, who in the morning was regarded by most men as
lord and master of the executive power of England, was seen
in the afternoon to kneel at the bar of the Upper House,
and in obedience to the commands which he there received,
follow the gentleman-usher to his house as a prisoner[216].

Prosecution was now of necessity directed also against
the man whom the English and Scottish Puritans regarded
as the source of those torrents of destruction which had
overflowed the Church, Archbishop Laud. On December 18 an
impeachment for high treason against him was laid before
the Upper House, and his arrest ordered. Rising from prayer
in his chapel, he entered the barge which was to carry him
to the Tower: he was confident of so defending himself
before Parliament as to make the justice of his cause
obvious; but had this been more irreproachable than it was,
he had as little chance of making it prevail, before a
Parliament such as was then assembled, as the Puritans had
had before his own spiritual tribunals.

Inferior in external dignity, but not less important in
fact, was the office of Secretary Windebank, who, as his
letters show, exercised much influence over the King,
and enjoyed the confidence of the Queen: he was not only
favourable to Spain, like Strafford, but also inclined          [A.D. 1640]
towards Catholicism. The chief articles of an impeachment
against him were already drawn up. His impending arrest
was a danger not merely to himself, but to all who were
associated with him: it was feared that in the proceedings
against Strafford and Laud he would be compelled to give
evidence which would destroy them utterly. With one of his
subordinates who knew as much as himself, he avoided arrest
by flight into France: he had a pass from the King[217].
The French minister hastened to warn his government against
him, as a very suspicious person.

Meanwhile the impeachment against John Lord Finch had
been prepared by examination of the judges, over whom he
had exercised illegitimate influence in the matter of
ship-money. His friends prevailed so far that he was first
heard once more in his defence. Quitting the woolsack in
the Upper House, in his official dress, the great seal of
the kingdom, with the bag which held it, in his hand, he
appeared before the Commons. The excuses which he alleged
were not positively false: moreover he was able to plead
some attempts to defend and shelter the preachers. These
actions, the beauty and eloquence of his language, and his
tone of submission, won him a certain amount of sympathy.
Nevertheless impeachment and imprisonment would undoubtedly
have been his lot, had not his friends succeeded in
interposing sufficient delay to allow of his also taking to
flight. He sent the great seal secretly to the king, and
took ship for Holland[218].

Thus the men to whose hands had been committed all the
chief offices of state in the army, the Church, the law,
foreign affairs, were banished or imprisoned: in one way
or another Parliament proceeded further to make sure of
the most interested judges, the most confidential friends
of Strafford, the most active bishops. All those who had
taken a consenting and active part in the government saw        [A.D. 1640]
themselves personally threatened. Not only a change of
persons, but an alteration of the mode of government had to
be achieved: there was a complete and systematic revolution
of principles. It was now definitely established that
Parliamentary privilege was the fundamental law of the
realm, and that every infringement of it, although with the
King’s approval, should be punished as a crime. Henceforth
there was a change in the power, an offence against which
constituted high treason: formerly it was the King, now it
was the entire Parliamentary body. In their hands was the
sword of vengeance: the victims of the Star Chamber were
set free, the members of the tribunal impeached.

Sundry resolutions corresponding to this idea were
adopted by Parliament; for instance, in relation to
ship-money[219], which was declared contrary to the laws
of the realm, to the private rights of subjects, and to
previous statutes. Care was taken to restore to those who
had paid them the last raised contributions, which were
still in the hands of the sheriffs. This gave the bench of
judges greater security against arbitrary dismissal. But as
the chief source of the evil was seen to lie in the long
intermission of Parliaments and their abrupt dissolution,
the most special care was directed towards making this
impossible. The general feeling was that they could never
long reckon on the good behaviour of the ministers unless
the rod of responsibility was always hung over them, that
otherwise their arbitrary power would in a short time
grow again like Samson’s hair, and that the only means
of keeping good ministers lay in the frequent repetition
of Parliaments[220]. Demands similar to those of which
the Scots had set the example, were made in England also,
that Parliament should meet every three years. Neither
the power to convoke nor the power to dissolve it was to
be left entirely to the King’s pleasure. It was resolved
that if the King had not summoned a Parliament before
September 3 of the third year, the peers of the realm were
to issue the necessary writs in the King’s name: should         [A.D. 1641]
they prove dilatory, the sheriffs of the counties and
mayors of the towns were to order the elections: and in
case even these did nothing, the burgesses and freeholders
might come to the poll unsummoned. On the same principle
Parliament was neither to be dissolved nor prorogued until
the session had lasted fifty days, without the assent of
both Houses.

These proposed enactments met with some opposition from
the Lords: but as they involved interests common to both
Houses, they passed that House also. We are assured that
the King was fully sensible of the injurious effect which
these measures must have on himself[221]: he foresaw that
the censorship to which his ministers and himself would be
subjected every three years must destroy the freedom of
his designs, and limit his authority over the people. When
the bill was presented to him he showed himself extremely
unwilling to accept it. But an outspoken refusal once
before had stopped all further negotiations: moreover there
was a feeling at court that it would have been better for
the King himself if his ministers had had no option in this
respect. Charles I was induced to give way on February 16;
the clerk of the Parliament was instructed to utter the old
Norman formula, ‘Le roi le veut.’

Among those who originally were doomed to destruction was
Hamilton: but at the crisis when the Scots penetrated into
England a change of policy was observed in him. Though
formerly he had recommended extreme measures, he was not
prepared to risk his life for them. He now recommended the
King to grant the demands of the Scots, and entered into
an alliance with their leaders, his former opponents, and
with the lords of the opposition party. By his mediation
the most conspicuous of the latter, Bedford and Hertford,
Essex, Mandeville, Saville, Say, as well as Bristol,
were admitted into the Privy Council, thereby obtaining
a certain share in the administration. It was generally
believed at the time that this suggestion proceeded from
the Scots, who desired to see their friends in the King’s       [A.D. 1641]
council, in order to ensure the granting of their
demands. The court based on it the prospect of a better
understanding with the Parliament. Hamilton had at first
some difficulty, but ultimately the King once more obeyed
the voice to which for some years he had been wont to pay
special attention[222].

On the whole we may suppose that the King under this
influence cherished the idea of conducting a Parliamentary
government, and, since his late ministers had fallen, of
trying to work it through members of the opposition. But
circumstances were such that very little could be achieved
by means of a mere change of ministry. The restraints
imposed on the King meant far more than mere alterations
in form: the principle from which they sprang touched the
vital point of his power. And the tendencies of a totally
different nature and extent which were exhibited in the
spirit both of members of Parliament and of the people were
such that no accommodation with them was possible.


[206] Journal of the House of Commons ii.

[207] Giustiniano, Nov. 9. ‘Risolutione la quale--palesa a
sudditi, d’avere acconsentito alla convocatione costretto
delle sole violenze dell’ inimico.’ Clarendon, Reb. Book
ii. Guizot, Book iii.

[208] The editing of these speeches in Rushworth and in the
Parliamentary History leaves much to be desired. In the
second speech the King is made to say, ‘when I called my
Lords and Great ones at York,’ although ‘Great ones’ is not
an English political phrase. The King really said ‘when I
called the lords of my great counsel to York:’ he accuses
the Scots, because they ‘did cavil a delay,’ not merely
‘delay.’ As has before been said, all these important
documents require to be better edited.

[209] Hutchinson, Massachusetts Bay i. 64. Garrard to
Strafford, December 1637. Letters ii. 191.

[210] Montereuil: ‘J’ay entretenu longtems le Sr. Pimme:
il me doit tenir bien informé de tout qui se passera au
parlement, où il m’a témoigné qu’il seroit bien aise
de servir en même temps son pais et la France, dont il
reconnoit que les interêts sont unis.’

[211] ‘All men who knew him either loved or hated him in

[212] ‘Their designs walk on four feet.’ He added a fifth
foot, like the Assyrian monsters. The outline of his
speech was known already from Nalson i. 495. There is now
also the information from D’Ewes’ Journal, in Sanford’s

[213] Narrative in Sanford, 307. There is a notice in May
to the same effect.

[214] Montereuil speaks of him as ‘fort éloquent et de
grand credit parmi le peuple, un de ceux qui parlèrent avec
plus de hardiesse dans de dernier parlement.’

[215] The information comes from Whitelocke’s Memorials,
not a really independent authority for these years. It is
chiefly compiled from Sanderson, from which Whitelocke
has extracted at this place the notice of the evil omen
derived from the choice of the day. Sanderson is silent
about Strafford’s letter, which Whitelocke quotes. On the
contrary, he makes him confer with his friends on the way,
and form his determination on the ground that he intended
to impeach his opponents. ‘He himself had digested his
intelligence into the form of an impeachment.’ Strafford’s
frame of mind is shown in a letter of Nov. 5. Fairfax,
Correspondence ii. 52.

[216] Contemporary narrative, in Sanford 312.

[217] State Trials iv. 44. Montereuil: ‘Deux raisons l’ont
obligé à sortir d’Angleterre, l’une pour se sauver du
danger qui le menaçoit, l’autre pour ne point contribuer
à la perte de ses amis, l’archevesque de Canterbury et le
Lieutenant d’Irlande, comme il eut fait asseurement, s’il
cust été obligé de déposer contre eux.’

[218] From a narrative proceeding from Clarendon, but
afterwords not inserted by him in his historical work,
given by Seward and in the State Trials iv. 18.

[219] Parliamentary History ix. 42.

[220] Lord Digby’s Speech for frequent Parliaments. Parl.
Hist. ix. 157.

[221] Giustiniano, 11 Gennaio: ‘Vivamente s’impiega per
divertire la riuscita di cosi ardito disegno, che colpisce
nel piu vivo la di lui sovranita reale.’

[222] Baillie i. 305: ‘The first motion of it was bitterlie
rejected by the King; yet the Marqueis by his wisdome
brought him unto it.’



_Debates on Episcopacy._

Attempts have been made to separate the good which the Long
Parliament did from the errors of which it was guilty. The
former is seen in the abolition of the excesses of the
royal prerogative, the latter in its vehement prosecution
of its opponents and the attack made on the constitution
of the Church. From the point of view rendered possible
by later events such a separation has its truth: but
historically it cannot be made as regards either time or
intention: the good was inextricably mingled with the
evil. If we consider the close connexion between English
and Scottish affairs, the importance of Church matters
in Scotland, and the preponderance which the same views
had obtained in England among those who were at the head
of affairs or were active in lower spheres, we shall
see that, when once the united oppositions of the two
countries had won a common victory, nothing else was to
be expected but that the acts hostile to Episcopacy in
Scotland would be repeated in England. When the Scottish
deputies came to London they expected to find friends, but
they found something more: they were themselves amazed at
the deference and admiration lavished on them and their
country. On the first fast-day appointed by Parliament all
the pulpits rang with praises of the Scots, who had been
set apart by God to put an end to idolatry and tyranny in
the English Church. The language of many English preachers      [A.D. 1641]
seemed to the Scottish deputies very extraordinary[223]:
they scorned Episcopacy and the Liturgy, and called for
a Covenant. It was probably Pym through whom a new and
increased influence was opened to public opinion, by the
introduction and authorisation of the practice of popular
petitions to Parliament. One of the first petitions
for which this right was used was also one of the most
comprehensive and far-reaching that ever was presented:
it was directed against the continuance of Episcopacy in
England. It dwelt chiefly on the late violent measures of
the bishops, by which so many good and true subjects were
driven into exile for conscience’ sake; on the number of
books that had been forbidden in which true religion was
taught, while many others were published by their authority
in which doctrines tending to Popery were inculcated; on
the fact that every argument on which the bench of bishops
depended was equally valid in favour of the Papacy; on the
desire of all Papists for the maintenance of their power.
The conclusion was thence drawn that the order of bishops
and prelates must be destroyed totally, as the phrase went,
‘root and branch.’ The petition was supported by fifteen
thousand signatures. Alderman Pennington said, that if
a show of hands might be taken as a sufficient sign of
assent, they might reckon fifteen times fifteen thousand
supporters for it.

Now however arose a difficulty peculiar to England. In
Scotland the power of the Presbyterian Church had repressed
every movement which went beyond Presbyterianism: the
abolition of Episcopacy in Scotland was exclusively its
work. In England Presbyterianism was neither established
nor yet the only prevalent creed among the enemies of
Episcopacy. Many other separatist sects had sprung up
in mysterious darkness, and, as soon as Laud’s hand was
withdrawn, suddenly emerged into daylight--Brownists,
Independents, Formalists, Adamites, Anabaptists, all sorts
of names, differing in most respects, but all agreed in
one, that the union of ecclesiastical and political power,
as it had hitherto existed in England, must come to an end.
In the signatures to the petition these sects had as great
a share as the Presbyterians.

It was never for a moment lost sight of that there existed      [A.D. 1641]
between them and the Presbyterians a deeply-rooted
difference of opinion. Lords Say and Brooke, and some
conspicuous members of the Lower House who belonged to the
one party, agreed with the leaders of the other to make
common cause against the common enemy, to work together
for the overthrow of the episcopal establishment, so as
first to clear the ground, and then to see about erecting
a new edifice[224]. It was understood that when it came to
setting up a Presbyterian establishment, toleration was to
be granted to the separatists[225]. As two powers which
are making joint preparations for war are wont to agree
beforehand on the arrangements that are to be made after
the victory, so these two religious parties came to an
agreement on the relations which were to subsist between
them after the fall of their common enemy. They already
contemplated a great Church conference which should then be

United they had the multitude entirely on their side. Those
who had been persecuted or exiled by Laud were conducted
back into the city with endless rejoicings. Bastwick was
met by a thousand horsemen: wherever he passed he was
greeted by triumphant trumpet-blasts. His return was
a victory over the hated power of the bishops and the
spiritual courts, which men now hoped to destroy for ever.

This scheme, regarded from the historical point of view,
appears totally subversive of both Church and State in
England. For there was this difference between England and
the other Protestant countries, that she alone retained
Episcopacy with its claims to apostolic succession. A
movement in the episcopal order had, as we have shown, if       [A.D. 1641]
not actually caused the Reformation, at any rate
effectually promoted it. Consequently England had remained
much nearer not merely to the ecclesiastical institutions,
but also to the general conditions of the middle ages, than
the other Protestant countries. In them the change was
made in open war with the prelates: in Germany, through
an alliance of the lower clergy with the territorial
authorities, which were invested with power enough for
the purpose throughout the empire; in Switzerland by
the independent action of the people at large: this in
Scotland had gone so far as to frame a new ecclesiastical
establishment. Just as the Stuart kings, in attempting to
reduce the Scottish Church under the dominion of bishops,
were running counter to its historical principles, so the
attempt to destroy Episcopacy in England was an attack on
the recognised foundations of the Anglican Church. There
might be more justification for those who were induced
by political considerations to attempt to set aside the
bishops: for in England as elsewhere the alliance of
Episcopacy with the crown had undoubtedly gone too far
in the way of strengthening the royal authority: but
when it came to overthrowing and annihilating Episcopacy
altogether, or even to destroying its hold on the
constitution and the country, the very bases of English
society were assailed. Pym certainly thought that, since
Parliament had formerly demolished monastic institutions,
it was within its authority to treat Episcopacy in the same
fashion. The objection was that the dissolution of the
monasteries had not destroyed one of the chief branches
of the legislative authority, and that the prelates at
the time of the Reformation had co-operated heartily with
Parliament, and though once in danger had been saved by
the fact of their intimate connexion with the entire
constitution of the country. Obviously this would be
materially affected by their removal, and the preponderance
of the Lower House finally secured, for what opposition
could the Upper House without the bishops offer to its

There were two distinct views as to the changes which
ought to be undertaken in relation to prelacy. In January,
1641, the English clergy of Presbyterian sentiments,
seven hundred in number, placed beside the root and             [A.D. 1641]
branch petition one of their own, which aimed not at the
abolition but at a reform of the English episcopate.
They desired to confine the bishops to their spiritual
functions, and further to limit these, especially in
respect to ordination and ecclesiastical censure, and to
deprive them of a part of their revenues, and of their
influence in the State, namely, their seat and voice
in Parliament. In reference to the constitution of the
legislative authority in the realm, there was no difference
between the two programmes: but the latter did not
interfere so fundamentally with the conditions of daily
life. The relegation of the episcopate to its original
functions was sure to meet with wider assent than its
entire abolition.

Among the existing committees was one for ecclesiastical
affairs: the first debate of the Lower House on this
subject (Feb. 9) was on the question whether the two
petitions, or only one of them, should be referred for
consideration to this committee. The most conspicuous
speakers were Lord Digby and Nathaniel Fiennes.

Digby remarked, that any one who looked merely at the
abuses might very likely be disposed to cry out with the
fifteen thousand petitioners, ‘Down with the bishops!’ but
that in the great council of the nation men ought not to
be thus swayed by passion. He recalled the services which
the episcopal order had rendered since the Reformation,
and the good repute which it enjoyed abroad even among the
Protestants, as he had himself often observed. To try to
establish in England a Presbyterian system would be a rash,
an impracticable, an Utopian undertaking. He repeated what
the King had already openly declared, that he could never
assent to the abolition of Episcopacy, with the addition
that the crown could not possibly spare the bishops.
This was of course a reason why its opponents should not
tolerate it. Fiennes rejected Episcopacy chiefly because
its jurisdiction was opposed to the secular courts, and
its natural policy hostile to that of Parliament. The sees
and chapters with their dependencies he likened to old
trees in a forest, which by their roots and wide-spreading
branches prevent the young growth from coming up: if they
are felled and uprooted the young trees will obtain fresh
air, and there will be valuable timber also for the church      [A.D. 1641]
and kingdom. For already the idea was gaining favour
of using the spiritual revenues to defray both earlier
expenses and also those still being incurred for the
maintenance of the two armies. Fiennes however met with
considerable opposition. After the matter had been debated
a whole day the vote seemed likely to go against him.
Meanwhile however the question had been eagerly discussed
in the city: although here both views found supporters,
yet public opinion, as Baillie observed, was in favour
of Episcopacy being rooted out totally and entirely. The
petitioners were not going to be defeated at the first
step. Next day they mustered at Westminster some two
thousand strong, to lend support to their suit, as they
said. And so great was the impression in fact produced by
this demonstration, that a majority of about thirty-five
declared for the reference of both petitions to the
committee, which was at the same time completed in a
corresponding manner, Nathaniel Fiennes and the younger
Vane being added to it. Of the proceedings of the committee
unfortunately but few fragments are preserved to us; by
way of specimen, the questions about the authority claimed
by the bishops were discussed with much ecclesiastical
learning. Selden in particular, who already enjoyed a great
reputation, defended Episcopacy with great earnestness and
success. The committee however did not decide in favour
of abolishing the constitution itself, conformably to
the London petition. On the other hand, the views of the
preachers found much favour: not only was it resolved
that the exclusion of the bishops from temporal affairs
was advisable, but their authority in certain spiritual
functions was disputed, and the retention of the rich
revenues of the chapters called in question[226]. On March
9 the committee reported to the Lower House to this effect.
In conformity with the report the House two days later
passed a resolution that the legislative and judicial
authority of the bishops in the House of Peers, as well as
their participation in temporal courts, was a hindrance
to the discharge of their spiritual duties and generally        [A.D. 1641]
injurious to the commonwealth, and that these powers might
and should be taken from them by bill[227]. We see the wide
scope of this resolution, which severely shook one of the
chief foundations of the English constitutional edifice,
as it had been framed in the course of centuries; it
corresponded to the political tendencies of the time, but
yet in contrast to the popular views of the day appeared
altogether too moderate. The city mob, which saw itself
checked in its course, was little contented therewith.
The Scots saw in the resolution only a beginning of the
good work: at present, said they, you are stripping off
the roof, another time you will pull down the walls. They
did not hesitate to address to the Upper House, before
which the matter was now to come, a document drawn up
by Henderson, in which they declared against Episcopacy

In the same paper the other affair was also referred to,
which the Upper House had before it, and which was soon to
concentrate on itself the almost exclusive attention of all

_The Proceedings against Strafford._

The Commons had impeached the Viceroy of Ireland for
high treason because he had attempted to overthrow the
fundamental laws of England and to introduce arbitrary
government. On January 30 they laid before the Upper
House the grounds of the impeachment in twenty-eight
articles[228]. When Strafford read the articles he took
courage. He wrote to his wife that there was not a capital
offence in any one of them: he hoped that these storm
clouds would soon disperse, and that they should live
to spend calm days together. It is an indication of his
opinion, that he sought and obtained the King’s leave           [A.D. 1641]
to mention in his defence the deliberations which had
taken place in the Privy Council, in spite of the oath
which he had sworn to observe secrecy.

The commencement of the proceedings before the Lords in
Westminster Hall was delayed till March 22. Then the Lords
took their seats in their proper order of precedence on
the platform which had been erected on the floor of the
Hall. The members of the Lower House sat on each side on
benches rising in the form of an amphitheatre. Spectators’
galleries had been erected, especially one for the King and
Queen, who appeared there with their attendants. At 9 a.m.
Strafford entered. The manly expression of his countenance
was heightened by the marks of illness under which he was
suffering: his whole bearing breathed confidence in his
cause, gravity, and dignity.

The proceedings of the next few days related especially
to Irish affairs. Not without a certain emotion Strafford
replied to the accusations made by the Irish Parliament,
which were given in evidence against him, that he thought
to have earned the thanks of the nation. Among other
charges was one of having taken the sum of £24,000 from the
Irish treasury: he pointed out that he had been authorised
by the King to spend Irish money to the amount of £40,000,
and repeated with emphasis that he was an honourable man.
Among the heaviest accusations was one of having kept a
sentence of death suspended over a great Irish noble,
Lord Mountnorris. Strafford was able to show that the
sentence was pronounced without his participation, under
the existing martial law, and at his prayer had remained
unexecuted: he had wished merely to show the power of the
State to the refractory. Many of the things laid to his
charge the Privy Council had ordered, some the King had
expressly dictated. He was accused of having desired to
attach as much authority to the resolutions of the Irish
Privy Council as to the acts of the Parliament there: he
replied that a greater authority had always been allowed
to the Privy Council in Ireland than in England, and that
among a nation so little civilised it must be so. His
defence, which was based on the distinction between the
circumstances of England and Ireland, had in general more       [A.D. 1641]
truth than the prosecution, which treated Irish events in
the same way as if they had happened in England. It was not
everything that Strafford could or would justify: but he
pointed out that the things which could justly be imputed
to him could only be reckoned as slight offences: the sum
of all these misdemeanours did not amount to one felony,
and a hundred felonies were yet no treason, the three
things being altogether distinct from one another.

With redoubled vehemence the prosecution attacked his
influence over English affairs, in relation to which the
violent measures that he had counselled in his speeches,
the furious threats which he had employed against the
citizens of London on their refusal of a loan, and above
all the advice given by him to the King to dissolve
the last Parliament, were imputed as crimes. Strafford
calculated that none of this could be proved against him.
But after some delay a private document was produced,
which seemed to admit of no answer: it was the protocol
of the sitting of May 5, already mentioned, in the hand
of Sir Henry Vane. The younger Vane, who belonged to the
separatist party, had found it among his father’s papers,
and without much hesitation had handed it to Stafford’s
enemies. According to this paper Strafford had on that
day, in his eagerness to induce the King to make war on
Scotland, reminded him of the Irish troops, of which he
could dispose, and that certainly in language which might
perhaps apply to England also[229]. We will not discuss the
question whether Strafford would not have brought the Irish
army into England had need arisen: his disposition renders
it not improbable, but as a matter of legal evidence it did
not follow from the words of the protocol, and he himself
gave it an unqualified denial. What will be the end of it,
he added, if words which are spoken in the King’s Privy
Council, half understood or misunderstood by its members,
are to be turned into crimes; no one will any longer have
the courage to speak out his opinion plainly to the King.

There was no mistaking the fact that the whole produced a       [A.D. 1641]
great impression on the Lords: the general voice inclined
to the side of Strafford. The skill and unconquerable
energy with which he defended himself against a whole
multitude of enemies had influenced in his favour the
feelings of the women especially, some of whom copied down
the heads of his defence. Stafford’s closing speech, in
which he summed up all these, produced a deep impression
on both friend and foe. It must in fact be reckoned as a
remarkable piece of forensic eloquence, for its thorough
discussion of single points, united with high and proud
pathos. After it there seemed little probability of
the accused being condemned by the Lords. The lawyers
declared it to be unjustifiable, since nothing was treason
except what was declared to be so by the express words of
the Statute of 25 Edward III. They would not hear of a
constructive proof, of which men spoke: even if it could be
proved that Strafford had contemplated the overthrow of the
law, that would after all be only felony and not treason.

Already it had been proposed in the Commons to try another
way to their end. It was recollected that in earlier times
men who had been impeached, and could not be convicted
under the ordinary forms, had been declared guilty by
the sentence of the legislative power, by a law in
parliamentary form (Bill of Attainder). And this proceeding
was deemed perfectly just, since Parliament was competent
to make laws to meet every possible case, and could at all
times define high treason[230]. On the introduction of
the supplementary protocol, the Lords seemed inclined to
accede to Strafford’s request that he on his side should
be allowed to bring forward new points. But the Commons
thought they saw in this undue favour to the accused:
one morning they quitted Westminster Hall with shouts of
stormy impatience. When they met in the afternoon for their
sitting the proposal to try that other course, which had
already been prepared, and was at once proceeded with, met
with a favourable reception: the Bill of Attainder was read     [A.D. 1641]
for the first time. They did not blind themselves to the
danger of thus offending the Lords, and causing a breach
between the two Houses; but the sense of their own strength
was already so fully aroused that they did not shrink from
this: they rather let it appear that though the Commons
were not Strafford’s peers, but his accusers, they meant to
pass sentence upon him; they would declare him and all his
adherents to be traitors[231].

On Monday, the 12th, the debate on the second reading of
the bill came on in the Lower House. On that occasion the
initiative was taken by members of republican sentiments,
like Haslerig and Martin. Neither Pym nor Hampden, the
leaders hitherto, were as yet for this course; they were
unwilling to break with the Upper House, which was very
much irritated, and still trusted to its proving pliable.
A final conclusion was not reached on this occasion. The
second reading was agreed to, and took place at the next
sitting two days later: but after further long and close
debate it was resolved that the House, as committee, should
be present to hear the arguments of Strafford’s counsel
with respect to the applicability of the existing laws to
his case.

These were delivered on April 17. Attorney-General Lane
argued that the Statute of Edward III, by which all the
cases that can be treated as high treason are defined,
was not applicable to the present case, either in itself
or constructively. The Commons had chiefly relied on
the proviso appended to the statute, according to which
everything which Parliament might hereafter pronounce to
be treason was punishable as such. The Attorney-General
pointed out that this definition, after having entailed
very opposite consequences through changes of parliamentary
faction, had been altogether repealed in the first year of
Henry IV, every one having felt that it was like a sword
hanging over his head. This last argument appeared to the
Lords conclusive: they decided that they had no right
whatever to go beyond the letter of the Statute of Edward

The Commons heard this in silence; but they derived             [A.D. 1641]
from it the impression that if Strafford was to be
condemned it must be by their own action. When they came
back to their bill, they at once entered on the question
whether in fact the intention to overthrow the laws could
be regarded as treason. Selden observed that according to
the statute there was only one intention, that namely of
killing the king, which could be treated as high treason.
Even the purpose of taking up arms against him was legally
not high treason: how then could an attempt to overthrow
the laws be so regarded? In reply it was urged, among other
points, that the reason why the intention to kill the king
was treason was that it implied the overthrow of the laws.
Finally it was resolved that the attempt to overthrow the
laws should be treated as treason. Once more the actual
charges against Strafford were discussed. The Commons took
as sufficiently proven his acts of violence in Ireland,
his support of the war against the Scots, finally his
expressions about the dissolution of the last Parliament.
But in general they did not attach much importance to legal
evidence on the separate points. As a member said, we do
not ask how many inches are required that a man should be
called big or little--the sight determines that: so it is
in the present case, we do not enquire how many unlawful
acts will establish a charge of high treason, we all know
that it has been committed. Once more Lord Digby, at an
earlier period one of Strafford’s bitterest opponents, rose
to defend him. Once more he declared him to be the most
dangerous man in England, and his intention to introduce
arbitrary government into the country to be undoubted; but
the intention imputed to him, of subjugating England with
Irish troops, was unproved, and he could not fairly be
condemned as a traitor. He ventured to say that this would
be to commit a judicial murder. With all his eloquence he
only succeeded in rendering himself an object of suspicion.
By 204 votes against 59 the Bill of Attainder passed the
Lower House[232].

Extremely remarkable are the grounds for this proceeding
as put forward by Oliver St. John, on April 29, in a
great conference with the Upper House, at which the King        [A.D. 1641]
was present. He urged especially the absolute legislative
power of Parliament, in virtue of which it was not bound,
like inferior tribunals, by existing laws, but was
justified in making new ones to suit circumstances: its
only guide should be care for the public weal: it was the
political body, embracing all, from the king to the beggar,
and could deal with individuals for the good of the whole,
could open a vein to let out the corrupted blood. It had
been said that the law must precede the offence; that where
no law was there could be no transgression: but that plea
could not avail for the man who had desired to overthrow
all laws: there might be rules for the hunting of hares,
wolves were slain wherever they were found. Strafford had
well known that the Lower House had the power of life
and death[233]. Strafford had thought to be judged by
the existing laws, and had always taken the most careful
precautions to avoid acting towards them in such a manner
that a capital charge could be brought against him. But now
there was a power set in motion against him which did not
consider itself bound by the letter of the statutes, and
held itself fully justified in punishing not only his acts
but his intentions.

When he heard St. John’s speech he saw that he was lost:
he raised his hands above his head, as if to implore the
mercy of heaven. His case was not yet finally decided,
but in order that he might be rescued events must have
happened, and courses have been tried, which lay outside
all regular government. In the violent agitation produced
by the great questions involved, there was actually once a
moment in which such a turn of events might possibly have
been expected: this arose from the inner complications of
the state and court.


[223] ‘Many ministers used greater freedom than ever here
was heard of.’ Baillie’s Letters i. 213.

[224] Baillie i. 275. ‘These [the separatists] and the
rest, who are for the Scots’ discipline, do amicablie
conspire in one, to overthrow bishops and ceremonies,
hoping when these rudera are put away, that they shall well
agree to build a new house.’ (Dec. 2, 1640.)

[225] Baillie i. 287. ‘There was some fear for those of the
new way, who are for the independent congregations; but
after much conference we hope they will joyne to overthrow
episcopacie, erect presbyterian government and assemblies,
and in any difference they have to be silent upon hope
either of satisfaction, when we gett more leasure, or of
toleration on their good and peaceable behaviour.’ (Dec.

[226] In Verney’s Notes of Proceeding in the Long

[227] Rushworth iii. 1. 206.

[228] The articles in order, with minutes of the
prosecution and defence (evidence, exceptions,
interlocutory passages, defence, reply), in Rushworth viii,
‘Trial of the Earl of Strafford.’ He was clerk of the
House: ‘I had,’ says he, ‘taken in characters all that was
said for him, as what his accusers said against him.’

[229] ‘You have an army in Ireland you may employ here to
reduce that kingdom.’ Protocol of Council. Lord Digby says
‘the difference of one letter--here for there, or that for
this--quite alters the case, the latter also being the more
probable, since it is confessed that the debate then was
concerning a war with Scotland.’ Rushworth iv. 226.

[230] State Trials iii. 1461.

[231] D’Ewes’ Journal, in Sanford’s Illustrations 337.
There is a facsimile in vol. i. of Forster’s Essays. But it
must be remarked that this was not the last stage.

[232] Lord Digby’s Speech, in Rushworth iv. 225.

[233] Mr. St. John’s Argument, in the State Trials and in
Nalson ii. 186.



It is extraordinary that amid all these storms men
actively and zealously pressed for the high offices of
state. Northumberland gave himself immense trouble to
obtain for his brother-in-law, Leicester, the post of Lord
Deputy of Ireland, or Secretary of State. He entered into
negotiations with the elder Vane, with Hamilton, with
every one who could in any way help him to this end: he
even approached the King himself[234]. In fact the King
was thinking very seriously of filling the most important
places with members of the now dominant opposition.
Cottington and Bishop Juxon, the former, so far as is
known, by express agreement with the opposition, were
dismissed from their high and lucrative offices, in order
to save them from sharing the ruin of their party. The
plan was formed of appointing in their places the Earl of
Bedford as Lord Treasurer and First Minister, and John
Pym as Chancellor of the Exchequer; the King hoped that
by their means his income would be fixed, and among other
things tonnage and poundage voted to him in perpetuity. The
Secretaryship of State, vacated by Windebank’s flight, was
destined for Hollis, the post of Master of the Court of
Wards for Lord Say. Other great offices were spoken of for
Essex, Mandeville, and Hampden[235].

The direction of foreign affairs also was to be confided to
new hands. The French hoped through parliamentary influence
to detach the King entirely from Spain, and induce him          [A.D. 1641]
to interfere actively in general European politics. For
this they chiefly relied on Lord Holland, who seemed to
them the man best calculated to bring about an alliance
between the two crowns. Montereuil was in perpetual
communication with him; he can never sufficiently praise
his devotion and zeal. One day Holland spoke to this effect
to the King, who was very much pleased to find that France,
by whom he feared that he was despised, desired an alliance
with him[236]. It depended on this turn of politics whether
or not the English royal pair accepted the proposal of
a family alliance which came from the Prince of Orange:
the Lower House received with satisfaction the news of
this offer. The court had another and private motive, as
expecting pecuniary and political support from the Prince,
for whom it was of the greatest importance to enter into
close connexion with a royal house. Lord Holland was on as
intimate terms with the ambassador of Orange as with the
French. His great hope was to make himself necessary, and
so to attain to the leading position in England, which had
ever been the object of his ambition.

It was now the openly expressed condition that whatever
changes might be contemplated, royalty must not be further
attacked. The King would not allow either the Viceroy
of Ireland to be condemned to death, or Episcopacy to
be abolished. The ministers, to whom he was compelled
to entrust power, must shield him from the lowering of
dignity and loss of authority with which he saw himself
threatened. In fact ever since the first overtures of the
court to the Lords of the Parliamentary party, the latter
had, it was thought, inclined in favour of Strafford
and the bishops[237]. If the Lords had had so great an
influence in causing the outbreak of the troubles, it might
be hoped that they would be equally powerful in lulling        [A.D. 1641.]
them to rest. But the growing popular tendencies were
already become too strong to be mastered by any influence
whatever. Political movements may be originated or
promoted by personal interests; but an individual when he
has attained his own ends can scarcely ever succeed in
confining them within definite limits. Immediately the
Lords saw their popularity diminish; and the Scots, who
were supposed to have an understanding with them, were
bitterly abused. Other circumstances, such as the death of
Bedford, may have contributed to this result: but in the
main it was the force of events which burst asunder the
personal alliances that had been attempted.

The more obviously impossible a compromise proved to be,
the stronger grew the sentiments of natural hostility.
Perhaps the chief of all were shown in the case of the
Queen, who already felt herself injured by the sharpness
of the anti-Catholic resolutions of Parliament, wounded
in her inmost feelings, and even defrauded of her rights.
She had come to England on purpose to improve the lot of
the Catholics: this was the concession made to her in her
marriage contract. Now however she had to look on when a
seminary priest, who had been several times banished, was
condemned to death, and even hesitated to intercede in his
behalf, since in that case the King would have exercised
his privilege of pardon. The excited people demanded of
Parliament that the laws should be carried out without
relaxation: the Lower House requested the Lords to assist
in discovering those who had interfered hitherto[238]: so
that it seemed as if the Queen herself, or her personal
following, would be made answerable for her intercession.

The proud and high-spirited daughter of Henry IV would not
endure this. She had so great an idea of the importance
of the dynasty from which she sprang that she complained
of the absence of the newly-appointed French ambassador,
little as she had had to praise in his predecessor while
present, because forsooth she thought that he would resent     [A.D. 1641.]
the arrogance of Parliament, and defend her rights[239].
For she never doubted that her brother, Louis XIII, and his
minister Cardinal Richelieu, would maintain the conditions
upon which she had come to England. In February 1641 she
formed the plan of going herself to France, on the pretext
that her health required change of air. It was believed
at the time, and doubtless with justice, that the most
important and confidential persons in her suite had been
active in instigating this purpose, because they themselves
were afraid of being called to account by Parliament:
Montague, since he was reckoned a great supporter of
the Catholics, Jermyn as having been concerned with
monopolies. Other members of her household, Goring, Percy,
Croft, probably also the Duchess of Chevreuse, would have
accompanied her. But while she sought to withdraw herself
and her attendants from the indignities to which they
were exposed, she calculated also on obtaining support in
France. She desired to call attention to her own rights,
as guaranteed by her marriage contract, and hoped also
to awaken the old sympathy of the French for the English

The English Parliament heard of her design with misgivings.
They feared either a real re-awakening of the old religious
animosities between the two nations, or at least a breach
in the friendly relations between the parliamentary leaders
and the French government. Lord Holland hastened to warn
the latter against Montague, as a man who would cause the
greatest difficulties, since he had persuaded the Queen to
take Strafford under her protection, which, through her
influence with the King, would very greatly hinder the
restoration of a good understanding with Parliament[240].
He declared that Montague had not the cause of religion at     [A.D. 1641.]
heart, his reason for interesting himself in the English
Papists being that they were friendly to Spain, and
that if France wished to do any good to the Catholics,
it would be better attempted through him, Lord Holland,
and his influence with Parliament. He told the French
ambassador one day in plain words that he did not desire
the Queen’s confidence if such people were to share it with
him. Montereuil replied that it was not the wish of his
government, which had no reason to care for these men.

The Parliament had in its power a decisive means of
preventing the Queen’s journey, which would have disturbed
relations with France, and given her suite a new
importance: it had only to apply to Cardinal Richelieu.
He cared far more for a good understanding with the
Parliament and its leaders, who possessed the power, than
for the renewal of friendly relations with the court,
which was of importance only when it was on better terms
with Parliament. If Richelieu had to choose between the
two, he could have no hesitation. Moreover the scheme of
re-awakening the sympathy of the French court for the
Catholics abroad was at variance with his policy.

Hard as it was to drive away from the French coasts
the sister of the King of France, who was on the point
of coming to Dieppe to breathe her native air and
recruit her health, the Cardinal adopted this course
without much hesitation. When the Queen’s request was
laid before him--it came through an English Catholic
named Forster, who had always been on good terms with
the French embassy[241]--he answered by a refusal. The
manner of it was highly characteristic. He did not write
himself, but in order that he might have no cause to fear
any misrepresentation of his language, he let Forster
take note of his words, and submit the report to him.
The Cardinal said that the Queen would be welcomed in
France, if the state of her health rendered it absolutely
necessary, but if this were not the case, he prayed her
to consider whether her journey did not admit of a little      [A.D. 1641.]
delay. Her absence from England would be injurious to the
Catholic religion: besides, she would surely not leave her
husband in the midst of his difficulties. Perhaps too it
might be difficult for her to get back to England[242].
Another time, when the present troubles were removed, he
would with pleasure welcome her in France.

The Queen was beside herself with rage when she received
this answer. She said among her friends, that though the
conduct of Parliament grieved her much, she felt the
behaviour of the Cardinal more deeply still. She uttered
much strong language in a very bitter tone, and is said to
have added that for her life she would never set foot on
the soil of France, unless to assert her husband’s rights
over it.

As however she must stay in England, she was in no way
disposed peaceably to await further injuries. The course
of events, the aversion displayed in many quarters to the
violent measures of Parliament, powerful factions in all
three kingdoms, awakened in her the hope of even yet being
able to excite a reaction.

Above all there was known to be a royalist feeling in the
army, which was still in quarters in the North. It was
jealous of the superior care bestowed by Parliament on the
Scottish troops: besides, it was unwilling to suffer the
royal power to be abased, or to pass under the authority of
the dominant faction in the Lower House. The Queen asserted
later[243] that the impulse did not come from the court,
but that the offers made were voluntary. The first to come
forward were officers who had seats in Parliament, such as
Captain Ashburnham, who sat for Ludgershall, Wilmot who
sat for Tamworth, and especially Henry Percy, member for
Northumberland. They considered that the army had grounds
of complaint against the Lower House, and not against the      [A.D. 1641.]
King, who even in these times found means to supply the
wants of the soldiers, and they resolved to offer him their
services. This was in March, when the great questions
under discussion were inflaming the spirits of all. They
calculated that if they could make sure of the Tower, and
the army were to advance on London, Parliament would be
obliged to accept the conditions that they might propose.
These were three:--that Episcopacy should be maintained,
that the crown should be endowed with an income equivalent
to its former one, and that the army in Ireland should
not be disbanded before the Scottish army had dispersed.
Thus their scheme aimed not at the restoration of a
non-parliamentary government, but at the combination of
the parliamentary constitution with a strong monarchy and
the old episcopal institutions. So at least their words
implied. The Queen states that the majority of officers in
the army were agreed on this. Among the leaders we find her
personal friends: they had bound themselves together by
formal oaths.

In Scotland a similar movement had been observed still
earlier among those who had signed the Covenant. In the old
castle of Merchiston is still pointed out a well-preserved
room of that date, among the ornaments of which are
conspicuous a crown and the cypher of Charles I. Here often
assembled round Lord Napier a party of friends who felt
themselves at variance with the anti-monarchical tendencies
which the movement in Scotland had developed. Once in the
last Scottish Parliament words had been dropped to the
effect that they had no further need of the King, that
they might depose him and introduce a new order of things.
It is true that these men had from aristocratic _esprit
de corps_ opposed the earlier attempts of Charles I, but
from the same feelings, obviously, they would not endure
the domination of any party which might obtain the upper
hand in the Committee of the Estates. In the young James
Graham, Earl of Montrose, jealousy against Argyle, the
most powerful member of the Committee, was united with a
loyalty inherited from his ancestors, and now again called
to life, to which he at times gave utterance in vigorous
stanzas. Beside him was old Napier, who might be regarded      [A.D. 1641.]
as his second father, a man of insight and resolution.
Others joined these two, amongst them some of the chief
nobles of the country, Home, Athol, Mar: so early as August
1640 these and others united after the Scottish fashion
in a bond ‘to oppose the particular practices of a few,
from which the country was suffering,’ with reservation of
the Covenant, and to rescue from them the religion, the
liberty, and the laws of the realm[244].

In the beginning of the year 1641 Montrose and Napier
entered into direct communication with King Charles. They
urged him to recognise the abolition of Episcopacy which
had actually taken place in Scotland, and the constitution
of the three estates--for they liked the bishops and their
authority as little as did the other nobles--and then to
come to Scotland and hold a Parliament in person. Among
the attendants of Charles they found no longer any support
in Hamilton, who had reconciled himself to the Scottish
commissioners; but Traquair, Robert Spottiswood, and the
Clerk Register Hay, were zealous in their favour. Traquair,
when the commissioners continued to threaten, had sworn to
mingle heaven, earth, and hell together before he would
yield. The eyes of the two parties were turned to the next
Parliament: each expected then to overpower its enemies,
and give the vacated offices to its friends. Montrose and
Napier calculated on gaining the support of the King, who
allowed his presence to be looked for. The commissioners
were in great agitation on the subject[245].

Although in Ireland, after the removal of Strafford, there
had arisen a violent storm of indignation against his
administration, and against the Privy Council which had
supported him, yet by no means all were carried away by it.
Among other facts we find that the Upper House postponed
to a distant date the discussion of the grievances and
complaints raised by the Lower House, and allowed the
Chancellor, who had been accused by the Commons, to
continue his duties as their speaker. Moreover there was       [A.D. 1641.]
the army which Strafford had raised: it had been recruited
from among the hardiest natives of the Catholic faith, but
still there were many Protestant veterans among them, and
the officers were exclusively Protestant. In the Irish army
the same spirit prevailed as in the English: it would not
abandon the interests of the crown, and it would not allow
itself to be disbanded.

In the meetings at which the spirit of military and loyal
devotion to the throne was displayed, it was deemed
possible to bring about a reaction against the tendencies
dominant in Parliament. So far as can be ascertained,
a project was arranged for liberating Strafford from
the Tower, and setting him at the head of an army. The
enlistment which had been sanctioned as for a foreign power
might serve for the purpose of putting trustworthy troops
into that fortress: great offers were made to Balfour, the
governor, if he would co-operate. Colonel Goring, governor
of Portsmouth, appeared so trustworthy that he was let into
the secret of the enlistments. If there were once again a
force which should declare for royalty, but in a moderate
fashion, it was expected that support would be forthcoming
for it in the remotest districts. In every discussion in
Parliament the Lords had let it be seen that rebellion
was as hateful to them as treason: they would not let
themselves be overborne by a popular faction. The Bill of
Attainder seemed to them an attempt to rob them of their
privilege of being tried by their peers: many other lives,
they thought, might be endangered in the same manner. They
were fully conscious of the intimate connexion between the
privileges they enjoyed and the royal prerogative[246]. Why
might not all the strength of the clergy and the efforts of
the Catholics be united in favour of a change of this kind?

It was assumed that support for such a movement would
be forthcoming from France. The Queen had already let
Montague go over, and the Parliament was certainly afraid
of hostile interference from that quarter. In order to
prevent it at the outset Lord Holland sent word to France
that every favour shown to Montague would be an injury         [A.D. 1641.]
to the Parliament. Properly speaking, there was no need
of these warnings. It may be affirmed with certainty that
the Queen, after Richelieu’s first refusal, had never
approached him again. We have Montague’s letters, and his
purpose seems to have been to go to Rome: he cherished
the hope of being raised to the Cardinalate, through the
recommendations of the Queen, to which he expected to add
French support. It was for this that he intrigued and
wrote: at least he never had any communication on political
matters with the leading men of the French government.
Very probably when the Queen first planned a visit to
France there was the idea in the background of seeking
help from thence for a reaction against the Parliament;
but if the Cardinal refused to allow her to cross over, a
plan which was opposed to his policy was little likely to
obtain support from him. In England there was some fear
of certain transports which were being fitted out on the
coast of Normandy, but it was known that they were destined
for Portugal. It transpired that one or two captains of
French mercenaries had been spoken to about an undertaking
to be attempted in England, but this was done privately
and without visible results. Nowhere as it seemed had
matters advanced very far: every one was still occupied in
preparations and hopes, when suddenly all was disclosed.
This came to pass through one of the officers who had been
most relied on, Colonel Goring, governor of Portsmouth. The
Queen states that Wilmot and Goring had quarrelled about
the post which each claimed as commander of the troops,
and that Jermyn had vainly tried to reconcile them[247].
Goring asserts that he had demanded of the King an express
sanction of the undertaking, but that he could not obtain
it[248]. Both accounts are perhaps true. The King would
probably have assented, had the thing been done without
him, but he could not bring himself to resolve to authorise
it. Goring however wished to have a retreat: these men,
with all their hopes of success, were perpetually haunted      [A.D. 1641.]
by the thought that failure would be their utter ruin; and
merely to have known a matter of this sort and concealed it
might be deadly. Colonel Goring, on whose co-operation the
whole scheme was based was induced to make communications
to one or two Lords of his acquaintance. From them John Pym
received intelligence, and so had a weapon put into his
hands just when circumstances made it most useful.


[234] Sydney Letters ii. 664.

[235] Clarendon, History of the Rebellion 90.

[236] Montereuil reports from Holland’s account, ‘Le
comte d’Hollande--voyant que le roi se plaignoit, que
la France méprisoit l’Angletene, il avoit jugé àpropos
de lui répondre, qu’il sembloit par ce que je lui avois
temoigné, qu’on ne désiroit rien tant en costé de France,
que d’entretenir une parfaite amitié entre les deux
couronnes--à quoi ce roi avoit répondu, qu’il avoit fort
agréable ce qu’il luy disoit.’

[237] Baillie, Letters i. 305.

[238] Jan. 23, 1640-1. The Commons desired their Lordships’
assistance ‘to discover such instruments as have dared to
intercede for the interruption of public justice against
such offenders.’ Parl. Hist. of Jan. 29, ix. 168.

[239] Giustiniano, 15 Genn. ‘Con molto desideno attende la
regina l’arrivo dell’ ambasciator Francese [Montereuil was
minister ad interim] sperando, che la presenza di lui ponga
freno alla temerita di questi parlamentarii, che tentono
d’interrompergli uso di quer vantaggi, che nel trattato del
matrimonio gli furono accordati.’

[240] ‘Le Comte d’Hollande dit, que la reyne portoit le
roy a vouloir conserver le lieutenant d’Irlande, que
Montague étoit auteur de ce conseil mauvais pour la reine,
qui irritoit tout le parlement, et pour le roi qui devoit
librement donner les mains à une affaire, dont il lui
seroit difficile d’empêcher l’exécution.’ (From extracts
from Montereuil’s despatches laid before the Cardinal.)

[241] Copie de l’escrit donne par Mr. Fauster au sujet du
dessem que la reine d’Ingleterre avoit de venir en France,
18th May. (Paris Archives.)

[242] Some of these counter-arguments are taken from
Montereuil’s despatches. ‘Lesquels,’ he says, ‘peuvent être
encore appuyés de l’assurance, qu’a donné Mr. de Mayerne
son medecin, que la reine de la Grande Bretagne n’avoit
aucune indisposition, que l’obligeoit à respirer un autre
air, que celui d’Ingleterre.’

[243] Gressy: Relation des conférences avec la reine
d’Angleterre. She speaks of threats uttered against her and
her husband ‘ce qui les obligea d’accepter les offres que
la pluspart des officiers, qui étoient lors sur pied, leur
firent.’ (July, 1642.)

[244] ‘Finding that by the particular and indirect
practices of a few the country does suffer.’ Bond of
Cumbernauld. Napier, Montrose i. 325.

[245] The letters of Johnston of Warriston to Lord
Balmerino, given in Napier i. 301, are remarkable.

[246] ‘That they hated rebellion as bad as treason: that
the same blood that ennobled their ancestors did move also
in their veins.’ Trials iii. 1462.

[247] Her narrative in Madame de Motteville, Pet. xxxvii.

[248] He would not undertake the thing ‘que sous un expres
advœu du roi.’ Aerssen to Orange, Archives de la maibon
d’Orange-Nassau iii. 487.



The King was still very far from giving up his own or
Stafford’s cause. On Saturday, May 1, he declared that
he would never again endure Strafford in his council or
his presence, but that he thought him not deserving of
death; and the Lords seemed of the same opinion. Equally
little did it seem necessary to give way to the proposals
against the bishops. On Sunday, May 2, the wedding of
the young Prince of Orange with the Princess Mary of
England, who however was but ten years old and was to stay
longer in England, was celebrated at Whitehall. Charles
himself presided with address and good-humour over the
wedding festivities, and seemed to be well pleased with
his new son-in-law. Once more a numerous court crowded
with the usual zeal around the highest personages in the
country. Yet at that very hour the pulpits of the city
were ringing with fiery addresses on the necessity of
bringing the arch-offender to justice: disquieting rumours
were in the air and kept every one in suspense. The next
morning, Monday, May 3, Westminster presented a disorderly
spectacle. In order to throw into the scale the expression
of their will on impending questions, which already had
been so effective once, thousands of petitioners repaired
to the Houses of Parliament: the members of the Lower
House who had not voted for the Bill of Attainder, and
the unpopular lords, were received on their arrival with
insults and abusive cries. At the hour when the sitting of
the Lower House ought to have begun--prayers were already
over--all the members remained in profound silence. There      [A.D. 1641.]
was a presentiment of what was coming: the attempt of the
clerk to bring on some unimportant matter was greeted with
laughter. After some time the doors were closed, and John
Pym rose to make a serious communication. He said that
desperate plots against the Parliament and the peace of
the realm were at work within and without the country, for
bringing the army against Parliament, seizing the Tower,
and releasing Strafford; that there was an understanding
with France on the subject, and that sundry persons in
immediate attendance on the Queen were deep in the plot.

Pym might and did know that the French government was
in no way inclined to take part with the Queen; and
the Parliamentary leaders had already sent their joint
thanks to Cardinal Richelieu for preventing the Queen’s
journey[249]. We must leave it in doubt whether Pym was
notwithstanding led by the appearance of things and by
rumour to believe in the possibility of an alliance between
the French government and the Queen, or whether he merely
thought it advisable to arouse the apprehension in others.
His speech conveyed the idea that a plot was at work for
the overthrow of Parliament and the Protestant religion,
which must be resisted with the whole strength of the
nation. The mob assembled outside the doors, where vague
reports of Pym’s exordium reached them, certainly received
this impression. A conspiracy had been detected, as bad as
the Gunpowder Plot, or worse, for massacring the members
of Parliament, and even all Strafford’s opponents among
the inhabitants. The fact that the Tower, which commanded
the city, was reckoned on for this purpose, caused an
indescribable agitation. At times the cry ‘To Whitehall!’
was heard: at others it seemed as if the mob would go to
the Tower in order to storm it[250].

With these tumultuous proceedings were connected a             [A.D. 1641.]
consistent and systematic series of decisive measures
taken by Parliament. The strongest motive for agitation in
England as well as in Scotland was the danger to religion:
and a similar attempt was made to obtain security on this
point. A kind of covenant was devised in England also, a
Parliamentary and national oath, by which every man pledged
himself to defend with body and life the true Protestant
religion against all Popish devices, as well as the
privileges of Parliament, and the liberties of the subject.
Since in this oath the doctrines, if not the constitution,
of the English Church were maintained, and the allegiance
due to the King was mentioned, no great trouble was found
in obtaining its acceptance by Parliament and the nation.
Its importance lies in the connexion it established between
Protestantism and the interests of Parliament: whoever took
it pledged himself to defend the privileges of Parliament.
Amid the general agreement it was not forgotten that an
eye must be kept on the immediate sources of danger.
The undeniable needs of the army were provided for, and
precautions taken against any possible movement in that

For several days the rumour of impending danger grew: the
French ambassador was warned at that time, as if he or his
government had a share in the matter, and it might still at
any moment be carried out. But in truth the disclosure of
the scheme was equivalent to its defeat. Jermyn and Percy
fled; other persons suspected or implicated were arrested:
the Queen herself one day prepared to quit London. But she
had nowhere to go to: she could not but be aware that the
Governor of Portsmouth, with whom she intended to take
refuge, had caused the discovery of the scheme[251].

Little as her attempt to cause a reaction may have been
matured, it had nevertheless the effect of doubling the
violence of the previous movement. The royal power itself
immediately felt the force of the shock. The King had
sanctioned the proposal to strengthen his hold on the Tower
with trustworthy troops: the number of men that he desired     [A.D. 1641.]
to introduce was not more than a hundred, but even this now
appeared a dangerous innovation. The commandant Balfour
hesitated to admit the troops: the tumultuous mob directed
against it a more urgent petition than ever. The Lords
were induced to make representations on the subject to the
King, who justified the arrangement on the score of his
duty to provide for the safety of the ammunition stored
in the Tower, but, in view of the popular agitation, did
not insist on its being carried out. The Lords further
empowered the Constable and Lord Mayor, if necessary,
to introduce a body of militia into the Tower: and thus
the control of the fortress which might keep the city in
check began to slip out of the King’s hands. The measures
taken for the security of Portsmouth, for the arming of
the militia in several inland counties for this purpose,
and for the defence of Jersey and Guernsey, those islands
seeming to be in danger from France, were in effect so many
usurpations of the military authority of the crown, however
well justified they may have been under the circumstances.

Out of the necessity for satisfying the English army arose
an idea involving the most serious consequences. As the
Scottish army must be paid, and the Irish disbanded, which
was impossible without discharging the arrears due to it,
new and extensive loans were needed. Yet who was likely
to lend money to the Parliament, so long as its existence
depended on the resolve and arbitrary will of the King
with whom it had engaged in violent strife? As the only
security for the capitalists, a provision was desired
that Parliament should not be dissolved at the simple
will of the King[252]. On May 5 a motion was made to this
effect: on the 6th the special committee brought the bill
before the assembled House: on the 7th it passed the third
reading, and went to the Upper House, where it was agreed
to after a few objections of trifling importance.

The fate of Strafford formed the central point of all
these movements in the nation and in Parliament, of the
tumultuous agitation in the one, and the far-seeing
resolutions of the other. For new loans and for the payment    [A.D. 1641.]
of taxes one condition was on all sides insisted on, that
the Viceroy of Ireland should first expiate his crimes by

The Lords had alleged the troubles as the reason why they
could not immediately deal with the Bill of Attainder: but
the continued terror at length made all further opposition
impossible. The sittings were now attended chiefly by those
in whom government by prerogative, such as Strafford aimed
at, had awakened from the first a spirit of aristocratic
resistance. And when an opinion of the Court of King’s
Bench was given, to the effect that on the points which
had been taken as proved by the Lords, Strafford certainly
merited the punishment for high treason, all opposition was
at length silenced: the Bill of Attainder passed the Upper
House by a majority of 7 votes, 26 against 19.

A deputation of the Lords went immediately to the King,
to recommend him to assent to the bill on account of the
danger which would attend a refusal. It was Saturday, May
8/18: in the afternoon the bill, together with the one for
not dissolving Parliament, was laid before him by the two
Houses, with a prayer for his immediate assent to both.
Two or three thousand men had assembled at Whitehall to
receive his answer[254]. To their great indignation the
King deferred his decision until Monday.

The following Sunday was to him a day for the most painful
determination--for what an admission it was, to recognise
as a capital crime the having executed his own will and
purposes. The political tendency, if fully carried out,
obviously was to separate the crown from its advisers,
and make them dependent on another authority than that
of the King; to make the King’s power inferior to that
of the Parliament. Charles I had solemnly declared that
he found the accused not guilty of high treason: he had
given him his word to let no evil befal him, not to let
a hair of his head be harmed. Could he nevertheless            [A.D. 1641.]
sanction his execution? Verily it was a great moment for
the King: what glory would attend his memory had he lived
up to his convictions, and opposed to the pressure put upon
him an immovable moral strength! To this end was he King,
and possessed the right of sanctioning or of rejecting
the resolutions of Parliament: that was the theory of the
constitution. But among the five bishops whom the King
called to his side in this great case of conscience, only
one advised him to follow his own convictions. The others
represented that it was not the King’s business to form
a personal opinion on the legality of a sentence; that
the acts which Strafford himself admitted had now been
pronounced to be treasonable; and that he might allow the
judgment without being convinced of its accuracy, as he
would a judgment of the King’s Bench or at the assizes.
This may be the meaning of the doctrine, attributed to
Bishop Williams, that the King has a double conscience, a
public and a private one, and that he may lawfully do as
King what he would not do as a private man[255]. But the
constitutional principle essentially was that personal
convictions in this high office should possess a negative
influence. The distinction must be regarded as an insult
to the theory of the crown, implying its annihilation as a
free power in the State. King Charles felt this fully: all
the days of his life he regretted as one of his greatest
faults, that in this case he had not followed the dictates
of his conscience. But he was told that he must not ruin
himself, his future, and his house for the sake of a single
man: the question was not whether he would save Strafford,
but whether he would perish with him. The movement begun in
the city was spreading throughout the country; from every
county men were coming up to join the city populace[256].      [A.D. 1641.]
From a letter of one of the best informed and most
intelligent eye-witnesses we gather that the idea of
appealing to the commons of the country against the
King’s refusal was mooted in the Lower House[257]. And
so far as the assurances given to the Viceroy of Ireland
were concerned, a letter from Strafford was laid before
the King, in which he released him from his promise, and
entreated him to avoid the disasters which would result
from the rejection of the bill, and to sacrifice him, the
writer, as he stood in the way of a reconciliation between
the King and his people.

So it came to pass that on May 10 the King commissioned
Lord Arundel and the Lord Keeper to signify his royal
assent to the Bill of Attainder. The next day he made
another attempt to return from the path of justice to that
of mercy. Would it not be better to consign Strafford
to prison for life, with the provision that for any
participation in public affairs, or attempt at flight,
his life would certainly and finally be forfeited. He
asked the Lords whether this was possible: they replied
that it would endanger himself and his wife and children.
For no relaxation was to be obtained from the universal
disposition both in Parliament and in the city. Unless the
King gave way it would be scarcely possible to maintain his
government any longer.

At the news of the King’s submission Strafford exclaimed,
‘That no one should trust in princes, who are but men.’
The genuineness of his letter has been denied, it being
supposed that others wrote it, in order to remove the
King’s personal scruples: but a thorough examination
of the fact removes every doubt[258]. Though Strafford
confirmed in his own person the experience expressed in
the words of Scripture, he himself with his last words
gave, with highminded forbearance, the opinion that it was
necessary to sacrifice him, in consideration of the general
circumstances and of the possible consequences.

Strafford went to the scaffold in an exalted frame of
mind. On his way he saw Laud, who at his request appeared      [A.D. 1641.]
at the window of his prison. The Archbishop was unable
to speak. Strafford bade him farewell, and prayed that
God might protect his innocence; for he had no doubt
that he was in the right in fulfilling his King’s will,
and establishing his prerogative. He persisted that he
had never intended either to destroy the parliamentary
constitution, or to endanger the Protestant Church. He
did not appeal to the judgment of posterity, as if he had
been conscious that great antagonisms are transmitted
from generation to generation: he looked for a righteous
judgment in the other world.

Such moments must come, in order to bring to light the
absolute independence of success and of the world’s
judgment which strong characters possess.

His guilt was of a nature entirely political; he had
done his best to guide the King in these complications,
undoubtedly in the belief that he was right in so doing,
but still with indiscreet zeal. So also his execution was
a political act: it was the expression of the defeat which
he had suffered and occasioned, of the triumph of the ideas
against which he had contended to the death.

The King, some weeks earlier, had been unable to assent
to a violent attempt to rescue the man who had most
strongly maintained the privilege of his crown: he would
henceforth do nothing outside the law. When the forms of
the parliamentary state brought about the condemnation
to death of this champion of his prerogative, he had not
the strength to set his word against it. In order not
immediately to endanger his crown, himself, and his family,
he signed the bill which the two Houses presented to him.


[249] Montereuil, March 14, says of Richelieu’s answer:
‘Le comte d’Hollande les à trouvés conforme aux désirs de
tous ceux, qui sont bien intentionnés--et qui souhaitent de
conserver l’union des deux couronnes.’

[250] Aerssen, 5/15 May. ‘Le déssein semble aller sur la
tour.’ 7/17 May. ‘Le parlement est persuadé, qu’il a en
dessein de les faire tous tuer avec tous les habitans
de cette ville, qui n’estoient maiqués du caractère du
Lieutenant.’ Arch. de la Maison d’Orange-Nassau ii. iii.

[251] Montereuil asserts that the Queen’s departure
was prevented by his representations to her clerical
attendants. Cf. the letter of Montereuil of May 13/23,
printed in Mazure’s Hist. de la Revolution iii. 424.

[252] To assume the continuance of this present parliament
from adjourning, proroguing, or dissolving, without the
consent of both houses.

[253] Giustiniano, 3 Maggio. ‘Risoluti mostrandosi i
sudditi, di non contribuire prima che ottenghino questa
soddisfattione (che con la vita questo ministro paghi li

[254] Montereuil, 13/23 May. ‘Ce qui ne contenta parfois
4 ou 5 m. h. qui estoient venus avec armes la plus grande

[255] Hacket’s Life of Williams ii. 161. ‘Since competent
judges in law had awarded that they found guilt of treason
in the Earl, that he (the King) may suffer this judgment to
stand, though in his private mind he was not satisfied that
the Lord Strafford was criminous.’

[256] Giustiniano. ‘Gli parlamentarii espedirono lettere
in paese con ordine da per tutto di celeremente qui
incaminare gente ad oggetto di unirle a queste di Londra e
d’intraprendere ogni piu temerario tentativo.’

[257] Letter of Johnston, in Napier, Montrose i. 353.
‘If it sticks at the King’s refusal, they are to make a
declaration of all to the commons of England.’

[258] Hume, Hist. of England, vol. vi. note aa, p. 580.



King Charles thought that he should be able to direct the
government in spite of the preponderance of parliamentary
power. At the same time with the attainder of Strafford he
signed the bill which made the dissolution of Parliament
dependent on its own consent. He expected that this would
be given when the pressing questions were settled. His own
conviction seems to have been that hitherto he had grasped
at too much, and he induced himself to make other great

He had already allowed the substitution, in the patents
of appointments of the judges, for the clause which
made their tenure of office dependent on the pleasure
of the government, of another which made it depend on
good behaviour[259], and so put an end to that arbitrary
removal of judges which made them subservient to the
government. This was a change of universal political
significance, since the dependent position of the
bench of judges was recognised as the origin of those
decisions in favour of the crown on which the government
had based its pretensions. Now however all those courts
were attacked which, at least in part, had served as
instruments of arbitrary power, especially the Court of
High Commission, by which the spiritual jurisdiction had
obtained absolute authority over every deviation from the
principles of the Anglican Church. Next, the Star Chamber,
which through the form of its procedure, that decided          [A.D. 1641.]
alone on the facts, the law, and the punishment, and
through the extent of its functions and its harshness
even in doubtful cases had incurred universal
hatred[260]:--finally the special courts in the northern
counties, which had withdrawn a third of the realm from
the ordinary course of justice. The original idea had been
merely to reform them; now however that full political
preponderance had been obtained, it was resolved to
abolish them, so that the common law, which was intimately
connected with political liberty, might everywhere be
re-established. The jurisdiction also of the Privy Council
was confined within narrow limits. The principles of the
Petition of Right in respect to personal liberty now
obtained fresh confirmation. The true ground for arrests
was always to be assigned, and a decision taken before the
court within three days as to its legal validity. The King
hesitated a moment when the bills for the abolition of the
Star Chamber and High Commission were presented to him,
saying that he well knew that thereby he should abandon
various fundamental arrangements made by his ancestors for
the government of Church and State. Nor indeed was their
abolition approved on all hands; for the Star Chamber had
served to tame the ambition of the great vassals, and
the High Commission to hinder the perpetual rise of new
sects, of which the country was very fruitful. Moreover
the loss of the fines, which formed part of the revenue,
was taken into account[261]. But the King would not oppose
his own to the general interest: he wished to put an end
to all dread of future oppression in Church and State,
in order to restore mutual confidence. He spoke to this
effect in accepting the bills about the Star Chamber and
High Commission. He said that he thought none could be
discontented with him who considered what he had conceded
to the present Parliament,--greater independence to the
judges, triennial parliaments, the perpetual right of
granting tonnage and poundage, against the custom of his
ancestors; finally, the abolition of ship-money. He had        [A.D. 1641.]
also given up the restoration of the old forest boundaries,
allowing them to remain as they had been in the twentieth
year of his father. He could not admit that the people had
had a right to these concessions: he held firmly to the
view that all was free gift in favour of his subjects, on
whose confidence and obedience he might now more than ever

He assented to the dismissal of his two armies, the English
and the Irish, convinced that the Scots, now that their
demands were satisfied, would quit English territory. He
himself wished to go to Scotland, according to his promise,
and hold a Parliament there.

It really seemed as if the King was willing to accept his
present position, to abandon not only the views which he
had before prosecuted, but also the modes of government of
his ancestors, so far as they were inconsistent with the
restrictions imposed on him. Some of the chief foundations
of the royal authority which the Tudors had enjoyed had
been removed. But who could assert that the crown could
not be worn, and be worth wearing, under these conditions?
On the other hand it is clear at the first glance how hard
this must again become.

There was some importance in the fact that Charles I was
a born king, with a definite idea of inalienable rights
and duties necessary to be fulfilled, an idea all the more
potent in the indefinite state of the constitution and of
the limits of parliamentary power. The party from which the
great impulse proceeded, and which controlled the debates
with its majority, had made a start which would carry it
beyond the limits of the old constitution. Questions were
already being raised, and tendencies exhibited, which
implied a new and thorough transformation.

In the very foreground appeared the religious question.
The matter of the two petitions relating to church affairs
had in due time been brought before the Upper House, and
referred for discussion to an ecclesiastical committee
composed of lords of both parties. By it a sub-committee
was appointed, in which distinguished theologians of both      [A.D. 1641.]
Anglican and Presbyterian opinions, Prideaux and Hacket,
as well as Burgess and Young, took part. The chairman of
both was the astute Williams, who had returned from the
prison in which Laud had confined him, to his seat in
the Upper House. They busied themselves with reversing
Laud’s arrangements, and with the complaints against
his government, but they had no idea of touching on the
constitution of the English episcopate. Men like Williams
lived in the union of two forms of activity, the spiritual
and the temporal. How was it to be expected that the
bishops would rob themselves of their seats in the Upper
House? The temporal lords also were mostly against it.

Among the grievances of which the populace complained in
the turbulent days before Stafford’s condemnation, one
of the most important was that in spite of all petitions
the affairs of the Church were not put in order in a
truly Protestant sense: immediately after his execution
the matter was taken up afresh. In the prevailing temper
it will easily be understood that they then reverted
to the decided demands of the London petition. The
bill had a near political interest, in so far as it
corresponded to the incessant demands of the Scottish
commissioners for conformity. But they did not rest only
on the Presbyterians. Several men of separatist opinions,
Oliver Cromwell, the younger Vane, Haslerig, had allied
themselves to the movement[263]. On May 27 a bill for
the entire abolition of the Anglican establishment was
introduced. Archbishops and bishops, chancellors and
their commissaries, deans, archdeacons, and other chapter
officials were henceforth to exist no longer in the Church
and realm of England; and the King and two Houses of
Parliament were to dispose of the lands, houses and rents
attached to these dignities and offices. After all that
had happened this motion nevertheless caused the greatest
sensation, for none of the changes which had preceded
it were at all like this. Neither ship-money nor Star
Chamber, neither Stafford’s death nor Laud’s prosecution
were comparable to this attempt to overthrow the church        [A.D. 1641.]
government of England, and introduce a new one. The
proposal was that in every diocese commissions should stand
in the place of the bishops. The plan found more support
in the Lower House now than formerly; the second reading
was carried by a majority of 139 votes against 118. An
objection had been taken that they ought to wait till
the Lords had definitely decided on the first moderate
proposition, which had not yet taken place. They did so
just at this time (June 7). Even under these circumstances
their decision was in the negative; for the Lords would not
lend a hand to a change even in the political position of
the bishops whereby the Upper House would be transformed.
The result however was that the new bill was pressed with
greater zeal than ever.

On June 11 the House resolved itself into a committee to
discuss it. Edward Hyde, who was in the chair, asserted at
a later period that though he could not himself speak in
the debate, yet he had hindered the progress of the measure
by giving preference to the speakers who rose in opposition
to it[264]. But we know well the almost insuperable
difficulties involved in the nature of the case. How should
a measure not meet with opposition which proposed to alter
the definite position of one of the greatest powers in the
state, the House of Lords, and to abolish totally that
ecclesiastical authority which had existed ever since the
introduction of Christianity into England, and had not
only survived the Reformation, but largely contributed to
it. Episcopacy had grown up in the closest connexion with
all English institutions. If the guilt could fairly be
imputed to it of having shared in the last encroachments
of the royal power, it seemed sufficient, as the Upper
House had determined, to reverse the acts tending in this
direction, and restore the previous order of things. The
opposition however was redoubled when it came to the
question of replacing this institution. It was proposed to
establish in each diocese an authority analogous to the
episcopal, which should be moderated by the participation,
in some form or other, of the remaining clergy. Besides,
there was an agreement between the two parties as to the       [A.D. 1641.]
removal of the bishops, none as to any substitute for them:
on this point their wishes and purposes were in direct
opposition. Even under another chairman there would have
been some difficulty in coming to a conclusion: but neither
his dexterity, nor the intrinsic complexity of the matter,
prevented some fundamental parts of the bill and reasons
for them being agreed to by the majority[265]. This was
quite a different thing from the mere petition of the
London citizens: a bill drawn on more advanced principles
now threatened the very core of the ecclesiastical body
with complete removal.

Meanwhile John Pym was proceeding with no less
comprehensive proposals to a thorough reform of the
political administration. There was a talk of the
long-meditated journey to Scotland, which the King would
no longer postpone. In a conference with the Lords (June
24), Pym brought forward a number of proposals which it was
desirable to settle before this journey was undertaken.
The sum of them was that the King should dismiss those
of his councillors against whom there was just ground of
complaint, and entrust his affairs to officers in whom
Parliament had reason to place confidence[266].

The removal of an unpopular minister, even if so strong a
step should frighten others who were inclined to follow
in his footsteps, was not the final aim of Parliament:
it would no longer endure in the highest offices of the
court and state either secret or open opponents. The King
was warned not to let matters go so far as that their
names should be mentioned. The Prince of Wales in future
ought to be surrounded by men publicly held by Parliament
to be trustworthy: neither Jesuits nor Capuchins were to
be endured in the Queen’s household: no one who entered
England with instructions from the Pope was to enjoy the
protection of the law: if the King left the country a
guard of trusty nobles was to prevent any Popish intrigues
of the Queen’s court. The internal administration of the       [A.D. 1641.]
realm was to be ordered in the same way: none but adherents
of the Parliament should hold the chief posts in the
counties, or be entrusted by them with subordinate offices.
With these was combined the idea of joining in an oath
by which the obedience of the officers and militia to
parliamentary ordinances should be secured, and of placing
in safe hands the ports of the kingdom and the command of
the fleet.

Various motives may have conspired to produce these
resolutions; the renewed mistrust of the households of the
King and Queen, which naturally held to the prerogative
of the crown, imitation of the Scots, and rivalry with
them, in so far as they aimed at exercising a separate
influence over the King, above all the logical development
of the principles already adopted, which could tolerate
no independent action of the crown. On the occasion of
the King’s journey these tendencies of the predominant
party in the Lower House obtained the fullest expression.
It was proposed that for the time a deputy or _custos
regni_ should be appointed, to give the requisite sanction
to the bills that passed the two Houses, or that royal
functions should be entrusted to the Prince of Wales, who
was still too young for a will of his own, perhaps to the
Elector Palatine, who was very needy: it is even said that
words were uttered to the effect that there was no need
of monarchical forms[267]. If so, this was the first time
that republican sentiments were expressed in the debates of

These things however were as yet far off. Though some of
the Lords agreed with the Commons, there was always in
the Upper House a majority which opposed them in decisive

It is plain, nevertheless, that the movement was entering
on a new stage. A simple restoration of the constitution
to check the encroachments of the crown would no longer
suffice. The barriers were in danger of being broken down
which the constitution itself placed in the way of the
dominant faction.

The King on his side was resolved not to let himself be        [A.D. 1641.]
dragged so far. He believed that the church and monarchy,
and their mutual connexion, were too well established in
England to be very easily overthrown, and thought that he
could easily defend them both, if he could only separate
the affairs of Scotland from those of England; for he
referred to this inter-connexion all the misfortunes which
had befallen him. This was the chief object of the journey
to Scotland for which he was preparing. Among his advisers
some even of those who were reckoned moderate men cherished
this idea. ‘If you may overcome all difficulties there (in
Scotland) I believe it will not be difficult for you to
put all things here (in England) in good order,’ wrote his
secretary, Master Nicholas.


[259] The words ‘durante bene placito’ were changed into
the words ‘quamdiu se bene gesserint.’

[260] Hallam’s Const. Hist. ii. 196. Blackstone’s
Commentaries iv. 230. Clarendon’s Hist. of the Rebellion
iii. 121.

[261] Giustiniano, July 19, reckons them at £250,000.

[262] Speech of the King, July 5. Nalson ii. 327.

[263] Deering, in Nalson ii. 247.

[264] Lister’s Life of Lord Clarendon i. 113.

[265] Journals ii. June 12.

[266] The ten propositions of the Commons, in Nalson ii.
310:--the 3rd head about his Majesty’s counsells.

[267] So Giustiniano declares ‘redurre la monarchia a
governo democratico.’ In the Diurnall Occurrences it
is only mentioned on the 27th of August: ‘both houses
sate till 10 o’clock at night but could not agree upon



In the middle of August 1641 Charles I reappeared in
Scotland after eight years’ absence. What restlessness had
since pervaded the country from end to end! how completely
altered was the position of the King! In the year 1633 he
had begun to establish the monarchical and despotic system
which he had in view: in 1641 he was obliged to accept and
confirm maxims entirely contrary to it.

He assented to the acts of the Assembly at Glasgow and of
the Parliament of 1640: he gave up the bishops in Scotland
and submitted without further hesitation to those claims of
parliamentary power against which he had striven so long
and desperately: he ratified the treaty already concluded
by touching it with his sceptre. But all was not yet over.
On September 16 a new act was read, by which the nomination
to the most important offices in the administration of the
state and of justice was made dependent on the approval of
Parliament. The King said that he accepted it in order to
supply a need which the country might experience through
his absence: he would in future let his Privy Council
consist of a fixed number of members, never to be exceeded,
according to the advice of the Estates: he would lay before
them a list of those to whom he thought of confiding the
great offices of state, and hoped that it would meet with
their approval. ‘At this gracious answer,’ says the old
journal, ‘one and all rose and bowed themselves to the

The King’s chief object was to content the Scots, and          [A.D. 1641.]
separate their cause from the English. The events of
the last year had convinced him that the connexion of
Scottish and English affairs had involved him in all his
troubles. The late projects, which were so contrary to his
views, especially the attack made by Parliament on the
bishops, he ascribed to Scottish influence. He believed
that he could manage to resist in England if he could only
pacify Scotland, but for this purpose concessions were
indispensable. Even those royalists who followed Montrose,
and had long sought to ally themselves with him, demanded
these as absolutely necessary.

Even by these however his chief opponents were not won. The
party in religion and politics which depended on Argyle,
and had alone wielded the supreme power, was unwilling to
lose it through new appointments, or even to share it with
those who had hitherto opposed them: they accepted the
King’s concessions, but at every fresh step opposed him

The King could appoint neither chancellor nor treasurer to
please himself, so long as Argyle opposed him. At first
a compromise was effected, by which Loudon, the very man
whom Charles had wanted to treat as a traitor on account
of his letter to the King of France, was elevated to the
chancellorship. The King regarded it as a point of honour
to save the men who had been conspicuously true to him from
the anathema denounced against them in Scotland: the terms
of an oath which Argyle had carried through the Assembly
were so conceived that the clergy doubted whether it could
possibly be interpreted in the King’s sense. We know the
King’s predilection for Hamilton: now came the shock of
finding that the friend who had advised most of what he
had done against the dominant faction in Scotland himself
joined that very party. To save his life Hamilton had
allied himself with the Scottish commissioners, who again
were dependent on the committee, at the head of which was
Argyle: he now openly made common cause with the latter,
and in Argyle’s enemies saw his own.

During these party conflicts some very unexpected scenes
happened. Hamilton and his brother Lanerick quitted            [A.D. 1641.]
Edinburgh one day with Argyle, as their lives were in
danger in the neighbourhood of the King, who inclined to
their opponents. Thereupon the King, who regarded this
mistrust as an insult, betook himself with an unusually
numerous train, including all those whom he had taken into
his protection, to the Parliament. It almost seemed as
if he meant to use force against Argyle’s adherents. The
rumour was spread that the fiercest and bitterest enemies
of Hamilton, Kerr and Home, and their borderers, had been
summoned to attack him. The consequence was that the other
party armed also, and eventually gained the upper hand.
After a fortnight’s absence Hamilton and Argyle returned,
the latter more powerful than ever in Parliament. The
second and third estates, the barons and burgesses, did
nothing without him. Though here and there a preacher drew
to the King’s side, most of them filled their churches with
all the louder complaints against the plots which were
being formed[269].

Unless Charles I were willing to break with the Parliament
he had no choice but to make terms with the men of this
party. Argyle was consulted on all weighty matters: in
the nomination to offices, his friends, the determined
supporters of the covenant, obtained the preference.
Instead of the treasurer designated by the King a
commission was named on which sat friends of Hamilton and
Argyle. Lesley, who belonged to this party, was created
Earl of Leven with all the pompous formalities of earlier
times, and Argyle was advanced to a marquisate.

Men could not understand the King’s promoting his
adversaries and passing over his supporters, and bitter
complaints were uttered against him. But it was not his
choice: it was necessity arising from the weakness of his
friends and himself. These last concessions, like the
earlier ones, originated in his plans for England. He
obtained a promise from the men whom he promoted, namely,
Argyle, Loudon and Lesley, that they would not interfere
with religious affairs in England, nor ever help the           [A.D. 1641.]
English therein: they pledged him their honour, as he
asserted, that they would not[270]. He meant to separate
the ambition of the dominant Covenanters from the interests
of the parliamentary party in England. For his attention
was devoted almost entirely to England, as everything
depended on depriving the revolutionary leaders there
of the support which they derived from their connexion
with the Scots. The sequel must show whether he was not
deceiving himself, whether his old enemies now in favour
would at a later time keep their word: but the whole
question did not depend on this uncertainty. The result of
the King’s present dealings was that the Scots attained
the independence which had been their object from the
beginning, their leaders retained the posts which they
had as it were conquered, the influence of the crown was
virtually annulled. In comparison to this practical result
all the King’s schemes were of minor importance. For in
events once accomplished there is a strength, independent
of the combinations which produced them, which causes
further consequences and reactions.

Through the disturbance of the universal order of things in
the British islands, there was awakened a general and full
consciousness of the elements of which they were composed,
which found vent in movements that mocked at the union to
which they had hitherto been subject.

_The Irish Rebellion._

The government which Strafford had established in Ireland
fell with him, the office of viceroy was entrusted to
some of the judges, and shorn of the powers which gave it
authority over the whole country. The Irish army, which
had been formed with so much difficulty, and maintained
in spite of so much opposition, was disbanded without any
attention being vouchsafed to the King’s wish that it
should be allowed to enter the Spanish service. Martial        [A.D. 1641.]
law, even for cases of rebellion, was virtually at an end;
the High Commission in Ireland also was declared a general
grievance and was abolished. Under the influence of events
in England government based on prerogative, and on its
connexion with the English hierarchy, as it had existed in
Ireland since Elizabeth’s time, fell to the ground.

This revolution however might entail important results.
The Irish people was Catholic: while the Protestant
settlers were split into two hostile factions, and thereby
the highest authority in the land, which bore a really
Protestant character, was systematically weakened and
almost destroyed, the thought of ridding themselves of it
altogether was sure to arise in the nation. The steed,
never completely broken in, felt itself suddenly free from
the tight rein which hitherto it had unwillingly obeyed.

The contending principles contributed also to bring about
this result. For it had been part of Strafford’s system to
allow some toleration to the Catholics: they had been by
him introduced into the army; he had winked at a crowd of
priests from the Spanish and Netherland seminaries entering
the country and acquiring an ecclesiastical authority to
which the natives willingly submitted. On the other side
the national religious constitution which the Scots had
attained by their example induced the Irish to attempt
the same thing, but in the Catholic sense appropriate to
their case. No doubt the old Irish antipathy of the natives
against the Saxons was stimulated thereby; how could it be
otherwise? Still it was the common object of all Catholics,
alike of Anglo-Saxon and of Celtic origin, to restore to
the Catholic Church the possession of the goods and houses
that had been taken from her, and above all to put an end
to the colonies established since James I, in which Puritan
tendencies prevailed. The Catholics of the old settlements
were as eager for this as the natives.

The idea originated in a couple of chiefs of old Irish
extraction, Roger O’More and Lord Macguire, who had been
involved in Tyrone’s ruin, but were connected by marriage
with several English families. The first man whom O’More
won over was Lord Mayo, the most powerful magnate of old       [A.D. 1641.]
English descent in Connaught, of the house of De Burgh,
of whose ancestors one, a half-brother of William the
Conqueror, came over with him to England; another came
to Ireland with Henry II[271]. The best military leader
in the confederacy, Colonel Plunkett, was a Catholic of
old English origin: he had numerous connexions among the
Catholics of Leinster, and had preserved through the wars
in Flanders the religious enthusiasm which led him thither.
Among the natives the most notable personage was Phelim
O’Neil, who after having been long in England, and learning
Protestantism there, on his return to Ireland went back
to the old faith and the old customs: he was reckoned the
rightful heir of Tyrone, and possessed unbounded popular

The plan for which the Catholics of both Irish and English
extraction now united was a very far-reaching one. It
involved making the Catholic religion altogether dominant
in Ireland: even of the old nobility none but the Catholics
were to be tolerated: all the lands that had been seized
for the new settlements were to be given back to the
previous possessors or their heirs. In each district a
distinguished family was to be answerable for order, and
to maintain an armed force for the purpose. They would not
revolt from the King, but still would leave him no real
share in the government. Two lords justices, both Catholic,
one of Irish, the other of old English family, were to
be at the head of the government. In the Parliament,
which should no longer be in any way subordinate to the
English, the clergy also were to have seats and voices. In
the negotiations which preceded the rising, the question
had already been discussed, what should be done with the
Irish Protestants in case of victory. At a meeting of the
political and spiritual leaders held on St. Francis’ day in
the Franciscan convent at Mullifarvan in Westmeath, this
question, as well as the form of the future state, was
taken into consideration. The advice of the monks was to
drive them out, as Philip III had driven the Moors out of
Spain, without staining the land with their blood. Others      [A.D. 1641.]
remarked that that prince would have done better to destroy
the Moors, since a lasting evil, the strength of the pirate
states, had been increased by his clemency: in the same
way it would be better to exterminate the Protestants
in Ireland than to incur their future hostility--a
consideration of disastrous omen. We do not hear how they
decided at the moment, but the sequel showed what feelings
were supreme in their hearts.

The preparations were made in profound silence: a man could
travel across the country without perceiving any stir or
uneasiness. But on the appointed day, October 23, the day
of St. Ignatius, the insurrection everywhere broke out.
In Ulster the O’Neils, under the leadership of Phelim,
succeeded in obtaining possession of Charlemount, which
commanded one of the most important points on the northern
roads. The O’Guires surprised Mountjoy; the O’Hanlons
Tanderagh in the county of Armagh, and Newry, where they
found arms and powder: in the county of Monaghan all, in
Cavan, where the sheriff himself headed the rising, nearly
all the fortified posts were seized; here and there the
government troops, where they met the insurgents, carried
away by their impulses, made common cause with them. The
insurrection, however, did not fully attain its object. The
chief attack was directed against the castle of Dublin,
where they hoped to gain great supplies of arms and
military stores; and then, with the co-operation of the
inhabitants who sympathised with them, they would have been
in a position to defy the attacks of England. This did not
seem a hard thing to achieve, for the government, which
always liked to do the exact opposite of what Strafford
had done, had neglected military matters; it had no troops
in the city, and the castle was very insufficiently
garrisoned, so that it might apparently have been captured
by two hundred men. Perhaps it may be affirmed that the
English dominion in Ireland was saved through some natives
of Irish origin having been won to Protestantism. The
conspirators applied to one of these, Owen Conolly, to
gain his accession to their cause. He was an opponent of
Strafford, as such had come into contact with the zealous      [A.D. 1641.]
Puritans during a short stay in England, and by them
had been strengthened in the Protestantism which he had
always professed[272]: he abhorred the religious tendency
of the Irish rising, and on the evening of the 22nd gave
information. The government awoke from perfect security to
a sight of their terrible danger: they had still just time
to arrest the leaders who were already in the city, and
to secure the gates of the castle and city, so that those
who came up, seeing that they were discovered, obeyed the
order to disperse. Several other places also held out,
as Londonderry and Carrickfergus, and afforded places to
which the Protestants might fly. But no one can paint the
rage and cruelty which was vented, far and wide over the
land, upon the unarmed and defenceless. Many thousands
perished: their corpses filled the land and served as
food for the kites. The elemental forces, which hitherto
had been repressed by the strong hand of the government,
arose in the wildest licence: religious abhorrence entered
into a dreadful league with the fury of national hatred.
The motives of the Sicilian Vespers and of the night of
St. Bartholomew were united. Sir Phelim, who at once was
proclaimed Lord and Master in Ulster, with the title of
the native princes, as Tyrone had been, and who in his
proclamations assumed the tone of a sovereign, was not at
all the man to check these cruelties. Rather cast upwards
by a sudden eruption, than raised by his own services and
exertions, he added fuel to the flame already kindled:
either when drunk, or when for a moment he believed himself
in danger, he ordered the massacre of all the prisoners. Or
did this happen in consequence of their deliberations? Did
they wish to put an end for ever to the claims of the rich
settlers by taking their lives? With all this letting loose
of ancient barbarism there was still some holding back. The
Scottish settlements were spared, although they were the
most hated of all, for fear of incurring the hostility of
the Scottish as well as of the English nation.

Immediately there was a rising in the five counties of
the old English Pale: the gentry of Louth, under the           [A.D. 1641.]
leadership of the sheriff, took the side of the rebels. The
younger men of Meath assembled on the Boyne, and commenced
hostilities against the Protestants: so completely had
their religious sympathies prevailed over their patriotism.
They told the King that being in the midst between the
government which mistrusted them and forbade them arms, and
the advancing rebels, threatened on both sides, they had no
escape left except by joining the latter[273]. This agrees
with their original suggestion that if they sought him he
might treat them no worse than the Scots: if he would be
gracious to them, they would shed the last drop of their
blood for him.

As the Scots had won from the King the recognition of their
national and religious independence, so also the Irish
aimed at a national and Catholic independence. There is
certainly a resemblance, but a far greater difference. In
the one it was a controversy which found vent, as it were,
prematurely in violent demonstrations and domestic feuds;
the other was one of the most cruel insurrections recorded
in history.

The King received the first tidings of the Irish rebellion
while in Scotland; he immediately informed the Scottish
Parliament and begged their aid. The Scots declared
themselves ready, but delayed to see what would happen in
England. The King, who regarded the cause as his own, in
spite of his distressed circumstances contrived out of his
own means to send over a small force of 1500 men under
experienced commanders: this was the first succour which
the Protestants received, and it gave them courage, and
contributed greatly to make the strong places that had not
surrendered in the mean time hold out to the end. False as
it is to accuse Charles I of having himself secretly taken
part in this Irish movement, it is undeniable that it was
not altogether hostile to him. It was above all a reaction
against the form of government derived from the Puritan
parliamentary principles in England. The Irish Catholics
told the King, that it was because he, in the fulness of       [A.D. 1641.]
his princely love, granted them some religious liberty,
that the English Parliament, envious of their good fortune,
diminished his prerogative: it desired to call the Scots
to its assistance, and with the Bible in one hand and the
sword in the other to extirpate Catholicism in Ireland.
It is obvious that Ireland in its native condition could
exist very well under a monarchy clothed with extensive
prerogatives, but never under a parliamentary government
with predominant Puritan sentiments, such as existed and
daily grew stronger in the present Parliament.

We turn our attention to England, to those parliamentary
discussions long before proposed, and now again resumed, to
which the course of things in Scotland, and still more the
events in Ireland, furnished a new and powerful impulse.


[268] The diurnall of the second parliament of our
sovereign lord, King Charles. In Balfour, Annals iii. 65.

[269] Relation of the Incident, for so this event is
termed. ‘5-600 following his coach, amongst whom were all
those that were cited to the Parliament, and likewise those
that were accused to have been of this plot against us.’

[270] Despatch of the French minister Sabran, 20 March,
1645. The King assured him, ‘qu’il avait tiré serment sur
leur foi et leur honneur du chancelier d’Ecosse, du comte
d’Argyle et de Leslie, que jamais ils ne se mêleroient de
la religion d’Ingleterre et ne l’assisteroient jamais à ce

[271] Narrative of Macguire, in Nalson ii. Carte, who
denies it, tries in vain to clear the old English Catholics
of all participation.

[272] Sanderson 438. ‘A gentleman of a meer Irish family,
but a true Protestant by a long conversation with the

[273] This apology, as well as another addressed to the
Queen, proves clearly that the authority to seize the goods
of the Protestants, which the Irish professed to have
received from the King himself, was a deliberate invention,
as was maintained from the first moment. If not, how came
the Catholics not to refer to it?



Wearied with the labours of the long session, the English
Parliament during the King’s absence entered on a recess,
which was to last from September 9 to October 28, not
however without first appointing a committee, chosen of
both Houses, to despatch current business and maintain

Men breathed again after the tension at which the immense
activity of the last ten months had kept their minds: but
when they came quietly to look back upon the past, the
feeling that was evinced was by no means one of entire
satisfaction[274]. There was no blinding themselves to the
fact that they had gone far beyond the prospects which had
floated before the eyes of the majority at the time of the
last elections to Parliament. Instead of a restoration of
the rights of Parliament on the ancient footing[275], the
constitution was endangered, and all power fallen into the
hands of a few men, who had the majority in the divisions.
The members who returned to their counties did not give a
very satisfactory report of the mode of carrying on the
debates, in which they were often prevented from stating
their views, so that there was not complete freedom of         [A.D. 1641.]
speech[276]. Disapproval was especially aroused by a
resolution which had been passed in very thin houses during
the last days of the session, and clothed with legal
force without respect to constitutional forms. It related
to spiritual affairs. The Calvinistic communion-tables
that had been set aside were again to be restored, the
pictures and ceremonial vessels which had been introduced
by Laud to be removed, the bowing at the name of the
Redeemer discontinued, and Sunday on the other hand to be
observed with the Sabbatarian rigour of the Scots. Without
having arrived at a complete agreement with the Upper
House, which in its weakened condition still offered some
resistance, but supported by a minority there which under
the circumstances was considerable, the Lower House issued
this ordinance, apparently no longer troubling itself about
the old forms which required the concurrence of the three
components of the legislature. The _ad interim_ commission,
of which John Pym was the most active member, held that
this declaration should be published everywhere, and
carried into effect so far as was possible without a breach
of the peace. Lecturers devoted to the Presbyterian system
were appointed side by side with the parochial clergy who
adhered to Anglicanism. The idea was--and it was at the
moment recommended by political considerations--to approach
as nearly as was possible without much ado to the Scottish

No doubt the Presbyterians far and wide in the country
were well inclined to assist: but they were by no means
so strong in England as in Scotland; the Episcopal Church
had struck deep root in England. Men would endure no
alterations in the Book of Common Prayer, which had so long
formed the basis of their domestic and public devotions:
they had already grown used to the altars, and liked the
dignity of the restored ceremonial: nor were they willing
to be deprived of the bishops, who were popular in many
quarters, especially as they were likely to be easier          [A.D. 1641.]
to keep in order than the many thousands of lay elders to
be substituted for them. Here and there tumultuous scenes
took place in the churches where attempts were made to give
effect to the orders of Parliament: elsewhere the people
declared against the decrees of the Synod of Dort, for the
doctrines of Laud’s system were of an Arminian character:
in a great number of counties petitions were circulated for
the maintenance of that episcopal constitution which had
been inherited from the earliest times. Bishop Williams of
Lincoln, who during these months made a personal visitation
of his large diocese, called to remembrance the services of
the bishops in heading the resistance to the aggressions of
Rome: he declared it to be a conscientious duty to abide by
the arrangements made by their forefathers, so long as they
were not legally repealed: no one, he said, should be led
astray after the idol of imaginary freedom, for there would
be so many masters that all the rest would be slaves[277].

Williams had belonged to the foremost opponents of Laud
and his regulations: but zealous as he was in resistance
to Laud, he was equally free from all Puritan and Scottish
predilections. He refused to designate the Scots as loyal
subjects, as was expected of him in the thanksgiving
service for the restoration of peace with Scotland: he was
willing to allow a limitation of the prelates’ authority,
but insisted on the maintenance of their dignity, and
of the forms of church government. He offered direct
opposition to the orders of the Lower House and its
commission, to the extent of declaring that all who should
follow them would deserve punishment.

Among the most important members of the Lower House itself
several seceded on these questions from the prevailing
party. Edward Hyde, who had taken the most active part in
the judicial reforms, was nevertheless far from sharing
the systematic hostility to the constitution of the Church
which most of the lawyers then evinced. He had known Laud
well in earlier times, and was fully aware that he was         [A.D. 1641.]
often blamed for what was not his fault: the errors of the
past arose, he thought, from carrying things to excess,
but the church system itself he regarded as defensible and
useful. Contrary to expectation, Lord Falkland adopted
the same line: he did not deny to his old friend Hampden
that he had informed himself better, and changed his
opinion. John Colepepper, the man in the whole assembly
best qualified to sum up a debate, declared himself of the
same mind, though religious principles did not to him form
the ruling motive of life. Yet without this a man might
well turn aside from the goal which the majority were
striving to reach: he might perceive that the attempt to
impose on England the Scottish system was contrary to the
spirit of the English, and could never be accomplished, and
might well shrink from the state of chaos which might be
foreseen. He might also see in an alliance with the King
the best course for the country, and security for his own
future. Perhaps it was a question as little of high moral
resolve as of shameful desertion; it was a peculiar line
of statesmanlike policy which these men had traced out for

Circumstances were not such as to allow of a return to
the tendencies of the old régime: these had become for
ever impossible--there were no more royalists on principle
of Strafford’s type: new foundations of parliamentary
government had been laid and recognised by the King. The
immediate political question was, whether now to restore
the old equilibrium of forces, and maintain the Established
Church, or to proceed further in the destruction of
existing institutions. The first was the policy of the men
who now separated from their former friends, the leaders of
the Parliamentary majority.

We find that other districts also took offence at the last
steps taken before the recess, which were regarded as
illegal, and lost confidence in the Parliament[278]. In
London placards were posted in public places, in which the     [A.D. 1641.]
authors of these resolutions were denounced as traitors to
the King and the nation, enemies of God and of the public
weal: they had conspired with the Scots against England;
if Parliament would not expel them, vengeance should be
taken on them by open force. The magistrates and well-to-do
classes in the capital gave unequivocal proofs of their
sympathy with the King’s cause at this stage.

Thus there appeared manifold and strong leanings against
the party which hitherto had been successful, of an
ecclesiastical, a constitutional, and a popular nature. If
now the King returned, without having to fear any hostility
from Scotland, and succeeded in enforcing his views as to
the suppression of the Irish rebellion, he might hope, with
the support of this movement, to resume his throne with a
moderate but still real authority[279].

Necessarily however these events and possibilities aroused
the zeal of the leaders on the other side. They knew
perfectly well that the King was hoping by his conduct in
Scotland to strengthen himself for resistance in England.
The news of the supposed attempt to murder Hamilton and
Argyle produced a great effect: it was assumed that
something similar might be repeated in England. The Lords
held frequent meetings, sometimes at Northumberland’s
house, sometimes at Lord Mandeville’s, sometimes at
Lord Holland’s in Kensington, in order to come to an
understanding on the next measures to be adopted. There
was incessant talk of Popish plots and desperate attempts;
or fear was entertained that the Queen meant to depart,
in order to increase the confusion and bring foreign help
into England. To interrupt her connexion with the enemies
of Parliament at home, a demand was put forward that at any
rate she should not have English confessors; against French
there was nothing to be said. The apprehension was loudly
expressed that a thorough reaction was impending, which
would reverse all that had yet been conceded, and threaten
the utmost danger to the Parliamentary leaders.

In the midst of these contrary agitations Parliament           [A.D. 1641.]
assembled again on the appointed day, at first not in much
greater numbers than before the recess: but a decided
opposition to the dominant party showed itself immediately.
When, among other things, the disobedience to the last
declaration of Parliament was mentioned, and proposals made
for punishing it, nothing could be carried, as the majority
held the declaration itself to have been unlawful[280].
When the House filled the hope might be entertained of
achieving, in parliamentary fashion, a reversal of the
majority, and a reaction in conformity with the views of
the moderate party, who had been drawing near to the King.

It was mainly in order to counteract this intention that
Pym and his friends proceeded with the Grand Remonstrance,
which in more than two hundred clauses enumerated the
grievances which the King’s government had occasioned since
its commencement[281]. It is, we may say, a kind of history
of the administration: for this estimate of it, though
often disputed and generally rejected, has in later times
again obtained acceptance through the advocacy of some able
writers. It is a narrative of the foregoing events for the
purpose of inculpating the royalists and justifying their
opponents. For the latter were beginning to feel that the
general opinion was setting against them, seeking, so
they complain, to reverse what they had done, and hinder
what was still contemplated. The Remonstrance is a party
manifesto, containing at once a defence of the past and
a programme for the future. Above all it was intended to
represent the steps which its framers still purposed to
take, as being the necessary consequences of those which
Parliament had taken from the very beginning.

As in April and November 1640 John Pym had referred all the
evils in England to an intention of changing the religion
and the government, so now in the Remonstrance proof
had to be given that the King had been from the first,         [A.D. 1641.]
and still was, ruled by a Jesuitical faction. The
dissolution of previous Parliaments, the war with France
and its disastrous result, the increase of the spiritual
power--for Episcopalians, Arminians, even Libertines,
were all represented as in league with the Papists--the
opposition which many good laws had met with in the Upper
House--all was deduced from the same source. Just then
was published the news of the rising in Ireland and of
the cruelties perpetrated there. It made naturally a very
great impression, and was regarded as a confirmation of the
general complaints. There was no idea of other influences,
or of the effect which the harsh behaviour of Parliament
itself had had on the course of events: it was more than
ever regarded as the chief merit of Parliament that it had
opposed and checked Popish tendencies. And still the same
danger was threatening: for the future the same determined
resistance was necessary, and the only hope of rescue lay
in Parliament. There was no doubt of the good-will and
firmness of the Lower House: but this would avail little if
met in the Upper House by the hostility of the bishops and
lords inclined to Catholicism. Thus the way was paved for a
return to the earlier projects of a thorough ecclesiastical
reform. From the imminent danger in which the country was,
and which had one of its sources in the ecclesiastical
constitution, was deduced the necessity of transforming the
latter. ‘We admit that our design is to put an end to the
excessive power of the prelates, and deprive them of their
temporal dignities and offices.’ It was proposed to call
a general synod of the chief theologians of the island,
that is to say including the Scots, with the assistance of
some foreigners, for the purpose of taking counsel on the
good government of the Church, their conclusions to be then
carried into effect by Parliament. A standing commission of
members of Parliament was demanded, to present systematic
opposition to Popish aggressions, and to watch over the
observance of the laws against Papists. Then came the
demands long before announced, and now more strongly urged
in consequence of the concessions made to the Scots, that
the King should admit to the chief offices, in relation to
foreign as well as domestic affairs, only persons in whom      [A.D. 1641.]
the Parliament could confide: otherwise, it was
unreservedly stated, they could grant no more subsidies.

These were the two great demands at which the earlier
negotiations had stopped, the abolition of episcopacy, and
the appointment of high officials subject to the approval
of Parliament: they were now discussed in connexion with
each other. The Remonstrance contained more than a mere
statement of grievances: if the Lower House adopted it, it
at once made these demands definitely its own, and resolved
to carry them. It thereby returned to tendencies which had
formerly been dominant but recently had become dubious, and
adopted the watchword under which the Scots had broken down
the preponderance of the crown.

We must observe that the Remonstrance had also a certain
connexion with foreign affairs. The Queen had expected
much from the arrival of the new French ambassador La
Ferté Imbault. In June 1641 he appeared, bringing her
assurances of friendship from the King of France and
Cardinal Richelieu, which pleased her greatly. La Ferté
followed nevertheless in the footsteps of Bellièvre: he
connected himself with Lord Holland, who, without being
himself conspicuous in Parliament, exercised some influence
over the direction and management of affairs[282]. He was
present when the lords of the minority met at Holland
House, and did not hesitate to maintain also an intimate
connexion with the members of the Lower House: he kept
company with them, though far below him in rank according
to the social ideas of the age[283]. He assured the Queen
that these alliances would give him power to serve her; and
she declared herself satisfied: she seems at the least to
have reckoned that the influence of the ambassador would
check the violence of hatred against her, but in fact
he entered into close confederation with her opponents.        [A.D. 1641.]
The Queen was most anxious to support her Catholic
co-religionists: the ambassador found that they were as a
body inclined to Spain[284], and in consequence did little
or nothing for them.

On the other hand the leading men in Parliament were
enemies of Spain. The idea had dawned upon them of making
a new attempt on the West Indies, hostile to that power:
the English sailors and soldiers in the Spanish service
were summoned to quit it under heavy penalties. Hence the
French ambassador was their ally. One day he made an offer
to the King of French assistance in Ireland, but this
was not done without a previous understanding with his
friends in Parliament, who approved because the insurgents
represented the Spanish and Catholic interest. Both parties
thought that the King favoured Spain and the Catholics:
just at the moment they were afraid, in consequence of the
presence of an imperial plenipotentiary, of the renewal of
an understanding between England and Spain, in which the
Netherlands should participate; the members promised the
ambassador to try and induce the King to break with Spain,
and conclude at last the often talked of alliance with

In the Remonstrance were described the counsellors whom
the King was not to endure: these were not merely those to
whom actual crimes could be imputed, but also favourers
of Popery, friends of foreign powers of other creeds, all
who spoke contemptuously of Parliament, or sheltered great
offenders. So ran the official document. In the speeches
however the offensive persons were actually named; the
chief of them were Bristol and his son Digby, as they
themselves well knew. The same men were also regarded,
and doubtless rightly, as supporters of the leanings
towards Spain; they were said to be forming a new Spanish
cabal[286]. The Remonstrance contained almost a personal
vote of want of confidence against them.

The one decisive question with relation to all matters         [A.D. 1641.]
both domestic and foreign was now whether the Remonstrance
would obtain a majority in the Lower House or not. On this
it depended whether England would maintain the regal and
parliamentary forms after the ancient fashion, together
with episcopacy and substantial power vested in the
crown, or whether it would change to the system adopted
in Scotland, and unite with Presbyterianism the complete
preponderance of Parliament. Existing circumstances, old
associations, the intuitive and habitual inclination of
the people, pointed to the one: the great agitation of the
last year, the attempt once undertaken, urged men strongly
towards the other. The clauses of the Remonstrance were
first discussed singly, and one or two were opposed, but
without any practical result. The final debate took place
on November 22. Its importance is illustrated by the words
of Oliver Cromwell, that on its issue depended the question
whether or not he could stay in England. Only if the
majority accepted the Remonstrance could he see any future
for himself in England. Many others held similar opinions.
The rejection of the Remonstrance would have driven to
America the champions of the ideas expressed in it.

Edward Hyde opened the debate by declaring a phrase in
the Remonstrance inconsistent with the King’s dignity: he
added the remark that the defence of their liberties was
not opposed to the existence of the crown. ‘We will not be
subjects of a contemptible king, any more than he be king
of contemptible subjects.’ Lord Falkland approached more
nearly to the questions at issue. He specially defended the
bishops, who were unfairly accused of Popish tendencies,
and even charged with having promoted idolatry. Then he
referred to the proposal that the King’s nominations
should be subject to the approval of Parliament, which
he characterised as impracticable and ludicrous. Edmund
Waller, who had already broken several lances with Pym,
added that in this he was going against the laws: for that
the Lower House was chosen by the freeholders to make the
laws, not to see that the King’s counsellors were appointed
according to their pleasure. Edward Dering asserted that       [A.D. 1641.]
the wishes of the people had now been satisfied, and that
they desired no accusations for the past, nor yet promises
for the future, such as the Remonstrance contained. John
Colepepper declared that they had no right, without the
concurrence of the Lords, to publish this Remonstrance, for
that the Lower House was chosen to transact business with
the King and the Lords, not to issue declarations to the
people; moreover that the hostility of the people would
very soon be shown if they meddled with episcopacy.

Pym and Hampden took the chief part in defending the
Remonstrance. Pym justified the harsh expressions against
the bishops, on the ground that the reverence paid to the
altars was in fact idolatrous, and the pretension in regard
to the King’s advisers, on the ground that the wicked
designs against which they had had to fight originated in
the immediate neighbourhood of the King. He said that the
heart of the people would be won when they ascertained how
the Lower House was treated: as for seeking the assent
of the Lords to the Remonstrance, it was a contradiction
in terms, as it contained complaints against the Lords
themselves. Hampden declared that they were only doing
what was natural; the Lower House had been loaded with
reproaches, and these they repelled: evil counsellors were
close at hand and very powerful, and these they exposed.
The attacks made on their new church policy he retorted
with a text from the Apocalypse predicting the victory of
the true church, and the fall of all other worship[287].

Thus reasons and counter-reasons were urged without any
one being able clearly to pronounce in which way the scale
inclined. At last the opponents of the Remonstrance must
have begun to fear that they should be in the minority:
they determined to resist as long as possible, and if that
failed, to proceed to a protest. It was midnight before
they could come to a decision. It was resolved first of all
to settle the text of the Remonstrance, and then take the      [A.D. 1641.]
final vote: at last the question was put whether the
Remonstrance as amended be agreed to or not. On this the
House divided; the votes in its favour were 159, those
against it 148. It had passed by a majority of eleven.

Still the affair was not ended. A new agitation was aroused
by the motion that the Remonstrance should forthwith be
printed. The royalist party thought this unendurable, as
setting this document before the populace would be an
act of hostility against the King. Edward Hyde declared
that the House had no authority to do it without having
consulted with the Lords: he added that if it passed he
should pray for leave to enter his protest. His cautious
expression shows that he regarded the right as dubious. But
a step was taken which rendered an immediate demonstration
possible. Geoffrey Palmer, a lawyer, rose to ask for the
appointment of a day on which the right to a protest might
be enquired into: meanwhile the names might be taken of
those who would sign such a protest in case of its being
pronounced legal. He seemed to ask who was prepared for
this; a great crowd rose to their feet, with the cry ‘All,
all.’ Was not this however in fact a protest, in spite
of the doubtful legality? Inevitably it excited immense
agitation. The steadfast zeal of the one party balanced
the enthusiasm of the other. They waved their hats above
their heads, knocked on the ground with their swords; it
seemed as if they must come to hand-to-hand fighting. As
they sat or stood opposite each other they felt that they
could plunge their weapons into one another’s bodies, like
Abner’s and Joab’s young men at Hilkath Hazzurim. In that
narrow, crowded, dimly lighted room of the chapel, men felt
almost as in the valley of the shadow of death[288]. A few
conciliatory words from Hampden availed to recall them
to their senses. The proposed resolution was in fact not
put. Without bloodshed, but in the utmost excitement, they
separated late at night.

Geoffrey Palmer had to atone for his conduct by a couple       [A.D. 1641.]
of days’ imprisonment in the Tower. But the question he
had raised, how far a protest of dissentient members was
allowable in the Lower House, was of so great importance,
that when once it had been spoken of it must necessarily be

The right of protest existed in the House of Lords, in the
Scottish Parliament, in the Legislative Assemblies of the
Continent: the very name of the religion acknowledged in
England was derived from a protest offered in the German
Diet. Why should there be no power of exercising it in
the English Lower House? There was no precedent for it,
but there was none against it: and how many things were
then done for the first time. Two reasons were urged for
the right of protest, which rest on the inmost sense of
individuality: one is that the individual cannot possibly
be compelled to assent to the majority if it adopts illegal
or irreligious measures: the other is that otherwise in
case of a revolution, the innocent would have to suffer
with the guilty. It is obvious that these reasons could
not prevail with a majority which was in possession of the
right to pass universally binding resolutions. The majority
argued that the ancient formulae cut off the possibility
of a declaration of dissent. John Pym stated on this
side a reason of great significance. The Lords, said he,
are in the Upper House in virtue of their individual and
personal rights: every man acts for himself, so that he is
not unconditionally bound by the majority. But the case
is quite different with the Lower House, which represents
the nation: there no dissent is allowable. He assumed that
the united will of the nation was expressed through the
majority of the members of the Lower House elected by it.
That a national assembly represents the nation, had very
often been said: but that is very far from the view that
this representation belongs to the Lower House, an idea
on which is based the legality of all revolution. It very
naturally originated with the leader accustomed to be
followed by a majority which he had himself done most to
form: in its assent he read the assent of the nation.

Apart from the essential importance of the principles          [A.D. 1641.]
involved, the fact that the resolution was passed, and that
under no circumstances durst members of the Lower House
enter a protest, had great importance for the moment. The
whole authority which the conclusions of the Lower House
possessed with the nation went in favour of the proposals
against the bishops and for the termination of the King’s
power of nomination, which had passed on the night of
November 22 by so narrow majority.


[274] Giustiniano, 20/30 Aug. ‘Tulto opera al presente
la camera bassa, anzi quei soli che si professano pin
interessati nelle passate deliberationi, et che vestite con
il manto del zelo del ben publico le loro private cupidità,
hanno pin degli altri offeso questo principe.’

[275] ‘Never imagining,’ says Roger Twysden of his share in
the elections, ‘that Parlyament would have tooke upon them
the redressing things amiss, by a way not traced out unto
them by their auncestors.’ Kemble’s preface to Twysden’s
Certaine considerations upon the government of England xxii.

[276] Giustiniano. ‘Avendo apportato querele alle sue
communita, che in parlamento tutto sia retto con il solo
arbitrio di alcuni pochi, i quali arditamente prese in
mano le redini del governo, abbiano impedito agli altri di
dichiarare a beneficio commune i sentimenti suoi,--che la
liberta della lingua non habbia havuto quel luoco che è di

[277] Hacket’s Life of Williams ii. 165. He was especially
blamed for the words, ‘that no power could protect against
statutes still in force.’

[278] Ed. Nicholas to the King, 27th September: ‘The
late crosse orders and unusuall passages in Parliament a
little before the recess are so distasteful to the wiser
sort, as it hath taken off the edge of their confidence in
parliamentary proceedings.’ (Evelyn’s Diary iv. 75.)

[279] Giustiniano, 18 Oct.: ‘Universalmente palesa ogn’ uno
discontento dei tentativi del parlamento, onde puo credersi
che a nuova ridutione si procedera con maggior moderatione
e saranno rette le deliberationi dell’ acconsentimento di
tutti, non dalla sola passione di pochi.’

[280] ‘There was no way found or resolved on to punish
those that disobeyed the same (order of the House).’
Nicholas to the King, 21st October.

[281] A remonstrance of the state of the kingdom, presented
to the King at Hampton Court, 1st Dec. 1641, in the name of
the Commons’ House of Parliament. Rushworth iv. 438.

[282] La Ferté, 1/10 Oct. ‘Il a grand credit en Angleterre,
et sa caballe, qui est grande, donnera un grand branle aux
affaires.’ 16/26 Dec. ‘Le comte d’Holland est toujours très
puissant au parlement et très mal a la cour.’

[283] So the Queen declared later. ‘Le Sr. La Ferté avoit
commerce particulier avec les parlementaires, même avec
personnes de la plus basse condition, qu’il visitoit très

[284] La Ferté, 31st Oct.: ‘La plupart des Catholiques sont

[285] From La Ferté’s despatch of 7th Nov. ‘Les plus
puissants du parlement luy ont dit, qu’ils étoient resolus
de luy parler (au roi d’Angleterre) pour renouveller
l’alliance de France, s’unir avec elle, et rompre avec la
maison d’Autriche.’

[286] 10th Oct. ‘On a découvert depuis peu, que les
partisans d’Espagne faisoient une nouvelle (cabale).
Ceux du parlement, qui en ont advis (through Holland)
travailleront, aussitôt que le parlement se rassemble,
d’eloigner ces personnes la.’

[287] ‘When the woman shall be clothed with the sun, the
moon shall be under her feet.’ Verney’s Notes contain the
most important particulars of this transaction. Cp. Forster

[288] Warwick, Memoirs 202. Notices from D’Ewes’ Diary in
Forster’s Historical Essays i. 112. The Camden Society
should earn the credit of printing this diary _in extenso_.



The King was and remained determined to give way on neither
point: while the anti-episcopalian tendencies were gaining
the upper hand in the Commons, he had in a measure newly
constituted the episcopal bench. The vacant sees, of which
there was a great number, he filled without any limitation
of their authority: in order to give proof of his genuine
Protestant sentiments, he chose learned men of moderate
views. Dr. Prideaux, one of the best professors at Oxford,
a scholar and logician, and possessed of the most extensive
theological learning, obtained the bishopric of Worcester.
Dr. Brownrigge, a Cambridge Fellow, and possessing the
sort of intellect at once solid and versatile, which is
calculated to shine in public discussions, received the
see of Exeter; Westfield, a popular preacher, that of
Bristol. Bishop Hall, whose moderation had brought him
under suspicion of being inclined to Presbyterianism,
was advanced to the bishopric of Norwich; and Bishop
Williams of Lincoln, who at the moment had developed a rare
episcopal activity, to the archbishopric of York. Thus it
was not the adherents of the Canterbury system, the old
friends of Laud, who obtained the preference. The King
wished to give the Church representatives free from all
suspicion of a leaning towards Catholicism; and by this he
caused the most thorough satisfaction to all the friends of
the Church.

On November 25, the third day after that stormy sitting,
he returned to London: once more he was welcomed with
joyful sympathy, and as heartily as he could wish. The         [A.D. 1641.]
Recorder, in the name of the city, expressed confidence
that he would defend the established religion: the King
answered that he would prove his love to the people by
maintaining intact the laws of the realm and of religion,
as they had stood under his father and Queen Elizabeth--as
if with a presentiment of the coming storm, he added, even
at the risk of his life and all that was dear to him[289].
He had just confirmed the city in its rights, and restored
the possessions in Ireland which had been taken away under
Strafford. To prove their gratitude the magistrates had
invited him to a banquet in Guildhall. On the way thither,
as well as in going thence by torchlight to Whitehall,
he was greeted with triumphant shouts. He derived thence
a conviction that he would have the general voice in
his favour if it came to open war between him and the
Parliament: and that war was imminent no one could doubt.

On December 1 the Remonstrance was presented to the King
at Hampton Court, by a deputation of the Commons. It was
accompanied by a petition, in which the two chief demands,
on which all the rest depended, were repeated in strong
terms--that he would deprive the bishops of their temporal
authority, and moderate their spiritual power so far that
all oppression in doctrine, government and discipline
should cease--that he would banish the malignants from his
council, and admit no influence from the opposite side,
however near or high the quarter from which it came. The
request was appended that the King would not restore to
the rebels their forfeited possessions in England, but
keep them for the public service. At this and some other
points the King let an exclamation of ironical astonishment
or disapproval escape him; at the rest he exhibited
neither anger nor annoyance, he only expressed the wish
that the Remonstrance should not be published without his

He had undoubtedly however resolved to resist with all
his might the purposes disclosed in it. On the day after
the presentation of the petition he showed this by a           [A.D. 1641.]
proclamation which, in opposition to the ordinance of the
Parliamentary commission, forbade all deviation from the
Book of Common Prayer. In relation to the other disputed
question he acted in the same manner as in reference to
spiritual affairs. It had hitherto remained doubtful on
what principle the highest posts not yet disposed of should
be filled up: in the last few months there had been again
a talk of introducing men like Hollis and Pym into the
highest ranks of the administration[290]. Even for the
household posts there were candidates who reckoned on the
support of Parliament. When however the opposition, which
it was hoped had been lulled, again exhibited itself in
so direct and implacable a form, the King would no longer
think of any such approximation, as it would in fact have
been endorsing the claims of the Commons. The dignity of
Lord Steward, to which the Lower House wished to see the
Earl of Pembroke appointed, was conferred by Charles on
James Stuart, Duke of Lennox and Richmond, who, like his
ancestors, was in the confidence of the royal family. Just
as little was he disposed to entrust the office of Lord
Treasurer to the Earl of Salisbury, the son of Robert
Cecil: he named as Chancellor of the Exchequer, John
Colepepper, one of the leaders of the minority. The two
Vanes lost their posts, the elder to his bitter chagrin
the Secretaryship of State, in which he had grown grey;
and Lord Falkland was induced to undertake it. Edward
Hyde as yet received no office, though he took part in
all deliberations: he busied himself in answering the
Remonstrance which he had so vainly resisted at the time.
But the soul of the ministry was Lord Digby, another
of Charles I’s advisers who came over to him from the
opposition. The Queen asserted that she had by her personal
intervention induced him to change sides. After he had,
in the debate on the Bill of Attainder, broken with the
majority in the Commons, which threatened to make him
answer for his language, he was transferred to the Upper
House, and obtained a post about the King’s person. He was
a man of universal culture, who had seen many countries,
and possessed very varied knowledge, amiable when he liked,    [A.D. 1641.]
and spirited, at once versatile and resolute. His speeches
are favourably distinguished by good taste and happy
expression from the style of his contemporaries: in the
history of parliamentary eloquence he deserves a place.
He found his chief support in his father, Lord Bristol,
the only one of those who had been admitted into the
council at the beginning of the year who exerted any real
influence. Charles I once more selected from Parliament an
enemy of Buckingham, whom he had attacked with the help of
Parliament in former times. Now however their sentiments
were no longer those prevalent in Parliament: both father
and son had become favourable to Spain and to royalty.

Regarded in the light of later events it may seem strange
that the King should have chosen his ministers from the
minority and not from the majority. At the moment however
the prospect was adverse to the demands of Parliament:
while the King was sure of a large minority in the Lower
House, of a majority in the Lords, of the great episcopal
interest, and of a favourable sentiment among the people,
he thought that he need not fear a hostile majority. The
Queen in the course of December believed that her party
would supplant, conquer, and punish the opposition.

The French ambassador distinguished between the Spanish
cabal, and the other which consisted of his friends. ‘Each
of them,’ said he, at the beginning of December, ‘does
all it can to ruin the other. The Spanish party has been
strengthened by the arrival of the King; he has a great
idea of the strength of his adherents in both houses, and
hopes with their aid to be able to restore his authority.’
In Parliament there grew up against Bristol and Digby a
hatred similar to that which had once been felt against
Strafford: on the other hand Holland, Essex, Say, Hertford,
saw themselves threatened in their offices by the court
party. It was still very doubtful which side would remain
masters of the field: meanwhile the leaders of the Commons
had reason to fear for their lives.

When the nature of the opposing principles and the strength
of the parties embodying them were such as to produce a
sort of equilibrium, or state of suspense, a change in the
municipal representation in London, which went in favour of
the revolutionary cause, was of all the greater moment.

Although Episcopacy was liked by the magistrates and           [A.D. 1641.]
wealthy classes, Presbyterian opinions preponderated
on the whole, and decidedly so in the middle and lower
classes. The zealous and well-attended sermons, in which
religious exhortation bore also a political character,
contributed greatly to this. How great must have been the
confusion when the deviations from Anglican usage which had
been introduced under the protection of Parliament, were
pronounced invalid, and had to be abandoned[291]. It is
very intelligible that the declaration of the Lord Mayor
and Aldermen in favour of the bishops should have been met
by counter manifestations on the part of the commonalty.
At the beginning of December a petition was prepared in
the city, and accepted in spite of the opposition of the
Lord Mayor, in which the city adhered to the views of the
majority in the Lower House, and fully adopted as its own
the idea already prevalent there, of excluding the popish
lords and the bishops from the Upper House. The great
contest on the relations of Church and State which divided
the nation was first fought out in the city of London. A
considerable part of the public authority was here in the
hands of the Common Council: those elected to a seat there
had come to enjoy almost a personal life-long right, and
it was the first step to the magisterial bench. Hitherto
men of moderate opinions, such as had been expressed on
the occasion of the King’s return, had had the upper hand
there: now however the city populace found them not zealous
enough for religion, and too much inclined to make terms
with the court. Their chief crime was intending to petition
in favour of Episcopacy and the Book of Common Prayer. At
the new elections, which took place at this time in the
various parishes and wards, a sudden change was made. The
adherents of the government and of the bishops, such as
Benyon and Drake, were rejected, and zealous Presbyterians
were elected instead, though they might be less wealthy:
many belonged to the class of artisans[292].

The King had originally intended, since he did not fully       [A.D. 1641.]
trust the temper of London, to spend the winter at Hampton
Court: he was induced by the good reception he met with
at the city, and by the assurances of the authorities, to
promise that he would spend Christmas at Westminster[293].
Thus he was very closely affected by this change.

In the city there appeared an ever-rising ferment. If
anything in the world was calculated to rouse their
passions it was the horrible violence committed against
the Protestants in Ireland: this must necessarily have
awakened Protestant fellow-feeling. They were ready to
contribute towards the Irish war; even in the Common
Council numerous subscriptions were offered: but at the
same time they demanded security for the good management
of the undertaking, and the most rigorous execution of the
penal laws. It almost seemed as if they had to fear, from
the system of government, similar terrible consequences in
England: the outbreak of a fire in their neighbour’s house
made them fear for their own. Then came the publication of
the Remonstrance, which was printed in spite of the King’s
request and the opposition of the minority. It appeared
palpable that the King was ruled by Popish influence. We
have political ballads extant in which the alliance of the
bishops and the Papists is depicted as the great danger of
the country and of religion. But there are, it is added,
courageous hearts ready for resistance; the best of the
King’s subjects are prepared to do what will break the yoke
of Antichrist, and to gain for England the liberties which
Scotland has secured.

A fast-day was held on December 22. In a letter of this
day it is said that extraordinary devotions are necessary
to implore the grace of God for the averting of the storms
which are breaking over the country; he may deem himself
happiest who has least to do with it.

During this general uneasiness the King issued an order        [A.D. 1641.]
which was exactly calculated to cause a complete outbreak.
As a part of the system already adopted, of substituting
for men of popular opinions and connexions, who held any
important post, others of greater inclination towards the
King’s service, William Balfour, a Scot, the Constable
Lieutenant of the Tower, the same who had refused to allow
the introduction of a small force, was dismissed from
his office, and replaced by a friend of Digby’s, named
Lunsford, a soldier by profession, who had served in the
northern army. But he was regarded as one of the most
dangerous of the malignants: he was said never to have
been seen in a church, to be violent and dishonourable,
laden with debt, and capable of any desperate resolve. His
appointment made the worst possible impression on the city,
which would not see a portion of its wealth, the gold and
silver bullion in the Tower, left in such untrustworthy
hands. The Lower House thought they saw in it the beginning
of a violent reaction, and requested the Lords to unite
with them in praying for the revocation of the appointment.
Though the Upper House declared, in reply, that the
appointment and removal of officers belonged to the royal
prerogative, with which they had no right to interfere, the
Commons proceeded to resolve that Lunsford was unfitted
for the place, ‘as a person in whom the Commons of England
cannot confide[294];’ and since the Upper House was only
prevented from concurring by the votes of the bishops,
they begged the members of that House who were of their
opinion to act as men of honour. This message was received
by the Lords on December 24: the majority was in favour of
postponing the matter to the first sitting after Christmas,
on the 27th. But at this moment the minority took the step
which Pym had long ago recommended to them: twenty-two
Lords protested against this postponement, saying that they
would accept no responsibility for the evil consequences
which might ensue[295].

Thus the Christmas which Charles I had thought to keep
in the old cheerful fashion, and the following Sunday,         [A.D. 1641.]
were filled with anxiety, mutual accusations, profound
and violent agitation. The apprentices at that time
formed a peculiar element of popular movements in London:
since the trade ordinances of Queen Elizabeth, which were
directed to an easier administration of the poor-law, they
had been compelled to serve a long period in shops and
manufactories: though still dependent on their masters,
they had with growing years the appearance, and even the
feeling, of a sort of independence, and were specially apt
at popular demonstrations. At this moment their masters,
who were agreed with the Parliament, left them to their
own devices: they prepared to go to Westminster on the
following Monday, armed with swords and pistols, chiefly to
enforce the dismissal of the hated Lunsford[296].

The King on the Sunday conferred with the Lord Mayor, who
declared himself powerless to check the movement: the
only resource seemed to be the withdrawal of Lunsford’s
appointment; and at the Lord Mayor’s advice the King
resolved to do this. In Lunsford’s place he selected John
Byron, who also enjoyed his full confidence, without giving
occasion for such demonstrations as had been made against
the other.

The movement was however not to be stopped thus: on the
appointed day, about the hour at which the morning sitting
began, a tumultuous mob streamed into Westminster. There
they came to blows with Lunsford and his armed followers,
who were on the spot: but the demonstration told less
against him than against those members of the Upper House
who had refused to accede to the popular demand, namely the
bishops. They were received with the cry that they could
be endured no longer, at any rate in Parliament, and with
insulting clamour: woe betide him who, like Archbishop
Williams, desired to obtain justice personally against any
one in the mob: he received double abuse. The hearts of        [A.D. 1641.]
some of the temporal lords smote them at this: they
remembered their old-fashioned knightly pledge, which bound
them to defend with their swords men in long garments. The
Lords actually went to the Lower House with a prayer to
this effect: the answer was that they could not discourage
the people.

The next day these scenes were repeated: the barges
in which some bishops sought to reach the Upper House
were met with showers of stones, and driven back from
the landing-place. It seemed that the prelates would be
excluded from the house by open force: but they themselves
furnished a pretext for this being done legally. In order
to avoid any further insult, and yet not to surrender their
ancient rights, Archbishop Williams hit on the idea of
assisting their cause by a protest: he assembled eleven
bishops, and induced them to sign an instrument in which
they pronounced beforehand all proceedings null and void
which should be taken during their enforced absence from
Parliament. They laid this declaration before the King and
before the Upper House, which communicated it to the Lower.
This step however produced a totally different effect from
what was intended. The Commons had a different idea of the
English constitution from this meeting of bishops: it was
observed that the bishops did not in England constitute
an order whose absence would render parliamentary action
invalid: their pretensions were declared to be an attack
on the fundamental laws of Parliament and on its very
existence: the Lower House impeached the bishops of high
treason for making them. They had to kneel at the bar of
the Upper House and hear the impeachment read, much to
their astonishment, for they had had no thought of doing
anything improper: they were sent to the Tower, or at any
rate arrested. Thus the Commons were suddenly relieved of
these unwelcome sharers in the counsels of Parliament:
and in order to seize the favourable moment, a motion was
immediately made for their definitive exclusion from all
political affairs, nor under existing circumstances was
there much doubt of its being passed.

It is obvious how greatly the movement in the city helped
the Puritan party in the House of Commons, which was led
by Pym and Hampden: for it must be reckoned as at least        [A.D. 1641.]
an indirect result of the tumult, that the bishops, who
sought to maintain their rights in the face of it, were,
perhaps in rather a clumsy manner, removed from the Upper
House. This party united to consistency in their demands
the skill to take advantage of every error or display of
weakness on the part of their opponents. From a somewhat
depressed position at the beginning of the session they
had, within two months, worked their way up to predominant

Nothing was wanting to their full possession of power
except control over the court and the King’s counsellors.
The obvious and immediate aim in all movements of this
sort is always a change of the persons who wield executive
power, or share the secrets of its deliberations. No one
at this time possessed so much influence in both domestic
and foreign affairs as the hated Lords Bristol and Digby,
father and son. The French ambassador, who hated them as
the heads of the Spanish faction, once talked with his
friends in Parliament of the necessity for overthrowing
them: he asserted that they swore to him to undertake the
attack, even though they should perish in it. So it came
to pass that formal impeachments against Digby and Bristol
were proposed in the Lower House: the father for having
advised the King to put the army into effective condition,
which could only have been done with views hostile to
Parliament: the son for having accused the Commons of
encroachments on the liberties of the Lords, and on the
rights of subjects, and for having said that Parliament was
no longer free. The Lower House had this claim at any rate
to supreme power, that it already treated as a crime every
expression injurious to it. The matter advanced so far as a
conference with the Lords.

A very widely spread idea was to proceed with an
impeachment against the Queen, as the personage who gave
the most support to Catholic and anti-Parliamentary

The danger to the court arising from the influx of the
mob to Whitehall evoked counter demonstrations for its
protection. A number of officers were assembled, who had
served in the old army, or were going to Ireland. One
day the court gave them a banquet at Whitehall. Even
then the intrusion of the mob could only be repelled by        [A.D. 1641.]
violence and even bloodshed[297]. The apprentices
threatened to come back and take vengeance. Hereupon guards
were posted in Scotland Yard, in Westminster Abbey, in the
great reception room at Whitehall. The younger members of
the gentry who were completing their studies in the Inns
of Court appeared at court, and offered their services.
They were admitted to kiss the hands of the Queen and
Prince. Never had more of the nobility been seen at court
than at this juncture: all were armed, and they went about
brandishing their swords, and showing the daggers with
which they would defend the King.

But the presence of a company of armed men aroused again in
Parliament the fear of an intention to disperse the Houses
by force. The Parliament on its side asked for a guard;
there was even a talk of transferring the sittings into the
city. A state of things had begun which must lead to some
violent explosion.

In the middle of December the French ambassador sent
information home that the court cabal, which he also
described as Spanish, which just then had hoped to triumph,
was become weaker than the other[298]. At the end of
December he added that affairs were in greater confusion
than ever, and that Parliament was in such a position that
the one cabal or the other must perish[299].


[289] ‘And this I will do, if need be, to the hazard of my
life and all that is dear unto me.’ Nalson Collection 676.

[290] Cp. Forster, Arrest of the five members 48, 54.

[291] Slingsby to Pennington, 16th December (St. P. O.).

[292] Clarendon iv. 372: ‘By the concurrence and number of
the meaner people men of the most active and pragmatical
heads should be elected.’ These events in the city would be
worth a searching investigation. Some information is given
by the (one must admit) party pamphlet of Samuel Butler, A
Letter from Mercurius Civicus, etc., in Someis’ Tracts iv.

[293] So he himself told the aldermen. Nalson ii. 702.

[294] Journals 356.

[295] Parliamentary History x. 123.

[296] Giustiniani, 31 Dec/10 Jan. ‘Sciolto in freno
alia licenza proruppero in parole di molto senso
contra questa elettione non meno, che contra la camera
alta, si lasciarono intendere che publicarebbero al
popolo machinarsi a danni della libertà di lui, e lo
persuaderebbero prender l’armi per defenderla.’

[297] Aerssen: ‘Les prentices firent des grandes
insolences, même à Whitehall, le jour que le roi traitoit
les colonels et capitaines qui devoient aller en Irlande.’
He reckons some sixty wounded; La Ferté 20-30.

[298] 16/26 Dec. ‘La cabale d’Espagne et de la cour se fait
tous les jours plus faible que l’autre, qui commence à
prendre le dessus: et se forment diverses intrigues dans la

[299] 31 Dec./9 Jan. ‘Les affaires n’ont jamais été si
brouillées, le parlement estant maintenant en état, que
l’une ou l’autre cabale perisse.’



With the personal rivalries which the word cabal implies,
there were blended very real and weighty differences, which
touched the nature of authority itself.

Under the very eyes of the King the party which had
compelled him to summon a Parliament, and then wrung
from him the condemnation of Strafford and the right of
Parliament not to be dissolved without its own consent,
had risen to terrible power. When he attacked it, it had
regained control of the majority in the Commons. However
numerous the minority might be, it remained excluded from
all political influence. A member was reprimanded for
uttering the opinion that the majority of the Lords and
the minority of the Commons had as good right to combine
as the majority of the Commons with the minority of the
Lords[300]. Now however the majority of the Lords also
was reduced to impotence: the views of the leaders of the
Commons appeared as the opinion of Parliament. Nothing else
was to be expected but that those great demands for the
abolition of Episcopacy and the co-operation of Parliament
in the appointment of all officers of state, which the
King regarded as an insult to himself, would soon be laid
before him as bills of both Houses. Yet other demands, of
which we have seen the traces at an earlier period, had
now grown to full consciousness. The Lower House had voted
levies for Ireland: the question was raised whether these
could be made without a licence under the great seal,
which had always hitherto been regarded as necessary. The      [A.D. 1642.]
House resolved that this was not indispensable, and that
its own order was sufficient[301]. The idea had already
been suggested of not entrusting to the King the nomination
of leaders for the troops destined for Ireland: it was
proposed that the Lower House should name a lord general
for the land forces, and a lord high admiral for the fleet.
In this manner they thought to fill the offices with a
couple of opposition lords, who would have had no chance
in the existing temper of the court. At the same time the
men who stood nearest to the King were attacked by an
impeachment which might cost them their lives. Who after
that could join the King and manage his affairs? Strafford
was ruined because he had tried to gain for the King a
power transcending all earlier precedent: when the King
surrendered him he altered his system. Bristol and Digby
are not to be compared with Strafford in personal worth;
but they belonged to the system which the King was now
determined to uphold: what was left him if he abandoned
them also?

The court was now trying to devise means for checking the
growth of the preponderance of Parliament; and as it was
desirable to keep within the law, none other could be
found than that by which Strafford had perished, and which
had often been talked of since, the impeachment in their
turn of the leading members. There were five in the Lower
House, Pym and Hampden, the two acknowledged leaders,
Hollis and Strode, who had taken a conspicuous part in the
impeachment of Digby and Bristol, and Haslerig, who had
originated the Bill of Attainder and the proposal for the
appointment of generals by Parliament. Of the Lords they
selected Mandeville, now Lord Kimbolton, chiefly because
he had been much concerned in the alliance with the Scots.
The charge which had formerly been brought against the
Viceroy of Ireland, that he had sought to overthrow the
fundamental laws of England, might, they thought, be still
better imputed to those six, for they had endeavoured to
make the King hated by his people, to induce his army to
abandon him, to rob him of his authority: in fact they had     [A.D. 1642.]
already levied war on the King, and Parliament was kept
by them in subjection through terror and violence[302]. At
least, they thought, they could support all these charges
with no slighter evidence than had availed to prove the
accusation against Strafford: why should these men not be
convicted of high treason as well as Strafford? Moreover
they would be under arrest during the process, and so for a
long time be rendered harmless. It was determined that the
impeachment should be laid before the Lords immediately in
the King’s name.

It has often been proved to demonstration that this step
cannot be regarded as lawful. The Upper House possessed no
criminal jurisdiction over the Lower: the charges against
the five members ought to have been brought before a
grand jury, or before the Commons themselves. We may add
that there was a misunderstanding of what had happened in
Stafford’s case. The Lord Lieutenant was not condemned at
all in judicial form: his condemnation was a political
act of the legislative authority. The Lower House, from
which it proceeded, had since gone still further in the
same direction, and the Upper House was now paralysed: the
impeachment embraced charges against the majority which now
enjoyed the whole authority of Parliament. It was bringing
the authors of the imputed crime to trial before their
accomplices, for a large part of the Upper House belonged
to the same party. To what result could this lead?

On January 3, 1642, the Attorney-General, by special
command of the King, laid the impeachment before the
Lords, where it was received with astonishment. The arrest
even of the member of their own House was not ordered,
nor even notice of motion given. But just as if all had
been fully completed, royal officers immediately repaired
to the houses of the accused members of the Lower House
to seal up their papers. The Commons were in the act of
taking counsel for the indispensable security of the great
council of the nation, when the news of this measure
arrived. They declared it a breach of their privileges,
especially as there had not even been notice given them        [A.D. 1642.]
of the impeachment, and called on the Upper House for
joint resistance: just then appeared the King’s serjeant to
require the surrender of the five members. The Commons had
no intention of giving way to this demand, but could not at
the moment pronounce a definite refusal. The House pledged
itself that the members should at all times be ready to
answer any lawful impeachment which should be brought
against them, but at the same time reserved the power of
representing to the King by a deputation, that this matter
touched the privileges of Parliament, and concerned the
whole Commons of the realm.

The five members were not arrested, and the seals which had
been affixed to their dwellings were removed by an order of
the Lower House, in which the Lords concurred.

In earlier times kings had arrested without difficulty
members who had opposed them. Charles I had surrendered
this power when he accepted the Petition of Right: but we
may remember that the lawyers had then secretly assured
him that it would always remain to him in case of need.
Besides, in cases of treason, privileges counted for
nothing. Always inclined to interfere in person, the King
determined to go himself to the Lower House, and obtain
the surrender of the accused, which had been denied to
his officers. It is asserted that he took counsel on the
question with members of the Privy Council who also had
seats in Parliament, and that his intention was approved by

It is clear as day that by so doing the King attacked the
immunities on which Parliament founded its efficiency and
its very existence. It determined under no circumstances
to permit the arrest. An immediate practical importance
now attached to that protest which had been passed after
the discovery of the army plot, and which formed a sort
of English Covenant, and pledged every man to defend by
united effort the privileges of Parliament. In relation to
this the formal resolution was passed that in case any one,
whoever it might be, should attempt to arrest a member of
the House without its assent and order, resistance should      [A.D. 1642.]
be made to him. The question was raised whether the refusal
to allow the arrest should be made unconditionally[304]:
and not only was this answered in the affirmative, but
a further step was taken. As the King again refused
the renewed pressure for the appointment of a guard
for Parliament, the Lower House now, without further
hesitation, requested the Lord Mayor to arm the militia,
and send a detachment of them to Westminster to protect
the assembly. It looked as if it might serve also as a
defence against the violent arrest of the members. The King
commanded the Lord Mayor to assemble no troops without his
positive order, and if any riot took place in the city,
to suppress it by force of arms. He himself deferred the
execution of his purpose till the next day (January 4).
His plan was, so to speak, a public secret. In the morning
the Earl of Essex, Lord Chamberlain, informed the five
members confidentially that the King was coming to seize
their persons[305]. This was known at the commencement of
the sitting. The vehemence of the debate was however not
damped by this news, but rather stimulated: especially it
dealt with the act of impeachment, which was attacked at
all points, refuted, denounced, and finally declared to
be a scandalous libel, whose authors must be detected and
punished, in order to secure the Commonwealth against them.
It was as if the Lower House wished to answer the King’s
threat by a counter threat of its own. Hitherto Charles I
had delayed the execution of his design. At the news of
this resolution he felt himself as it were challenged: in
violent agitation he went to the officers assembled in the
antechamber. ‘Soldiers,’ he cried, ‘vassals, let him who is
true to me, follow me[306]!’ They hastened with him down       [A.D. 1642.]
the stairs: at the door there was by chance a carriage
which the King entered, the multitude following him on foot.

In St. Stephen’s Chapel the afternoon sitting had just
begun, when Captain Langres, probably sent by the French
ambassador, arrived with the tidings that the King was on
his way from Whitehall[307]. The danger was imminent for
all, inasmuch as they had pledged themselves to resist a
violent capture of the members, who were present. It was
now thought good to adopt the advice which Lord Essex had
given in the morning: and a resolution was passed that the
five members should withdraw, to which Strode, the youngest
of them, offered strenuous opposition, for he wished to
seal his innocence with his blood. Scarcely were they gone
when the King arrived. His armed followers, amounting
to about five hundred men, lined the way for him as he
entered. He bade them stay in the vestibule, forbidding any
of them to enter the chamber on pain of death: the Earl of
Roxburgh kept the door. Charles I had no idea of dispersing
the assembly by force, after the fashion of more decidedly
revolutionary times. Extraordinary as his conduct was, he
believed himself to be acting within his legal rights,
and only wished to make his prerogative effectual. The
prerogative of the crown in the sense of the early kings,
and the privilege of Parliament in the sense of coming
times, were directly contradictory to each other. The King
was attended by the Elector Palatine: uncovered, saluting
on both sides, he walked up to the Speaker’s chair. He said
that he did not wish to interfere with the privilege of the
House, but that it did not apply in cases of treason: as
he had waited in vain yesterday for the surrender of those
accused of this crime, he had now come in person to take
them away. He asked first for Pym--all was silent: then
for Hollis--still no answer. He turned to the Speaker, to      [A.D. 1642.]
learn from him where they were: the Speaker fell on his
knee and prayed to be excused if he was silent, he was but
the organ of the House, and had no eyes to see, nor tongue
to speak, anything but what the House bade him. The King
now perceived for himself that those whom he sought were
not present, or, as he himself expressed it, that the birds
were flown. He seized the occasion to assure the House that
he intended no violence, that he would observe all that he
had granted for the good of his subjects, and that he would
proceed in strictly legal fashion against the accused,
but that he expected an answer, else he would know how to
seek and to find them. He departed in the same manner in
which he had entered, but already it might be seen what
lay hidden under this crust of forced moderation. From the
assembly was heard the cry of Privilege! whereupon the
King’s guards laid hand on their swords, and drew out their
loaded pistols.

As the five members of the Lower House had fled to the
city, the King next day, holding firmly to his purpose,
repaired to Guildhall to obtain their surrender. The
aldermen and common council were assembled. Charles had
all the less hesitation about trusting himself among
them, because he was assured of the devotion of the city
authorities: only, as we know, the Lord Mayor and Aldermen
were no longer masters of the populace. In presence of the
King was raised the cry, Privilege! Liberty of Parliament!
to this others answered with God bless the King! They were
the battle-cries of the opposing parties: no one could say
which was the stronger among those present[308]. When peace
was restored, the King himself, by asking whether any one
had anything to say, as it were invited a demonstration.
A voice called out that the assembly wished the King to
listen to the opinion of Parliament: another replied that
the speaker expressed his own sentiments only, not those of
the assembly. ‘Who can say,’ interposed the King, ‘that I
do not listen to the advice of my Parliament? but there is     [A.D. 1642.]
a difference between Parliament and some turbulent members
of it: the one I do and will listen to, the others I will
deliver over to lawful punishment.’

When the King was gone, his demand raised a hot debate: it
was not directly refused, but at the same time it was not
acceded to.

The King, who wished to show himself in his fashion
gracious and confiding, had invited himself to dine with
one of the aldermen. When he quitted the house the crowd
which had gathered meanwhile received him with the cry,
‘Parliament! Privilege!’ and here it was not as in the
common council, for there was no counter shout. A pamphlet
was thrown into the King’s carriage with the title, ‘To thy
tents, O Israel’--the words with which Israel rose against
Rehoboam. The King however would not even now abandon his
object. The next day appeared a prohibition to receive and
harbour the five fugitive members. His officers and all his
subjects were required to seize them, and commit them to
the Tower, which was now in safe hands: the King at this
moment had some cannon conveyed thither, and strengthened
the garrison. What might not be expected after this[309]?

On one of these days a friend writes to Admiral Pennington:
we have here no fewer storms than you have at sea, and
perhaps even worse and more dangerous. We are here near to
ruin, says another letter: the liberty of the press, the
factious preaching, the licence which unruly people have
assumed of assembling without regard to the laws, all this
has destroyed obedience to the King as with a slow poison.
The Puritan faction, it is observed in a third letter,
together with the schismatics, are so strong in the city
and country, that no one can foresee the result, unless the
King and Parliament are reconciled.

This however was now become impossible. The Commons met the
unsuccessful steps of the King with the most determined and
vigorous opposition. Already on January 5 they had resolved    [A.D. 1642.]
to adjourn the sittings at Westminster till the 11th,
as they could not attend to business in safety there, so
long as their violated privileges were not re-established,
and meanwhile to appoint a committee, which should sit at
Guildhall, and before everything else devise means for
the restoration of security[310]. On the 6th we find this
committee already at Guildhall: a deputation of the common
council in their chains and gowns of office welcomed their
appearance. The first decision of the committee was, that
the impeachment of the five members was illegal, and a
breach of the privileges of Parliament. On this was based
the second, in opposition to the King’s new order of
arrest, that whosoever should attempt to obey it should
be treated as an open enemy of the commonwealth. But if
all that had been attempted against the five members was
declared unlawful, there was no ground for depriving them
of their share in the proceedings. On January 7 in Grocer’s
Hall, for the common council could no longer spare the room
at Guildhall, the committee resolved to summon back the
five accused members to its deliberations, without regard
to the King’s decree. Thus the deputation representing
Parliament included in its own body the men whom the King
designated as traitors, and in so doing had the full
support of the capital. In the common council, through
the influence of the newly elected members, even before
they had formally taken their seats, the party opposed
to the King had now the upper hand: the notion was fully
accepted that the city was pledged to defend Parliament and
its privileges. The common council appointed a committee,
which, in concert with that of the Commons, resolved, on
the ground of the attempts that had been made, to form
a guard for defence against them. The city thought it
necessary to take precautions for its safety against such
a commandant of the Tower as John Byron; it was determined
to raise an armed force under an officer in whom Parliament
and the city should have full confidence. Such a leader they
found in Captain Skippon, a man of Puritan opinions and a      [A.D. 1642.]
supporter of the Parliament, who had learned war in
Holland, and had raised himself from the lowest rank: he
was placed as major-general at the head of a guard, at
first of eight companies, which was immediately formed in
the city and its neighbourhood. No one was admitted into it
who had not taken the oath of protest. And without scruple
they faced the possibility of thus coming to open war with
the King. In the seventh article of the resolution Skippon
was expressly authorised to attack as well as defend, in
case violence was offered to him: and this service, said
the twelfth article, was to be counted as legal, and as
rendered to the King, the kingdom, and Parliament--for so
long as it was in any way feasible they observed forms.
The sitting of the 10th was the first in which the five
members again took part: we see what an importance its
conclusions had. Nor were they contented with this alliance
between Parliament and the city: they accepted an offer
made by Hampden in the name of some thousands of his
Buckinghamshire constituents, to live and die in defence
of the rights of the Lower House. Thus completely did the
impeachment of the five members, in which Charles I thought
to find deliverance and safety, and his attempt to seize
them, result in his discomfiture.

The King held his conduct to be valid and lawful:
Parliament declared it in the highest degree unlawful, both
the scheme itself and every separate step. We will not
undertake to decide this controversy, but we may remark
that it touched the very core of the pending questions. All
the claims of the Lower House depended on its representing
the commons of the country. As the individuality of the
members would be shown in the discharge of this high duty,
so it was protected by the very idea. The House which
for ages has maintained a certain jurisdiction for the
preservation of internal order, is alone possessed of
the right to judge of the misdeeds of its members within
its precincts, or even of the charges which are brought
against them. Without this an external power would be able
to interfere with the conditions of its internal action,
or directly to disperse it by repeated accusations and
arrests. The assembly forms a moral person, which alone
acts, so long as it is in session: only if it assents          [A.D. 1642.]
and surrenders its members, can they be brought to justice.
On this foundation depend its privileges: the members are
thereby raised personally above their natural position as

On the other hand the King maintained that the entire
supreme power, and the care for the general interests, were
entrusted to his hands. In cases which implied a danger to
the whole state, he would on no account abandon the right
of arrest in order to prevent such dangers. Every day’s
experience showed that this power was exercised in the
great neighbouring monarchies without any reserve whatever,
and powerfully contributed to their strength and stability.
Now, as before, Charles I regarded members of Parliament
merely as his subjects, and would exercise the inherent
rights of his office against them as well as others. What
he now treated as a crime in them was the attitude of
political hostility which they maintained; he thought to
be able to punish it as treason against the crown. The
Parliament on the contrary saw in every infringement of
their inviolability an attack on the institutions of the
country: to have taken part in them it declared to be

The King succumbed in this contest chiefly because the
capital, carried away by the religious sympathies of the
populace, sided with the Parliament; deeming itself pledged
to protect the privileges of Parliament, whatever sense
might be put on them by Parliament. The armed force which
it might have been expected that the King would raise for
himself, received, under the guidance of the city, an
impulse against him.

He had gone back to Whitehall, as has been said, thinking
the city was favourable to him. When nothing but hostility
and contempt was displayed towards him from thence, he
could not wish to remain longer in the neighbourhood.
Moreover the Queen found her stay unendurable. She one
day called the attention of the Dutch ambassador to
certain persons whose presence in the palace was not to
be avoided, but who, she said, were there merely to spy        [A.D. 1642.]
her actions and those of the King. Her oldest friends of
both sexes were in this category: the most detested of all
was the French ambassador, her brother’s representative.
There seemed also to be danger if Parliament, as was
reported, came back to Westminster with the civic guard,
there being no means for repelling an attack on the palace.
The Queen thought that the least she had to fear was being
separated from the King[312]. Under these circumstances
the King and Queen resolved to quit Whitehall: they first
returned to Hampton Court, though no preparation had been
made there for their reception, and soon afterwards, not
feeling safe enough there, repaired to Windsor.

Meanwhile the sittings in the Lower House had been resumed
on the appointed day amid great popular rejoicings. Two
or three thousand mounted yeomen had come in: the sailors
of the Thames occupied the river with numerous barges:
the militia and guards were drawn up in their ranks: the
young men from the stalls and workshops appeared with
flags and pikes, and poles on which printed inscriptions
announced their troth and devotion to the laws, liberty,
and religion. Then the Committee, which hitherto had sat in
the city, with the five members and Lord Kimbolton, entered
a boat at the Three Cranes, which was joined by a great
number of others: amid salutes of artillery and hearty
congratulations they were conducted back towards Whitehall
hard by. The King had fled: the chamber occupied by the
Commons might be regarded as the supreme seat of authority.

A momentary embarrassment may have been caused, through the
nature of the parliamentary forms, by the King’s having
departed. But it was already usual, at least on one side,
to require obedience to decrees issuing from the Lower
House only. In order to obviate the counter effects of the
King’s personal commands, they devised the formula that
only those orders of the King which should be issued with
assent of both Houses, were to be fulfilled. This was          [A.D. 1642.]
used, so far as I can discover, for the first time in
the nomination of Skippon: his dismissal could only be
effected by a royal order expressed through the two houses,
that is to say, not by the King’s command but according
to the opinion of the houses. On a similar principle the
commandants of the chief places received instructions to
admit no reinforcement of their garrisons without a royal
order backed by the assent of both houses.

Immediately after the resumption of its sittings,
Parliament renewed its complaints about the bad advisers of
the King, about the favour shown to evil-minded persons,
and the neglect which others experienced: but it now
went further than ever before. A commission appointed
to consider ways and means for the restoration of peace
reported that the greatest of all evils was ‘the influence
which recusants, priests, and other malignants have over
the Queen, the influence which these possess in the State,
the great influence which she has over the King.’ It is
obvious that nothing would content the Parliament but an
administration composed entirely of their partisans, and
the absolute subordination to it of all personal authority.

There was no longer a word of any opposition from the House
of Lords. Energetic expressions employed there against the
proposals of the Commons sufficed to give rise to a formal
accusation against them. One day, after an unsatisfactory
conference with the Lords, Pym declared that the Commons
would be very well content to have their help in saving
the country, but if not they were determined to do their
duty alone: but surely it would not come to be recorded
in history that the Lords at a time of so great danger
had taken no part in saving the country. Through various
concurrent circumstances it came to pass that what had been
the minority of the Lords now constituted the majority. The
Upper House, on February 5, assented to the bill by which
the bishops were deprived of their voice in Parliament.

To change the administration and overthrow the bishops
was the purpose which the majority of the Lower House had
pursued since the commencement of the new session. The last
contest had broken out because the King would not give         [A.D. 1642.]
way on these points. After this battle had been decided,
and the King defeated, nothing else was to be expected than
that Parliament would proceed without further hesitation
to accomplish its purpose. It had already taken care to
have an armed force at command for the maintenance of the
position it had won.

       *       *       *       *       *

But to what had the British monarchy of the Stuarts
been reduced! Its aim was to form the three kingdoms
into an union which should consult the interests of all
equally. The prerogative of royalty by the grace of God,
and Episcopacy, were to form the foundations of public
power, and peace abroad serve to maintain tranquillity
at home. Not unsuccessfully the first Stuart supported
this system which originated in his own brain, more by a
clever and versatile management of affairs according to the
circumstances of the moment, which he moulded to his will
with tenacious perseverance, than through great qualities
which might have availed to bind men’s hearts to his cause,
or institutions which might have given it independent
permanence. The system had not strength to bear the test of
a war, in which the second Stuart let himself be entangled,
and Great Britain remained far below the rank which
properly belonged to her. At home the war was a signal
for all contending elements to show themselves. Charles
I was by nature at once lawyer-like and priest-like,
deeply convinced that the doctrines which he believed, the
rights which he claimed, were true and pleasing to God,
and (after the precedent of ‘his wise father’) that both
possessed intrinsic power. His opponents were in his eyes
the enemies of the cause of God, which was also his own,
and which he was born to defend. Of the rights of others
he had little understanding, and but a slight opinion of
their strength, as if they did not much signify so long as
external order lasted. Then it came to pass that through
action and reaction this order was broken through at the
most vulnerable point. The policy in which the King saw
a divine necessity, and the safety and future greatness
of Great Britain, was regarded by the greater portion of       [A.D. 1642.]
his subjects as violence and oppression at home, weakness
abroad, and inclination towards a system detested by
them, which was just then threatening the world with
subjection. Then the Scots rose, with the strong effort of
a long-suppressed religious and national impulse: the idea
of independence for their Church spread to the State also.
While the King was preparing to master this opposition with
the strength of England, the latter also rose in analogous
opposition to him. He was obliged to restore Parliament,
with which, during the war, he had been fundamentally at
variance, after having long avoided it: Parliament claimed
its primitive rights in their fullest extent, and would
assent to nothing but an unmistakeably Protestant policy.
In the course of this struggle the native enthusiasm of
the Irish also rose in arms, to cast off the subjection
in which they were held by the superior power of the
Protestant and Teutonic element.

Charles I was not formed by nature to wage such a war
successfully: he was not fully master of his own court
and council, which was full of cabals in which foreign
powers took part, in the very year of this contest. While
he only took counsel with his partisans, he could not
prevent some of them from acting with an eye to their
own particular interests, which made others adopt the
opposite view with embittered pertinacity. He himself was
always occupied with his own intentions; the purposes,
strength, and probable acts of his opponents he had not
the penetration to measure: we see him with the utmost
confidence undertaking what was to the last degree ruinous.
With this was united a false wisdom: for the sake of some
greater end he would assent to things which in-themselves
he disapproved. Then when his ultimate views came again to
light, beside those which for the moment he had admitted,
he appeared in himself untrue and untrustworthy: his
opponents held themselves justified in taking security by
any means against his returning to his old intentions. His
adversaries on the other hand, were consistent, vigilant,
and suspicious: in opposition to the notion of a compact
power, not weak in itself, but merely represented as such,
and always dreaded, they placed the feelings of provincial
and constitutional autonomy, which, when once penetrated
by the feelings and ideas of individual freedom, disclosed     [A.D. 1642.]
an invincible strength. Thus it came to pass that one of
the British kingdoms attained to an independence which
robbed the crown of all substantial influence: the second
was striving to conquer by a bloody insurrection, stained
with horrible crimes, the same independence for its
Catholic population which was enjoyed in the first by the
Protestants: while in the third and greatest an authority
was being established which aimed at absorbing the royal

The course of events had virtually decided that the
original system of the Stuarts could not be established:
but what shape the British kingdoms would assume, whether
they would hold together or separate, what forms and
principles of government would ultimately triumph,--all
this lay buried in total darkness.

England had not stopped at the constitutional questions
which presuppose an assured social order. We have more
than once remarked on the significance of the attempt to
overthrow Episcopacy, which formed one of the fundamental
conditions of English society, and of the constitution.
This had been done earlier still in Scotland, though
not without serious danger, in the first stage of the
Reformation movement, in which the truth of doctrines
and the salvation of men’s souls were at stake. It was
otherwise in England, where doctrines in general were
undisputed, and the episcopal order, which was most
intimately connected with the doctrine, had the deepest
root in the nation. That Parliament thought to destroy and
uproot this order is, among all its undertakings, the one
which most distinctly bore the character of revolution--for
where should destruction once begun find an end?--and of
one-sided party violence. To the King it was in a measure
useful, for by opposing it he regained a tenable position
and the possibility of resistance. He could now with
obvious truth retort on his opponents the charge which they
had made against him, of seeking to overthrow the laws of
England. Charles could assert that he would never permit
any alteration in the lawful condition of England. ‘Nolumus
leges Angliae mutari’ was firmer ground for him than the
indefinite and questionable rights of prerogative, which at
an earlier time he had sought to maintain and extend.

No words are needed to show the universal historical           [A.D. 1642.]
importance of these contests in Great Britain; both the
purely constitutional ones, and those extending into
the domain of revolution, of whose development we have
undertaken to treat. It was our object to watch the origin
of them on this classic ground of all constitutional
history. It is an event which concerns all, this shaking
of the foundations of the old British state. Whether they
would stand the shock, or, if not, what shape public
affairs would in that case assume, was a question which
must concern the Continent also; the civilised world
is still busy day by day with more or less conspicuous
complications of the spiritual and political struggles
arising from similar opposing principles.


[300] Mr. Godolphin. Cp. Verney, Notes 3 Dec.

[301] Journals of the House of Commons, 4th November, 1641.

[302] Copy of the articles, in Forster’s Arrest of the Five
Members 114.

[303] Bates, Elenchus motuum 31: ‘Suasu quorundam qui a
sacris erant, etiam ipsius parlamenti senatorum.’

[304] Journals of the Commons ii. 317.

[305] D’Ewes in Sanford 465, ‘(These five gentlemen) were
sent to this day by the Earl of Essex--that the King
intended to come to the House of Commons to seize upon them
there.’ According to Verney they had at the opening of the
morning sitting ‘information that they should be taken away
by force.’

[306] Giustiniani 7/17 Genn. ‘La camera bassa dichiarò
le accuse--per libello infamatorio--a disegno di portare
all’ altra il decreto per approbatione: di questi atti
disobedienti fatto consapevole nello stesso punto, il re
sorti improvisamente della propria stanza e portatosi a
quelle della guardia disse ad alta voce: Vasalli e soldati
miei piu fedeli seguitate mi.’

[307] La Ferté: ‘Comme le parti de ce jour n’étoit pas
bien fait pour le parlement j’en avertis mes amis qui y
pouveurent, un quart heure devant.’ Probably La Ferté is
‘the noble person who wishes well to this nation,’ by whom,
according to D’Ewes, Langres, a Frenchman by origin, was
sent: the ambassador’s friend would then be Fiennes, for
the tidings came to him, and he informed the Speaker. There
is scarcely any room for the treachery often imputed to
Lady Carlisle.

[308] I take this account from the detailed letter of
Robert Slingsby, 6th January, who adds ‘another bold fellow
in the lowest rank stood up against upon a forme and cryed
the priviledges of Parliament: another cryed out the
observe man.’

[309] Instruction to Nicholas, in Forster’s Arrest of the
five members 269. Giustiniano: ‘Il re mostra gran cuore--ma
sproveduto di danaro e forse di savio e fedele consiglio
lascio dubbioso il fine.’

[310] From D’Ewes, in Forster 276, it seems to follow that
the resolution was devised in Coleman Street, whither the
five members had fled, and only accepted by the House.

[311] ‘The violating the privileges of parliament is the
overthrow of parliament.’ Heads of the conference with the

[312] Aerssen: ‘LL Majestés me disants, qu’elles étoient
assurées, que mardy ou mercredy ils viendroyent pour
separer la royne du roi.’ Guistiniano: ‘Dubitando per
avventura di quei mostruosi successi, che senza riguardo
tengono di presenti in esercitio le lingue delli piu



In the states of Western Europe constitutional rights from
a very early date had contended for the mastery against the
supreme executive authority: but this strife assumed a new
character, as to the principles involved and the system
on which it was waged, from the date when the spiritual
questions raised by religious controversy came to be mixed
up with those purely political. In this respect creed made
no difference. Starting from the demand for ecclesiastical
uniformity, the French earliest of all sought, under the
impulse of Catholic fanaticism, to confine their government
within the narrowest limits in the sphere of politics also.
In the year 1576 the Estates at Blois asked the assent of
the crown to the resolutions passed by them: they wanted
to exclude from the Privy Council all members hostile to
them. In 1585 the Guises at the head of the Catholic League
proposed assemblies of the Estates, recurring regularly
every three years, which should keep a reckoning between
prince and people. The chief among several grievances which
roused the population of Paris to insurrection against
Henry III was the tolerance accorded to the Huguenots
in contravention of the old laws of the land. In the
assembly of 1588 the Estates formulated the demand that the
King not only should administer the finances with their
co-operation, but also should in future neither declare war
nor conclude peace without them. In the assembly of 1593
they proceeded to dispose of the crown itself: the doctrine
was, that if the King disregarded the fundamental laws of
his kingdom, namely the spiritual laws, his authority
reverted to those by whom it had been conferred, that is to
say, the Estates. It was only the departure of Henry III
from the capital, and the military exploits of Henry IV,
that preserved the personal authority of the French kings.

We may perceive at a glance the manifold analogies between
the English events of which we are now treating, and those
which had taken place in France half a century earlier.
Both began through a desire to make the recognition of the
exclusive dominance of one religion effectively binding
on a government not decidedly inclined to that party: in
both the one-sided tolerance displayed by the princes
formed one of the chief grounds of complaint against
them: the demand was not only for the full execution of
the ecclesiastical laws, but also for the unconditional
validity of the resolutions passed by the assembly of the
Estates wherein these opinions prevailed, for periodic
meetings of the Estates, and the dependence on them of the
highest officials and of the entire administration--with
this difference, that what in the one kingdom was desired
for the benefit of Catholicism, in the other was meant to
aid the Protestant cause. The religious principles were
opposed to one another, the political were to a large
extent identical.

In England however all was more deeply rooted and more
firmly established than in France. The preponderance of
Parliament was far more a matter of historical usage than
the power of the Three Estates in France: it had grown up
in far more intimate union with the feelings and habits
of men. Further, while in France the motives derived from
foreign connexions occupied the whole foreground, and
were as clear as daylight, in England such motives were
weaker and more obscure: the movement assumed a prevailing
national colour. When at last after long disputes every
chance of a peaceful result had vanished, it was obvious
that in England the war must involve far greater danger to
the crown. From the different development of the contending
principles in the two countries arose the divergence in
their later history. At that time the English crown was not
yet without military resources, and the example of France
might serve as an encouragement to challenge the fortunes
of war on the King’s behalf. The English capital had taken
as active a part in favour of the Puritan Parliament as
the French capital for the exclusively Catholic Estates.
Charles I had been obliged to quit Westminster and London
as Henry III had quitted Paris: since the successor of the
latter had within a few years made himself master of Paris,
and had brought about a reaction at least in politics,
might not the same future be possible for Charles I also?



There is an important point of connexion between English
and French history in the fact that the Queen of England
was a daughter of Henry IV, and had her father ever in
view as the ideal man and prince. She had grown up under
the influence of those prevailing Catholic sentiments
which her Florentine mother favoured, and in ideas of the
unconditional supremacy of royalty and of the claims of
birth, such as had come into favour under her brother:
almost more than he she showed that the blood of Henry IV
flowed in her veins.

We know how long it was before she could obtain any certain
influence over her husband. He put an end, with a decision
which no one would have expected in him, to the religious
demonstrations of her household, of which she approved: he
allowed no scope to her personal sympathies, which were
directed across the Channel; he supported his ministers
against her. For Charles I was fully conscious of his
royal calling: he would not let his position be interfered
with by foreign influences: only in cases of mercy was
the Queen’s intercession ever attended to. Hostility to
Cardinal Richelieu, who had deeply offended both the Queen
through her mother and the King by his connexion with the
Scots gave the first occasion for an understanding between
Charles and his consort which was of importance in public
affairs; it formed as it were a common interest between

The Queen reconciled herself to the dominion of
Anglicanism, while it supported the prerogative, on which
again toleration of the Catholics was based. Hence also        [A.D. 1642.]
attacks on the prerogative, the unconditional validity of
which had been assumed in her marriage treaty, appeared
to her like an assault on her personal rights. She had
that fiery conviction of the truth of her creed which is
frequently characteristic of clever women: they see in
every deviation from it either error, or a wicked design,
or actual crime: the feeling of being in the true faith
fills them with pride and utter contempt for its enemies.
How much more must this have been the case where religious
hostility was in league with political attacks on the
rights of royalty. In the efforts of the Puritan party in
Parliament Henrietta Maria saw so many blows aimed at all
human and divine rights. She had not yet fully converted
her husband to these views, but she impressed him by her
quick, spirited, and lively intelligence: events aroused
in her a far more active spirit of resistance than in him:
she divined the purport of the intentions of her opponents,
and the inevitable results of the steps taken by the King.
The fact that her views and predictions were justified by
the event, gave her a double influence over him, so that he
formed a very high opinion of her talents. Long as they had
been married, she had never lost the traces of passionate
affection: once, though half jestingly, she showed signs
of a nascent jealousy: but the King wished to please her
and go hand in hand with her; as her penetration convinced
him, so too he loved to win her approval. Her judgment
was especially decisive in personal matters: she boasted
once that as soon as she had gained credit with the King,
she had restored to his favour persons whom before he had
hated[313]. Now however the bitterest hatred of Parliament
was directed against all whom she favoured or listened to.
Persons, at least as much as principles, were the great
exciting cause of the movement[314]. The Queen herself was
directly attacked and threatened by this hostility. To arm
against the Parliament was for her a matter at once of
self-defence and of ambition; she aroused for this end all     [A.D. 1642.]
the energy which the King possessed. Charles I desired to
defend not merely himself but also his wife and family. In
this community of interests, of opinions, and of dangers,
the Queen obtained, if not absolute dominion, at any rate
the greatest influence over the King.

Her fear lest they should be separated had contributed
mainly, as we have seen, to their joint resolve to quit
London. There was however in this no despondency: the court
merely wished to save itself from being coerced by the
immediate pressure of the mob: the plan of taking up arms
and threatening the city itself was connected with this

Parliament was greatly disturbed by the news that the
officers and armed men who had been dispersed from
Westminster had reassembled at Windsor. Digby told them
that the King had retired from the city in order to avoid
being trampled on. He himself appeared in the field at the
head of a small body of men with his friend Lunsford, and
was suspected of intending to seize Kingston-on-Thames.
It may safely be assumed that this suspicion was well
founded. Some months later the Queen frankly told a French
agent that the purpose of herself and the King had been to
seize, from Windsor, a strong place in the neighbourhood,
but that this had become impossible when the Parliament
placed troops between that point and the castle[315]. These
were the militia of Surrey and Bucks, who were immediately
despatched, and dispersed the royal troops before they had
fairly assembled. Lunsford was brought back a prisoner: the
subtle Digby escaped.

From Kingston, where there was a considerable magazine, the
King would have been able to communicate with Portsmouth
and Hull, as well as with the Tower. The attention of the
Queen was especially directed towards Hull, where there
was a great store of arms, enough, as was supposed, for an
army of sixteen thousand men: but the project of making an
immediate attempt upon that town was frustrated, as far
as we can see, by the opposition of members of the Privy       [A.D. 1642.]
Council, who feared by such a step to provoke the
Parliament to arms, with which they still wished to
maintain a tolerable understanding[316].

The Queen was of an entirely different opinion: she held
that the only way to arrive at an accommodation was first
to come to a distinct breach; that only when the King had
definitely opposed himself to Parliament would he find the
means for resistance.

If however the court had no strong places at its command,
the Queen could not stay in the country. She did not feel
safe in any of the country houses and badly fortified
castles which were at her disposal: she was afraid of
falling some day into the hands of Parliament, a prospect
which seemed to her both disgraceful and dangerous. The
idea of her leaving the country for some time, which had
often been thought of before, was now again mooted: there
was a further reason, as she said, in the fact that her
presence irritated Parliament against the King. Still a
regard for her own safety and for the King’s negotiations
was by no means the only reason for her departure: when the
Queen fled, as undoubtedly she did, before enemies who were
too strong to be faced, she hoped at the same time to be
able to provide the means requisite for their overthrow.
She resolved to conduct her daughter to the house of her
future father-in-law, who would be greatly obliged thereby,
for he had already through his ambassadors expressed a wish
that this should be done, and would afford her support.
She had jewels with her, including some left by Queen
Elizabeth, and intended to sell them, or pawn them as
security for the loan she hoped to raise: and she thought
that with the arms to be purchased with the proceeds, or
with the money in cash, her husband would be in a position
to declare war if necessary. He promised her not to depart
without her knowledge from the resolutions which they
had adopted together, and especially to make no further
concessions to Parliament. Prince Rupert of the Palatinate
had already come to Dover with the purpose of taking arms      [A.D. 1642.]
in his uncle’s cause. He was told that the time was not
yet come, and accompanied the Queen to Holland: but at
Dover men spoke without any reserve of the probabilities of
war within a short time[317].

All hope of an accommodation was not yet given up: the
negotiations had not been altogether broken off by the
King’s departure from the capital: on both sides they still
thought it possible to avoid extremities.

On one of the most important questions there had been some
approximation. The King had at last agreed to what the
Lords, after the violent transformation of their house,
had by a majority accepted: he prevailed upon himself to
sanction the exclusion of the bishops from their temporal
offices, and especially from Parliament. He had two motives
for this; first, that otherwise the departure of his Queen
would not have been permitted; secondly, that he saw no
other means of saving the existence of the bishops in their
spiritual character, the episcopal church government, which
the opposition intended to destroy. He regarded Episcopacy
as a divine institution which he durst not overthrow: but
he held it to be allowable to surrender under the pressure
of circumstances, he hoped not for ever, the temporal
authority which had been committed to the bishops.

Even on the other great dispute, which was now prominent,
concerning the chief control of the military power, the
King had shown some signs of giving way. When towards the
end of January he was urged to entrust the fortresses, as
well as the command of the militia, only to persons whom
the two Houses of Parliament should have recommended to
him, he answered with much emphasis that the appointment
of military commanders was one of the jewels of the crown
that could not be parted with: but he added that he
wished to know the names of the men in whom Parliament
had confidence, as well as the extent of the power which
they thought to confer, and the length of time for
which it should be held. Such concessions were scarcely        [A.D. 1642.]
expected, and awakened in the country a lively hope that
all might even yet be amicably settled[318]. What was the
point at which this hope broke down?

Immediately after the King’s return from Dover to Greenwich
the list of persons recommended, as well as details of the
power intended for them, and its duration, were laid before
him. In the names he found not much to object to: about the
extent of power he raised some legal difficulties, which
however might very well have been removed: but he was only
the more resolute in his resistance to the terms suggested
as to its duration. Parliament claimed exclusively for
itself the right of revoking the appointments, as well as
authority to punish any disobedience to its ordinance[319].
The King however had never intended to go so far. He might
very likely have been persuaded to temporary compliance: as
the scheme stood, it implied his renunciation for ever of
all military authority. To this Charles I would not assent,
declaring in the most emphatic language that he could not
entrust to others the power placed in his hands by God,
through the laws, for the defence of his people, at all
events without being able at any moment to resume it. All
now depended on whether Parliament would be content with
this limitation.

There were not wanting some in the assembly who would
have been satisfied with this, as the control of the army
had always been a right of the crown. But what security
would there have been in appointing military commanders
whose powers might be taken from them by the King at
any moment. The debate filled many with gloom and fear
of misfortune[320]. Whatever they might do, whether
they remained quiet, or regulated the militia under the
authority of the two Houses, matters had come to a crisis,
‘to a desperate pass.’ In the Lower House the determination    [A.D. 1642.]
to adhere to their purpose, and consideration of their
own danger prevailed. They first resolved that the King’s
answer must be regarded as a positive refusal, and then
agreed upon a new memorial, in which he was told plainly,
that unless he declared himself ready to satisfy Parliament
on this point, and that at once, through the members who
presented the memorial, they had determined to take control
of the militia under the authority of the two Houses, and
the words were added, ‘for the rescue of the King himself
and of his kingdom.’

Charles I replied that he was astonished at this message:
his answer had contained all that he could grant in reason,
justice, and honour. After a few days Lord Pembroke once
more put the question, whether he would not, at least for
a short time, surrender to Parliament the right of control
over the army. The King answered, not for an hour: things
had been demanded of him which had never before been asked
of a King. He was now against any temporary concession.

Parliament however paid no further attention to him. They
adhered to the fiction that the agreement of the two Houses
implied the royal will, even when the King in person had in
the most decided manner expressed an opposite view. After
receiving his answer the Lower House passed a resolution
that the kingdom should immediately be put into a state
of defence under the authority of Parliament, in the
manner already fixed (March 2). Some few lords of ancient
name, such as Lindsay, Grey, Seymour, Capel, offered some
resistance: but the majority agreed to the conclusions of
the Lower House, and action was taken immediately according
to their tenour.

The King was on his way to the North, when he received a
declaration stating the reasons for these resolutions: he
did not delay a moment the issue of a counter declaration
(Huntingdon, 15 March) in which he repeated the contents of
his last message; at the same time he called attention to
the fundamental laws of the realm, one of which was that no
subject was bound to pay obedience to any act or command to
which the King had not given his consent. He stated that he
required obedience to the existing laws, and simply forbade    [A.D. 1642.]
any compliance with orders not ratified by himself;
both generally, and in special relation to the army,
no ordinance was to be carried out in which he had
no part[321]. He did not stop, it will be seen, at
the immediate circumstances of the case, but raised
conspicuously the great constitutional question which
Parliament had decided for itself, or treated as if already

The Parliament was not misled on either point: this time
the majority of the Upper House took the initiative. On the
evening of the 16th arrived the message from Huntingdon:
on the evening of the 17th first the Lords and then the
Commons adopted the resolutions, first, to adhere to
their earlier declarations in relation to the army[322],
secondly, that the Lords and Commons in Parliament
possessed the full right of declaring what the law of the
land was, and that to dispute or deny this, or to issue
an order that any such declaration was not to be attended
to, was a breach of the privileges of Parliament. Whoever
advised the King, added the Lower House, to send this
message, is an enemy to the peace of the kingdom.

This is the moment, if we would fix it exactly, at which
reconciliation between the King and the Parliament became
impossible. Hitherto the opposing manifestoes had always
assumed the possibility of a reconciliation, although they
obviously risked a different result: but the gulf between
the King’s declaration on the 15th, and the answer of
Parliament on the 17th, could not be bridged over: the two
powers now stood most distinctly opposed to each other,
both in their general claims and in their specific demands.
The latter in fact implied the former: they formed a kind
of summary of the whole dispute.

From this point the dissension, which hitherto had been
confined to the constitutional authorities, spread over a
wider field. King and Parliament together had formed the
authority which every one was bound to obey: what was to
happen when these issued contrary orders? The question         [A.D. 1642.]
to which of the two they would render obedience was set
first before the commandants of certain fortresses.

In the first days after the King’s departure, when Digby
and Lunsford were stirring, it was remarked in the city
that arms and ammunition were being brought out of the
Tower, and an unusual quantity of provisions carried in.
Not only was this immediately forbidden, but also, in
order to make it impossible, a levy of militia, under the
command of Skippon, was stationed in the approaches to the
Tower, and information immediately conveyed to the Common
Council. The Lieutenant Constable, John Byron, was greatly
astonished when the Sheriffs of London and Middlesex
informed him of this arrangement. He declared to them
that it ran counter to the privileges of the Tower, which
he had received orders from the King to maintain. They
referred to the commands of the two Houses, in which the
royal will was contained, and threatened him, if he did not
obey, with open force and a formal blockade on the side of
the river. John Byron was the first to give utterance to
those feelings of chivalrous loyalty, without any stain of
factious ambition, which still survived in a large part of
the nobility and gentry. He wrote to the King’s secretary
that he would take care that, in conformity with his
Majesty’s commands, he gave no valid cause for dispute: but
he said that they were seeking occasion against him[323].
If they cut off his supplies, and attacked him with open
force, he certainly could not promise, in the condition he
was in, to hold out long: but they should purchase both the
place and his life as dearly as he could make them[324]. It
was not however to come to such extremities. The Commons
preferred at once to request the removal of Byron: the King
begged to know their complaint against him: they answered
that in times of imminent danger the advice of Parliament
was a sufficient reason. Charles I did not in fact dare to     [A.D. 1642.]
resist: for these were the days before the departure of
the Queen, when he sought to avoid a formal breach. Byron
was present at the sitting at which the King’s answer in
the affirmative was announced. He said that only one charge
could be made against him, of having been appointed by
the King and being faithful to him and only begged to be
allowed to resign the place into the King’s own hands. With
the King’s consent the Tower was now finally handed over to
a governor of the Parliamentary party, named Conyers.

Similar sentiments were expressed by Colonel Goring,
commandant of Portsmouth, who this time did not flinch. He
was summoned by Parliament to Westminster to give advice
about arming the country: he delayed to appear for some
time, and when no other pretext was available, declared
plainly that he saw that Parliament was entering on an
illegal course, and refused his obedience. He made his
garrison take an oath of this tenour, and admitted within
the walls of his sea-fortress none but undoubted adherents
of the King.

A direct and typical conflict between the views of
Parliament and of the King in relation to military
authority took place at Hull.

Kingston-upon-Hull, which had grown from a fishing village
to a considerable town, through its favourable situation
for the northern trade, had been carefully fortified
by Henry VIII, who devoted to this purpose some of the
spoils of the monasteries. Strafford had placed a military
magazine there to serve for the war against Scotland: since
the disbanding of his army, the block-houses, castle, and
magazine had remained under the charge of the magistrates
and inhabitants of Hull. The attention of Parliament had
long ago been directed to this place: the mayor had been
requested to disarm all recusants in the city and its
neighbourhood, as danger was apprehended from them. Now
however that an open breach had taken place, the danger
was grown most serious, particularly as the court at once
turned its eyes on Hull. Parliament resolved to secure the
place by a governor who could be fully trusted, Sir John
Hotham. Hotham had taken part in the German war in the
service of the Elector Palatine, and had been promised by      [A.D. 1642.]
the King the reversion of Hull, but afterwards had
attached himself decidedly to the dominant party in
Parliament, of which he was a member. He was a rude
soldier, violent and ambitious, and had a very good idea
of how to combine his opinions with his interests: he
immediately sent his son to take possession of the post
to which Parliament had appointed him. Meanwhile Lord
Newcastle had also entered the town, though under another
name, in order to win it for the King, and introduce a
Royalist garrison. The mayor and aldermen of Hull were in
the utmost perplexity; for the moment they admitted neither
force, and prayed Parliament, through the representatives
of the city, to come to an understanding with the King
about the introduction of a garrison: but under the
influence of the elder Hotham, Parliament spurned any such
evasion of the difficulty[325]. In the city itself the
magistrates were mostly for the King, but the greater part
of the citizens inclined to the Parliament. Under these
circumstances Hotham gained his point, and entered Hull
with orders to admit none but Parliamentary troops.

The King had by this time (March 19) come to York: he
had been inclined to return to Scotland, but the country
gentry, as well as the inhabitants of the city, displayed
so much devotion to him that he determined to remain.
Both the interests of the county and his own required the
occupation of Hull. There was no doubt that Hotham would
reject every other measure: but would he have the face to
oppose the King himself? Charles I, who in spite of so
much contrary experience, was always persuaded of the vast
influence of royalty, deemed this impossible, and resolved
to go in person to Hull, and obtain entrance into its

Towards the end of April the Elector Palatine, and the
King’s younger son, James, arrived one day in Hull for the
purpose, as they said, of inspecting the fortifications of
the place in company with the governor. They were still
busy with this, when the King sent word that he also meant     [A.D. 1642.]
to and that accommodation must be provided for him and
his suite: he might have some three hundred men with
him. But Hotham knew that if he admitted only twenty, he
should no longer be master of the place, where there was
still considerable number of Royalists. His resolution was
instantly taken: he raised the drawbridge and informed
the King who was already at the gates, in the humblest
language, but still in direct terms, that he could not
admit him without violating the confidence reposed in him
by the Parliament.

The speech is extant in which Hotham justified his conduct
to the inhabitants of Hull[326]. He declared that it was
his duty to die for King and Parliament, but when there
was hostility between them, he must obey the latter; that
Parliament was entrusted by the King and nation with power
to order everything that concerned the common weal: if
it noticed dangers anywhere, it was bound by its duty to
obviate them, and no one could then refuse obedience to it,
without breaking his troth to the sovereign. He took credit
to himself for what he had done, and said that he did not
think to renounce his loyalty to the King in proving his
obedience to Parliament for an example to others.

Thus was accomplished in a striking manner what had long
been pending: the authority of Parliament as representing
the nation, in military matters as well as all others,
confronted the personal power of the crown, and that with
a claim to superiority. The King was refused admission
into one of his fortresses, in the name of the authority
represented by the two Houses of Parliament, in which his
own title was comprised. Charles I had to retire from Hull
without achieving his object. He declared John Hotham
guilty of treason: but Parliament replied by resolving that
such a sentence on a member of the Lower House, especially     [A.D. 1642.]
without any judicial proceedings, was a new breach of the
privileges of Parliament, and an illegal act on the King’s

Thus was one legality opposed to the other, one obedience
to the other, one conception of the supreme power to the
other: and the great question now was, which of the two
would gain the upper hand in England.

There were still numberless persons who would not listen to
the argument propounded by Hotham at Hull, but professed
a doctrine totally opposite. The Lower House, they said,
is elected by subjects, and represents only subjects: no
sort of authority over princes can be conferred on it by
them. Parliament appealed to the fundamental laws of the
realm; but we must first know what is their true meaning:
it seeks to give effect to the protest passed and sworn
to three years ago, but in that the honour of his Majesty
was reserved. The King has conceded all that can fairly
be asked, perhaps too much: Parliament is openly usurping
the whole executive power, and desiring to wield it at its
pleasure: but there cannot be two swords in the kingdom.
Certainly in obeying the King we have no idea of neglecting
the duty we owe to the kingdom.

These opinions prevailed at York[327], whither the King
returned from Hull: and once they were manifested there
unmistakeably. In an assembly of the county gentry Charles
I explained what had happened, adding that he would
rather lose his three crowns than leave such an insult
unpunished[328], and asked them to form a guard for his
protection. What the King said of his own position was
greeted with joyful assent, but what he let fall about the
intentions of Parliament roused expressions of disapproval.
In a second assembly, at Heworth Moor, near York, the
freeholders and tenants also took part. The King appeared
at the head of his newly-formed guard, both horse and
foot: the nobles and gentry constituted the first, the         [A.D. 1642.]
militia the second. A proclamation was issued in which the
King professed his adherence to the Protestant religion
and the laws of the land, and claimed the support of the
assembly in maintaining them. The Cavaliers waved their
hats: the people cried ‘God bless the King’: yet even here
there was not complete unanimity. There were still some
Puritans and adherents of the Lower House in York who were
encouraged to express their sentiments by the presence of
some commissioners of Parliament. At the meeting Thomas
Fairfax placed a petition of this nature on the pommel of
the King’s saddle, who refused to receive it, as coming
from a single man: it seemed to him sufficiently rejected
by the joyful acclamations of his partisans. A devoted
mob, of perhaps 20,000 men, attended him back to the city
as if in triumph. The Cavaliers had the upper hand in York
as decidedly as the Roundheads in London. The ancient
nobility, such as the Savilles, who were now again firmly
attached to the King, set the fashion which was followed
by most of the city and county. The York people would
scarcely endure the Londoners who were settled there in
business: they regarded them as accomplices of those who
had transgressed against the King. Three knights brought to
the King as a present a charger splendidly caparisoned in
the ancient style: the velvet which covered it reached to
the ground[329].

Similar exhibitions of chivalrous and popular adherence
were made in Derby, Lancaster, and other northern counties.

The thirteen counties of Wales unanimously rejected the
requests made to them by Parliament, and assured the
King of their entire devotion. The sheriff and gentry of
Nottingham entreated Parliament not to expect them to make
war on the King, to whom they were bound by the oath of
allegiance and supremacy. This address is also remarkable,
because it touches on all the questions which at that
moment the men who had not yet committed themselves to
a party were most anxiously deliberating. The theory of
what might be considered lawful in England was discussed       [A.D. 1642.]
at length: the view taken is, that as the King and
Lords can make no law without the assent of the Commons
of England, so this threefold cord may not in any way
be separated: the Commons with the Lords are equally
incompetent to make laws, so that what the Parliament
called laws were merely declarations of opinion, to which
no one was bound to pay obedience.

From this point of view others sought to define more
closely the relations of the three powers. The union of
monarchical, aristocratic, and democratic forms in the
English constitution, contrived by the wisdom of antiquity,
was, they thought, endangered by the demands of Parliament.
The object of the monarchical form was that the country
under one head might be able to repel foreign attacks and
quell internal tumult, and for this it was indispensable
that the head of the state should possess the right of
making peace and war, as well as the nomination to the
military and great civil offices: he must have the power to
enforce the laws. The House of Commons was not intended to
take part in the government, or to nominate those who were
to conduct it, though it possessed the initiative in the
imposition of taxes, and the right of impeaching those who
might misuse the power entrusted to them by the King. The
function of the Upper House was to hold the balance between
these two powers. The absolute power which ruled the
country was composed of the union of the royal prerogative,
the judicial power of the Lords, and the legal privileges
of the Commons[330].

The assumption in this argument is that the laws, by which
the limits of each power within the constitution were
defined, were old and well-known: as in earlier times
the King, so now the Lower House was reproached with
misunderstanding the laws and exceeding its powers.

This accusation could certainly not be controverted from       [A.D. 1642.]
the point of view of the existing constitution. The chief
efforts of the dominant party had been hitherto directed
to forcing the King to assent to the bills submitted to
him: he had quitted the capital in order to escape further
pressure: their proceeding, in spite of his refusal, to
give effect to their own views, and this in matters of the
highest importance, was an open violation of the existing
constitution and of the recognised mutual rights of the
parties. They acted as though the King’s consent was no
longer necessary: Henry Martin once propounded the theory
that as the opinion of all the Commons of the realm was
implied in the vote of the Lower House, so the King’s
consent was included in the vote of the Lords[331]; that
the Parliament of the realm was his great council, whose
opinion he must follow; and that the old Norman formula of
refusal ought to be abolished.

The zealous adherents of Parliament did not repel the
charge of transgressing the laws: they accepted it. Their
doctrine was--starting from Oliver St. John’s language on
the Bill of Attainder--that Parliament could not be bound
by written laws, for that the legislative power in the
fullest extent belonged to it, which meant merely equity
applied by common consent to politics: that inferior
tribunals were bound by written laws, but not the highest,
which would cease to be such if bound[332]. This theory
distinguished between fundamental laws and principles,
recognising only the latter as conclusive.

The view which some years later John Milton sought to
uphold, namely, that Parliament was not co-ordinate with
the King, but superior, rested on the same basis. For, he
argued, the King governs through the laws; the Parliament,
even in the absence (as then) of any King’s assent, makes
and repeals them, so that Parliament is above all positive
law. Thus a power, if not literally absolute, yet exalted
above the law, such as the King claimed, was ascribed to

The Parliament still avoided expressing or sanctioning         [A.D. 1642.]
on its own part these ideas, which had been generated in
theorising minds by its position and growing strength: it
adhered above all to its practical demands.

These were once more laid before the King in definite form
in the first half of June. They are the so-called nineteen
propositions, a sort of programme of the condition into
which it was sought to bring the nation. Three demands
were therein specially put forward: one religious, for
the change of the existing state of things in relation to
church government and the liturgy, in conformity with a
consultation to be held with learned theologians, and with
the resolutions of Parliament: one political, that all
nominations to high offices should require the approval
of the two Houses, and that even the Privy Council should
consist of only a fixed number of persons, all of whom must
be approved by both Houses: finally one military, that the
proposals in reference to the militia should be accepted,
at least temporarily[333]. The King answered that were he
to assent to these propositions, he should not be able to
fulfil the duty incumbent upon him: they were the sort of
conditions that are made with a prisoner.

While thus definitely refusing, he was already aware that
he had by no means the unanimous opinion of Parliament
opposed to him. We have already more than once mentioned
the discussions within the House on the most important
questions; the first on Strafford’s attainder, the second
about the attack on Episcopacy, and the preparation of the
Remonstrance: but the majority had always persevered in
the course once adopted. Now came the third and greatest
division. In spite of the protests, to which several
lords had resorted, the resolutions about the militia
were passed, and the nineteen propositions laid before
the King as the terms of Parliament. Seeing that thus the
ancient constitution of the country was threatened at once
in spiritual and in political matters, a number of Lords
deemed it their duty, and had the courage, to separate         [A.D. 1642.]
from Parliament. At the sitting of May 30 the Upper
House was informed that twelve Lords at once had been
seen on the road to York, and then actually in that city.
They were Monmouth, Northampton, Salisbury, Devonshire,
Dover, Dunsmore, Andover, Capel, Rich, Grey, Lovelace,
and Coventry. Soon followed men like Lord Hertford, who
had taken a great part in the beginning of the movement.
A certain vacillation was exhibited by some before they
took the step, by others after it; but the majority were
fully determined, and held to their purpose. The number
was soon so great that it seemed less wonderful that they
should be gone, than that the rest should stay behind at
Westminster[334]. It was regarded as an event of great
importance when Lord Littleton carried off to the King
the Great Seal, in conformity with a promise made at the
time of receiving it, a feat not accomplished without
some stratagem and danger. A number of the Commons also
repaired to the King, around whom was formed a company that
professed to represent the State, and treated the acts of
the Parliament at Westminster as lawless usurpations.

The Lords however did not join the King unconditionally.
A mutual engagement was entered into, on the basis of
maintaining the English constitution. The King promised
the Lords to require from them no other obedience than was
grounded on the laws, and to take under his protection
every one who refused to obey the declarations and orders
of the two Houses at Westminster. The Lords undertook
to defend the King, his crown, dignity, and rightful
privileges against every man, and to obey no orders not
warranted by the laws: especially they pledged themselves
to this in respect of military ordinances lacking the
King’s assent. Both parties bound themselves to support
the true Protestant religion, as by law established,--thus
excluding Presbyterianism,--the lawful liberties of the
subjects, and the privileges both of the King and of
Parliament. The King says ‘the just privileges of the
three estates of Parliament[335],’ which included the          [A.D. 1642.]
restoration of the bishops to their parliamentary rights:
the Lords say ‘the just privileges of your Majesty and your
two Houses of Parliament.’ Twenty-five Lords signed the
agreement on June 13, 1642.

These promises were given and these declarations exchanged
by way of opposition to the demands contained in the
nineteen propositions[336]. For a moment they flattered
themselves that the weight added to the King’s cause would
incline the Parliament to more peaceful views: but the
contrary happened, the feeling of hostility grew with the
number of enemies.

The Parliament complained of the evil-minded persons about
the King, called Cavaliers, who had no respect for the
laws, and no fear of God or man: that in York nothing
less was intended than the dissolution and overthrow of
the government of the kingdom. In language of earnest
apprehension it warned one and all to aid in averting this
pressing danger according to the promise contained in the
protest. The Lords at Westminster also, under the influence
of a document that reached them, declared it necessary to
provide for the safety of the King and the kingdom[337].
Thereupon, in complete contravention of the royal decrees,
the militia in the city and neighbouring counties were put
under arms, voluntary contributions were collected, and a
loan made.

The associated Lords at York declared in reply that it
appeared from the parliamentary papers which had reached
them, that the sacred person of the King, religion, the
liberty of the subject, Parliament and its rights, were
all in danger[338]: in order to assist the King in their
defence, they proclaimed a levy of cavalry, which all of
them promised to raise, and to maintain in the field for a
fixed time.

On June 17 the assembly at Westminster, on June 22 that
at York, declared the country in danger, each through the
other; and they proceeded to arm against each other.

We see now how it came to such an extremity. It is obvious     [A.D. 1642.]
that this idea was eventually entertained through the
Queen’s influence, before her departure: but all still
depended on whether an accommodation was possible in
respect of the military power. The King was willing for
the time to admit the participation of Parliament: but the
latter claimed not only the recommendation of commanders
for that occasion, but also that their removal should
be made to depend exclusively on the vote of the House,
and required the unconditional obedience of the country
to its ordinances. This would have deprived the King for
ever of the sword, and made the Parliament master in his
stead[339]: the King would not go so far, nor would the
majority of the nobility or of the gentry allow it. For
they thought that the sword did not belong to Parliament,
and that absolute executive authority was not its function:
moreover resistance was contrary to the old doctrines
of the established Church. The contest was not between
absolute power and a democratic republic, though these
ideas at times appeared in the background. The one party
in fact desired Parliament not without the King, the other
the King not without Parliament: but the one sought to
maintain the autonomy of the throne and of the Church, and
the estates of the realm as hitherto constituted, the other
would shake the foundation of the Church, and subject the
crown unconditionally to Parliament. On this question a
dispute broke out within the legislative body itself: part
broke loose from the rest, and joined the King.

As now both sides had formally decided to make preparations
for war, the whole country immediately became involved
in the hostility between them. In all the counties the
Parliamentary ordinance and the full powers conferred
by the King on his adherents (commission of array[340])
encountered one another, both couched in the same terms,
both directed to the same end, yet diametrically opposed to
each other in intention.

In the eastern counties the influence of the capital           [A.D. 1642.]
gained obedience for the ordinance; in the northern,
through the influence of York, the commission gained
the upper hand; but neither unopposed. In the midland
counties the chiefs who had declared for the opposite
sides contended together: in Lincoln, Willoughby of Parham
and Lord Lindsay; in Leicester, the Earl of Stamford,
who had been deputed by the Parliament, and the sheriff
appointed by the King, Henry Hastings, son of the Earl of
Huntingdon; in Northampton, the Brookes and the Comptons;
in Berkshire, the Earl of Holland and Lord Lovelace; and
others elsewhere. In Oxfordshire the Earl of Berkshire
encountered Hampden, and was arrested by him. As in
Derby the Royalists, so in Wiltshire the adherents of
the Parliament under Lord Pembroke, preponderated. In
Lancashire and Cheshire Lord Stanley mustered in three
separate places bodies of 20,000 men, all armed with
muskets and pikes, and ready for the King’s service: but
this powerful levy, besides awakening jealousy at court,
aroused the opposition of the lesser magnates, led by some
members of Parliament[341]. William Earl of Hertford, to
whom the King had entrusted seven Welsh counties, and
ten others bordering on them, made a great figure; but
he was not undisputed master of them: in Gloucestershire
Parliamentary opinions prevailed, and in Pembroke they were
gaining ground.

The leaders of the Parliamentary majority however derived
their main strength from their alliance with the capital.
Here the Common Council, with the aid of Parliament,
had completely thrown off the authority of the chief
magistrate. He lost the right which he had hitherto
enjoyed, of summoning and dismissing the council, as
well as the initiative in its deliberations. His votes
were swamped by the great number of the rest; the King’s
adherents were ejected: one of the Puritan leaders
succeeded to the Royalist lord mayor. A committee was
appointed to find means of defence, which controlled
the city militia, and in which the Puritans had a              [A.D. 1642.]
majority. In the city there were now no preachers except of
this persuasion; all others had been removed or silenced.
From the pulpits not merely religious but also political
opinions were taught: those were counted as the most
faithful who were most eager for war with the King, and
contributed towards it[342]. Under these circumstances the
proposal of the Lords to form a sufficient fund for the
maintenance of the army, obtained full approval[343]: and
their reasoning was also calculated to make an impression.
They observed that the whole kingdom might serve as their
security: if Parliament prevailed, every man’s loan
would certainly be returned with interest: otherwise not
that only, but everything else they possessed would be
endangered. The citizens vied with one another in bringing
in their gold and silver. The preparations of the city were
far in advance of those in the country.

Following the example of the Common Council, Parliament
now appointed a committee of safety, as it was called,
for the defence of Parliament and of the realm, and to
repel all armed opposition. We find among its members Pym,
Hampden, Martin, and Fiennes, as well as some more moderate
men, such as Hollis and Stapleton: of the Lords there
were Essex, Northumberland, Holland, and Say. From this
committee proceeded the proposal, which was adopted by a
resolution of July 12, that an army of 10,000 men should be
raised, and the Earl of Essex placed at the head of it.

Essex and Holland had refused compliance with the King’s
orders to follow him and discharge the duties of their
offices, and committed themselves fully to the Parliament,
which in return took them up very warmly. When now Essex
made up his mind to take command of the armed force that
was being raised against the King, every one saw that
he was thus offending beyond forgiveness, and staking
his whole future on the issue: the Parliament in return
pledged itself to live and die with him. His support
was of indescribable importance to the progress of the         [A.D. 1642.]
cause. He was esteemed steadfast in his opposition, and
enjoyed the full confidence of the Presbyterians[344]. The
memory of his father made him popular in the country: he
himself had been at first courted, afterwards neglected
by the government of the Stuarts, and seemed to have some
claim against them. The ease with which the Parliamentary
army was levied was ascribed to his name and zeal: he chose
as his subordinates men conspicuous in the dominant party.
Balfour served as lieutenant-general; among the colonels
of foot we find Brooke, Mandeville, Hollis, Hampden: among
the captains of horse Cromwell, Fiennes, and Haslerig. On
the same principle on which the general chose the colonels
and captains, they made up their regiments and companies,
and clothed them in their colours[345]. The army thoroughly
represented the ruling party, which held general control
of the war, as yet without marked separation between the
Presbyterians and the Independents.

Parliament took charge of the revenues, collected the
customs, contracted loans, controlled the exchequer: it had
already succeeded in getting into its hands the national

Algernon Percy, Earl of Northumberland, had at an earlier
time been raised by the special favour of the King to the
dignity of high admiral: he had however long detached
himself from the policy of the court, both on principle
and from dislike to the persons highest in influence
there: in the military question he took the side of the
Parliament. His vice-admiral, Pennington, had drawn on
himself the ill-will of Parliament by aiding the flight
of some of the accused ministers: it desired to displace
him, and designated the Earl of Warwick as his successor.
Northumberland, against the well-known feeling of the
King, lent his aid to this. The King fell into a violent
passion and pronounced the dismissal of Northumberland, who
without a word laid down his office, saying that it would
ill become him to seek to hold, against the King’s will, a     [A.D. 1642.]
post which he owed to his extraordinary confidence. The
effect of this obedience was however very disastrous for
the King: the Parliament at once made Warwick admiral, with
all the powers that Northumberland had enjoyed. The King
might say what he pleased: with very slight difficulty the
fleet passed under the supreme command of Warwick. It had
cost the King immense pains to raise this fleet: he had
quarrelled with his people about the means of maintaining
it: and now without resistance it became subservient to the
Presbyterian and Parliamentary interests.

We must not omit to notice that the leading men in this
matter were connected by close ties of relationship.
The great favourite of Queen Elizabeth was the father
of the Earl of Essex: he had two sisters, of whom one
was the mother of Northumberland, the other of Warwick.
Among these the Earl of Warwick had undoubtedly the most
resolution and the most active spirit: he was the man who
had sustained Presbyterianism in England in the times
of greatest oppression, and had chiefly promoted the
religious emigration to America. In him the temper which
broke down the ecclesiastical and royalist system of the
Stuarts found its most lively expression: without being
altogether correct in his morals, he stood at the head of
the strict Presbyterians: he was enterprising, determined,
irresistible. As Mandeville had been led by him to join the
party, we may assume that he exercised decisive influence
over his nearer kinsmen, who besides were so inclined

Their position is not without analogy to the political
circumstances of the first Essex. He too desired to
overthrow by popular assistance an administration of
Spanish and anti-Protestant tendencies. Now it had come to
pass that his son and nephew were at the head of the land
and sea forces of England, in direct opposition to the King
and his advisers.

If we consider the extent and the concentration of the
Parliamentary strength, we shall almost wonder that the
Royalists, ill organised, and deprived of the ordinary
resources of the supreme power, should have ventured to
take the field against it.


[313] She told Grecy: ‘Les personnes qu’il (le roi)
haissoit, lorsqu’elle étoit sans crédit, elle les avoit
retablies depuis qu’elle a pris créance auprès de lui (du

[314] Montague: L’état des affaires d’Angleterre en 1642:
‘le prétexte du parlement n’est pas contre la royauté même,
mais contre les personnes.’

[315] So she herself soon after related to Grecy: ‘LL. MM.
s’étoient resolu de se retirer de Londres en une de leurs
maisons pour de là s’emparer d’une place forte, qui n’est
pas beaucoup éloignée.’

[316] Cp. Letters of Queen Henrietta Maria 117.

[317] The Life of Prince Rupert, probably by his secretary,
in Warburton’s Memoirs of Prince Rupert and the Cavaliers
i. 460. ‘It was not found proper at that time to make any
countenance of a war, matters not being as yet come to that
height as to despair of an accommodation.’

[318] This expectation is loudly expressed in the pamphlet,
Joyful Tidings to all True Christians, Jan. 1642. According
to it the King had declared ‘that hereafter he would
altogether join with them.’ (the Parliament).

[319] ‘That the powers granted shall continue until it
shall be otherwise ordered or declared by both houses of
Parliament.’ Ordinance of both houses.

[320] D’Ewes characterises the debate as ‘full of sadness
and evil augury.’ Sanford 482.

[321] Message from Huntingdon. ‘His Majesty being resolved
to observe the laws himself, and to require obedience to
all them from all his subjects.’ Journals 481.

[322] In the Lords with the addition ‘notwithstanding
anything expressed in this message.’

[323] Letters of John Byron in State Paper Office, Jan 22.
‘Though I carry ever so fairly, they are resolved to pick
quarrels with me.’

[324] ‘I cannot promise to keep that place long, in the
condition I am in, yet I will sell both it and my life at
as dear a rate as I can.’ A worthy ancestor of the great

[325] The younger Hotham had written, ‘Fallback, fall edge,
he would put it to the hazard.’ Sanford 475.

[326] In the pamphlet ‘Five matters of note.’ ‘The
Parliament being called and established by the authority of
the King and consent of the kingdom to effect all things
that are agreeable to law tending to the preservation of
His Majesty’s peace an welfare and the general good of the
subject--if they, foreseeing a danger--endeavour to prevent
it, and the persons by them commanded falsifie their trust,
they are traitors.’

[327] ‘York is a sanctuary to all those that despise the
Parliament.’ Letter sent by a Yorkshire gentleman to a
friend in London, June 3, 1642.

[328] So says Giustiniani: ‘Protesto ad alta voce, eleggere
di perdere le tre corone, che porta sopra il capo, piutosto
che lasciare senza severo castigo aggravio di tanta

[329] A diurnal out of the north. July, 1642.

[330] England’s absolute monarchie or government of Great
Britain. Thomas Bankes, 1642. He ascribes to the House of
Commons the right ‘of impeaching those who for their own
ends, though countenanced by any surreptitiously gotten
command of the King have violated that law, which he (the
King) is bound ... to protect, and to the protection of
which they were bound to advise him.’

[331] ‘That the King’s vote was included in the Lords’

[332] ‘Touching the fundamental laws or politique
constitution of this kingdom.’ Pamphlet of Feb. 24, 1642/3.
‘Whenever circumscribed by written laws, it ceaseth to be
supreme. Its superlative and uncircumscribed power I intend
only as relating to the universe and the affairs thereof,
where it is to work by its fundamental principle, not by
particular precepts or statutes.’

[333] Hallam ii: ‘The nineteen propositions went to
abrogate in spirit the whole existing constitution.’

[334] May’s History of the Long Parliament, ch. iv. 175:
‘In a very short space those lords became the greater
number, and their departure began therefore to seem less
strange than the constant sitting of the rest.’

[335] Parliamentary History xi, 208.

[336] Journals of the House of Lords v. 92.

[337] ‘They do find a disaffection in those persons about
His Majesty, and therefore it concerned us to take care to
provide for the safety of the King and the kingdom.’ June
17. Journals ii. 629.

[338] See their declaration from a pamphlet of the time
in Lady Theresa Lewis’ Lives of Friends of the Chancellor
Clarendon i. 119.

[339] The state of the difference between the King and the
Houses of Parliament, for the direction of conscience.

[340] On the origin of this the History of the Rebellion,
as originally composed, went into more detail than the
later account printed in Clarendon’s Life, vol. vi. p. 335;
ed. 1849.

[341] ‘The meaner sort thought it a fine thing to set up
against the great ones.’ Stanley’s Report.

[342] Butler. Letter from Mercurius, in Somers iv. 580.

[343] New propositions to the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and
Common Council. June 1642. Pamphlet.

[344] Giustiniani: ‘Capo il piu accreditato fra li
malcontenti e che con palese ostinatione ha impugnato
sempre senza rispetto gli interessi reali.’

[345] Nugent’s Memorials of Hampden ii. 200.



Queen Henrietta Maria had a long and stormy passage from
Dover to Helvoetsluys, in which one of her ships was lost:
she never exhibited however any fear for herself when
shipwreck and death seemed to be impending, but spoke only
of God, and of the danger of her husband[346]. At the Hague
she delivered over her daughter, not without ceremony,
to the charge of Prince Frederick Henry of Orange, who
received her with all the respect due to members of royal

Her first object was, through the Prince’s influence to
induce the States-General to mediate in favour of her
husband; but when his affairs at York took an unexpectedly
favourable turn[347], she devoted all her attention to
procuring him support. The fugitives who had escaped to the
Netherlands, Percy, Jermyn, Windebank, Lord Finch, were in
this very useful to her. Many of her jewels were sold: the
Queen did not deny that they appeared to her more beautiful
than ever, when taken out of their gold settings: she had
to part with them for about half their value. Most of them
served as security for the loan which she raised: luckily
she had brought a full power from her husband for this
purpose: at times even this did not suffice, and the Prince
of Orange guaranteed payment. She actually succeeded in
sending over some money, more than £8000, as she herself       [A.D. 1642.]
reckoned in July, which gave very much desired help; for
it was not all the nobility and gentry who provided for
themselves, and moreover the officers of the old army, who
appeared at York as before in London, and were the very
core of the Cavalier party, were urgently in want of pay.
Soon afterwards followed military stores, bought in the
Netherlands, saddles and harness for the cavalry, carbines,
pistols, muskets, matchlocks, even cannon and the necessary
ammunition. There is no doubt that from this source a
military undertaking was first made possible to the King.

There has been much controversy as to which party actually
began the war, the King or Parliament. Unquestionably
Parliament took the lead in preparations--the militia
preceded the array: the King however was the first to
determine to draw the sword.

As Newcastle and the mouth of the Tyne were in the King’s
hands, it would have been an inestimable advantage to his
position in the North, if he could have occupied Hull
also. Towards this he directed his first movement about
the end of July. The troops sought to secure both banks
of the Humber, and threw up entrenchments: guns were
brought up from the ships, with a view to a siege. Hotham
was once more urged not to compel the King to seize by
force on what was his by right[348]; but he, still holding
to his original purpose, replied that he was bound to
obey Parliament, the supreme court of the kingdom[349].
Parliament had already a force in readiness, which came
to the aid of the besieged, under one Meldrum, a Scot, so
that they were able to meet the attacks of the Royalists
by successful sorties. Here the first blood of the war
was shed: the King found himself compelled to abandon the
undertaking, especially as Warwick was bringing relief to
the town by sea.

The leaders at York had hoped to surprise some inland town
also, especially Coventry, which owed special attachment to
the house of Stuart, because the charter constituting it a     [A.D. 1642.]
city, had been granted by James I. One of the chief men
at the court, Spenser Compton, Earl of Northampton, who
had once filled a municipal office there, declared that
he could guarantee its fidelity. Accordingly the King
sent word to the magistrates, in the familar style of
old times, which he loved to assume, that he intended
to come on an early day, August 19, and sup with them.
Compton repaired to the city, in order to prepare for him
a good reception. Meanwhile however Puritan opinions,
sustained by zealous preachers like King and the learned
Abbot, had gained the upper hand in Coventry. The ideas of
Parliamentary independence found as much favour there as
in Hull, Gloucester, and most other cities. Compton was
received with hostile demonstrations; and the city refused
admittance, not directly to the King, but to the armed men
whom he brought with him: and when on the next day these
prepared to open the gates by force, the inhabitants did
not hesitate to repel force by force. Parliamentary troops
very soon came up, and made any further attempt impossible.

While the King was thus failing in all his enterprises,
those of the Parliament succeeded. Colonel Goring, who had
raised the King’s standard at Portsmouth, was immediately
cut off from all communications both by land and by sea;
and as he was also ill supplied with provisions, for
Warwick had seized a corn-ship destined for him, he was
without much trouble forced to surrender the place.

Thus the beginnings of the campaign presaged but little
future good for the King.

Charles I had warned his partisans north of the Trent to
assemble round the royal standard, which he should set up
at Nottingham on August 22: for it was thought desirable
to fix the seat of war in the county from which that
declaration of entire devotion had proceeded. This was the
signal, in England as well as in France, which in old times
summoned the feudal vassals to personal service: it was
raised chiefly when great dangers threatened the country,
sometimes against the Welsh, sometimes against the Scots.
And as in the civil wars of France a short time before, by
far the larger part of the nobility had gathered to the        [A.D. 1642.]
banner of the legitimate King, so Charles I expected
to assemble round his standard all those who thought
the dignity of the crown endangered by the hostility of
Parliament. As inscription it bore the words ‘Render to
Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,’ and this exactly
symbolised the military authority of the King, the validity
of which was now called in question. The King hastened back
from Coventry in order to be present on the day: on the
afternoon of August 22 the standard was brought with great
ceremony out of the castle of Nottingham into the open
field. When the King and the lords and gentry of his suite
had taken their places--there were several squadrons of
horse and two or three hundred men on foot--a proclamation
was read, in which all faithful subjects were required
to lend aid to the King against the rebellion of the
Earl of Essex. The King had at the very last moment made
alterations in the language of the proclamation, so that
the herald had difficulty in reading it. The standard was
brought back into the castle in the evening: next day the
ceremony was repeated in the presence of the King[350], and
twice more without him. No great and immediate result could
be expected on the spot.

The Parliamentary army gathered in threatening proximity.
The Earl of Essex appeared in the field on September 9, and
advanced to Northampton, with an army of twenty regiments
of infantry and seventy-five squadrons of cavalry, which
were not all of the full complement, but still numbered
from 12,000 to 14,000 men. The formation of this army and
its advance secured the Parliamentary interest in all the
neighbouring counties. The King, who had only 500 horse
and a couple of weak regiments of foot with him, could
not possibly await its approach: he gave up entirely his
first plan of holding Nottingham, as well as of conquering
Coventry and Hull. Some time before he had been urged
to take up his quarters in the north-western provinces.
Warrington in Lancashire had once been suggested as a place    [A.D. 1642.]
where his adherents might easily assemble from all sides:
the Stanleys[351] thought it was mere jealousy of their
superior power, which had prevented this being agreed
to. Now however a similar project was adopted. Royalist
opinions were especially prevalent in Worcester, Hereford
and Shropshire. The King, retiring before Essex, went
direct to Shrewsbury, whither the old Lord Mayor after some
hesitation invited him.

Here once more his cause found unexpected sympathy. It was
shown that the feelings of personal devotion and loyalty,
which had bound the vassals to their princes in earlier
centuries, was not yet extinct in England. The elevation
of the royal standard cannot be regarded as barren of
results when, even among those who had hitherto sided
with the Parliament, men were found who could not bear to
stay at home when the royal standard was displayed in the
field[352]. Some joined the King because they had always
heard from their ancestors that they must ever hold to the
crown: others thought it unfair to abandon in his distress
the prince whose bread they had eaten. Some too appeared
in the field who did not unconditionally share the King’s
sentiments; but the attitude of Parliament was still more
offensive to them, and as it would have been counted as
cowardice not to take part in the war when all the world
was rushing to arms, they joined the King. To the majority
his cause appeared by far the better, now that he had
conceded so much and all to no purpose. Many a young lawyer
threw away his long robe in order to fight for the good
cause. Some regarded it as holy, and thought that whoever
lost his life in defending it might be deemed a martyr.

Through the influence of these sentiments an army
assembled in Shropshire around the King, which according
to the notion of that age was worthy of the name--2000
cavalry, 1500 dragoons, and 6000 foot soldiers: and new
reinforcements were expected daily. A great assistance was     [A.D. 1642.]
promised by the munitions of war collected at Chester,
which had originally been destined for Ireland, but now
fell into the King’s hands. More money came in than was
expected, and the soldiery were well paid. Some commanders
of great military merit joined the King, such as Jacob
Astley, reputed one of the best major-generals in Europe;
and Ruthven of Ettrick, who had learned the art of war in
Germany, and had won new renown by his defence of Edinburgh
against the Scots,--a man of fire and devotion, and a
thorough soldier. Prince Rupert of the Palatinate, true to
his word, had already made his appearance at Nottingham by
his uncle’s side, as soon as the war broke out, for which
he had offered his aid: he had come over with the Queen’s
assistance, together with his brother Edward. He brought
with him several specimens of military apparatus, in order
to introduce into England, where they were as yet unknown,
the improvements in war material which had been made in
Germany. Especially he trained the cavalry in the tactics
then adopted in Germany. He made many a daring raid through
the country in order to encourage the royalists, harry the
rebels, seize their stores and divert them to the King’s
service. His troopers learned the art of war by practising

The first successful feat of arms fell to Rupert’s lot.
He had occupied Worcester, but abandoned it again as
untenable. His horsemen and officers were bivouacking near
the place, and many had dismounted and were taking their
ease on the grass, when the van of the hostile army was
seen approaching. In a moment they had resumed their arms
and mounted their horses; and with a sudden impetuous
onset the squadrons of Rupert, who was himself surrounded
by the boldest officers, charged the Parliamentary horse
and instantly broke them[353]--a success of no trifling
importance, as it gave the King’s troops confidence in
themselves and in their leaders.

The King, who thus enjoyed the scarcely expected pleasure
of seeing his enemies prisoners before him, now felt that      [A.D. 1642.]
he might venture to advance towards the capital. It is
scarcely credible that they should have confidently
expected to be in London within a short time. We even catch
the voices of some who believed it without wishing it: they
were again afraid of the unrestrained domination of the
men who had now most influence with the King. The latter
expected to be obliged to fight on the way, but did not
doubt that he should win the victory, and find it all the
easier to conquer London, where his partisans would rise in
his favour.

Essex in fact could not let the King advance on London,
where continued preparations were going on, but where
things were not yet in a condition to withstand an attack:
the King too could not venture, while Essex followed
him, to advance so far as to place himself between two
hostile armies. When he reached Edgcot on the borders of
Warwickshire, he adopted the advice of the Prince, who now
commanded the rear, on which most depended, that he should
take up a strong position opposite the Parliamentary army,
and attack it before it grew too strong.

On Sunday October 23, the King for the first time saw from
the height of Edgehill his enemies drawn up before him in
full order of battle. It was not till the afternoon that
the two armies came within range. How the people assembled
for worship in the neighbouring parishes must have trembled
when they heard the thunder of cannon from those heights!

In English warfare the different arms were not yet so
well combined in action as in Germany. First the cavalry
measured their strength. The Parliamentarians fired their
carbines and pistols at a badly judged distance, and at
this moment were charged by the Royalists, who put them
to flight at the first shock. It was not a fight, says
one report, but a massacre, and then a headlong pursuit
in which the victors could not be controlled by their
officers: among other booty,--for they were above all
things eager for booty and intent on it,--the carriage of
the Earl of Essex fell into their hands.

But while the Royal cavalry were thus engaged, the
Parliamentary infantry had gained the upper hand. The
regiments raised in London under Essex and Hollis fought       [A.D. 1642.]
splendidly: they consisted mainly of young men who had
taken part in the tumults in the city, and had since been
drilled by German corporals and had learned to shoot[354].
These troops, with the horsemen, of whom several troops had
stood their ground, now endangered the King himself: the
forces around him gave way or suffered very severe loss.
Lord Lindsay, who held the rank of Commander-in-chief, but
through the influence of Prince Rupert had been deprived
of his proper command, led his regiment forward, pike in
hand, and was mortally wounded. In the struggle the great
standard fell once into the enemy’s hand, but was rescued
again: the bullets rained in the immediate neighbourhood of
the King. Charles I did not give way to fear: in the midst
of the firing he was heard to call out the watchword of the
day, ‘For God and the King’: his position however was one
of great danger, when at last the cavalry returned from the
pursuit, and restored the balance of arms[355].

Next day both armies remained a mile apart without
engaging. The victory remained undecided, but this gave
the Royalists, who were the weaker, great confidence.
Prince Rupert is said to have proposed to press on with his
cavalry to Westminster and disperse the Parliament. The
rejection of the scheme is ascribed to Lord Bristol. Essex
retreated to Northampton and thence to London. The King
occupied Banbury, and then moved to Oxford, where he was
received with triumph.

Soon afterwards we find him again in the field, to make the
attempt on London once before decided on. On November 4
he was at Reading, on the 10th at Colebrook: he contented
himself with disarming the inhabitants who were hostile
to him, without doing them any other injury, so far as it
depended on him: for he held that he was their lawful King
and they his subjects. On the other side also this feeling
had again spread: even among the troops doubts had been        [A.D. 1642.]
raised whether they could rightfully fight against the
King. This opinion was however neither widely enough
spread to take much effect, nor strong enough to make way
against other contrary influences. We are informed that the
attack made by Rupert on Brentford, at a time when it was
thought that a cessation of hostilities might be looked
for, did serious injury to his cause. The London regiments
lay there, and were fearfully handled by the Welsh in the
royal army, who had their failure at Edgehill to atone
for[356], and this rekindled the popular hatred against
the Cavaliers. Fabulous tales were told of the cruelty of
Prince Rupert and his followers, which filled men’s minds
with horror. Parliament declared the attack to be one of
those acts of treachery which were to be expected of the
King. Thus it was decided to offer the most strenuous
resistance to him. The Parliamentary army, reinforced by
the militia, assembled on Turnham Green in battle array:
Essex went from regiment to regiment, and was greeted with
military familiarity as ‘Old Robin’: the short addresses of
Skippon to his men made an equally good impression. Their
superiority was so decided that the King, with the handful
of troops left to him, might think himself lucky to get
back to Oxford without disaster.

The Parliamentary government by its demands for aid had at
this time certainly aroused considerable opposition in the
capital. We are assured that at one time seventy merchants
were in prison for refusing to contribute their means for
arms to be used against the King. In great assemblies of
the citizens Royalist principles were eloquently expressed,
and received with approbation. This could not however have
any practical effect, so long as in the Common Council the
opinions before adopted maintained the preponderance. There
John Pym well knew how to stop all opposition by his usual
persuasive eloquence; and the assembly swore afresh to live
and die with Parliament.

The Parliament however could not prevent every sort of         [A.D. 1643.]
negotiation: in February 1643 it again made proposals
to the King. These not only repeat the contents of the
nineteen propositions in respect to the militia; but also
in relation to religion, in conformity with a resolution
passed in the interval, demand in express terms that the
King should sanction the abolition of the old church
organisation from archbishops down to sacristans, and
assent to the bill for a new church government to be agreed
on between the two Houses and an assembly of divines.
When these proposals were laid before the King at Oxford
in the garden of Christ Church, he remarked that those
who made them were not in earnest in seeking peace. There
is a tradition widely spread and often repeated, that in
the personal negotiations which ensued the King professed
himself ready to give way on one material point, but that
next day, under the influence of his immediate attendants,
he made a contrary declaration[357]. We can scarcely
believe however that this decided the question. Between
the views of Parliament and the King’s claims there was a
contradiction so thorough, that no effectual approximation
from which an end to the quarrel might be expected could be
imagined. More was now asked of the King than before the
war: through it he had attained a far better position, and
had no reason for yielding: he might hope in a new campaign
to win a still more favourable position.

The Queen was already come back to England to take
part in the war. The results of the events in England
had necessarily been felt in the Netherlands also. A
commissioner from the Parliament went over, and complained
bitterly of the support which Charles I found in the
Netherlands: and his representations were by no means
slighted by the Estates of Holland, the strongest of the
United Provinces. That Province declared that it desired
no breach with the Parliament, but the maintenance of
neutrality, a necessary condition of which was the
supplying neither of the contending parties with munitions
of war. The States-General also listened to the complaints.
The commissioner recalled the great interests of religion      [A.D. 1643.]
and liberty common to the two countries, and the
support which the republic had formerly received from
England. The Queen’s friends replied that the republic
of the Netherlands owed its independence not to the
English Parliament but rather to the English Crown, to
Queen Elizabeth and King James I, the predecessors of
her husband, adding the remark that it might some day
be dangerous for them if a Parliament alone ruled in
England[358]. No one in the States-General ventured to
dispute the principles on which the English Parliament
and the republic of Holland alike rested, but it was not
deemed advisable to be very earnest in their cause. Vessels
laden with arms, which had been detained, were again set
free: English soldiers who wished to go to the King were
allowed to depart, not indeed in companies, but singly. As
at the first moment, so now again, the Queen found it in
her power to strengthen the forces of her husband. She had
not been deceived in the Prince of Orange, who assisted her
at least underhand, for he saw his own advantage in the
maintenance of the Stuart dynasty. How her heart swelled
when events had taken such a turn that she might hope, as
she said, in spite of traitors to return to England and
rejoin her husband. That she had contributed somewhat to
this result satisfied her self-love: it was her pride and
good fortune, especially as her husband recognised it. She
reminded him incessantly in her letters of his promise to
conclude no treaty without having taken her advice upon it.
If he gave up the control of the militia to Parliament only
for a single year, as she heard that he was inclined to
do, he would render both himself and her miserable, there
would be nothing left to her but to retire into a convent.
If only she instead of her son had been with Hotham on
the walls of Hull, she would have seized the traitor and
thrown him over the walls, or he should have done the like
to her. The tidings of a treaty containing concessions,        [A.D. 1643.]
which was under negotiation, so excited her that she
burned the letter in which the news was conveyed: she
should like, she said, a reconciliation, but only an
honourable one. Towards the end of the year she had
again collected a supply of military stores, which she
now resolved to convey in person to the King. After many
hindrances, and being more than once driven back by
wind and weather, she landed at last on February 22 at
Burlington, in the East Riding of Yorkshire. But what a
welcome did she receive in England! A couple of English
ships arrived immediately after her, and their crews did
not hesitate to fire on the house in which their Queen had
taken up her abode. The balls broke the windows of her
bedchamber, and flew about her bed. Amidst the whistling of
the shot she quitted the house and the village, and fled
to shelter in the open field with the ladies of her suite:
the men stayed behind to take charge of the vessel in which
were the military stores; had it been necessary she would
have placed herself at their head. It did not however come
to this, as the ebbing tide compelled the ships to quit
the bay. Attended by a long train of cannon, mortars, and
powder waggons, the chivalrous Queen entered York, where
she was received in triumph.

That she had escaped so many dangers by land and sea gave
her infinite confidence in herself and her cause: had
it not been tempting God, she would have gone up to a
cannon’s mouth. In the very first letter after her landing
she urged her husband to come to no resolution until he
had heard further news from her. Writing from York in
March, she declared that if he made peace and disbanded
his army, without having made an end of the everlasting
Parliament, she should be obliged again to quit England,
for she would never fall into the hands of those men. Some
had expected that she would come with the olive branch and
attempt to mediate between the King and Parliament: on the
contrary, she exerted all her influence to urge the King to
unyielding adherence to his prerogative. Her arrival made a
more active plan of operations possible.

The original idea of Charles I had been to open the
campaign by a new advance on London. On the other hand the
Earl of Essex, at the head of the Parliamentary army,          [A.D. 1643.]
formed the plan of attacking the King at Oxford. The
first contest must therefore be for Reading, which was
as important for one scheme as for the other. Here Essex
obtained the advantage; on the twelfth day of the siege he
took Reading[359] and fixed his head-quarters there: but
when he advanced nearer to Oxford, Prince Rupert proved to
be stronger.

In one of the skirmishes of that period, on Chalgrove
field, John Hampden was seen to ride to the rear wounded,
for the first time in any such encounter, for he was as
resolute in the field as in parliamentary and political
warfare: a few days later he died, with a presentiment, as
it appears, of the dangers impending over the country. The
royal troops obtained a decisive advantage over William
Waller, who had penetrated into the West, and thence moved
towards Oxford: he was surprised by the unexpected approach
of the royal cavalry, and when he turned to face them at
Roundway Down, was completely defeated. The horsemen of
Waller and Haslerig, who looked like moving fortresses,
gave way before the lighter horse of the Royalists. In
the midland counties also the King’s party had attained
a certain strength: the family of Hastings had gained
the upper hand in Leicestershire, the Cavendishes in
Lincolnshire. The inroads of Prince Rupert kept Essex
employed. Under these circumstances there was no longer
any difficulty in the Queen’s rejoining her husband. She
met him on the field of Edgehill (13 July, 1643), bringing
three thousand infantry, thirty squadrons of cavalry,
some artillery, and ammunition in plenty in a long train
of waggons. She was received in Oxford with endless
rejoicings, the more so as the news of Waller’s defeat
arrived at the same time. With the Queen all good luck and
success seemed to return.

In the same month (July 26) Bristol was taken. At an
earlier period Royalist tendencies had shown themselves
among the magistrates, but had been repressed: now,            [A.D. 1643.]
when the outworks were taken, the garrison despaired of
maintaining its ground, and surrendered the place. It was
the second city in the country for wealth and population,
and full of arms which had been intended for the Irish
war. Most of the ships, lying in King’s Road, declared for
the King; and this gave scope for the idea of forming a
fleet for him, which should command the coasts of Wales and
England, and open a communication with Ireland. The hope
now was to take Gloucester, and thus become master of the
Severn, and so of the inland traffic.

This change of fortune produced various favourable
consequences. Hotham, who had been almost the first to
rebel openly, now proposed to surrender to the King the
fortress, which he had twice defended against other
Royalist attacks: he said that he had hardly slept a
night without his sword by his side. Lord Digby, who had
fallen into his power on his return from Holland, seems
to have converted him; and differences which he had with
Fairfax and Cromwell strengthened his resolve. In the
town however Parliamentarian opinions had through his own
influence obtained undisputed predominance; and on the
first suspicion an attempt was made to secure his person.
He was seized while trying to escape, and his son, already
a renowned captain, who had a share in all his affairs, was
taken in the town.

More fortunate was Hugh Cholmely, a distinguished member
of Parliament, at that time Governor of Scarborough. He
took over to the Royalists a body of three hundred men.
The fortress remained for the time in the hands of a
Parliamentary captain, but he also soon went over, and
surrendered the place to the King[360].

In London itself traces were discovered, or at least there
was a talk, of a plot to bring royal troops into the city
and cause a rising of the King’s adherents: a commission
of array had been introduced with great secrecy into
the city, and inquiries had been made privately in the
different parishes, to find out who and how many could be
reckoned on. The intention then was, it seems, to bring        [A.D. 1643.]
about a coalition of the Royalists and the friends of
peace[361]. Edmund Waller, a member of the Lower House,
who gave the name to this conspiracy, and in fact had a
great share in it, escaped, on making a full confession,
with fine and imprisonment. Tomkyns his brother-in-law, and
Challoner, who seem to have been more deeply implicated,
forfeited their lives. Their guilt however was not so clear
but that the people regarded their execution as a violent
act of party justice[362].

The Parliament, finding that there were so many in the city
who were calculated on for a conspiracy in favour of the
King, adopted new precautions. We must, said Pym, unite
the good more closely, and have a means of separating them
from the bad. He proposed an oath, in which the cause of
religion was again identified with that of Parliament, and
the King’s army was directly stigmatised as Popish. Every
man was to declare that he was convinced in his conscience
that the forces raised by Parliament were engaged in the
defence of a just cause, of the true Protestant religion,
and of the liberty of the subject, and to promise that he
would support and defend all others who had sworn the oath,
in everything they might do with this object[363]. The two
Houses agreed that this oath should be administered in
the army and among the people. While the King was rising
in strength and his party growing powerful, it seemed
necessary to consolidate afresh the Parliamentary faction.

But what a prospect was this for the nation: how long was
it to fight and ruin itself?

A very singular idea occurred to the Earl of Essex, General
of the Parliamentary army, who felt a sympathy with the
people greater than corresponded to his party position. The    [A.D. 1643.]
King, he thought, might go away for a while, then the two
armies might advance to meet one another at a place to
be agreed on beforehand; and they might once more try to
conclude peace, and if that proved impossible, decide the
controversy with the sword. For the quarrel was altogether
within the nation, the two sides having different ideas of
the English constitution: and a battle would be like the
judgment of God between them[364].

In August 1643 it is plain that even in Parliament the
two parties were very nearly equal in strength. The
Lords accepted a scheme by which the armies were to be
disbanded, the two great questions of religion and the
militia settled in parliamentary fashion, and the members
who had been excluded from either House for their Royalist
sentiments or for desertion were to be restored. This last
point warranted a hope that the great disputed questions
themselves might still be settled in a way not altogether
hostile to the crown. Even the King’s suite saw in it a
step towards a return to grounds of recognised legality.
The Lords invited the concurrence of the Commons: on August
5, a Saturday, the question was debated whether these
proposals should be taken into consideration; and even here
the desire for peace was so keen, that it was decided in
the affirmative by a considerable majority; and by a very
narrow majority in a thinner house it was further agreed
that it should be done immediately. One article of the
scheme was at once agreed to, and then further deliberation
was adjourned till the Monday. Had the counsels of
Parliament been guided entirely by the free votes of its
members, it is probable that those who were called the
violent party would have suffered a defeat[365].

But their confederates were still entirely masters
of the city. The idea had before been suggested of
collecting a second army in opposition to Essex, and
placing William Waller at its head, to carry on the war
more energetically than hitherto. The Lords’ proposals         [A.D. 1643.]
redoubled the agitation in men’s minds. A petition
was signed to the effect that they were destructive to
religion, law, and freedom, and only calculated to cool
the ardour of those who would otherwise have been ready
to aid with their persons and their substance. On Sunday
the old zeal was rekindled by fiery sermons. On Monday,
as often in decisive moments, crowded masses of people
appeared before Parliament to declare their wish for
war. The unpopular names were greeted with threatening
outcry. Amid this tumult the resolution passed on Saturday
was again discussed. The question whether to take into
consideration the proposals of the Lords was put afresh;
the first division gave a majority of two votes for so
doing: but meanwhile other members had come in, a new
division was taken, and the motion was now rejected by a
majority of seven. The concurrence of the Commons, for
which the Lords had asked, was not merely refused, but the
Lords were invited to join with the Commons in measures of

The Lords felt mortified and injured. They declared the
assemblage of mobs in the vicinity of the two Houses to be
a breach of the privileges of Parliament. Northumberland
and Holland, who now themselves desired a compromise and
peace, repaired to head-quarters in order to induce Essex
to move his troops nearer to the capital, to keep the mob
in check, and re-establish the freedom of parliamentary
debate. Essex inclined rather to the side of the Lords,
having been offended by the resolutions in the city in
favour of Waller: but this circumstance furnished the other
party with the means of winning him back. When Pym and some
other leading members paid him a visit, to assure him that
Waller should remain dependent on him, Essex once again, as
hitherto, chose to give way to the majority: Pym and his
friends maintained the superiority, but, as one sees, with
great difficulty.

Meanwhile Charles I had directed his arms against
Gloucester. The great importance of this town for the
pacification, in a Royalist sense, of the entire west of
England, may be inferred from the King’s having determined     [A.D. 1643.]
to besiege it on hearing that Massey the governor, who had
served under one of the Royalist generals, was inclined
to change sides, in defiance of the advice of most of his
counsellors, and especially of the Queen, who would best
have liked a direct attack on London. The King must soon
have become conscious that he had deceived himself: in
reply to his summons he received the correct answer from
the Parliamentary point of view, that he would be obeyed
when his commands were conveyed through the two Houses of
Parliament. The two delegates who brought this message
spoke in a rude and curt tone, and when they left, within
a few paces of the King put on their caps, which bore
orange cockades, the colours of Essex[367]. Bad as the
fortifications of Gloucester were, the citizens made a
good stand behind them. The Londoners had never taken so
much interest in the fate of any other city: some closed
their shops until the news of its relief should arrive.
The troops which Essex led forth on this errand were far
too numerous and too full of warlike zeal for the King to
resist: they repelled partial attacks without difficulty,
and on September 8 Essex entered Gloucester.

It was generally assumed at the time that if the King,
instead of staying before Gloucester, had marched directly
on his divided capital, he would have made himself master
of it. I do not think however that this is at all certain:
London had been fortified on all sides; the ruling party
in Parliament, the magistrates, the Common Council, were
most closely leagued together. At least the King must
first have come to an understanding with Essex, or else
the expectations of the Royalists would probably have been
disappointed in London also.

By Rupert’s advice the King threw himself in the way of
the returning army at Newbury, in order to prevent a
junction between it and the forces which had meanwhile
been collected by Waller. The Prince’s cavalry gave fresh
proof of their surpassing courage in repeated and at length
successful attacks on the enemy’s horse, who however on        [A.D. 1643.]
this occasion fought better than before: but their onset
was completely broken on the rampart of pikes of the
Parliamentary infantry; and this time Essex and Skippon
had placed their artillery with great skill at the points
where it would be most effective. The battle consisted of
a series of assaults upon an enemy arrested on his march,
who had taken up a strong position and was prepared to
defend it. The next day Essex expected to be obliged to
cut his way through the Royalist army, but it had retired
during the night: he was able to advance unopposed over
the battle-field[368], and continued his march to London.
The day cost the King some of his best men, such as Lord
Falkland, probably the only one of his contemporaries in
whose praise both parties concurred.

Essex had relieved a town and defeated an attack on his
army, but he had not yet established the superiority of
the Parliamentary party. Exulting in having refuted every
slander which ignorant persons had uttered against him,
and probably hoping that this was done once for all (a
hope which is never fulfilled), Essex, in spite of the
advantages which had been gained, declared in the Common
Council that, in his opinion, peace was necessary.

The war had now lasted in England for a year and a
half. The capital still held firmly to the principles
of parliamentary right which it had once adopted, but,
as the General observed, the war could not be continued
without the possession of a river of gold. It found its
best support in an association formed in Essex, Norfolk,
Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire for common defence, under such
leaders as Parliament should appoint: but even here the
entire and anxious care of the Parliamentary party was
devoted to preventing the gentry from taking part with the
King. Meanwhile a counter association in the North, which
in fact was the earliest of all, between the counties of       [A.D. 1643.]
Northumberland, Cumberland, and Westmoreland, had been
formed under the Earl of Newcastle in favour of the King: a
similar one was even then being arranged between Cornwall
and Devonshire, which rejected all commands issued without
the personal participation of the King. In the former
region, the important city of York, where the Royalist
resistance had originated, had been confirmed in its
attitude by Newcastle’s victories: in the latter, Prince
Maurice of the Palatinate had just taken the strong town
of Exeter. In Dorset the Parliament had only a couple of
fishing villages left; in Somerset and Wilts not a foot
of land; in Hampshire all the people were on the King’s
side. In the midland counties, Nottingham and Lincoln, from
which the King had been obliged to retire a year earlier,
his superiority was indisputable: in Northampton his party
was at least equal in strength to that of the Parliament;
Bedford was occupied by Prince Rupert in October. There was
a plan for a rising of the King’s adherents in Kent, where
they had hitherto been with difficulty kept down; and this
it was hoped would have an effect on London.

In addition to these advantages peace had been restored
in Ireland. In May 1642 a synod assembled at Kilkenny had
given the country an independent organisation: a council
of twenty-four members, in which the four archbishops
sat, was appointed to direct public affairs. This council
entered into communication with Pope Urban VIII, who was
greatly pleased that the land of saints should be purged
of heretics. Through the dissensions that had broken out
between the King and the Parliament, the English forces
could achieve nothing in Ireland; it was expected that in
a short time all the surviving Protestants would be at the
mercy, or the unmercifulness, of the Irish rebels. Moreover
the principles of the Parliament at Westminster were by no
means entirely dominant among the Protestants in Ireland:
on the contrary the King had still power enough to remove
from their offices men who professed such opinions, and
to replace them with his own adherents. A moderate middle
party was formed, in which the Earl of Ormond was the chief
personage. Between these however and the united Catholics
there was no irreconcileable breach, as the Catholics          [A.D. 1643.]
continued to treat the King as their sovereign lord,
whose prerogative they were ready to defend against all
the world. Thus it became possible in September 1643 for
a truce to be agreed on between the two parties. The
Catholics granted the King a subsidy of £30,000.

A great prospect was opened besides by the death of
Cardinal Richelieu, and soon afterwards of Louis XIII. The
Cardinal towards the end of his life had again begun to
exhibit some sympathy for Queen Henrietta; but she might
expect much more now that her old friend, Queen Anne, was
Regent of France. The party which immediately rose to
power was the one to which the Queen herself had belonged.
Moreover Charles I expected arms, money, and even men from
the King of Denmark[369].

It was in fact doubtful whether Parliament would not be
obliged to yield to a combination of so many hostile
forces: it had already, feeling this, renewed its dealings
with the Scottish Covenanters.


[346] Letter of Montague from the Hague: ‘Elle n’a jamais
temoigné apprehension dans les preparatifs de la mort, que
pour les affaires de Dieu et de son mari.’

[347] Zuanne Zon, segretario Veneto de Haya, 16 Giugno.
‘La regina vedendo la piega di quelli affari favorevoli
alquanto al re marito, non sollicita la mossa di quei

[348] The state of the whole kingdom 1642. According to
this the King declared that he had as much right to Hull as
any lord of a manor to his country house.

[349] The desires and propositions proposed to Sir John
Hotham, with Sir John Hotham’s answers. Letter of Mills,
July 1642.

[350] Giustiniani mentions, under date of August 22,
that the standard had been set up the week before. This
is not actually false, as it was at first displayed from
the castle, which the King did not approve. The error of
Clarendon, who gives August 25, may arise from the various
repetitions. The 22nd is beyond a doubt the true date. Cp.
‘True and exact Relation’ in Somers Tracts iv.

[351] ‘Memoirs containing a genealogical and historical
account of the house of Stanley’ (Manchester, 1767) contain
an abstract of the memoranda of James Lord Stanley, which
enlarge on these matters, not without some self-sufficiency.

[352] Letter of Bevill Grenville, in Nugent ii. 195.

[353] Giustiniani: ‘Ambiduc li palatini (Maurice also was
present) Roberto in particulare hanno con spavento degli
inimici dato nuove prove di valore, et acquistatosi col
grido universale gli applausi di tutti quelli che bramano
favorevoli successi all’ arme reali.’

[354] Sanderson’s Life of Charles I, 585. ‘They stood
the brunt of the battle; most of their men being London
prentices, fresh and good firers, did bold service.’

[355] Relation of Edgehill fight, in Carte’s Letters i.
9. Another Royalist account in Spalding ii. 200. Account
of the battle as published by order of the Parliament.
Rushworth v. 35.

[356] Giustiniani: ‘Professandosi del sangue e delle
fortune di Vasalli suoi, ancorchè contumaci, estremamente
avaro, clemenza che fratante virtu è la piu predicata di S.

[357] Whitelocke’s Memorials 65.

[358] Dispaccio di Zuanne Zon segretario all’ Haya. October
29, 1642. (Arch. Veneto, Olanda) ‘che s’avessero questi
Signori confinanti l’Inghilterra dominata dal parlamento,
come havean havuto il re, potria avvenire che in breve
spatio se ne chiamasse L’Hollanda pentita. Queste ultime
voci commossero grandemente e accrebbero qualche scintilla
di generosita gia penetrata nell’ animi del governo.’

[359] Whether Fielding, who surrendered the town, was
guilty of treachery or not, I cannot pretend to determine.
The Venetian secretary deems him guilty, Clarendon acquits

[360] May’s History of the Long Parliament 305.

[361] Challoner’s words just before his execution leave no
doubt of this purpose: ‘That if we could make a moderate
party here in London, to stand betwixt and in the gap to
unite the King and the Parliament, it would be a very
acceptable work.’ Waller says: ‘For the propositions of
letting in part of the King’s army, or offering violence
to the members of this house, I ever disallowed or utterly
rejected them.’ Parl. Hist. xii. 322.

[362] Agostino, 24 Giul.: ‘Non havea prodotto buon effetto
la morte dei primi nel universal del popolo.’

[363] Journal of Commons, June 6, 1643.

[364] ‘Both armies may be drawn near the one to the other,
that if peace is not concluded, it may be ended with the
sword.’ Brixhill, July 9, 1643, in Rushworth vi.

[365] ‘On the first division the Yeas were 94, the Noes 68;
on the second the Yeas were 70, the Noes 68.’ Journals iii.

[366] D’Ewes, in Sanford 576.

[367] Journal of the Siege of Gloucester, in Warburton ii.

[368] Detailed narrative from the Parliamentary side, in
May’s Hist. of the Long Parliament 347: the report in
Rushworth v. 293 is based on this: Clarendon’s account
agrees with it on the whole very well. Agostini: ‘Fra
le dispute resta inviluppata la vittoria che è stata
solennizata con fuochi in Oxford, e con ringraziamento
nelle chiese qui.’

[369] Instructions to Colonel Cochran. Harleian Misc. vii.



We must again turn our attention to the affairs of
Scotland, and the internal struggles there. In the autumn
of 1641 the King had made his comprehensive concessions
to the Scots, in order to obtain their neutrality in his
contest with the English Parliament. He thought he had
personally made sure of the leading Covenanters, whom his
concessions chiefly benefited. They had promised to live
and die for him, in matters of temporal authority, and
not to interfere in ecclesiastical disputes, in spite of
their sympathies in favour of uniformity, except when he
himself desired it[370]. For as he attributed his previous
misfortunes to the alliance of the Scots and the English,
he calculated on being strong enough, by satisfying the
former, to resist the latter. Hence came his unyielding
demeanour at the end of the year 1641, his departure from
the capital, whereby he thought to secure a retreat into
Scotland in case of necessity, and even the resolution to
take up arms. Hamilton, who had been restored to favour,
and for a long time had occupied his seat in the English
Upper House, was one of the lords who assembled round the      [A.D. 1643.]
King at York, and strengthened him in his unconciliatory
attitude. He then hastened into Scotland to exert his
newly recovered influence there for the maintenance of a
good understanding with the King. He was never weary of
reminding men like Argyle and Loudon that they themselves
and the Scots in general were pledged to the King, that
he had fallen into all his difficulties through them,
and that it would redound to their everlasting honour
if they rescued him from them. It appears that their
representations were not altogether fruitless. The two
other leaders at least assented to his wish that the Queen
should come to Scotland. The Privy Council, which conducted
the government there, had been for a long time more
favourable to the King than to the Parliament.

Had the Scottish aristocracy, like the English, sided
_en masse_ with the King, the monarchy would have been
established throughout Great Britain on the old basis.

But the religious difficulty had made this impossible: for
the difference between the English and Scottish nobility
lay in the fact that the latter had abolished Episcopacy,
while the former wished to maintain it, at least in
England. Some Scots, for instance the Hamiltons, would
have agreed to this, but by no means all. The Presbyterian
clergy, on the contrary, were of the opinion, and expressed
it with public authority in the General Assembly, that
Episcopacy must be rooted out in England also, if the work
of God was to be finished. Moreover the ruling grandees
were afraid that the King would revoke all his concessions,
as soon as he again obtained power[371]; they feared in
that case to see their enemies exalted, for the old schism
of the nobility was still in full operation. Argyle’s party
could not go on long with the Hamiltons, when these drew
together again.

It is intelligible that in this condition of the public
mind every event in England should react on Scotland.
The first encounter of the two parties took place at a
sitting of the Privy Council in December 1642. The question    [A.D. 1643.]
was, whether of two opposing declarations made by the King
and the English Parliament, which had been communicated
together at the sitting, only the first, that of the King,
or both alike should be printed. Hamilton and Lanerick
observed that they owed duty to the King, but none to
Parliament, and that the question was whether they would
obey him or not. Argyle and Balmerino would not hear
of commands and obedience in this tone, which would be
reverting to the state of things in the old episcopal
times. At this moment the Hamilton party was still the
stronger: eleven members against nine determined that the
King’s declaration should be printed, and not that of the

In the state of parties this resolution of course created
a great sensation. It implied a leaning towards the King’s
cause on the part of the Scottish government, which was
highly offensive to the earnest Covenanters. It was a
trumpet-blast, says Baillie, which awoke us all.

The gentry of Fife, the most zealously Presbyterian
association among the laity, flocked up to urge a repeal of
the resolution; and similar petitions poured in from other
counties, which were supported by many of the presbyteries.
In pursuance of an act of Parliament, a new committee,
called conservators of the peace, had just then been called
into existence, and most of its members were Covenanters:
in concert with them and the church commission, the Privy
Council was obliged to declare that its publication of the
King’s declaration implied no agreement with it: and the
Parliamentary declaration had now to be printed also.

The matter was not ended yet: the fear gained ground that
this resolution was only the first step to a greater
scheme; that it would be proposed to arm for the King; that
all the violent Royalists, the old Bonders, would be called
upon to destroy the good patriots, their opponents[373].

The zealous Presbyterians spoke in a tone from which the       [A.D. 1643.]
King’s friends gathered that they would probably side
with the Parliament against the King. To counteract this
the Hamiltons put in circulation a petition in which they
expressed their strong desire for ecclesiastical uniformity
with England, but with the double limitation, first that
they had no right to force on a neighbouring kingdom any
forms of worship, on which only the legal authority could
decide, and next that the league with England did not set
the Scots free from the duty which bound them to their
hereditary king[374]. Instead of quieting opposition,
this petition only made it more vehement. For the Church
valued the advancement of religion far more highly than any
political interest, and thought itself justified by treaty
in establishing ecclesiastical uniformity at any price, and
even imposing it on the King. The petition was denounced in
sermons, and signing it declared to be a crime: the church
commission caused a counter declaration containing very
violent language to be read from the pulpits.

There was a feeling throughout the country as though
the outbreak of a new war was at hand: in February 1643
the noise of drums was believed to have been heard, and
contending armies seen, in the air[375]. ‘Our neighbours’
houses are on fire,’ says Baillie, ‘and we already perceive
in our own the smell of the burning.’

Immediately afterwards, through the influence of Argyle’s
adherents and the Church, a deputation waited on the King,
to urge him immediately to summon a Scottish Parliament,
and to make an attempt at mediation between him and the
English Parliament.

The King rejected both suggestions, saying that he would
abide by the arrangement already made for triennial
parliaments, and that he would not allow his subjects
in one kingdom to interfere in his differences with the
other. Still he aimed at quieting the agitation of the
Scots by his representations and by convincing them of his
good intentions. He told them that, so far from attacking
parliamentary rights and the Protestant religion, he was
defending both, the former against a faction which had         [A.D. 1643.]
expelled most of the members of both Houses, and the latter
against Anabaptist sectaries. The Hamiltons were still
confident that, if only all the King’s adherents who were
now with him came back at the right moment, they would have
a majority in the next Assemblies. Hamilton and Montrose
went to meet the Queen on her arrival in the north of
England. Montrose represented to her that the interference
of the Scots on behalf of the English Parliament was as
good as decided, and that its evil consequences could only
be averted by organising, under royal authority, an attack
on the Covenanters in Scotland itself. Hamilton declared
that Scotland could be held to its allegiance without
bloodshed: was he really persuaded of this, or, as was said
at the time, was he unable to come to an agreement with
Montrose as to the command of a Royalist army?

Meanwhile the three leading commissions,--the conservators
of the peace, the church commissioners, and a third for
taxation,--united, not without the previous sanction of
the Privy Council, for care was taken whenever possible
to maintain legal forms: on being apprised of the King’s
refusal to summon a parliament, they proceeded to take
counsel how this might be met, and formed a determination
which was the completion of their earlier steps tending
towards the independence of the Estates. Relying on some
rather dubious precedents of earlier times, they held that
they had the power to summon an Assembly of the Estates
without the King, which they designated a Convention.
Hamilton declared this to be a breach of their agreement
with the King: the crown advocate, Thomas Hope, contested
the legality of the measure: it was however accepted, and
that before the King’s friends arrived from England, ‘since
the importance of the matter in question so required’: the
writs were at once issued under the Great Seal, which had
already in Scotland been removed from the King’s personal

Just at this time the proposal was made at Westminster
to enter into a new alliance with the Scots: messages
relating to an embassy to be despatched for this purpose
were exchanged between the two Houses[376]. Long before        [A.D. 1643.]
this, Pym, who always maintained a good understanding with
Argyle, had been heard to assert confidently that the
Scots were ready to come to the help of Parliament. After
all that had passed it might be assumed that there was an
agreement between the leaders of the parties in the two

Among the deputies who went to Scotland for the purpose
of forming a new alliance, the most active and important
was Henry Vane the younger, not exactly a man of strict
Presbyterian principles: indeed most of the leading men
were not at heart devoted to them, though at this time,
more than at any other, they mounted Presbyterian colours.
On June 12 an assembly of persons spiritual and temporal
was convoked at Westminster, to reorganise the constitution
of the Church and public worship on principles opposed
to those of the bishops, and the Scots were invited to
take part in it. Nothing could have afforded greater
satisfaction to their religious pride, or offered a more
lively incentive to their ecclesiastical ambition[377].

The Convention of the Scottish Estates met on June 22,
at Edinburgh, side by side with the Committees which had
summoned it. The Hamiltons had obtained the subsequent
recognition of the Convention by the King, on condition
that it confined its attention to certain points only,
relating mainly to pecuniary differences between the two
countries. The first question which the Assembly had to
determine was whether or not it would acknowledge this
limitation,--a point of immense constitutional importance,
as it involved the maintenance or abandonment of its
personal dependence on the King. The Hamiltons tried
to show that the Assembly would be null and void if it
overstepped the prescribed limits[378]. On the other side
it was maintained that the authority of the Great Seal
sufficed for subjects. On a division the Assembly by a
large majority declared that it formed a free Convention.
From among the gentry only a single member declared for        [A.D. 1643.]
the Hamiltons; but they found more support among the
nobility, eighteen of whom maintained the view that the
Assembly was altogether bound by the King’s writ: even
these however did not venture on a direct protest, but
contented themselves with expressing their disapproval and
staying away from the sittings.

Thus it came to pass that in spite of all concessions there
was again in existence in Scotland an Assembly opposed to
the royal will, having unlimited claims, which it held to
be grounded in right, and formed on purpose to proceed to
the very measure which the King had sought to obviate by
his compliance, a new alliance with England. We need not
assert positively that at the time when these promises were
made to the King there was any intention of violating them:
only they were not so precise as to close every loophole.
Obedience and loyalty were not the feelings which swayed
men’s minds: altered relations had brought other sentiments.

Special considerations were urged in support of the general
intention. The war between the two parties in England,
it was observed, threatened the Scottish frontiers, and
nothing could secure their territorial interests but a new
advance into England: this could not be done in alliance
with the King, because he was too poor, but might well be
done in league with the Parliament: neutrality at any rate
could not be maintained. Moreover the advantages gained
at this moment by the royal army in England were watched
with considerable apprehension, since the King was still
surrounded by the men against whom the Scots had from the
first contended, and if he again became master, he would
be sure to find a pretext for revoking all that he had
granted to the Scots, and avenging himself on those who had
deprived him of the possession of power[379].

Thus all motives alike,--religious, territorial, and even
pecuniary interests, fear of the immediate success of the
royal arms and the effects of this in the future, the
hatred and jealousy of faction,--combined to urge the Scots    [A.D. 1643.]
to accept the English proposals. They acted in this, even
from their own point of view, without thorough foresight:
there were other powers in England besides the King
and Parliament by which their political and religious
independence might be endangered. They were not quite blind
to this fact, but as usual only the nearest and most direct
interests came fully within their horizon.

Never perhaps were the plenipotentiaries sent to ask for
assistance expected with greater eagerness by those who
were to grant the help than the English on this occasion
by the Scots: the General Assembly, which had just met,
regarded it as a grievance that they were kept waiting.
At last came the news that they had landed at Leith (Aug.
6), for, as was to be expected, they had made the journey
by sea. They were received with the same forms as the
Scottish commissioners in London: they were to communicate
not directly with the two Assemblies, but with a commission
appointed from these for the purpose. On August 9 they
produced their instructions, which were to the effect that
the two nations should jointly take up arms against a
Popish and prelatical faction, and not lay them down until
the faction was disarmed and subjected to the authority
of Parliament in both nations, the army of the Scots
to be paid out of the revenues of the malignants under
the control of Parliament. It was especially urged that
otherwise the good beginnings of a new church organisation
in England must necessarily be interrupted through the
strength of the enemy: against this danger the English
Parliament desired the prayers of the General Assembly, and
above all their co-operation by effective means.

It was evident from the negotiations that the English
cared most for the political, the Scots for the religious
connexion. The English gave way to most of the demands of
the Scots, seeing clearly that without this nothing would
be attainable; and especially on the following point.
The Scots would not allow what the King had said, as to
his being chiefly opposed by the separatist sects, to be
applied to them, and rejected every allusion to those
sects. One such allusion might originally have been found      [A.D. 1643.]
in the words which were approved in the treaty, that the
parties pledged themselves to a reformation of the Church
of England according to the Word of God: for a great deal
might be deduced from these words. The Scots however
anticipated any explanation of this kind, by insisting
on its being expressly added that the reformation should
be made on the model of the best reformed Churches, and
that the Churches in the three kingdoms should be brought
into the closest connexion and uniformity in respect of
doctrine, discipline, and public worship. Nothing in fact
was to be expected but the extension of the Scottish system
to the other two kingdoms. The abolition of the prelacy in
all its branches, and the punishment of all malignants,
were expressly stipulated. Thereupon they promised[380]
to defend the privileges of Parliament and the liberties
of the realms, unanimously and heartily, with body and
goods, in every place, reserving however the rightful
authority of the King. The Scots felt the danger of the
alliance into which they were again entering. Just at this
time arrived the news of the fall of Bristol, which made
a profound impression: it was, says Baillie[381], a great
act of faith, a high courage, unexampled sympathy, that
our people endangered its own peace, and ventured life and
all to save a nation which in every man’s eyes was already
lost. We cannot doubt that religious conviction had much to
do with this. When the moderator in the General Assembly
produced the draft of the Covenant between the two nations,
worthy, wise, and aged men were seen to burst into tears
of religious satisfaction and joy. The draft was again
read, and every one invited to express his opinion upon it.
Though here and there dissentient views were uttered, they
were stated with so much reservation, that the adoption of
the Covenant may be regarded as unanimous. The religious
zealots saw with delight that the great neighbouring kingdom
would accept their church system, and greeted as a good omen   [A.D. 1643.]
the coincidence that the abolition of Episcopacy in
England was now decided on the same day of the month on
which, four years before, the same thing had been done
in Scotland. It was a momentous step, to advance from
a system of defence to one of proselytising, and if it
failed, would bring on their heads all the vicissitudes
of the war: but the Scots took it boldly. The Convention,
like the Assembly, adopted the New Covenant, and before
it separated published a proclamation by which every man
between the ages of sixteen and sixty was required to hold
himself ready to appear in the field fully armed, within
twenty-four hours after the summons thereto should be

After the English Parliament, which in this matter
was guided by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster,
had accepted the Covenant with few and insignificant
alterations, the oath to maintain it was solemnly taken in
the church at Edinburgh by the committee of the General
Assembly and the Convention, and by the English deputies.
This was on a Friday: the next Sunday the Covenant was
recommended to the people from the pulpits, and signed and
sworn to by all. Similar scenes took place in London. On
September 25 the Covenant was read from the pulpit of St.
Margaret’s, Westminster, the numerous congregation raising
their hands in token of assent. Then the parchment roll on
which it was inscribed was signed first by the members of
the Assembly of Divines and the Scottish Commissioners, and
then, after blessing had been pronounced, by the members
of the two Houses of Parliament: this was repeated in the
churches of the capital and of the counties in the power
of the Parliament[382]. It was the first act in which the
union of the two kingdoms took effect. What the King and
his bishops had failed to accomplish was thus achieved by
John Pym and the Presbyterian preachers.

The alliance of the two countries was the work above all
of John Pym. With him had originated, or at any rate had
found conscious expression, the idea of giving life to the
opposition in England by means of an understanding with        [A.D. 1643.]
the Scots. He above all men had contrived the coincidence,
which at the outset decided everything, between the first
Scottish invasion and the election of a thorough opposition
Parliament. It may be true, as has been said, that he took
no such keen interest as others in uprooting the bishops on
grounds of doctrine: but this was the object which united
Scottish and English Puritans, and these again with the
daily increasing Independents. He adopted it as a great
political necessity, and held to it firmly, although the
English revolution was thus led far beyond its original
aim. His views were directed not to the restoration of
equilibrium between the Crown and Parliament, but to
the establishment of the completed preponderance of the
Parliamentary power, and this implied the subjection of
the spiritual element also. The alliance of the Puritan
and Parliamentary ideas both answered this purpose and
supplied the means for carrying it out. Parliament was
connected with the disaffection of the city through
religious ideas. John Pym was the originator of the tactics
which called upon the masses at the decisive moments of
parliamentary contests; he knew how to back the aspirations
of the faction which he led by the regular recurrence of
tumultuous popular demonstrations in the great capital. On
his connexion with London he based his audacious resolve to
deprive royalty, in which the power of the conqueror was
perpetuated, of the arms which constituted its splendour
and greatness. In order to obtain power to bring into
the field for this purpose a popular army, without being
dependent on the voluntary assent of every single man, he
adopted the decisive means of taxing the necessaries of
life: for he was a financier by profession, and was the
first to introduce excise into England. In other political
measures he derived encouragement and example from the
Scots, with whose chief leaders he always maintained close
relations. This was indispensable for both parties, not
only as against the King and his declared adherents, but
also against the moderate party which desired a peaceful
solution. When Pym and his friends again had to fear the
superior power of the King they did not hesitate once more     [A.D. 1643.]
to call in the Scots, though some objection was felt to
them on account of their exclusive Presbyterianism; and
Argyle, who could not endure friendly relations between
the King and the country, because this would raise his own
immediate rivals to importance, came forward to meet him,
in order by this means to overcome them. Argyle and Pym
joined hands across a wide expanse. While everything was
being prepared for carrying out the New Covenant, John Pym
died (Dec. 6, 1643), worn out by the fearful efforts of the
war, by the exciting alternations of danger and success,
of defeat and victory. He possessed talents created for
times of revolution, capable at once of shaking and
destroying existing institutions and of establishing new
ones, as resolute in passing great measures as in devising
small means: audacious in his projects, but practical in
executing them, at once active and unyielding, bold and
prudent, systematic and pliant, full of thought for his
friends, devoid of all consideration for those against
whose rights he was battling. In Pym there is something
both of Sieyès and of Mirabeau: he is one of the greatest
revolutionary leaders known to history. Characters like
his stand midway between the present, which they shatter
for ever, and the future, which however generally develops
itself on principles different from those which they have
laid down. The parliamentary and religious system of John
Pym failed to establish itself, but its influence is
nevertheless immeasurable: it consists in the opposition
offered to the combination in royalty of spiritual and
political tendencies, in the crown being brought back
into the track of parliamentary government, in the
preparation made for the fusion of the English and Scottish
nationalities. Pym before his death had prepared everything
for a new advance in the great contest. By his activity
a considerable payment had been made to the Scots on
account of the original cost of arming and of the subsidies
(£31,000 monthly) which had been promised to them, so that
the levies there were progressing satisfactorily. The Scots
had promised to take the field with 18,000 foot soldiers
and 3000 cavalry, and were now ready in spite of the hard
winter to cross the border. Meanwhile two new armies had
been raised in England besides that of Essex, one under
Waller, for which new levies in Sussex and Kent were           [A.D. 1643.]
appointed, and the other under Kimbolton (Mandeville),
who now since the death of his father appears as Lord
Manchester, in the associated eastern counties.

The King had but one possible resource in the world to
oppose to these accessions of strength to his enemies. He
might have done what he was always given credit for wishing
to do, namely, make a league with the Irish rebels, who
fully recognised his prerogative in respect to England and
were willing to maintain it. But this was impossible after
the Irish massacre: the King would have raised against him
the entire Anglo-Saxon and Protestant element, on which
after all his crown as it was depended. At least he could
never venture publicly to concede to the supreme council
of the Irish full religious liberty, although personally
he would have been inclined to do so. A few regiments came
to his assistance from Ireland, but they were Protestants,
no longer required there after the truce that had been
agreed on. They were distributed among the different
royal corps, and proved very useful: among other things
they were present when Prince Rupert raised the siege of
Newark, a step absolutely necessary for the maintenance of
communications between Oxford and York: but this was very
little in comparison with the aid afforded to the other
side by the Scots.

The King was not without some sources of assistance in
Scotland itself. He had long hesitated between Hamilton
and Montrose, but was also induced by the course of events
to give the preference to the latter. Hamilton, whom
the court accused of treason, when he came to Oxford to
defend himself, was arrested and imprisoned: the King
assented, though unwillingly, and without being convinced
of his guilt; for some of his firmest adherents openly
threatened that otherwise they would quit him[383]. While
Hamilton was expiating his dubious politics in a castle in
Cornwall, Montrose, who had also come to Oxford, was made
Lieutenant-General of the King’s forces which had been, or
hereafter should be, levied in Scotland. There was still,
as we know, a Royalist party in Scotland, not only in the      [A.D. 1644.]
north, where here and there men deemed it an honour to
be classed among the malignants, but also in the central
counties. Montrose was fully determined to unite these
round his standard.

It is astonishing that the King, in spite of all
the hostility exhibited toward him by the English
Parliament--of which he regarded the renewed alliance with
the Scots as one of the greatest proofs--did not even now
take the step of declaring it dissolved. His reason was
that this would have been to retract a concession solemnly
made, and so to give occasion for doubt as to the validity
of all the other statutes passed by this Parliament,
many of which his own adherents would not surrender. As
always, when between opposing and irreconcilable views,
Charles I adopted a middle course. He declared that, in
consequence of the tumults that had taken place in the
previous July, the Parliament at Westminster was no longer
a free Parliament, and summoned to Oxford all who had been
expelled or who had fled from Westminster, in order to
form out of them an assembly which should represent a free
Parliament. There were 83 of the Lords, 175 of the Commons,
a far greater number than remained at Westminster. On
January 22, 1643/4, the King opened the sittings at Oxford.

Declaration was at once made here, in a form corresponding
to ancient custom, that the proceedings of the Scots were
to be treated as a declaration of war, and their invasion
of English territory as an actual commencement of war and a
breach of the treaty, and consequently that all Englishmen
who should favour or assist their expedition were traitors
and enemies of the country[384]. The Parliament at
Westminster itself was in this case. After the Chancellor
of the Exchequer had produced his budget, votes were
taken for the necessary subsidies and for new taxes: and
here, as in Edinburgh and London, recourse was had to the
excise. The declaration was repeated with special emphasis
that the King had taken up arms only in defence, for the
maintenance of the Protestant religion, the laws of the
land and the privileges of Parliament. If Charles I meant      [A.D. 1644.]
nothing more than to assert the nullity of the Parliament
at Westminster, without pronouncing its dissolution and
rescinding the acts by virtue of which it had sat so long,
he had attained his end, but he could expect to produce no
further result. The question which of the two Parliaments
was to be deemed the rightful one, must be decided by the

The King could only reckon on his old adherents and the
forces already raised, when in the spring of 1644 this
double storm began to break over him.

We will direct our attention first to the King’s campaign
against the Parliamentary army under Essex and Waller, and
then to the events consequent on the Scottish invasion.

The first began with gloomy forebodings--so much so that
the Queen, then near her confinement, hastened to quit
Oxford and resort to Exeter, as a place where she would be
safer--and at great disadvantage.

The King was only able to bring into the field 10,000 men
to encounter the two armies which were set in motion under
Essex and Waller at the beginning of May, each of which
was about 10,000 strong. Prince Rupert had recommended
that the infantry should be distributed in the fortified
places in front--Reading, Abingdon, Wallingford, Oxford,
Banbury; and that the cavalry should join the troops in the
western counties, so that while one of the Parliamentary
armies was occupied with the siege of those places, they
might be a match for the other in the open field[385].
The council of war however which surrounded the King, and
in which some members of the Privy Council, Digby and
Colepepper, took part, could not resolve on this course,
preferring to abandon some of the fortresses and unite
their garrisons with the field force, in the hope that the
latter would succeed in compelling the two Parliamentary
armies, whose commanders it was well known did not agree,
to fight separately from each other. The Royal troops
abandoned first Reading and then Abingdon, and moved
on Oxford to wait for their opportunity. The immediate
consequences however were not what was expected. Both the      [A.D. 1644.]
Parliamentary generals advanced towards Oxford, and
though they were not altogether on good terms, co-operated
effectually with one another. While Waller forced the
passage of the Isis, Essex could not be kept beyond the
Cherwell: both marched on the city, which was all the
less ready for resistance because it was not provisioned
for receiving so large a garrison. The report was spread
abroad that the King was already a prisoner: the Parliament
issued a decree relating to this possibility--we learn that
even in the King’s own neighbourhood it was regarded as
unavoidable. He was urged to treat in time with Essex, for
otherwise he would become his prisoner. The King replied
that it was possible this might happen, but at least he
would not survive it[386]. He was determined, whatever
might be the consequences, to try the fortune of war once
more in the open field.

After taking the most urgent precautions for the defence of
Oxford, he moved from thence with most part of his troops.
He succeeded in fact in passing between the two hostile
armies, which still remained separate: on June 6, four
days after he started, he arrived with a few followers at
Worcester, by way of Burford and Evesham.

What he had originally expected now took place: the two
hostile armies separated. Essex would not be prevented from
advancing into the western counties, where he hoped for
great successes: the King had only Waller to deal with.

He would not let himself be shut up in Worcester, as Waller
attempted, holding it to be essentially dishonourable for
a King to be besieged, and moved farther northwards. While
Waller followed in the same direction, the King succeeded
in turning back, so that what was then taking place in the
German war between Torstenson and Gallas, that sometimes
one, sometimes the other was in advance, was repeated on a
smaller scale in England. On June 16 we find the King on
the heights of Camden, then at Witney near Oxford, where
important reinforcements hastened to meet him. Surrounded
by a pretty considerable army he could think of advancing      [A.D. 1644.]
on London, where a bold stroke would revive the dormant
Royalist sympathies: the message had actually been drawn up
which in that case was to be sent to Parliament. Waller,
who had followed in his track, came up, and an action took
place at Cropredy Bridge, in which the King obtained the
advantage. Waller’s losses were not very severe, but he
had lost his field guns and his most experienced artillery
officer, and deemed it well to avoid another conflict. The
King also found it advisable to give his troops rest and
refreshment: then he moved back towards Evesham, in order
not to bring the enemy again upon Oxford by returning
thither, and so endanger it afresh.

Meanwhile Essex had made successful progress in his march
westward: he had compelled the Royalist troops to raise
the sieges of Lyme and Plymouth, and had advanced into
Cornwall. Quite contrary to his expectation he there
met with determined resistance and outspoken Royalist
sentiments. After the King had refreshed and strengthened
his troops in their quarters, he resolved after some
hesitation to go to the aid of his adherents in that
district. His chief motive was that his wife would now
be endangered at Exeter by the proximity of the enemy.
Strengthened by Prince Maurice and Lord Hopton, Charles
I appeared with a very superior force in the rear of
Essex, who was now in painful difficulties. He had neither
provisions to maintain his troops, nor money to pay them:
the inhabitants rose against him in all directions[387], he
could obtain no answer, much less any help from Parliament,
for he had long ago lost the favour of the leading men
there. At this moment, the King, with the assent of the
officers of his army, offered him terms. Essex however was
a man of the Parliamentary majority, to whose principles he
held firmly, though now personally ill-used. He rejected
every offer, remaining convinced that the royal will
expressed with the assent of the two Houses was the only
thing binding on him. Still he had no inclination to fight
against the King in person, which besides would then in the    [A.D. 1644.]
condition of his army have been ruinous. He resolved to
escape to Plymouth with his chief companions in arms. The
Parliamentary cavalry cut their way through the Royal
troops, the infantry capitulated, the artillery and arms
fell into the King’s hands.

The campaign of 1644 was the best success achieved by King
Charles I. The French ambassador, who met him at Evesham
and had a long audience on horseback, cannot praise him
sufficiently: he is full, he reports, of judgment and
sagacity, never lets himself be led to any precipitate
action through his dangerous position, orders everything
himself, both great and small, never signs anything that he
has not read, and on horseback or on foot is ever at the
head of his troops[388].

Meanwhile the campaign in the North had taken quite
a different course. At the end of February the Scots
crossed the Tyne: the manner in which they effected the
passage did not altogether excite the admiration of
veterans; the soldiers lacked discipline, and the officers
experience[389]. They would with difficulty have held
their ground against the Marquis of Newcastle had they
encountered him in the open field, but they declined to
quit their position, which was rendered unassailable by
ditches, hedges, and marsh. The reason for this was that
they could confidently reckon on seeing the troops of the
Parliament approach in a short time from the other side.

By the express orders of the recently formed committee of
the two kingdoms, Thomas Fairfax and his father Ferdinand
Lord Fairfax moved towards them, the former issuing from
Lancashire, the latter from Hull. Colonel Bellasis, who
tried to prevent their junction, was surprised at Selby,
defeated and taken prisoner,--a success in itself of no
immediate importance, yet one for which Parliament was
right to order a thanksgiving, for the Marquis of Newcastle
was thereby compelled to retreat in order to cover York.
The Scots could now advance from their position, and on
April 20, Lesley Earl of Leven, joined the two Fairfaxes at    [A.D. 1644.]
Tadcaster. And as the levies of the united counties now
appeared under Lord Manchester on the northern border of
their own district, the three corps were able to undertake
the formal investment of York, so that on June 16 an
assault was made on the ramparts.

York was the second city of the kingdom, the place where
the Royalist party had first made head: the whole of the
North depended on it. The King durst not leave it without
assistance: he requested his nephew Prince Rupert to
abandon every other scheme and proceed immediately to the
relief of York. If York fell, his crown was as good as
lost: the only hope he had of retaining it lay in relieving
York and defeating the rebel army which was besieging it.
He conjured him by his duty and affection to accomplish
this work without delay[390].

The prince was then at the zenith of his military fame.
After his fortunate exploit at Newark he had gone to
the assistance of the chivalrous Countess of Derby, who
defended her castle of Lathom House, the walls of which
she had herself made defensible, first against Thomas
Fairfax and then against the more vehement attacks of
Rigby; and had compelled the besiegers to relinquish their
undertaking. They moved to Bolton, one of the chief seats
of English Puritanism, and this place also was captured by
Rupert. Then he advanced upon Liverpool, which fell into
his hands without resistance. Now he was summoned by the
King’s letter to the most important operation with which he
could ever be entrusted, for on its result the issue of the
war mainly depended.

With a force which had been regarded as insignificant, but
which had now grown, through all the additions that had
been made to it, to 8,000 horse and 10,000 foot-soldiers,
Rupert at the end of June crossed the hills which separate
Lancashire and Yorkshire: his arrival and name immediately
produced a great effect. The united army of the English and
Scots quitted its lines before York, and took up a position
to bar his advance: but he avoided it, and entered York as
a deliverer.

The arrival of these tidings filled the King’s camp with       [A.D. 1644.]
joy: it seemed now as if everything would end fortunately.
In London men went about with bowed heads: it was thought
probable that Rupert would unite with the King for an
attack on the united counties, on the possession of which
the military operations on the side of the Parliament were
mainly based. It was believed that Newcastle, even without
Rupert, would be able to maintain himself in Yorkshire, and
make head against the united generals, between whom no very
good understanding prevailed.

Never in truth would it have been wiser to avoid a decisive
battle than at that moment, looking at the relative
positions of the two contending forces. But it was of
the very nature of the Royalist enthusiasm to thirst for
great battles. Prince Rupert in particular thought that
nothing had been done so long as the enemy stood before
him unconquered. He held that the King’s letter not only
empowered, but instructed him to fight: in conjunction with
the troops that were in York he thought himself strong
enough to win a victory. The Marquis of Newcastle combated
the proposal, but Rupert persisted: the Marquis would not,
though he disliked it, appear to be overruled; he said that
he had no other ambition than to be a loyal subject, and
joined the Prince with his brave white-coats, and every man
that could be spared from York.

The war had by this time assumed a terrible aspect. The
Parliament declared the troops who had come over from
Ireland to be traitors, and Essex had those who were
taken prisoners executed. Thereupon Rupert hanged on the
nearest trees an equal number of those who had fallen into
his hands. Often if the Roundheads on one day obtained
admission into a country house, on the next it was reduced
to ruins by the Cavaliers. A horrible massacre had even
now been impending over the Puritans at Bolton: one party
wished to avenge, the other to continue it.

Thus all these feelings of hatred and revenge were added to
the natural spirit of warfare--they must and would fight.

On July 2, 1644, the two armies met at Long Marston
Moor. Each of them numbered about 20,000 men, every one        [A.D. 1644.]
of whom had chosen his side and knew what he was fighting
for. The battle cry of the one side was ‘God and the King’;
for they wished to maintain the ancient constitution under
princes ruling by divine right: that of the other was
‘God with us’; for in them religious motives superseded
all others, they would have no prince who imposed any
restrictions in this respect. The engagement did not
actually begin until 7 p.m. At first the battle seemed
likely to have a similar result to most of the previous
ones. The right wing of the Parliamentary army, led forward
to the attack by Thomas Fairfax, was repulsed: then the
Royalist cavalry under the command of Goring dashed with
redoubled fury on the enemy’s centre, chiefly composed
of Scots, and broke it after a vigorous resistance:
old Alexander Lesley, who had striven in vain to rally
his troops, at last himself took to flight. A very
different result awaited the encounter on the left wing,
which had some Scots in the reserve, but otherwise was
entirely composed of Englishmen, the core of it being the
cuirassiers raised by Cromwell in the united counties. ‘Is
Cromwell here?’ asked Prince Rupert of a prisoner, for he
already recognised him as his most dangerous opponent.
Against this cavalry Rupert now led his own men--veterans,
crowned with victory, whom no enemy had yet withstood,
against newly-formed and untried troops. If we set aside
the boastings and the apologies of the rival parties, we
shall discern that this was the decisive moment of the war.
The Royalists on this day had adopted a change of tactics;
in order to give their cavalry more mobility for attacking
the Scottish infantry, they had separated the regiments
into squadrons, which may have been an advantage against
infantry, but was injurious when they were opposed to a
compact and coherent mass of horsemen[391]. The attack thus
weakened encountered the fierce resistance of the newly-formed
Parliamentary cavalry, whose success had a decisive effect     [A.D. 1644.]
over the whole battle-field. ‘We drove’, says Cromwell,
‘the entire cavalry of the Prince off the field; God made
them as stubble before our sword. Then we attacked their
regiments of foot with our cavalry, and overthrew all that
we encountered.’ The slaughter was deadly, for Cromwell had
forbidden quarter being given. Newcastle’s white-coats fell
in their ranks as they stood. The King’s troops sustained
an annihilating defeat. The Marquis of Newcastle would
not appear before his party as a defeated man, to see the
admiration which he had hitherto merited change into scorn
or pity: he took ship the next day for Hamburg. The remains
of the army gathered round Prince Rupert, who retreated
into Lancashire. The capital of the Royalists, the ancient
city of York, fell into the hands of the allied generals,
who by their union became masters of the North of England.
The Scots set forth to occupy Newcastle.

If the royal cause did not even yet seem to be utterly
ruined it was because of the great success which Charles I
had achieved in Cornwall. He still maintained his ground.
On his return towards Oxford, Manchester and Waller met him
at Newbury with a superior force: the King was in personal
danger and had to quit the battle-field; just afterwards
however he succeeded in relieving Deddington, which was
besieged by the Parliamentary army.

In November Charles I returned to Oxford. Neither he
himself nor his followers had lost courage. The loss of the
North was to a certain extent compensated by the possession
of the West. Others however thought it impossible that he
should make head against the superior forces of Parliament,
strengthened by their alliance with the Scots[392].


[370] So writes the King to Loudon (Burnet 190): ‘You
expressed your readiness to hazard both life and fortune
for the maintenance of our temporal power, and even in
matters ecclesiastick, though you wished uniformity therein
betwixt the two nations, yet you would not interest you in
these differences further than should be with our knowledge
and good liking.’ Words which more nearly determine the
sense of the communication to Sabran.

[371] Hamilton observes in his instruction: ‘The
apprehension they have of H. M. not observing what he hath
already granted, if he shall be in a condition to force
them.’ Burnet 196.

[372] Burnet 205, from a letter written to Loudon.

[373] Baillie to Spang. ‘We feared that the first action of
any such armie might have been the knocking down our best
patriots, who latelie had most opposed the malcontents.’
Letters ii. 58.

[374] The cross petition.

[375] Spalding ii. 230.

[376] Journals of Commons, May 2.

[377] Ordinance in Rushworth v.

[378] Hamilton’s defence against the accusations made
against him at Oxford. Article 7, in Burnet 265.

[379] Burnet. ‘If putting down of episcopacy was simply
sinful according to the King’s conscience, then that alone
would furnish him with a very good reason to overturn all,
since no men are bound to observe the promises they make,
when they are sinful upon the matter.’

[380] We shall endeavour--the reformation of religion in
the kingdoms of England and Ireland in doctrine worship
discipline and government, according to the Word of God
and the examples of the best reformed churches, and shall
endeavour to bring the churches of God in the uniformity.
(The Solemn League and Covenant of the three kingdoms.)

[381] Letters and Journals, ii. 99, which we here follow.

[382] Whitelocke’s Memorials 70.

[383] So the King himself declared to Hamilton afterwards.

[384] Votes in Oxford, January 26; Parl. Hist. xiii. 54.

[385] Walker, Historical Discourses 13.

[386] ‘But he would be dead first’. Clarendon’s Hist. Book
viii. (iv. 488). The single testimony of Clarendon must
here suffice: it is not found in Walker, whom in other
respects he follows.

[387] Essex to the Committees of both kingdoms.
Lostwithiel, August 4, in Devereux ii. 424.

[388] Depêche de Sabran, November 3, 1644. ‘Va autant à
pied qu’à cheval à la tête de son armée qui est fort bonne.’

[389] James Turner, Memoirs 31.

[390] Letter in Warburton ii. 438.

[391] I take this notice from Fuller’s Worthies ii. 225.
On the Royalist side Newcastle was originally blamed (A.
Trevor, in Carte’s Letters i. 58), then Byron, who actually
suggested the attack on Cromwell (Rupert’s Diary). The
Scots praise Lindsay, Eglinton, above all David Lesley. The
Presbyterians defend Fairfax. Cromwell is however praised
even by those who were not Independents, as the author of
the victory.

[392] Préface aux negotiations de Sabran. ‘Le party
contraire ayant Londres et les forces de mer en main, les
Ecossais l’appuyant d’une forte armée, la nature ayant mis
un obstacle près a tout secours étranger, le peuple ayant
toujours estimé le parlement le contrepoids de l’autorité
royale pour son propre bien, la hayne de l’un et de l’autre
(peuple et parlement) étant égal contre le roy et la
reine, il est malaisé d’attendre que de la main de Dieu le
restablissement de l’autorité royale.’



The Scots, there is no doubt, had again contributed
decisively to the change of fortune, and therefore a
great influence on the course of affairs necessarily fell
into their hands. Immediately after the arrival of the
Scottish commissioners the Committee of the two kingdoms
was established, a body which in fact expressed this
relation. Loudon and Warriston had devised the scheme: it
was first discussed and shaped in consultation with the
younger Vane and Oliver St. John, and then brought before
Parliament. The Committee was to direct its attention to
the maintenance of a good understanding within the three
kingdoms, as well as with foreign powers, and especially in
all that related to the war in which they were engaged, not
only to advise and consult, but to order and regulate[393].
These words excited vigorous opposition in the Lords: they
were unwilling to commit the direction of affairs to a
Committee which consisted partly of Scots, and which would
deprive Parliament of the ultimate decision, and they also
did not wish to place the Earl of Essex, who hitherto
had maintained great independence in the command of his
army, as was allowed to a general in those days, under
the direction of a Committee. The Scots however insisted
on their views in a forcible memorial, and were backed by
the Lower House. For it was obvious that the war could not     [A.D. 1644.]
be carried on by the two nations in conformity with the
single end in view, nor could their forces co-operate,
unless they were under a single authority, which was
impossible without a Committee of both nations. Nor could
such a Committee be in its turn subject to Parliament:
the Upper House was informed that unless it assented the
war would have to be carried on without the two Houses of
Parliament. After unusually active opposition, repeated
divisions, and several conferences, the Lords gave way.
The Committee was entrusted with the required full powers:
it comprised seven Lords and fourteen of the Commons. We
find Presbyterian names not only among the former, where
they preponderated, but also among the latter. Manchester,
Warwick, Essex, Northumberland, appear among the former,
the two Vanes, Stapleton, St. John, Haslerig, Oliver
Cromwell, among the latter. The resolutions were in general
passed by a very small number of votes[394].

Among the papers of the interregnum preserved in the
English archives is a collection of the resolutions of this
Committee. They refer to the maintenance of communication
between the armies, to the furnishing of supplies, to the
conduct of the war itself, both in England and Ireland.
Sometimes they are very precise and stringent. The
commanders of the armies are instructed what troops they
are to assemble, whether they are to oppose the King or
Prince Rupert, in what direction they are to move.

The money requisite for the army was collected by
another Committee, which sat in Goldsmiths’ Hall, and
received its powers and instructions from the English
Parliament. The chief source of income was the property
of delinquents[395], for so they termed all who held to
the King in opposition to the resolutions of Parliament:
the property was sold, or the owners compelled to pay a
composition, which at times was very considerable. The
Earl of Thanet was condemned to pay a fine of £20,000, for     [A.D. 1644.]
having aided the King with his plate, and appeared in the
field against the Parliament. The offence imputed to most
of them is participation in the war in favour of the King;
but some are condemned for having shown themselves to be
enemies of Parliament and of good men, as the adherents
of Parliament are termed. We know how nearly the Scots
were concerned in these confiscations: when the treaty was
concluded attention was expressly directed to the goods of
papists, prelatists, and other malignants, as being the
cause of all mischief[396].

The Lords opposed the Scottish interest in another affair
also. They asked for a Committee of the two Houses to open
peace negotiations with the King; the Scots maintained that
not only no peace could be concluded without them, but no
negotiations could be undertaken, the two nations being
united for peace as well as for war. The Lower House was
not so strong in favour of the Scots this time as formerly:
the votes were equal, but the Speaker, Lenthall, gave his
casting vote in favour of the Scots.

Thorough hostility between the Lords and the Scottish
Commissioners was however not to be expected. Lord
Holland,--who had once gone to the court at Oxford, but
being unable to exert any influence there had returned
to the Parliament,--and his friends among the nobility,
desired nothing so much as a treaty with the King, which
would secure them both ways. For already they clearly
perceived what would happen to them if the Lower House
persisted in its present course. They greatly desired
the presence of the Scottish Commissioners, and the
regard which must be paid to the Scottish Parliament,
as a counterpoise to their opponents, by whom they were
completely overmatched[397].

The Scots thus attained unlimited influence over the
conduct of the war, the negotiations with the King, home
and foreign affairs: nothing could be done without them,       [A.D. 1644.]
the Committee of the two kingdoms, in which they had a
decisive voice, held the government in its hands.

They sought especially to strengthen and extend this power,
because they desired, according to the terms of the union,
to complete the Presbyterian system in England, and to
establish uniformity.

_The Westminster Assembly._

It is obvious at the first glance how great was the
difference in this respect between the two countries. In
Scotland the parishes with their lay elders, the synods
and assemblies, were the expression of the national
independence permeated by ecclesiastical ideas: in
England all had to be introduced from above, by the power
which held the helm of state. The Assembly of Divines
at Westminster differed equally widely from a Church
assembly in Scotland. The members had been named by
Parliament according, not to dioceses, but to counties:
their resolutions had no force beyond what Parliament
chose to give them: they acted like the disputants in the
colloquies of earlier times: the state reserved to itself
its judgment, whether of rejection or of approval[398].

In the Assembly itself these ideas were represented by some
members, the Erastians, who were also regarded as the most
learned of all. They claimed for the state high authority
in Church affairs, for which they regarded the kingship of
the Old Testament as the model. They rejected the right of
Church sessions and courts to excommunicate, which formed
the mainspring of their power.

Besides the champions of State-intervention in the Church,
there were other and more dangerous opponents, who asserted
the autonomy of all religious congregations, and their
total independence of the State, even more strongly than
the Presbyterians. The Congregationalists, who appear
more definitely as the Independents, formed perhaps a
seventh part of the Assembly. They had become by far the       [A.D. 1644.]
most important of the separatist sects with which the
Presbyterians four years earlier had co-operated.

So far as the overthrow of the episcopal system went,
these two parties were still in accord, and the temporal
authority lent its hand to the work. The pictures were
burned in solemn procession, as at Florence in Savonarola’s
time, the organs were destroyed, the episcopalian members
of the colleges in the universities expelled. Under these
influences the prosecution of Archbishop Laud was resumed.
The chief accusation against him was that he had tried to
assimilate the English Church to Popery, and to introduce
into it papistical and superstitious observances. Laud,
like Stafford, was condemned by a Bill of Attainder
proceeding from the House of Commons (Nov. 11), and this
Bill, though not without opposition, was accepted by
the Lords[399]. After all that had happened, the King’s
sanction was thought to be as little necessary in this
matter as in others.

When the time came for erecting a new edifice on the ground
chosen and levelled for the purpose, the contest between
the Presbyterians and Congregationalists in the Assembly of
Divines instantly began. The latter rejected entirely the
system of lay elders, and denied that it could be proved
from Scripture to be a divine institution: they would allow
the consistories neither to ordain nor to excommunicate. In
these institutions they saw nothing but the relics of an
old and detestable system, for the imposition of hands was
evidently of a hierarchical character: if the Reformation
was to be complete they must revert to the original
institution of independent churches, each one possessing
the right to govern itself through its elders. They revived
the idea of the first Anabaptists, that the communities
should consist of the faithful only, and that no one could
be admitted who had not proved that he was in true grace.
Personal holiness, a blameless life, they required less        [A.D. 1644.]
strictly than the Puritans; but they expected a thoroughly
Christian disposition which came of grace. In such a
community all clerical elements entirely vanished; it alone
had the power to choose the ministers of the word, or to
expel from its society. One day one of their spokesmen,
Nye, declared plainly that the establishment of a church
government extending over the whole country, even of a
national assembly, would have disastrous and terrible
consequences. The Scots were greatly agitated; they would
have nothing more to do with principles so hostile to their
own. On this occasion, as in relation to other differences,
they were persuaded to moderate their anger. The adherents
of these opinions were already a power in the realm: some
of the leading members of the Committees were among them; a
breach between the two parties must at any cost be avoided.

In reality it was the political preponderance of the Scots
which gave them the upper hand in the religious strife.
There can be no doubt of this, their own letters assert
that their arms had had a large share in the result[400].
If at first they held back from discussing the weightiest
questions, they declared it was because they wished first
to wait for the advance of their troops: they assert later
that their enemies would go further and occasion greater
confusion if not kept in check by the fear of their army,
which had approached meanwhile. It was due to the necessity
of the closest union in a moment of difficulty, that in
May 1644 they obtained the recognition of the principle
that the right of ordination did not belong to any single
congregation. At the same time also they obtained the
acceptance of their eucharistic rite, which was resisted by
the Independents.

In the decisive battle of Marston Moor however the
Independents also had a great share. The question which of
the two portions of the army had done best assumed a sort
of theological importance. Cromwell was almost accused of
cowardice by the Presbyterians; while the Independents
extolled his merits to the skies.

A committee was appointed to try and smooth over the           [A.D. 1644.]
differences between the Independents and Presbyterians.
The former claimed at least toleration, which seemed to
the others unendurable: the point had already been decided
at the conclusion of the league between the two nations.
At that time all objections had been waived on the English
side, in order to gain the religious sympathies of the
Scots. The stronger their influence, the more firmly they
held to their exclusive Presbyterianism. Necessarily the
Independents resisted as much as they could.

The occupation of Newcastle by the Scots, in the name of
the English Parliament, was an event of scarcely less
ecclesiastical than military importance. Once more royalist
sentiments were manifested there in all their strength:
all the offers of the Scots were rejected, and they were
obliged to take the place by storm (October 19, 1644.) This
success in the face of a brave resistance raised their own
estimate of their services to England. When they announced
their victory to the Committee of the two kingdoms, they
demanded that now the settlement of public worship should
be completed by the Assembly and ratified by Parliament.

The Independents felt that any resistance would be
fruitless; they assented to the introduction of the
Scottish worship, the more so as in the preface to the new
Directory some words were inserted which allowed rather
less strictness in observance without surrendering anything
in principle[401]. Parliament not merely gave its sanction
to this new church order, but unequivocally accepted the
forms of Presbyterian church government, insomuch that in
the articles which were to be laid before the King, the
subjection of all congregations to a system of provincial
and national assemblies was made one of the conditions to
which he must assent.

Had things come to this point the entire Scottish church
system would have received legal validity in England also,
and the Independents would have been obliged to disappear
like the Episcopalians.

_The Negotiations at Uxbridge._                                [A.D. 1645.]

The object of the peace negotiations, which after
much delay were at last agreed on, was not only a
reconciliation with the King, but also the establishment
of an ecclesiastical and political system complete at all
points. The chief author of the articles produced was the
man who long before had given the most consistency to the
revolutionary movement in Scotland, Johnston of Warriston:
he sketched them out in April 1644, carried them in the
Committee, and then went with them to Scotland, where the
Parliament made some few additions, especially the names
of those who were not to be pardoned without the assent
of Parliament. Through his influence the articles with
these additions were accepted, first by the Committee
unanimously, and then by the two Houses. In November they
were laid before the King.

The introduction of Presbyterianism, by the acceptance of
the Covenant itself, was insisted on in them more strictly
than ever; they also retained the parliamentary control
of the militia, and demanded a renewal of the war against
the Irish[402]. What was thought of these proposals in the
outer world is indicated by the observation of the French
ambassador, that Charles I, if he accepted them, might as
well discard the title of King; for under these conditions
he would be scarcely more than the first man in a republic.
Charles I’s motive for entering into negotiations, and even
suggesting them through his own ambassadors, was mainly in
order to allow no further ground for the rumour that he
hated peace[403]. He hoped that by the discussion of the
articles their inadmissibility would be made manifest.

In the conduct of the negotiations he played a very
subordinate part: Parliament took care to keep the matter
entirely in its own hands. It fixed the place of meeting
at the small town of Uxbridge, which afforded none of the      [A.D. 1645.]
comforts of life: it limited the time to twenty days,
in reckoning which, it was thought necessary expressly
to provide that the intervening Sundays were not to be
counted: it instructed its representatives (among whom
we find, besides some Lords, and the peacefully-inclined
Hollis and Whitelocke, Vane and St. John, the leaders of
the dominant party) in what order the questions were to be
taken, and ordered them not to depart in any material point
from the contents of the original propositions.

The plenipotentiaries of both parties met at Uxbridge
towards the end of January. The Parliamentarians occupied
one part, the Royalists the other, of the little town,
and divided the two inns between them: each party had its
separate entrance to the old-fashioned building in which
the meetings were held, and separate chambers to which they
might retire.

At times however they met by the fireside, and the visits
which they paid to one another now and then passed the
limits of mere formality. One of the Parliamentary Lords,
the Earl of Pembroke, admitted one day to Edward Hyde,
Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the Lords regretted
having gone so far; he besought the King to have pity on
them, and to free them from the wicked men who now governed
everything: if the King would only accept the conditions
proposed to him, as soon as peace was concluded they would
give him back all that he now surrendered, and make him
once more a powerful King.

Counsels of this kind had formerly produced an impression
on Charles I, but this was no longer the case. Concessions
made in the hope of thereby gaining a party had been the
occasion of his losing so much: he had long been convinced
that nothing which had once passed into the hands of the
Parliament was ever to be recovered from them[404].

Some offers of compromise were made by the royal
plenipotentiaries. They would admit the limitation of the
bishops’ power by a council of the lower clergy, and even
by laymen, to be elected by this council, in each diocese:
Parliament should regulate the spiritual jurisdiction in
relation for instance to marriage: even a rent-charge on       [A.D. 1645.]
ecclesiastical revenues for ‘the maintenance of peace’
was suggested. Even this seemed to the King almost too
much, and he declined to go a hair’s-breadth further, as
he considered himself bound by his coronation oath to
maintain the Church establishment. Once more appeared the
political argument, that it was necessary for the power of
the crown to retain the dependence upon it of the spiritual
power. The right of the sword also, without which the crown
would be a mere shadow, seemed to be a good ground for
a King to fight on. Charles I agreed to the appointment
of a commission for nominating the commanders, say for
three years, but only on condition that half of it should
be named by himself, and that the military power should
hereafter return into his hands. This by no means satisfied
the Parliamentary plenipotentiaries: they asked for the
exclusive nomination of the commission by the two Houses
of Parliament, and for a period of seven years; what was
to be done in the future must be decided at the expiration
of the time by parliamentary proceedings, and in no other
fashion[405]. They added by way of explanation that the
power of the sword, of peace and war, must always be
exercised through the King and the two Houses of Parliament.

Two opposite systems were as it were brought into contact.
Parliament desired to subject Church and State to its
authority permanently: the King hoped by momentary
concessions to gain the possibility of restoring in the
future the ancient power of the crown: no agreement was
possible. The affairs of Ireland were also discussed at
Uxbridge[406]: but whereas the Parliament demanded the
termination of the existing truce and a renewal of the war,
the King sought to establish permanent peace there.

On the twentieth day of the negotiations (February 22) the
meeting broke up. The Royal plenipotentiaries hastened
to reach Oxford that evening, since their safe conducts
expired with that day.

_Dissensions in Parliament. The Self-denying Ordinance._       [A.D. 1645.]

Nothing would have been more desirable for the two parties
who had been treating together, the Scottish Presbyterians
and the Royalists, than to arrive at an accommodation.

At the time it was often asserted, even by statesmen like
Mazarin, that the Presbyterian principles involved the
destruction of the monarchy, and the introduction into
England as well as Scotland of the republican institutions
of the Netherlands[407]. This may however be contradicted
with certainty. The Presbyterians wished to reduce the
crown to an extremely small amount of power, but they had
no wish to abolish it; neither their theory nor their
necessities led to this. The Scots desired to see a King of
Scottish extraction on the English throne, and they wished
also that a system of spiritual and temporal government,
such as they had extorted from the King, should be supreme
in England also, if only to prevent the possibility of a
reaction from thence influencing Scotland. They adhered
to hereditary monarchy as a fundamental point: long and
bitterly as they had contended against Charles I, they
would not let him be overthrown.

The opinion has often been expressed, that if it was a
crime to have taken up arms against Parliament, no one was
guilty of it in a higher degree than the King himself,
and that he had thus disqualified himself for the throne:
and his two sons were liable to the same charge. The
idea was started of offering the crown to the Elector
Palatine, who in that case would more easily recover his
own territories, for England would enter into a league
with Spain to counterbalance the French, who were on the
side of the King: or again of raising to the throne the
third son of Charles I, Henry Duke of Gloucester, who was
in the hands of the Parliament, and of bringing him up         [A.D. 1645.]
under the domination of a perpetual Parliament[408].
We find that Henry Vane, whose ideas went beyond
Presbyterianism, betook himself to the Scottish camp, in
order to arrange for one or other of these plans; but all
his efforts were in vain.

No doubt this unbending attitude of the Scots strengthened
the antipathy felt against them on other grounds. It
was thought unendurable that a foreign nation should
intrude into the counsels of England and seek to decide
its fate. Their attempt to introduce in England the
Presbyterian system of church government aroused still
greater hostility. The Congregationalists, defeated in the
Westminster Assembly, had no small following among the
common people, and a very extensive one in the army: they
most strenuously rejected the hierarchy which would result
from the union of the Presbyterian clergy with the lay
elders, and which would form an ecclesiastical tyranny as
bad as that of the bishops. If things were allowed to run
their course, it must be expected that these tendencies
would invade the Lower House, and perhaps carry it away.
Thus it would have been of inestimable value to the Scots
to come to terms with the King, whereby their opponents
would have been at once checkmated: it is strange that they
did not make more effort.

The French ambassador more than once spoke on the subject
with the Scottish commissioners Maitland and Loudon, and
urged them to abate the hardness of the terms offered by
them to the King. They required unconditionally only one
concession, his acceptance of the Presbyterian system:
there are necessities in politics which no negotiation can
master. Since the union with England had been formed for
the express purpose of thoroughly destroying Episcopacy in
that country, the Scottish commissioners could not recede
on that point. They sought to induce the ambassador to use
his influence to get it admitted: they assured him that
in that case they would moderate every other demand, that
the King should recover his previous authority, and be
granted a larger income, and that as great honour as ever      [A.D. 1645.]
should be paid to the Queen. Sabran reminded them that
this depended not so much on their good will as on the
English Parliament. They replied that the resistance of
the Lower House to reasonable things would be advantageous
to the King, and hinted that he would then have the Scots
on his side. Unless the King gave way in the matter of
religion, no peace, no result to any negotiations was to
be expected, but if he would concede this a third party
would at once be formed[409]. They reckoned not only on the
friends of peace in the Lower House, but also, and with
good reason, chiefly on the nobility of England, who, as we
have seen, felt themselves threatened and endangered by the
line of conduct which seemed to find favour in the Lower

It was also very greatly to the King’s interest to keep
down a party which sought to overthrow him, and openly
uttered republican sentiments. On other points he would
have been able to yield, but on this one he could not. His
own convictions were the other way, and moreover he would
have alienated the greater part of his friends. It was as
much a matter of absolute necessity for the King to refuse,
as for the Scots to urge, the concession.

This division contributed further to strengthen the
opposite party, which day by day grew more powerful. At
its head was the man of the age, Oliver Cromwell. He
made no secret of his opinion that the future of England
depended neither on the crown nor on the Lords, that a time
would come when there would be neither king nor peers in
England. He charged the Scots with having come to impose
their hierarchical system on the English; but he would
himself, he was heard to say, draw the sword against
them, and extort the conditions which were indispensable
for his co-religionists. He would on no account suffer
the combination of aristocrats and Presbyterians, which        [A.D. 1645.]
was being formed, to establish itself in power: the mode
in which he set to work is characteristic of his deep,
subtle, calculating, and determined nature, biding its
time, but always advancing towards its object.

He first attacked the English nobles: he accused of
treason his former commander, Lord Manchester, who in
these complications had exercised decisive influence. For
a long time they had acted together, like the Independents
and Presbyterians in general, Manchester being one of the
leaders of the latter, Cromwell the acknowledged chief of
the former; but now they separated from each other. As the
nobles were of opinion that the King must be allowed to
exist, it was attributed to their want of zeal that Charles
I had not been altogether annihilated in the war. Cromwell
accused Manchester of having occasioned the smallness of
the results from the battle of Newbury, by neglecting
advantages and throwing away excellent opportunities;
saying that there was reason to think that Manchester had
purposely spared the King and had not wished to turn the
engagement into a complete victory[410]. We have no means
of discovering how far Cromwell was right: Manchester
rejoined by a charge of insubordination. It is obvious that
Cromwell’s accusations fell upon others besides Manchester:
the same charge had long ago been made against Essex and
other generals; he only expressed the universal conviction.

The drift of this quarrel did not escape the Scots. They
saw in Cromwell’s proceedings the intention to seize for
himself the chief command of the army, to dissolve the
union of the two kingdoms, and to destroy the House of
Lords. Well might they desire the prayers of the faithful
in their behalf, for the scheme seemed to involve danger to
their religion also.

To rid themselves of this dangerous rival, they once
seriously adopted the idea of impeaching Cromwell.
One of the chief charges which had been urged against
Strafford, that namely of destroying the peace between
the two kingdoms, might, it was believed, be brought
against Cromwell: he was an incendiary, that is, a man who     [A.D. 1645.]
kindled strife between the two countries[411]. The nobles
of the Upper House and the Scots seem to have had an
understanding on this matter. One day the Earl of Essex
invited to his house two lawyers, members of the Lower
House, Whitelocke and Maynard, who belonged to the moderate
party; they found there, besides some Parliamentary
friends of Essex, such as Hollis and Stapleton, Loudon,
the Chancellor of Scotland, who formally propounded the
question whether an impeachment on this ground might not be
laid against Cromwell. Whitelocke and Maynard remarked that
the case must be well prepared beforehand, and striking
proofs offered, the more so as Cromwell had the greater
part of the Lower House on his side, and friends in the
Upper House also. Hollis was confident of being able to
carry the matter through. The Scots, who at the same time
were obliged to consider their national position, stood
aloof from the attempt.

Meanwhile Cromwell was preparing another and most
unexpected blow at his powerful enemies. He referred to
the universal dissatisfaction at the conduct of the war
hitherto, which in spite of their undoubted superiority had
led to nothing decisive: what was gained one day had been
lost again on another; the victories of the summer served
as subjects for evening talk in winter: this was their
only advantage, all this blood had been shed, treasure
spent, and land devastated in vain. All the world cried
out against the dissensions and untrustworthiness of the
generals, and complained of the arbitrary conduct of
members of Parliament, even in civil offices.

Relying on this, Cromwell and his friends proposed, at
first as usual through a man of minor importance, that
henceforth no member of Parliament should hold a public
office either in the conduct of the war or in the civil
government. The proposal was recommended by the fact that
it wore a religious aspect; it implied an abnegation of
all the advantages which were usually connected with these
posts: it appeared a point of conscience to assent. That
some thorough change was necessary was the universal           [A.D. 1645.]
opinion, because otherwise it was thought that the friends
of peace in the country would agree to the proposals made
by the King. The matter was so well prepared beforehand,
that the proposition was accepted at the same sitting.

The Scots did not know what to think: they saw that now the
contest between Manchester and Cromwell would be brought
to an end once for all. Some admired the act as a proof of
heroism, others saw in it audacity and danger. It is like
a dream, exclaims Baillie; we cannot yet see the bottom of
the affair.

It was at once plain that the Earl of Essex could no longer
retain the command of the army. He had long had to contend
against secret or avowed hostility in the Common Council
and in the Lower House: he ascribed his last disasters
in Cornwall to the hostile influence of his enemies in
the Committee, but as yet he had held his ground. Even
now he was not without friends in the Lower House, who
proposed that an exception should be made in favour of the
General-in-chief, with whom Parliament had once sworn to
live and die; but they were in the minority. What could not
be done by open attack, Cromwell attained, says Whitelocke,
by a flank movement. Essex was included in a general
ordinance, which every one had to obey.

Still the Upper House refused to accept the bill, on the
ground that it had always been the right of the Lords to
shed their blood for the lawful liberties of the country,
and that by the terms of the protest and their assent to
the Covenant they were more than ever pledged to this: if
there were objections against individuals, let them be
stated, and judged in the proper parliamentary fashion; but
to exclude all by a resolution of Parliament was to punish
individuals. Three times in succession they rejected the
bill, but they had long ago begun to let the majority of
the Commons lead them along a road which they did not fully
approve; they had not strength for continued resistance.

There was in truth much to be said for the bill. A
difficulty which had elsewhere been found in the conduct
of war by a republic, encountered Parliament as soon as
it gained independent power. The spirit of subordination,      [A.D. 1645.]
which is necessary to military discipline, did not come
naturally to generals and officers who, being members
of Parliament, shared in the possession and exercise of
this power. Personal interests and the opposition of
parliamentary factions had far too much influence on the
position and behaviour of them all[412].

When the Lords gave way, they still hoped, in the course
of the further discussions on the reconstruction of the
army, to prevent its falling entirely into the hands of
the Independents. They added to the proposals of the
Commons a proviso that the officers and soldiers of the
new model should promise to accept the Covenant and the
Presbyterian system of church government. The Lower House
however was not of the same opinion: it was objected, not
without reason, that the church government was not yet
fully established, not yet possessed of legal validity.
In respect to the Covenant the Commons would only agree
to a pledge for the officers, not for the privates, on
the ground that this requirement would hinder recruiting.
If however this condition was not passed, it was obvious
that the separatist element in the army must become
very powerful; for who from among the non-presbyterian
population would take up arms against the King, except
Independents and other separatists! The Lords had wished to
make the nomination of officers depend on the choice of the
two Houses, but this also they failed to carry: for nothing
would so much conduce to the authority of the general
to whom the command should be entrusted as the right of
selecting his own officers.

Unquestionably military considerations contributed very
materially to these resolutions. The soldiers were
discontented with their leaders; even under Waller there
had been one mutiny; now and then they talked of choosing
their officers themselves. Moreover their pay had not
been regularly distributed. Thorough and comprehensive
arrangements were now made for this: contributions for
this express purpose were exacted from the counties. If        [A.D. 1645.]
the troops were regularly paid, and kept under strict
military discipline, a better result might be expected from
the next campaign.

The Parliament selected as general Thomas Fairfax, who then
had won a great reputation by the victory of Selby and his
share in the battle of Marston Moor, a man whose stately
appearance would impress the troops, pliant in council,
but of unbending courage in battle. The transformation
of the army was so thorough that the troops which were
transferred out of the old army were distributed among the
new companies and regiments: the traditions of the old
associations were not to pass over into the new army.

It was still always held that the main question was as
to the acceptance or rejection of the Uxbridge articles;
but while the Royalist and Parliamentary parties were
preparing to fight about it, elements in the latter grew
into importance, which at once broke through their previous
arrangements in military matters. Essex and Manchester, who
hitherto had played the chief parts, now retired. Fairfax
and Cromwell, the one with Presbyterian opinions already
growing faint, the other of decidedly separatist and
anti-Scottish views, appeared in the foreground.


[393] ‘To advise consult order and direct concerning the
carrying on and managing of the war for the best advantage
of the three kingdoms.’

[394] Journals of Lords 1643/4. Febr. 12/17.

[395] Order Book relative to delinquent estates, July 1644
to May 1649, two thick volumes. Some of its contents are in
the Lords’ Journals, e.g. July 26 and 29, 1644.

[396] Instructions § 4. Old Parl. Hist. xii. 341.

[397] Sabran, Aug. 8/18: ‘Les grands d’ici sont si étonnés,
qu’ils espèrent plus de succès en leurs propres affaires
par l’antipathie qui sera enfin entre les deux parlemens
ou leurs deputés, qu’en la conduite de celui-ci, duquel
la chambre basse s’attire toute l’autorité et à quoi les
autres (les Ecossais) résisteront mieux qu’eux mêmes.’

[398] Collier’s Ecclesiastical History ii. 824.

[399] His epitaph runs: ‘Secuii percussus immortalitatem
adiit die x Januarii, 1644.’ Kushworth (v. 380) intended
to have treated his trial at as great length as that of
Strafford. As this was not done, we have to depend mainly
on Laud’s own detailed narrative of his examination.

[400] Baillie’s Letters, which here give generally
authentic information.

[401] Baillie: ‘One party purposing by the preface to turn
the directorie a strait liturgie, the other to make it so
loose and free that it should serve for little use--God
helped us to get both rocks eschewed.’ (ii. 242.)

[402] Baillie ii. 172, 187, 221: Balfour iii. 197.

[403] Sanderson: ‘Although he offered fair propositions,
yet they were mixed with such conditions as might not
easily be admitted, and so the King’s offer did but amaze
the people into a milder opinion of his proceedings.’

[404] ‘That there never was such a pack of knaves and
villains as they who now govern in the parliament.’
Clarendon bk. viii. (iv. 595).

[405] ‘The Royal power concerning the militia and to make
peace and war, we cannot admit, that it is otherwise
exercised than by authority from His Majesty and both
houses of Parliament.’

[406] The whole proceeding of the Treaty of Uxbridge. Paper
cxxx. cxxxvi. in Rushworth v. 839, 841.

[407] Instructions to Sabran. ‘Les Puritains, soit Anglais,
Ecossais ou Irlandais, haissants la royauté et toute juste
domination, n’essayeront pas seulement d’abattre celle de
leur roi, mais de se lier avec les républiques voisins.’

[408] Sabran: ‘Innocent des troubles et des contraventions
aux lois de l’état, qu’ils prétendent avoir été commises
par LL.MM. Britanniques, par le prince de Galles et par
tout le parti du roi, qu’ils déclarent criminel de l’état.’

[409] Sabran, Feb. 9, 1645. ‘Que le roi y consentant,
toutes sortes de propositions seroient bientot accommodées
au gré de S. M., sa dignité entière, ses revenus
augmentées--que l’opposition aux choses raisonnables seroit
avantageuse au roi de Gr. Br.:--qu’il n’y aura pas sans
cela succès au traité ni suite de paix, et qu’avec celle
elle se peut faire raisonnable.’

[410] General heads (St. P. O.): ‘That there is good reason
to conceive that this backwardness and neglect in H. L.
to take advantage against the King was out of a design or
desire not to prosecute the war to a full victory.’

[411] Whitelocke’s Memorials 113.

[412] ‘That the members of Parliament who are officers,
being of equal power in Parliament, will not be so obedient
to your commands as others who have smaller interests.’
Speech of Whitelocke.



The King’s whole soul was weary of these painful and
fruitless negotiations: yet even in the parliamentary
assembly which he had once more gathered round him at
Oxford, a resumption of them was urged, and proposals
suggested, which seemed to the King base and seditious. He
breathed more freely when this assembly also was dismissed,
and he expressed himself contemptuously about it: he saw
with pleasure Wilmot and Percy, who at that time were
labouring for peace, quit his neighbourhood, and go to
France to the Queen’s court[413].

He himself in the course of the discussions had not only
strengthened himself in his own opinion, but came to lean
more than ever in the other direction. He once told his
wife, with whom he kept up continual deliberation as to the
best course, that he was now determined, if he ever again
obtained full possession of power, to repeal all penal laws
against the Catholics, that if peace came it would be seen
that he was the true friend of her friends, especially
of the bishops, and that then he would take care, as
she repeatedly urged, to get rid of this everlasting
Parliament. It is clear that he meant to be thoroughly

Without being a born soldier or much of a general,
Charles I had developed a taste for the camp. Military
successes were the only ones which he had enjoyed for
a long time: his victory over Essex filled him with a
certain self-satisfaction. Always inclined to look on the      [A.D. 1645.]
favourable side of things, he reckoned in the impending
campaign on a new series of successes, worthy of the good
cause for which he was fighting. The mysterious ground
of his hopes is worth remarking. He fully believed that
hitherto the unjust execution of the Earl of Strafford
had been visited on him, and not only on him but also on
his opponents, who were equally guilty, but that now the
innocent blood shed by them only in the execution of Laud,
for which they were solely responsible, would bring down
the wrath of God upon them[414],--notions which accurately
mark the character of the religious beliefs which then
dominated men’s minds; as though the secrets of divine
things could be brought into such direct connexion with
the complications of human affairs! Charles I lived in the
conviction that he had committed a fault for which he was
punished, but that he was the champion of a holy cause, to
which God’s help could never be wanting: if this did but
abide with him half as effectually as in former years, he
would have a successful campaign.

He expected that his Queen would supply him with money
and even with military aid. The state of European affairs
was then such that it seemed possible to gain for the
cause of the English crown the assistance of Charles IV,
Duke of Lorraine, who was ready to move in any direction,
and who had gained military experience at the head of an
army gathered by the sound of his name, but free from
all territorial connexions, in France, Germany, and the
Netherlands. The Queen took great trouble to induce him to
assent, and, what was still more difficult, to supply him
with the means. The King hoped to see him arrive in one
of the ports which he still commanded, if not direct from
France, from the Netherlands by the help of the Prince of

Finally the King had resolved to make offers of peace to
the Catholic League, with the security of some temporary
concessions; he reckoned on their acceptance, and also on
help from Ireland.

In Scotland a powerful reaction was already in progress.       [A.D. 1645.]
Montrose, who had returned secretly and remained in
concealment for a time, had suddenly raised the King’s
banner, as his representative, on the Grampian Hills. Irish
troops, raised in Antrim, came to join him under Alexander
Macdonald, called Colkitto, a man who made a great
impression by his gigantic stature and desperate courage.
Montrose formed his own army chiefly of Highlanders, whom
he could not perhaps discipline, but knew how to manage
according to their nature. He conducted the war not on
strategical principles, but by sudden and weighty blows:
the onset of his troops was compared to the rush of a
suddenly swollen mountain stream, so unexpected, stormy,
and irresistible was it: wherever he encountered the
Covenanters, he gained the advantage. At the beginning of
April 1645 he took Dundee: he then informed the King[416]
that if he were supported by only 500 cavalry, he would in
the course of the summer bring 20,000 foot-soldiers into
England. At the very least the King might expect that the
Scots would be too busy at home to be very dangerous to
him in England. At the time he thought he had not much
to fear from the Parliamentary army. It was the almost
universal expectation that, deprived of its tried officers
by the new model, it would stand trial even less than under
Essex. And in fact its first undertakings had no special
result[417]. Though the royal troops had been compelled to
raise the siege of Taunton, yet it had been immediately
renewed. It was assumed that the Parliament would seek
at any cost to save a place so important for the western
counties; which had all the more consequence, because the
association uniting Cornwall and Devonshire was extended
over Somerset and Dorset: the four counties undertook to
put a considerable force in the field. At their request
the King let the Prince of Wales, attended by some members
of the Privy Council, take his place among them, while         [A.D. 1645.]
he left his second son, the Duke of York, in Oxford, under
the military tutelage of a trustworthy officer, William
Legge, to defend the capital of Royalist England against
eventual attack. According to ancient ideas the presence of
the royal princes was a pledge of redoubled devotion. The
King himself wished to remain free to take up a position in
the midland counties, and advance thence either northwards
or eastwards. He did not expect to conquer the powerful
foe, but hoped to occupy him everywhere, and to succeed
in bearing the royal banner victorious in England as in
Scotland, and after a prosperous campaign to enjoy a good

It cannot be denied that he had some grounds for this
hope. He relied mainly on the Celtic elements in the
British kingdom, not only in Scotland and Ireland, but in
England also, where they had operated powerfully, at any
rate in Cornwall. Leaning on this support, he called to
his banner the elements of the English commonwealth which
were allied to the monarchy and were threatened along with
it. He was their champion against the tendencies hostile
to him and them alike, which had arisen more powerfully
in the British isles than ever in any other part of the
Teutonic world. His hope was to achieve a settlement, in
which the old prerogative of the crown, not without some
limitation of the exclusive domination of Protestantism,
should be combined with parliamentary privileges. Was this

I do not know whether he had thought out the question
fully. Hitherto the initiative in government had proceeded
from the Crown, which had enjoyed the preponderance. But
through the revolution of 1640 the dominant power had been
transferred to the Parliament, which in most parts of the
kingdom was now recognised: and the Parliament wished to
retain this. The question was, who should henceforth enjoy
the supreme power: and the sword must decide.

The decision came unexpectedly to all parties, suddenly and
irrevocably. The King had saved Chester from an assault
by the Parliamentary troops: without letting himself be
delayed over the trifling enterprises which were suggested
to him, he broke up his camp in May, 1645, his brave
nephew Rupert by his side, to execute the plan before          [A.D. 1645.]
mentioned. Already at the end of the month they had an
unexpected success: the strong town of Leicester fell into
their hands. A battery planted by the Prince on the right
spot made a breach; but the assault was checked by defences
erected behind it, till the walls were scaled at two weaker
points. All resistance was then in vain, and the town had
to expiate by a terrible sack its Parliamentary leanings.

Scarcely ever has a success been so ruinous to the
victorious troops as this conquest to the King and his
army. At once all the energies of his opponents were
directed against him. In London an attack on the eastern
counties was feared, on the possession of which the general
security depended. When at the same time there were rumours
of threatened movements in Kent and of an attack on Dover;
the feeling gained ground that they were on the eve of a
catastrophe. The two Houses vied with each other in taking
the necessary precautions. New levies were ordered in the
city and the counties, proclamation of martial law in Kent,
increase of the powers of the generals. The Common Council,
not yet satisfied, requested that orders might be given to
the army to advance immediately, in order to fight with the
King, and especially to recover Leicester before he had
fortified it.

Fairfax had not, as was expected, let himself be entangled
with the Parliamentary army in the western counties, but
had advanced towards Oxford, where he obtained, it is true,
no successes[418] sufficient to cause any serious danger,
but prevailed so far that the King was most urgently
requested to come to the aid of his most important city,
where the court still was, and especially of the ladies
thus endangered, and above all of his son. He set his
army in motion in this direction: but severe losses had
been sustained in the storming of Leicester, and he was
obliged, in the face of a refractory population, to leave a
considerable garrison there: when the army appeared in the     [A.D. 1645.]
field it was seen to be too weak to cope with Fairfax.
Charles begged the besieged not to trouble him, for that
he would not let them fall into the enemy’s hands, but he
durst not stake all on the game like a madman. For the
present he contented himself with sending them provisions
and a portion of his troops. He himself stayed at Daventry,
to await the return of this detachment, and the arrival of
reinforcements from Devonshire and Wales.

The immediate staff of the King were divided in opinion
as to the plan of the campaign. Prince Rupert would have
liked to carry out the original scheme, and that by moving
towards the northern counties. A considerable portion of
the army consisted of horsemen who came from that quarter,
chiefly Cavaliers, who desired nothing so much as to turn
homewards. Rupert was convinced that Fairfax would not look
on quietly, but would follow them, and so Oxford would be
freed. On the other hand Lord Digby had directed his gaze
towards Oxford, and held it to be necessary to go to the
aid of the besieged in full strength.[419] Undoubtedly
Rupert’s opinion was more correct, and more suitable
to the circumstances, especially because it could be
executed immediately. While the King was inclining towards
Digby’s view (for was he not naturally above all things
anxious for the liberation of his son?), and waiting for
the reinforcements (as usual with serene temper, with no
apprehensions for the future, and not without devoting
himself in leisure hours to the pleasures of the chase), he
gave his enemies time to come up against him with all their

The troops before Oxford shared the feelings prevalent in
London, and would not linger over a siege while the King
was victorious in the field: and the Parliament readily
granted their request. On June 11 we find Fairfax with his
army near Northampton.

Another prayer which could only be granted by Parliament
was preferred by the army. Cromwell, in spite of the
Self-denying Ordinance, had been allowed by a Parliamentary
resolution of May 10 to continue temporarily his military      [A.D. 1645.]
functions; the officers now requested that this man, in
whom they had full confidence both political and military,
might be appointed as their general of cavalry. Naturally
the Lords, who had been excluded from the army by the
Act, hesitated about conferring so important a post, in
contravention of it, on their great opponent and rival.
But their refusal was for the moment of no consequence:
Cromwell’s temporary commission was to last for forty days,
and it was during this time that on June 13 he entered
Fairfax’s head-quarters, accompanied by some newly-raised
squadrons of cavalry. The council of war was at once held,
and Cromwell infused new fire into its resolutions: the
trumpets were immediately blown, and all the soldiers
assembled rejoicing around their leaders.[420]

On the same day, at the news that the superior army of the
Parliament was near, the King quitted Daventry--where the
division that had been detached to Oxford had now joined
him, but no other aid--to advance towards the north. But
at the first halt, at Harborough, it was ascertained that
the enemy was following close on the heels of the army,
and was now encamped in their immediate neighbourhood. To
encounter him was now absolutely necessary, for how could
they possibly have allowed him to attack their rear while
they advanced? In the council of war the only question was
whether to await attack where they stood, or go in search
of the enemy. Rupert was for awaiting attack, but the King
decided the other way.[421]

It is a popular tradition that the shade of Strafford rose
that night before the King, and warned him against his

The danger of Charles I lay not in either one course or the
other, but in the whole situation. He was now compelled to
do what a few days before he had declined to do, fight a
superior enemy with a weaker force, and under still more
unfavourable conditions. The future of England was staked
on this one cast: the decision of great and vital questions
rested on the issue of an essentially unequal contest.

On June 14 the Royal army formed in order of battle a mile     [A.D. 1645.]
from Harborough. Lord Astley’s infantry formed the centre,
Prince Rupert with about 2000 horsemen the right wing, and
Marmaduke Langdale with the Cavaliers of the north, who
however were not altogether on good terms with him, the
left wing. The King placed in reserve his own bodyguard of
horse and a regiment of foot.

Meanwhile the Parliamentary army was drawn up in rank and
file on a similar rising ground near Naseby, but on the
opposite slope, so that it could not be overlooked from
a distance. Cromwell took charge of the right wing: the
left he intrusted to his son-in-law Ireton: Fairfax and
Skippon commanded the battalions of the centre. A reserve,
considerable in proportion, was drawn up in the rear.

Without knowing the position and strength of the enemy,
but aware of his propinquity, the Royal army was seized by
its old thirst for battle, and began its march. Generals
and soldiers were unanimous: any objection, however well
founded, would have seemed a proof of cowardice[422].
Without being checked by slight obstacles, it reached the
opposite hill and was climbing it, when the Parliamentary
army appeared at the top in full order of battle. When the
two forces looked one another in the face at this close
proximity, they halted a moment, as if to take thought,
before engaging. The infantry discharged their pieces
once, and then met hand to hand with the sword and clubbed
muskets. It was now shown that the newly-formed troops
were not equal to more experienced ones; the Parliamentary
infantry this time were decidedly worsted; their colours
were seen to fall, some regiments dispersed and fled to
Northampton[423]. So also the onset of Rupert’s horsemen
once more displayed irresistible strength: in spite of
a skilful and not inefficient ambush of some of the
enemy’s dragoons behind neighbouring hedges, he overthrew      [A.D. 1645.]
Ireton’s regiments, the commander of which was himself
wounded and wellnigh captured. Still the success of the
right wing and centre on this day was not decisive. The
Parliamentary reserve could not be overcome by Rupert,
but enabled the defeated horse and foot to rally at least
partially, and the onset of the left wing of the Royal army
was completely repulsed by the Parliamentary right under
Cromwell. There was a moment during the battle when loss
and gain were about equal on each side. Cromwell himself,
it is related, was engaged in single combat with a Royalist
general, exchanged blows and shots with him, and actually
lost his helmet: then taking another, which was offered
him, and putting it on the wrong way, defended himself with
bravery and success against his adversary.

It was a battle of the old style, in which fire-arms had
scarcely any effect: they measured their strength man to
man, on horseback as well as on foot. The superiority of
the Royalists extended to the infantry, since they had no
longer the old city regiments before them: but the cavalry,
formed from the freeholders of the associated counties,
opposed them with unusual vigour.

When forces are tolerably equal, and not numerous
altogether, a reinforcement to one side, trifling in
itself, will usually produce decisive effect. A splendid
regiment of horse that Colonel Rossiter brought up at the
right moment[424], joined the wing commanded by Cromwell,
who was opposed to the least well-compacted corps of the
Royalists, and had already gained the advantage: when
after a short halt he renewed the attack on Langdale’s
division, which he now could assail on the flank also,
he soon mastered it, and drove it before him in headlong
flight. Thereupon Rupert, who had been shamefully repulsed
by the reserve, hastened back, to prevent the King from
being endangered by the change of fortune. At the same
moment Ireton was set free, and could again appear on the
battle-field with a portion of his troops. The defeated
Parliamentary infantry that had rallied again, united with     [A.D. 1645.]
a portion of the cavalry for an attack on the hitherto
victorious Royal battalions. These defended themselves,
like the Spanish infantry at Rocroy about the same time,
according to the expression of a hostile report, ‘with
incredible valour and most steadfastly.’ But being deprived
of the usual protection from their cavalry, and attacked on
all sides, both by horse and foot, these troops saw at last
that further resistance would be their destruction: they
could no longer be brought to face the enemy, but laid down
their arms under the condition, which was very unwillingly
granted, that no plundering of individuals should be

The King, who had with difficulty been prevented from
plunging into the mêlée, had to abandon the field to the
rebels. He re-entered Leicester in retreat that resembled
flight, after immense loss. He had sustained a most ruinous
defeat, his main army was annihilated, the terror of his
arms lost: the Parliamentary army had gained an unequalled

Charles I however was still very far from giving up his
cause as lost. He moved into the counties in which from the
first he had found most support, and which still seemed
willing to stand by him. ‘A better reception,’ he writes
from Hereford, ‘I could not have found, if I had arrived
after gaining a victory: I hope soon to replace my losses
with interest’ He believed that a considerable army might
still be raised in Wales, from whence Gerrard met him with
a couple of thousand men: the gentry of South Wales, who
assembled at Abergavenny around him, gave him the best
assurances on this head. New preparations began, and the
Marquis of Worcester gave him as hospitable and splendid
a reception in Raglan Castle, as though he were reigning
in full authority and peace. Moreover there was a force in
the associated western counties, which were in full tide
of resistance. General Goring had 5000 foot and 4000 horse
under his command: every day he hoped to become master of
Taunton, where a Parliamentary garrison still held out.

But the superiority of the Parliamentary army was soon to
be exhibited in these regions also. Victory had completed      [A.D. 1645.]
their organisation: it gave them self-reliance and
confidence in their leaders[426]. After taking Leicester
with its military magazines--a conquest which the
inhabitants regarded as a deliverance--they moved towards
the united western counties. At the passage of Langport,
Goring placed himself in their way: but the Parliamentary
army developed such complete superiority by the bravery of
its cavalry and the skilful use of artillery, that Goring,
after one repulse, no longer ventured to encounter it
even with superior numbers. The fortresses which had been
deemed impregnable fell one after the other before the
assaults of Cromwell. By the middle of August the strong
places captured or relieved, Lyme, Sherborne, Langport,
Taunton, Bridgewater, formed a line which virtually cut off
Devonshire and Cornwall from the rest of England. Colonel
Poyntz pressed into South Wales and instantly stopped the
attempts to form a new army there.

The dimensions to which the Royalist forces were reduced
were already very small, and their chance of success very
slight, when a misunderstanding took place within the party
which utterly disintegrated it.

It must be reckoned an important event in the King’s life
that at Naseby a part of his papers fell into the hands
of the victors. Fairfax sent them to the Lower House,
which communicated them to the Lords and to the Common
Council, and ordered a selection of them to be printed
forthwith[427]. These were the original drafts of the
letters of Charles I to his wife, and her answers, and
instructions for Uxbridge and Ireland: some papers seized
elsewhere were added to these, together with a preface
and an appendix which declared their authenticity and
commented on their contents. Nothing could have happened
more opportunely for the anti-royalist tendencies. The
King’s determination to give way on neither of the main
questions, and his last-formed purpose of drawing nearer
to the Catholics, were brought into the full light of
day. He could now be reproached with offering toleration       [A.D. 1645.]
to the idolatry of the Papists, and indemnity to the
blood-stained Irish; of invoking the aid of foreign powers
and princes for the destruction of English liberties and of
Protestantism. The publication of course produced a great
impression even on the King’s own friends. They saw now
that the King, in opposition to his own Oxford Parliament,
had preferred war to the continuance of the negotiations.
At the very moment when arms offered no further hope this
double disagreement broke out. The conviction everywhere
gained ground that the King must submit further and more
irrevocably than he seemed inclined to do. A negotiation
was entered into between the members of the Privy
Council in attendance on the Prince of Wales and the
peacefully-inclined members of Parliament, arising out of
the wish of both to help one another to a compromise. In
the same direction went the views of the leading men in the
united western counties, which were at the time of great
weight from the independent character of the movement there.

This was exactly the constitutional standpoint which the
Clubmen, who just then suddenly appeared in various places,
sought to attain. They were the inhabitants of the counties
who declined any longer to allow themselves to be violently
treated and plundered, first by one party and then by the
other. Assembling at their own will, with any weapons that
came to hand, even clubs, from which they got their name,
with the intention merely of resisting at every point where
defence was possible the violence of the soldiery, they at
once proceeded to a general manifesto: they most urgently
demanded a truce between the King and the Parliament, and
a renewal of the peace negotiations, for which purpose
they would send delegates to both sides. They opposed the
Royalist soldiery as well as the Parliamentarians, but
on the whole were of moderate Royalist opinions. Fairfax
treated them as enemies, but Prince Rupert entered into
alliance with them: for the Prince was now himself inclined
to a compromise. From Bristol, where he had taken the
command, he sent word to the King that for the rescue of
his crown, his posterity, and the nobility of the country,
there was nothing left but to make a treaty: he urged that
it would be better to save part than to lose the whole.

King Charles I was at this moment as fully aware as any one    [A.D. 1645.]
else of the desperate state of his circumstances: at the
beginning of August he arranged that, if danger pressed,
his son should fly to France, for it was now necessary
to prepare for the worst. For himself he adhered to his
resolution not to give way a foot’s breadth. His was a
nature which is not bent but steeled by adversity. At this
time he wrote to his secretary in calm but strong language,
that with God’s help he would never either abandon the
Church to another form of government, or rob the crown
of the authority which his ancestors had transmitted to
him, or forsake his friends[428]. To Prince Rupert he
replied that, as for his advice, as soldier and statesman
he might perhaps approve it, as Christian he must reject
it; whatever afflictions God might ever visit him with,
he durst not abandon a cause which was that of God. He
believes that in the end it will triumph, but for himself
he has no such hope: all that is left him is to die with
honour and a good conscience. In fact, he dares not reckon
on success, but only on this, that God will hereafter
avenge his cause. To those who will stand by him he must
say that they have nothing to expect except death for the
good cause, or a life made miserable by the oppression of
the rebels[429]. His words imply the consciousness of a
duty independent of accidental circumstances, transcending
the complications of the moment, of great importance for
the future of England, and highminded in themselves, if
a prince can be called highminded, who, conscious of
impending ruin, shows himself determined not to yield
a hair’s-breadth. But they were not calculated to hold
together or to strengthen his party: they died away without
effect. To offer men ruin and endless troubles as the          [A.D. 1645.]
reward of their devotion is not the way to win them. Who
would join the King’s cause with any pleasure when he
himself treated it as lost? Men saw in his expressions only
one proof more of his invincible obstinacy.

When Prince Rupert came to England to fight for his uncle,
he had also the idea of gaining a princely establishment
for himself: to expose himself to ruin for the English
Church was not at all in his mind. He had already been put
out of humour by the King’s rejection of his proposal, when
he received from the Parliamentary army that was besieging
him in Bristol, after he had made one or two fruitless
sorties, a summons which in form was well calculated to
make an impression upon him. It was at the same time a
warning, reminding him that the Parliamentary party against
which he was in arms, was the very one which had always
sought to help the Palatine family, and had expended blood
and money for it; that he need not think the crown was at
stake, for that would remain where it must be, but that
the contest now was merely between the Parliament, the
King’s great council, and his actual evil advisers; that
the party which he was now defending was the one which had
always opposed the interests of his family. They referred
to Digby, who had quarrelled with the Prince at Naseby,
and had since kindled the flame of contention all the more
eagerly because he thus kept away the King, who cherished
the design of going with the Prince to Bristol, from fear
of there losing all his influence. If Rupert now gave ear
to the summons, there were military reasons to justify him,
for one of the protecting forts had fallen already into the
enemy’s hands: but still there is no doubt that political
motives co-operated. It had been thought that he would
fight to the death: he had promised to hold Bristol three
months: that he should surrender in the third week, before
any extreme necessity arose, excited general astonishment,
and caused the most painful emotion in the King, who was
just preparing to attempt a relief with a small flying
force which he had assembled and some help which he
expected from Goring. He thought he perceived that Rupert
was guided by counsellors of corrupt heart. If his own         [A.D. 1645.]
relations treated him thus, what was he to expect from
strangers? Of all the calamities with which he had been
visited, none, he said, had grieved him more deeply.

Under the influence of Digby, who seized the favourable
moment for ruining his rival entirely--for even after
the loss of power jealousy is wont to linger in princely
courts--Prince Rupert was declared to be deprived of the
high military authority he enjoyed, and of all his offices:
his passports were also sent him with the insulting
explanation that henceforth he might seek his subsistence
on the Continent. The Prince received his dismissal under
the counter-signature of Lord Digby, whom he regarded
as the author of his disgrace and his mortal enemy. At
the same time his best friend and political and military
associate, William Legge, was removed from his government
at Oxford. The fall of Bristol was the moment at which the
party of the statesmen about the King obtained the upper
hand of the military men. The soldiers were not minded to
submit: professional feeling was aroused, and most of them
made the Prince’s cause their own.

But apart from this, just as the capture of Bristol had
once been a decisive advantage, so now the loss of that
place with all its stores was an indescribable misfortune.
Even in the most devoted provinces, for instance in Wales,
the opponents of the King at once appeared in strength.

Charles I was a prey to the most painful hesitation:
his purposes vacillated between opposite possibilities.
At one time it seemed to him advisable to retire to
Anglesey, which could be defended during the winter, or,
if necessary, still further to the Isle of Man, finally
to Ireland: only it seemed to him dishonourable for a
king to make his escape in this wise. Then the events
in Scotland, where Montrose had won a great victory,
invited him thither. Montrose, on his march towards the
English frontier, found himself threatened at once by the
Parliamentary army which was following him, and by the
neighbouring lords who raised their districts against
him. Without much hesitation he threw himself on the
army, though perhaps a third stronger than his force,
and supported mainly by the brave old Lord Airly (who
was more than eighty years old when he took part in the        [A.D. 1645.]
battle), and by another Ogilvy who had learned war under
Gustavus Adolphus, he completely routed them (at Kilsyth,
August 15). Thereupon Glasgow fell into his hands;
Edinburgh begged for mercy: he appeared as master in that
country. Under the influence of these tidings, and being
pressed on all sides, the King determined[430] to cut his
way through to the army which bore his standard victorious
in the field. He wished to try the way to Scotland past
Chester through Lancashire and Cumberland. He arrived
at Chester at the right time to prevent the capture of
the place; but in the open field his troops could not be
induced to face the enemy: from the ramparts he witnessed
their defeat. Not without a hope of opening himself a way
through Yorkshire, he betook himself to Newark, the least
endangered of the places he still held. Meanwhile Montrose
had been defeated: he in his turn could not withstand the
regular troops which David Lesley brought against him
from England, and at Philiphaugh, near the border, he was
surprised and beaten. The King knew this well, but at the
rumour that Montrose had again gained an advantage, he once
more resolved to make the attempt. After some days’ march
he ascertained that the news was false, and that Montrose
had fled to the Highlands. Digby could not be dissuaded
from proceeding with part of the troops, less in the hope
of achieving anything (for his friends had already been
dispersed), than to avoid returning to Newark. The King
returned there alone with the rest of his forces.

He had terrible scenes to endure there among his own
immediate following. Digby had departed because he would
not meet Prince Rupert[431], who, though he did not refuse
to quit England, wished first to clear his military honour
and justify himself in the King’s eyes. He asked to be
brought before a court-martial, which acquitted him of
all the slanderous charges brought against him on account
of his conduct at Bristol. In the same degree in which         [A.D. 1645.]
the soldiers by profession showed their sympathy with the
Prince, they exhibited also their indignation against
Digby, by whose attacks they felt their military honour
injured. The fact that at this very time Willis, the
Governor of Newark, one of the Prince’s warmest supporters,
was removed from his post, seemed to them to prove that
the King would always be governed by Digby’s advice: and
their displeasure was fanned into flame. Rupert, Willis,
and Gerrard so completely lost sight of their respect for
the prince for whose authority they had hitherto fought,
that they forced their way into his presence to make, we
cannot say representations, but accusations against him.
With his arms akimbo, displeasure in every feature, Rupert
strode close up to the King, who was sitting at his supper.
The King rose and retired into a window with the three
generals to ascertain their business. Willis complained of
the dishonour done him by publishing his dismissal, and
demanded public satisfaction. Rupert observed that Willis
was unjustly treated for being his friend. Gerrard attacked
Digby, by whom he had been removed from his command in
Wales: both he and the two others pointed to Digby as the
author of all disorders: they declared that it was not
the King who governed, but Digby through him. The King
asked whether a rebel could say anything worse; and in
fact it was the severest accusation that had been brought
against him for five years. Nephew, said the King, this is
a matter of serious import. Rupert referred to the events
at Bristol, in consequence of which he had been subjected
to false accusations. Nephew, said the King: he would have
said more, but the words died on his lips. The Prince
gave no sign of respect: with his arms akimbo, as he had
entered, so he quitted the King’s presence[432].

All the sources of help on which the King had reckoned         [A.D. 1645.]
in the spring now failed him. A treaty with the Irish
Catholics was concluded through an emissary, originally
instructed to refer to the Viceroy, but subsequently
intrusted with full powers, upon conditions which could not
be openly avowed--one of the stratagems of Charles I, which
drove to despair his ministers who knew nothing about it,
and were ruinous to himself[433]. The document fell into
the hands of the London Committee: instead of benefiting
the King, the treaty served thoroughly to prejudice the
English nation against him.

The French were so fully occupied with the war in Germany,
the Duke of Lorraine with the attempt to recover his
hereditary dominions, that they could give the King no
help. If Charles had thought of cutting his way into
Scotland, it was merely because he saw no safety in
England. At this moment too, the quarrels which had long
disturbed his court broke out violently: the authority
exercised by a minister who was no longer with him, was
made a personal charge against himself: the boldest
champions of his cause abandoned it. He was fortunate in
being able to return with a small company to Oxford, where
for the moment he gathered a kind of court about him.

Meanwhile the Parliamentary army had thoroughly mastered
the Clubmen. In every province a decree of Parliament was
published, which declared it treason for an armed body of
men to assemble anywhere without permission.

There was no longer anything to oppose the army, which
was everywhere victorious, except the armed force of
Devonshire and Cornwall. But quarrels similar to that
between Digby and Rupert had broken out between the
Privy Council which surrounded the Prince of Wales,
and the military commanders. General Goring, who loved
to relieve his military duties with drinking bouts and
play, wanted to be virtually independent in the conduct
of the war, and especially to take no orders from the
Prince’s counsellors. He had already obtained from the
King instructions to the Privy Council to let him, as the
general, take part in their deliberations: when this was       [A.D. 1645.]
not done, Goring imputed every disaster that happened to
the members of the council. In view of the growing strength
of the enemy, he desired to be subordinate to the Prince
only, and sought to confine within narrow limits the
influence of civil officers over the army; no officer’s
commission should be signed without his knowledge, no
movement of the army ordered without the officers’
concurrence. This not being granted he formed the rash
resolve--for steadiness and perseverance were, not the
qualities for which he was distinguished--of abandoning the
cause he served and retiring to France. The same spirit was
displayed also in the militia. No one among the natives
was so active and conspicuous as Richard Grenville, High
Sheriff of Devon, who levied troops on his own account, and
imposed contributions which he expended for their support.
In consequence of his independent action he also quarrelled
with the government; at times the troops raised by him
refused to obey the generals appointed in the King’s name.
How was an energetic and orderly conduct of the war to be
thought of? It came at last to this, that Grenville was
imprisoned by the Privy Council.

If the most general reason for the King’s disasters be
sought, it will be found in this hostility between the
holders of civil and military power. He himself could not
master it, far less could the Prince of Wales be expected
to do so: whereas on the side of the Parliament the
military tendencies were entirely supreme, and carried away
with them all energies of another kind; no other will could
oppose them.

There was still a general of reputation and talent, Lord
Hopton, who undertook the control of the army in concert
with the Privy Councillors who formed the Prince’s
government: but, as he said, he did it only from a sense of
duty, for no honour was to be gained. On his banner were
inscribed the words ‘I will strive my King to serve’: he
would obey, he said, even at the risk of his good name.
Under his command the forces of the western counties once
more measured their strength with the Parliamentarians, at
the well-fortified pass of Torrington, and here offered
some resistance; but the superiority of the Parliamentary
foot over the Royalists was so decisive that the latter        [A.D. 1645.]
did not hold their ground very courageously. At the end of
February Fairfax advanced into Cornwall. On March 2 the
Prince, no longer safe in Pendennis, where he had been
staying, embarked with his counsellors in a vessel which
took them to the Scilly Islands. A considerable body of
horsemen was still united under Hopton. But already every
man was possessed by a conviction that all they did was
in vain. The service was very carelessly performed. In a
council of war the officers declared to the general that
their men could no longer be brought to face the enemy:
they told him frankly that unless he began negotiations
they should proceed to do so without him. The troops
themselves actually began: at the first encounter of
the advanced guards in the neighbourhood of Probus, the
Royalists cried out ‘Truce, truce!’ they entered upon it
before it was concluded[434]. After brief conferences a
capitulation was arranged (March 14) in accordance with
which Hopton’s brigades,--there were nine of them,--were
disbanded one after the other. The King’s cavalry had to
surrender their arms at the very place where formerly
Essex’s foot had done the same[435]. Most of the troops
declared themselves ready to go to Ireland and fight
there for the Parliament, without paying any attention to
the counter-orders of the King. The superiority of the
Parliamentary army was combined with a sort of voluntary
disbanding of the Royalist forces. The forts and castles
which were still in their hands went over one by one.

At the beginning of April even Exeter capitulated: the
Parliamentary army advanced towards Oxford, where there
seemed nothing left for the King but to surrender. The war
was virtually over. The attempt of Charles I to wrest back
by force of arms from the Parliament the power which it had
acquired had broken down.

This conclusion was exactly contrary to the results of
the analogous undertaking of Henry IV in France. Henry IV
had conquered the capital and the country, set aside the       [A.D. 1645.]
Estates, and laid the foundations for that royal power on
which it was possible to raise the proudest monarchy of
modern times. In England the forces which the King and his
adherents could command were defeated in the country and
crushed; the supreme authority was in the hands of the
Parliament, with which the capital had hitherto been always
in perfect accord.


[413] To the Queen, 13 March. King’s cabinet opened, No.
13: ‘I being now freed from the place of base and mutinous
motions, that is to say, our mongrel Parliament here.’

[414] King’s cabinet opened, No. 20. Cp. his letters of May
12 and 31 in Mrs. Green, of May 14 in Halliwell ii. 380.

[415] Bossuet mentions the affair in his funeral oration on
Henrietta Maria. The details of the transaction are still

[416] King’s cabinet opened, No. 11.

[417] The testimony of Sabran (20 April), ‘Les forces du
parlement ont beaucoup plus reçu que donné de l’échec,’
may be set against the pamphlets of the Independents
exaggerating their successes in the first movements of the

[418] Sabian 12/22 June. ‘Les sièges d’Oxford et de
Borstall House ont peu duré et mal réussi: il en est revenu
en une seule fois dimanche dernier 37 charettes de soldats
blessés, et autres depuis.’

[419] In a letter to Lord Jermyn, Digby mentions his
‘advice to the King to have gone to Oxford from Daintry.’
Warburton iii. 135.

[420] Sprigge’s England’s Recovery 32. In Ludlow (Memoirs
151) things are related not without some confusion.

[421] Walker, Historical Discourses 129.

[422] Digby to Legge. ‘So did your fate lead, as scarcely
one of us did think of a queer objection, which after
the ill success every child could light on.’ This
correspondence (Warburton iii. 127) gives the best insight.
I combine the narrative of both parties.

[423] Sprigge: ‘The colonels and officers endeavouring to
keep their men from disorder, and finding their attempt
fruitless therein.’

[424] Wogan: ‘Rossiter’s horse that came to us at that

[425] Wogan: ‘Seeing all their horse beaten out of the
field, and surrounded with our horse and foot, they laid
down their arms with condition not to be plundered.’

[426] Clarendon iv. 48 (edition of 1849) himself remarks on
this battle that the capacity to rally after being beaten
disclosed the better discipline which had been introduced
by Fairfax and Cromwell.

[427] Journals of Commons, 23 June-7 July.

[428] To Nicholas, 25 Aug. 1645. ‘Let my condition be never
so low, I resolve by the grace of God never to yield up
this church to the government of papists, Presbyterians, or
independents, nor to injure my successors by lessening the
crown of that ecclesiastical and military power which my
predecessors left me, nor to forsake my friends.’

[429] ‘Who took the occasion to write the ensuing letter
to the prince with his own hand, which was so lively an
expression of his own soul.’ Clarendon, Hist. iv. 679.

[430] Walker’s Historical Discourses 139: ‘In order to
attempt to get to Montrose, whom we then believed master of

[431] ‘The king and I had long before concluded it most for
his service that I should absent myself for some time.’
Letter to Hyde, Harley MS. T. V. 566.

[432] Symonds’s Diary 268. The best passage in the little
book, had it not been subsequently mutilated and never
completed. Walker is here also the most trustworthy
witness. What the English journals contain is derived from
exaggerated hearsay. The notice in Disraeli v, derived from
Bellasis’ Memoirs, cannot be reconciled with the facts
known from other sources, for instance about the passports.

[433] Lingard, who here follows special information, x.
Note B; Macgregor, History of the British Empire ii. note b.

[434] Sprigge 213. Instead of asking they acted a cessation.

[435] From a report of Montereuil, March 19, it appears
that Fairfax remarked on this ‘avec peu d’obligeance pour
le comte d’Essex.’ Clarendon Papers ii. 218.



If the war between the King and Parliament could be
regarded as at an end, the controversy between them was
by no means concluded. The King in spite of his defeat
maintained the position which he had taken up on quitting
London; he was as firm in it as ever. So far as the
pacification of the country depended on an understanding
of the King with Parliament, not a step had been gained;
the questions had rather grown more complicated through
the course of events. The people, crying for peace, would
undoubtedly have been contented with the restoration
of a Parliamentary régime without the abasement of the
royal power. But in the tumult of violence and faction
how could moderate wishes have had any chance even of
full expression, to say nothing of being carried out? The
men who gave the tone to the Lower House required of the
crown a sort of renunciation of the military authority,
which was opposed to the ancient notions of the monarchy.
They deemed themselves compelled for their own sakes to
persist. But it was not the strength of Parliament alone
which had prevailed over the King. The great change to his
disadvantage had been wrought by the Scots, the last blow
in the field and his ruin by the Independents: and these
victorious allies had their own objects and sought to gain
them. The Scots desired the uprooting of the episcopal
system; their last alliance with England was founded on
the assent to this demand. The Independents meditated new
forms in both Church and State. They vehemently opposed the
Scottish system, and sought to alienate Parliament from it,
and bring it over to their own ideas.

How the cause of the King and his fate should be decided
was an element in the intestine strife between the parties:
it depended mainly on whether the Presbyterians or the
Independents gained the upper hand.



In the realm of those ideas, which constitute the western
world by their connexion and shake it by their strife, the
Independents exhibit views in relation to both religious
and political government which, if not entirely new, yet
acquired general influence first through them. Religion by
its nature aims at a world-embracing community of doctrine
and life--an idea on which all great hierarchies are
founded, including the Papacy. As the Reformation movement
arose chiefly from the oppression which the carrying
out of religious unity in a stringent form exerted over
single kingdoms and states, it led directly to national
unions,--national churches, which no doubt were founded
on a creed that claimed universal acceptation, but whose
authority could never extend beyond mere provincial limits.
Among the formations of this kind the two most strongly
organised are doubtless those which were established in
Great Britain. We know to what far-reaching contests their
opposition led, shaking not merely men’s minds, but the
very government of the two countries.

The Independents appeared on the frontiers of the Anglican
and Scottish Presbyterian Churches just at the outbreak of
their quarrel. The faithful, who when oppressed by Laud
at first fled before him to the Continent or emigrated to
America, now held together in congregations, which through
the closer spiritual union of their members satisfied their
need of common religious feeling. Something similar took
place in Ireland, in the colonies planted there by the
Scots, when Stafford tried to subject them to the yoke of
Canterbury. But the Congregationalists who then returned       [A.D. 1645.]
to Scotland did not again join the national Presbyterian
Church. They assisted gladly and efficiently in defeating
the power of the bishops--first in Scotland and then in
England, where they united with all the other separatists
who had been held down by Laud, but never crushed: but at
all times they persisted in trying to carry out their own
views. They not only opposed on principle the influence of
the State over the Church, but rejected the national as
well as the universal, hierarchy, the General Assembly of
the Scots as well as the English Convocation. They admitted
only a brotherly influence of the churches over each
other, consistent with co-ordinate authority: the right
to decide for the community they would acknowledge only
in the assembled congregation itself. In their system the
difference between clergy and laity vanished entirely, for
they had no objection to laymen preaching.

As they had taken part in the great war against the bishops
on the assumption that after victory they would be free
from all religious oppression, and had contributed perhaps
the most powerfully of all to the decision by their
influence over the city populations, they regarded it as
a hateful injustice that the Presbyterians refused them
toleration. The last act of union was in a certain sense
a declaration of war against the Independents, who in
consequence took no share in the Assembly of Divines.

With these ecclesiastical efforts were connected tendencies
both intellectual and political, allied to them by internal
analogy. The most important and most complete expression
of them we find in Milton. Without having himself had any
direct share in the religious changes, Milton advocated the
rights of the human spirit in its individual character.
He attacked the censorship of the press, which the
Presbyterians most strictly exercised, in a pamphlet[436]
which must be ranked as high in the literature of pamphlets
as any of Luther’s popular writings, or the Provincial
Letters of Pascal. It must be reckoned as the most eloquent
and powerful of all pleas for the liberty of the press: the    [A.D. 1645.]
natural claim of the truth-seeking spirit to unchecked
utterance is fully recognised in it. Milton is all the
more urgent on the subject because he sees his own people
inspired with an energy which presses forwards in all
directions and is striking out new paths. She sees the
light, says he; waking up from sleep she shakes her locks
filled with the strength of Samson. And this is the moment
at which men would oppress her with old restrictions, and
invoke against her the power of the State: as though it
were possible in great convulsions to escape a confused
variety of new opinions--as though it were not the worst
of all opinions to refuse to hear anything but what is
pleasing. And they dare to denounce as heretics men who for
their lives and faith, for their learning and pure intents,
merit the very highest esteem.

In similar contrast, and in fact on the basis of the
principle already adopted, appeared also political views of
the widest scope. It was declared a crying inconsistency
that the Scots, after denouncing their King from the pulpit
and taking up arms against him, should still acknowledge
him and seek to restore his power. Milton would not hear
of the combination of national sovereignty with divine
right, which formed the basis of the Scottish system, and
which floated also before the eyes of the Presbyterians in
England. If the crown were of divine right, no treaty with
it would be possible, for in that case the entire power
of the State would belong to the King. But men are born
free, they are the image of God: authority is conferred on
one for the sake of order, but the prince is not only not
the lord of the rest, he is their deputy: the magistrate
is above the people, but the law is above the magistrate.
Milton did not hesitate to maintain that the victory won
over the King in the struggle necessarily led to his fall,
to a change of government and of the laws.

With these views coincided the theories expressed by Henry
Vane, who was then perhaps the most conspicuous leader in
parliamentary affairs. He admitted that the supreme power
was of divine right, and obedience to it an indispensable
duty; but it depended on the people whether or not they        [A.D. 1645.]
would commit it to an individual, and on what conditions[437].
Since now the King had transgressed the conditions imposed
on him, and had been conquered in the war which broke out
in consequence, the people was in no way bound to revert to
the old form of government, but entered on the possession
of its original freedom: for the same end for which the
old government had been established they might now abolish
it, according to the idea of justice which was originally
implanted in man, and is interwoven with his being. The
republic was not yet directly pointed out as the ideal form
of government, but the right was claimed of resorting to it
at pleasure.

Never did these ideas find ground better prepared to
receive them, or more ready acceptance, than in the army,
which from the first had been formed on corresponding
principles. In the time of Manchester, who allowed it from
forbearance, the separatists who desired to take military
service gathered by preference round Cromwell, whose object
it was to lead into the field men of decided opinions[438].
His soldiers should be as incapable of looking behind them
as himself,--he actually made it an accusation against
the Lords that they were too prudent. These views were
now confirmed by success. The Independents and other
separatists had done the best work in the open field, as
in the city disturbances. They laughed at the Scots and
their moderation, which they held to be mere hypocrisy, a
mask from behind which to bring England under their sway.
For if it was allowable to make war against the King, it
was lawful to overthrow him, to imprison and put him to
death. How astonished were the Presbyterian preachers who      [A.D. 1645.]
followed Cromwell’s camp at the anti-royalist and
destructive spirit which prevailed in it[439]. Charles
I was regarded merely as the successor of William the
Conqueror, who had made his generals into lords, and his
captains into knights, the ancestors of the nobility and
gentry still subsisting: but all this had been founded on
the right of the sword, and might again be reversed by the
same right. They felt like successors of the Anglo-Saxon
population, again after long oppression regaining the
upper hand. Theoretically and historically they considered
themselves justified in overturning the existing State and
founding a new one.

We may observe the stages of the intentions which in
this contest were successively exhibited. At first it
was only intended to restore the full efficiency of the
Parliamentary régime: the elections in the autumn of
1640 were held with this in view. But the Parliament
when it assembled raised claims which would have given
it unconditional preponderance, a kind of political and
military omnipotence. The Scots and the Parliamentary
leaders in concert with them added the demand for the
subjection of the King to a Presbyterian system. As a
fourth step, the Independents rejected this form also, and
entirely disowned obedience to the King.

Nor were these in any sense empty theories: the
Independents had actually gained a power which was only
limited by the power of their opponents, who were the
King’s enemies also. It is asserted that on the publication
of the King’s letters captured at Naseby, which were read
everywhere throughout the country, they intended to induce
the people to demand his deposition, and upon this, it was
further planned to declare Charles I unfit to reign, and to
make the Earl of Northumberland, whom they hoped to carry
with them, Protector of the realm: in this way they would
have given a new form to the kingdom[440].

They could not however reckon on the assent of the
English people. In the counties Episcopalian sympathies
prevailed: in the capital Presbyterian opinions, in direct     [A.D. 1646.]
opposition to the Independents, were generally accepted.
For while the extravagances into which the sects fell,
appearing in various forms one after the other, necessarily
offended those who did not belong to them, the Presbyterian
preachers, after it came to an open breach in the Assembly,
distinctly attacked the Independents from the pulpit;
and they were still by far the more powerful. The common
people, sure of their faith, desired the Presbyterian
forms, stringent church discipline, even excommunication,
and rejected toleration. The elections to the Common
Council had hitherto been conducted on an understanding
between the Presbyterians and the separatists, but at the
end of the year 1645 Presbyterianism was dominant and the
sectarians were excluded. In January 1646 a fast day was
held in the city, at which the Covenant was renewed with
signature and oath. The next day the Mayor, Aldermen, and
Common Council presented a petition to Parliament for the
carrying out of church government in the Scottish fashion,
conformably to the Covenant.

In Parliament these views were not predominant, as may be
inferred from the fact that Henry Martin (who had been the
first to express decidedly anti-royalist sentiments--he
had said that it was better for one family to perish than
many--and had in consequence been driven from Parliament)
in January 1646 ventured to return thither. But there
was still a considerable Presbyterian party in the Lower
House, which had been not a little strengthened by the
result of the supplementary elections held in the autumn
of 1645[441]. In the Upper House the Lords, who saw
themselves slighted by the transformation of the army,
were inclined the same way: both foresaw their own ruin
if the Independents became entirely masters. Still they
calculated on being able to withstand them: they had on
their side the words of the treaties, and the interests of
the Scots, against whom the Independents were specially
hostile. The Scots greeted the manifestation in the city
with indescribable satisfaction: the Scottish Parliament
entered into direct communication with it; for the English
Parliament, it was said, notoriously can do nothing without    [A.D. 1646.]
the capital. One of the Scottish clergy exclaimed, that
after God he relied most on the capital of England.

But while a numerous party in Parliament, the city, and
the Scots were united against the Independents, who on
their side were equally well represented in Parliament, and
controlled the army, men’s eyes turned back to the King
in a new fashion. Although without any practical power,
the King could still, through the authority of his name,
which operated as a seal of legality, throw into the scale
a considerable weight in favour of the party which he

But how, it will be asked, could he possibly think of
drawing nearer to the Independent party, which was as
anti-royalist as it could be? A letter sent from Oxford to
Henry Vane in March 1646, with the King’s knowledge, to a
certain extent explains this[442]. It sought to convince
him that he would gain nothing by totally overthrowing
the King: the sole result would be the ruin of England at
home and abroad. The King wished at that time to come to
London, in order to deal in person with the Parliament.
After his appeal to arms had failed, he thought that he
should be able to return to much the same relations as had
subsisted before he quitted Whitehall in the beginning of
1642. The most difficult point of the negotiations to be
expected obviously lay in the Covenanting demands of the
Presbyterians in league with Scotland; and in order to
have any support against them, the King needed the aid of
the Independents. He appears to have believed that their
chief object was to obtain religious independence for their
congregations; and this should be for ever assured through
his authority; in alliance with them he would establish
freedom of conscience for them and for himself[443]. And
though they had once formed a league with the Presbyterians    [A.D. 1646.]
against the Episcopalian system, they now seemed not averse
to enter into a similar one with the King against the
Presbyterians. There were Independent influences at work
about the King and even about the Queen. With the latter
they were furthered chiefly by Percy, brother of the Earl
of Northumberland. The Scots and Presbyterians were so
much alarmed that they claimed the influence of the French
government with the Queen on their behalf.

We return to the dealings of the French government with
English affairs. The troubles in England had been of
indescribable advantage to France, by allowing her free
scope on the Continent: during this period the French in
alliance with Sweden had done serious mischief to the
strength of the house of Austria in Germany, and through
the risings in Portugal and Catalonia, to the Spanish
monarchy also: their power at this moment girdled the
world. After long hesitation, and as a last resource
against utter destruction, Charles I and his consort
offered to the French court an offensive and defensive
alliance; and Mazarin, who now governed the Regent
in relation to foreign affairs as completely as ever
Richelieu had done, was inclined to assent: but he would
not take part with Charles I in his domestic affairs;
he had recalled one of the plenipotentiaries sent to
England, Grecy, because he had connected himself too
closely with the King, and awakened mistrust of France
in Parliament. When he sent over Sabran, with whom we
are acquainted, in the spring of 1644, he instructed him
before making any further league with the King to bring
about a reconciliation between him and the Parliament, on
the supposition that the equilibrium between the two, on
which the due observance of the laws depended, would thus
be maintained. He was to support the just claims of Charles
I, but was not to help to make him monarch and lord of

Charles I had never any sympathy with Spain: the house         [A.D. 1645.]
of Braganza, under which Portugal was separated from the
Spanish monarchy, found support from him, and sought,
like the house of Orange, to obtain through him a
dynastic alliance: the Portuguese ambassador managed his
correspondence with his wife. Still it appeared to the
French that in the struggle between France and Spain he
leant rather to the Spanish side: they mistrusted the
presence in his council of Bristol and Digby, who had long
been known as representatives of the Spanish interest.
All the less were they disposed to contribute to the full
restoration of his power, so as to enable him possibly in
the future to be troublesome to them.

It is obvious that Sabran, who acted according to these
instructions, could effect but little. Apart from the
practical difficulties--for a full recognition of
Parliament must have preceded any negotiation--he could not
win the confidence of either party. Charles I observed with
astonishment that the ambassador, from whom he expected
the most active support to his cause, and an unequivocal
declaration in his favour, assumed the attitude of a
neutral[445]: he requested the Queen to apply in France
for his recall. On the other side, Parliament thought
that Sabran encouraged the King in his resistance, which
was actually true at least in relation to the religious
question. Sabran was commissioned also to deal with the
Scots; he was to warn them against too close a connexion
with England, since they would in that way gradually become
a province of the neighbouring country, and endanger their
old alliance with France. The Scots replied that their
view rather was to strengthen that alliance, and by means
of their union with England to bring that kingdom also to
join it: if an understanding between the King and the two
Parliaments could be achieved, he would himself announce
this alliance. They suggested the prospect that they
themselves, on the strength of their old treaties, and the
English with them, in agreement with France, would take
part in the war in Germany, primarily for the recovery of
the Palatinate--an undertaking which could not fail to gain    [A.D. 1645.]
them a great body of allies in Germany[446]. It is plain
that this implied no opposition to the French schemes, but
is rather a development of them. The Scots assumed that
they would retain the upper hand in England. The connexion
between France and Scotland seemed to both parties equally

The rise of the Independents contributed to the same
result. The French government was horrified at the idea
of their obtaining the superiority and changing England
into a republic. Such a state would be mightier than the
strongest kingdom: for as in republics all contribute to
the common resolutions, so every one strives his utmost to
carry them out. And if then the English republic should
unite with that of the Netherlands, they would form a power
quite irresistible, especially at sea[447]. Moreover so
successful a rebellion would afford a bad example to other
countries, and might easily lead them to imitate it. They
durst not let them attain their end.

In the summer of 1645 we find Montereuil in London,
resuming all the connexions which Bellièvre had formed,
and he himself had extended: he renewed the closest
intercourse with Lord Holland. Holland remarked that the
King had entered into a kind of correspondence with the
Independents, as believing that their views could never be
carried out, and that friendly relations with them would
be useful against the Presbyterians; but how much better
would it have been for him to come to an agreement with
the latter. For the views of the Independents pointed to
complete equality in both Church and State: it was their
purpose to destroy the very name of King of England: while
it was the wish of the Scots, and of the better part of
the English, to save the royal authority, only under
limitations which were certainly hard, but were based on
the old laws. He thought that it could not go against
the King’s conscience to acknowledge the Presbyterian
form of church, which approached far more nearly than did
that of the Independents to the episcopal form, inasmuch       [A.D. 1646.]
as it made some church control and subordination possible.
He requested that the influence of France might be used to
bring the King round to an understanding with the Scots and
Presbyterians: moreover he himself hoped thereby to regain
the favour of the King and Queen. Montereuil said that he
had instructions to assure him that his leading would be
followed in this respect, and that by bringing about such
an understanding he would earn immortal fame, and in the
future be the first man in England[448].

It was actually to Holland that the idea first occurred
that the King should retire to the Scottish army: so long
as the King in any way kept the field, he had thought of
other expedients; but when Bristol surrendered, and that
defeat had been sustained near Chester, he saw no other
means of resisting the Independents save by throwing the
King into the arms of the Scots[449]. There he would
find support enough to compel the Independents to accept
endurable terms.

It is obvious that this fully suited the French policy.
It seemed the best means of bringing about that connexion
between the English Presbyterians, the Scots, and the King,
by which not only the supremacy of the Independents might
be hindered, but also grand prospects might be opened for
the domination of France in Europe. A negotiation was
begun, which by the manner in which it succeeded, and yet
at the same time did not succeed, exercised an important
influence over subsequent events.

The French above all things desired to get security from
the Scots that they would grant the King endurable terms
if he acceded to the proposal. They informed Loudon and
Balmerino, the commissioners then in London, that otherwise
it might be more advantageous for the King to deal with the
Independents than with them and the Presbyterians. They
tried to show that the future independence of Scotland
depended on this combination. Loudon said that he could not
undertake to make any alteration in the articles agreed        [A.D. 1646.]
on between the two Parliaments, but gave them to understand
that concessions would be made to the King’s wishes on
points not irrevocably settled; thus in military affairs
they would accept the proposals made by him at Uxbridge;
in relation to Ireland they would allow new deliberations
in regular parliamentary course; they would spare Digby,
whom they would even seek to gain, and other enemies of
Parliament in the King’s suite: he made himself answerable
for carrying these things in Scotland. He was asked whether
and how he expected to bring the Independents to accept
these conditions: he answered that he would demand it by
reason of the treaties subsisting between the two kingdoms,
and should they refuse, he would compel them by force[450].

There were schemes on foot not merely for saving the
King, but for the formation of a widespread combination
for the repression of the Independents, when Montereuil,
by instruction of his court, and in concert with the
Presbyterians, went to Oxford to induce the King to take
refuge in the Scottish camp. It was just at the moment
when the last Royalist corps in Cornwall surrendered
and was dispersed. Montereuil represented to the King
that especially after the last demonstrations of the
city of London he could retain no hope of preventing the
introduction of the Presbyterian system: it was virtually
established, and was an evil that the King must put up
with, since some good might be derived from it. It is
certain that the King had given up the hope of achieving
anything permanent: he even promised to give full
satisfaction on this point, the only one on which it had to
be given, provided they would require of him nothing that
went against his conscience[451]. He had always thought
of coming himself to London for the negotiations: that
being shown to be impracticable, he now promised to betake     [A.D. 1646.]
himself to the Scottish camp, it being assumed that there
his conscience and his honour would be respected, and his
attendants safe. It was not his own idea, but he accepted
it, as seeming to offer him an endurable solution. He
declared that he was ready to let himself be instructed
in the Presbyterian system, and in general to satisfy the
Scots in that matter, so far as a corresponding promise was
made to him by them. The question is, did they give him
such a promise, did they promise him liberty of conscience,
royal honour, and security for his followers, in the sense
in which he asked it?

A declaration of the governing committee in Scotland, which
Colonel Murray, who was to manage the mediation of the
French crown with the King, laid before Cardinal Mazarin
in Paris, certainly says that the King, if he comes into
the Scottish camp, shall be received there with honour, and
stay there in all security: but there is bound up with it
the demand that he shall first assent to the introduction
of Presbyterianism, accept the conditions proposed at
Uxbridge, and make himself responsible for carrying these
things forward with the advice of the two Parliaments.
In this case they promised him not only security, but
restoration to his dignity, greatness, and authority. It
appears that the committee hoped at this moment to carry
its point, and make Presbyterianism, with the King at the
head, dominant in England as well as in Scotland: it would
not be content with any conditional concession.

There is however no doubt that their plenipotentiary
in France went a step further. According to Mazarin’s
assertion in an official document (Bellièvre’s
instructions), Murray, who worked in the profoundest
secrecy, since nothing must be known in London, expressly
and directly promised, in the name of the Scots, that the
King should not be forced in his conscience[452]. Murray
afterwards made some other promises in favour of his
adherents, which the Scottish plenipotentiaries in London
confirmed, at least by word of mouth.

Depending on this, and no doubt also on the influence          [A.D. 1646.]
which it could always exert to procure the fulfilment
of these promises, the French government empowered its
emissary, Montereuil, to promise all this to King Charles
in the name of the Queen-Regent and King of France:
honourable treatment suitable to his dignity, liberty of
conscience, a good reception for all who should accompany
him, reconciliation with his adherents, defence of his

Very far from finding the acceptance of these conditions
degrading, Charles I saw in them the foundation for a
junction between the forces still left to him and the
Scottish army. He informed Montrose that when the Scots
should have openly declared themselves to this effect,
and guaranteed a complete amnesty to him, the Earl, and
his adherents, he might then unite his troops with those
of the Parliament. When he informed his wife, who had
wished for the connexion with the Scots, of his assent,
he requested her to contrive that France should procure
him an honourable peace, or if such were not attainable,
then should support him with arms, in alliance with the
States-General and the Prince of Orange[454]. Always
sanguine, and full of the highest hopes, he thought he was
forming an alliance which should yet gain him the victory.

The Scots in the army however did not understand the matter
thus. The Chancellor had a meeting with the committee at
Royston, the result of which, to Montereuil’s astonishment,
was quite different from what had been promised him in
London. They would have no open meeting with the King, as
this might involve them in difficulties with the English
Parliament. The King must declare that he was on his way
to Scotland, only under this pretext would they be able
to receive him: but he must not bring with him a single        [A.D. 1646.]
company of his troops. The stipulations in favour of
his adherents were rejected or limited; an immediate
recognition of Presbyterianism was pointed out as highly
desirable. Montereuil did not know whether or not to
advise the King, under these limitations, to carry out the
concerted plan.

While Charles was preparing with Prince Rupert, who in
his growing embarrassments had returned to his side and
formed a guard for him, to break through the hostile troops
that were continually approaching nearer, and so to push
for Scotland, he received these tidings. He was intensely
disgusted, seeing in it a return of the Scots ‘to their old
detestable treachery’: for a moment all was in confusion.

In this grievous perplexity the King once more turned to
the Parliamentary troops of the Independent faction, and
offered the Commissary-General to come into the midst of
them, if he would promise to honour and maintain his royal
dignity. The same proposal was also made to some officers
of the troops that were besieging Woodstock: they agreed,
if their superiors approved, to send safe conducts for the
King’s plenipotentiaries, with a view to closer conference:
they were expected at Oxford with the most painful anxiety,
but they never arrived. The Independent generals were not
yet inclined to enter blindly into relations with the King.

A detailed contemporary report relates that the King had
yet a third alternative offered to him, that the Lord
Mayor of London had undertaken to keep him safe if he came
to the city, and that the plan had even been formed for
his appearance at a review of the militia, fixed for May
5 in Hyde Park, but that Parliament had been informed of
the scheme and postponed the review. The story is of a
somewhat apocryphal character and wrong in its date[455],
and therefore cannot be accepted; but it is true that a
review was to have been held, and was put off by Parliament
on pretexts which have no importance[456]. The Parliament      [A.D. 1646.]
declared it to be high treason secretly to receive and
harbour the King: it forbade any Royalist to remain
in London or its vicinity. Its resolutions betray
agitation, and a fear that the King would find sympathy
among the people. He would not have been freed in London
from the necessity of assenting to the introduction of
Presbyterianism; but the court at Oxford was convinced that
the city would not compel him to such hard conditions, and
that his liberty of conscience would be safer than with the
Scots[457]. And in fact the King all but took the way to
London. He did not take his two nephews with him, though
that had been his intention hitherto, for Rupert was easily
recognisable by his great stature, and was hated in the
country. Attended only by his captain, Hudson, and the
faithful Ashburnham, whose servant he pretended to be, with
a valise behind his saddle, Charles I on April 27 quitted
Oxford, and reached Brentford and Harrow-on-the-Hill, in
the immediate neighbourhood of the capital: and here the
King was very near venturing into London itself[458]. But
the vigilance of Parliament seems to have been too severe,
his prospects not clear enough. After remaining there two
days in concealment, during which fresh negotiations had
been entered into with the Scots, he at last resolved
to betake himself to their camp at Newark. Although his
earlier dealings with them had had no result, yet he did
not appear quite as a fugitive seeking help. His arrival
gave the Scots an advantage; for they were much afraid of
his falling, in one way or another, into the hands of the
Independents, and giving to their views the authority of
his name: it was much better and safer if the King found
shelter in their camp. The English troops who were taking
part in the siege of Newark, were not only astonished, but
also jealous, at seeing their King enter the abode of the
French ambassador, near their quarters in Southwell, and soon
afterwards, surrounded by Scottish troops, remove to the       [A.D. 1646.]
head-quarters of General Lesley. The Scots were afraid
that the English army, which was far stronger than theirs,
might try to carry off the King by force[459]. In London
this unexpected dénouement produced the greatest impression
on both sides. The Presbyterians were satisfied; the
Independents, says Baillie, were very wroth thereat.

After Newark had been surrendered to the English troops at
the wish of the Scots, with consent of the King--for they
did not wish to excite their jealousy any further--they
hastened to conduct him to Newcastle, near their own
frontier. They knew perfectly well how valuable he was
to them. They calculated that his presence would serve
to keep in dependence the still unconquered Royalists in
Scotland, and above all the English Presbyterians. They
thought further that the King would ultimately not refuse
to sign the Covenant, whereupon they would strengthen his
authority. Their object was to bring to completion that
combination which has been so often mentioned, with the
French, the King, and the English Presbyterians, who formed
the most numerous party in the country, and by this means
to make head against the Independents.


[436] Areopagitica. Milton’s Prose Works ii. 48.

[437] ‘The power which is directive and states and
ascertains the morality of the rule for obedience, is in
the law of God: but the original, whence all just power
arises, which is magistratical and coercitive, is from the
will or free gift of the people who may either keep the
power in themselves, or give up their subjection and will
in the hand of another.’ (Vane, The People’s Case Stated.)

[438] Baillie, September 16, 1644. ‘Manchester a sweet
meek man permitted his lieutenant Ol. Cromwell to guide
all the army at his pleasure--being a known independent,
the most of the Sojours (soldiers) who loved new wayes put
themselves under his command.’ 20 October: ‘All sectaries
who pleased to be sojours, for a long time casting
themselves from all the other, arrived under his command in
one bodie.’

[439] Reliquae Baxterianae 50.

[440] So Lord Holland told the French minister Montereuil:
‘ils avoient dispose des séditieux aux lieux où la lecture
s’en devait faire, avec ordre de porter le peuple à la
demande de la déposition de leur roi.’

[441] Memoirs of Denzil Lord Hollis, in Maseres i. 207.

[442] Copies of two letters sent to the Independent party
by H. M’s command. Clarendon Papers ii. 226. The first
begins ‘You cannot suppose the work is done, though God
should suffer you to destroy the King.’

[443] ‘If Presbytery shall be so strongly insisted upon as
that there can be no peace without it, you shall certainly
have all the power my master can make to join with you in
rooting out of this kingdom that tyrannical government,
with this condition, that my master may not have his
conscience disturbed, yours being free when the work is

[444] Instruction à M. de Sabran, 29 Août, 1644: ‘Le
favoriser en tout pour rétablir la légitime autorité,
sans pourtant paroître de vouloir élever la puissance
si haut, que le roi deviendroit seigneur et monarque de
l’Angleterre, où les loix faisant contrepoids à la trop
grande puissance des rois doivent être maintenues en leur
entier pour apaiser les esprits et assoupir les troubles.’

[445] Holograph of Charles I, Nov. 1644. ‘Either he
complyes not with his instructions, or France is not so
much our friend as we hope for.’ (St. P. O.)

[446] Observations sur une lettre de Mr. Jermyn. ‘Les
Ecossois feront entrer les Anglais dans une ligue et
alliance avec la France, si elle le désire.’

[447] Instruction à Mr. de Bellièvre (Ambassade de

[448] Dépêche de Montereuil, Août 14/24, 1645.

[449] Montereuil, Oct. 12, 1645. ‘Il me dit qu’il n’y avoit
plus qu’un moyen pour sauver le roy de la Gr. Bretagne, qui
serait de luy conseiller de se jetter dédans l’armée des

[450] The question was asked of them ‘Comment ils peuvent
obliger les indépendants à accepter les dites propositions,
et ce qu’ils feront si elles sont refusées par les dits
independants. Answer 1. Par les raisons de l’alliance faite
entre eux (les deux nations), et 2. par la force même, s’il
est nécessaire.’ (Protocol in Montereuil’s papers.)

[451] Several messages sent by his Majesty to the Scots
commissioners. Clarendon Papers ii. 219, 220.

[452] ‘Qu’il tiouveroit toute sorte de sûreté dans leur
armée, qu’il y serait reçu avec honneur, qu’on n’y
forceroit point sa conscience, qu’au cas que le parlement
d’Angleterre luy vouloit ôter ses justes prerogatives, ils
se declareroient pour les assurer.’

[453] ‘That the King of Great Britain shall put himself
into the Scots army, he shall be there received as their
natural sovereign, and that he shall be with them in all
freedom of his conscience and honour.’ Montereuil refers
thereupon to ‘Les promesses que j’avois eu de leur part à

[454] ‘To give me a noble and friendly assistance by arms.’
Charles to Henrietta Maria, April 6.

[455] Racconto della fuga del re d’Inghilterra d’Oxonia al
campo scozzese, scritta da un cavaliere Inglese, Londra
17 Giugno 1646. Min. Rom. ‘Quando avesse trovato mezzo
di trasferirsi incognito al luogo destinato, l’averebbe
accolto in mezzo dell’ esercito.’

[456] Journals of Commons, 4 May. Rushworth vi. 267.

[457] Ashburnham Narrative: ‘They supposing that if H. Maj,
could have come safe to London--they would have accepted
him with much more moderation.’ Ashburnham himself does
not seem to have been convinced of the reality of the

[458] Hudson: ‘Where he was almost persuaded to come to

[459] Private memorandum for Lord Balcarres, May 4, 1646.
Appendix to Baillie ii. 514. Cp. Letter to Spang, May 15,
ib. 370.



Externally the Scots treated the King with all the respect
due to his rank; but they allowed him no liberty whatever.
On the march to Newcastle, which was made with the utmost
haste--for they were always afraid of opposition from
the Independent army--the King sought to ascertain how
they were inclined towards him from an officer whom he
trusted[460]. As this man was telling him that he must
regard himself as a prisoner, Lesley gave him a proof of
the fact by peremptorily interrupting the conversation.
Only Montereuil, to whom it could not be refused, was
allowed to see the King occasionally; otherwise no one was
admitted. The sentinels posted round his quarters were
ordered to keep good watch on the windows, that letters
might not be thrown out unobserved and received below. The
Scots wished to separate their King from all the world,
and keep him exclusively under their own influence; for
their main object was to induce him actually to make the
concessions which were necessary to the consolidation of
Presbyterianism in Scotland and in England.

As Charles I had already declared himself willing to
receive instruction in Presbyterianism, an attempt was
first of all made to convince him of the truth of that
system. Alexander Henderson, whom the King already liked,
was immediately despatched to Newcastle, to ‘heal the
prince as a good physician of the predilection which he had
for the Episcopalian system.’ This predilection however        [A.D. 1646.]
was in the King not merely a matter of feeling, but
depended on conviction, grounded on theological study.
It has always been a matter of wonder that the King was
so well able, without extraneous help, to encounter the
trained Presbyterian controversialist in the correspondence
which was preferred to oral discussion[461].

Above all things he maintained firmly that his standpoint
was a sound one both in right and historically, for that
the English Reformation had been made by those whose
right to do so could not be called in question, and that
in it there had been no intention of abolishing any of
the things which had been in use in the Christian Church
ever since the times of the Apostles. Henderson repeated
in relation to the first point the old Scottish doctrine,
that if the prince neglected the necessary reformation,
the right passed to the lower magistrates; and in relation
to Episcopacy, that it could not be shown to exist in the
first centuries. The King asked whether this last was not
the case with the Presbyterian system, for he thought that
nothing had been heard of it until Calvin. He required a
scriptural proof of the lower magistrates’ right to make
reforms. Beyond this he added that he was bound by the
oath taken at his coronation to maintain the Episcopal
establishment. Henderson remarked that the oath lost its
binding force when remitted by those for whose advantage
it was taken, as had been done in the present case through
Parliament. Charles answered that he had taken this oath
not to Parliament, but to the English Church, which was not
dependent on Parliament. Henderson replied that it was to
the Church in its entirety, for the safety of the people
was ever the highest law. The King did not admit that this
constituted any release from his oath, for on those grounds
we might set aside all laws.

The King resisted Henderson’s arguments: but might he not
be so far impressed by them as to be inclined to give way
on the representation of its being absolutely necessary?

The English Parliament had again discussed the Uxbridge        [A.D. 1646.]
propositions, altered them in some points, and resolved
to present them once more to the King: but now no
further negotiation was to be allowed; he must accept
the propositions simply, like parliamentary bills. The
Scots were affected by some of these alterations; among
others the control of military matters, over which they
had before been allowed some influence, was claimed
exclusively for the English Parliament. They were well
aware of this, but considering that the chief contents of
the old propositions, namely the abolition of the Episcopal
system and the substitution of Presbyterianism, were
still retained, they deemed it better to give way on the
remaining points[462]. At the delivery of the propositions
on July 24 at Newcastle, the Chancellor of Scotland
insisted as strongly as possible that the King must accept
them without further delay. He told him plainly that if he
refused he would lose all his friends in Parliament, the
city and the country, that England would rise as one man
against him, that they would bring him to trial, depose
him, and settle the kingdom without him to the ruin of
him and his posterity. But the King had already formed
his resolution. He did not believe that all the threats
uttered by the Scots would be fulfilled, but if even the
worst came he would not yield to these demands. The English
commissioners declared, as they were instructed, that they
could enter into no discussion: their orders were to return
within ten days to London with Yes or No. The King however
still gave an evasive answer, insisting on the necessity of
a fresh debate.

It was not in this Prince’s nature to give way to threats:
the expectation of a political reaction in his favour
formed a stronger inducement. The Scots had in view not
merely the maintenance of their control over the King:
his compliance would also serve them as a weapon against
the Independents, whose influence in Parliament was daily
growing, from whom the greater stringency of the conditions
had mainly proceeded, and who wished for nothing so much
as for the failure of all negotiations. For what the Scots     [A.D. 1646.]
most wished, the establishment of Presbyterianism, the
Independents most abhorred. It was clear that the King’s
procrastinating answer, which they represented as a
refusal, was acceptable and advantageous to them.

Could no means be found, not so much for informing the
King, for he knew the facts already, but for convincing him
that it was to his own interest, since the Independents
openly threatened the monarchy, to unite against them with
the Presbyterians, who would retain at least the form of
royal power? Might he not by this consideration be induced
to make a concession which otherwise he would refuse?

This was the point of view from which the state of things
was represented to the newly arrived French ambassador.
It was the same Bellièvre whom we have met with once
before at a fatal moment as representative of France
in England. He renewed his old acquaintance with Lord
Holland, receiving his suggestions chiefly in the social
circles to which the latter belonged, at the houses of
Lady Carlisle and the Countess of Devonshire: but how
different was their tone from what it had been at the time
of his first residence! Then Lord Holland had been one of
the most active leaders of the opposition to the King;
now he saw himself threatened by a party which had risen
up since, far more resolute, and really anti-monarchical:
he and his friends sought to lean on the King. Bellièvre
was convinced that the further rise of the Independents
would annihilate the crown altogether, and that the only
escape lay in an alliance with the Presbyterians; for these
latter now again spoke favourably of monarchy: in London
men seemed to regret having gone so far, and declared
themselves ready to restore to the King such authority
as his ancestors had possessed[463]. The Scots promised
to intercede for the Queen, especially to procure the
return of the banished members of her household: but they
insisted on the unconditional and immediate acceptance of
the propositions, for on this it depended whether they
could think of disbanding the army, which would of itself      [A.D. 1646.]
put an end to the power of the Independents; and then it
would also be possible to limit the further duration of the
Parliament to a definite time, on the expiration of which
it should dissolve. They also gave a hope that the King
might be relieved from giving his personal adherence to the
Covenant[464]. The ambassador adopted these views without
hesitation: he could see no means of saving the crown and
state of England except in the unconditional acceptance by
the King of the propositions offered. He sent Montereuil
to Paris, instructing him to use every means to induce
the court, in consideration of the pressing danger and
of the private interests of France, to approve the terms
and recommend them to the Queen, whose influence with the
King gave some reason to expect that he might even yet be
induced to accept the propositions[465].

The propositions of Newcastle were discussed in every shape
in the French council; but much as they wished to see an
agreement between the King and the Presbyterians, they
never for an instant hesitated to reject them, as ruinous
to the Catholic Church and in complete contradiction to the
conditions claimed for the Queen of England: moreover one
king could not possibly advise another to strip himself of
the characteristic marks of sovereignty, which would be
exciting all neighbouring nations to similar rebellion.
Queen Henrietta herself was decidedly against it: the
promise that the King should not be compelled to sign the
Covenant, and that Parliament should be dissolved, she
treated as vain and chimerical. Bellièvre had expressed
the opinion that the King might hereafter revoke what he
now granted. The Queen observed that if he signed the
propositions he would give them legal validity, and neither
he nor his successors would ever be able to free themselves
from them, for the people would never suffer themselves
to be deprived of them again: he would be changing an
usurpation into a legal right. And when Bellièvre expressed
the apprehension that they would try the King and depose       [A.D. 1646.]
him, and set up an independent government under the third
prince, the Duke of Gloucester, the Queen thought that even
this would be better than that Charles I should in solemn
form deprive himself of his power, and clothe Parliament
with it. Cardinal Mazarin fully concurred in all this; for
they durst not let it come to pass that the King should
remain such in name only[466].

Two points especially of the propositions repeated at
Newcastle appeared to France inadmissible; one, that
the power to dispose of the army and to raise the means
necessary for its maintenance should be given over for
twenty years, dating from July 1, 1646, into the hands
of the Parliament, as well in Scotland as in England and
Ireland; the other that a great list should be drawn up of
classes of persons disqualified to receive any amnesty,
comprising all those, Scots as well as Englishmen, who
had ever supported the King’s cause in the field or in

The French statesmen had a double motive for not wishing
to give the Independents the opportunity of possessing
themselves of the supreme authority: they were afraid
of their anti-monarchical doctrines and their general
influence in Europe, but moreover they feared that Great
Britain might form a compact power on principles opposite
to their own. They did not however mean to avert these
dangers by recommending concessions which were contrary to
monarchy as understood in France, but by influence over the
Scots and renewal of their league with them.

Bellièvre, who in his earlier mission had worked chiefly
for this object, was instructed to represent to them his
astonishment that, after giving the King, when at the
advice of France and to their great advantage he came to
their camp, reason to hope for more favourable terms, they
should now wish to compel him to accept less favourable
ones: they would in this way make an enemy for ever of
their King, who might yet recover his power: but if they       [A.D. 1646.]
would support him now, France would be for ever bound to
them, would not only secure them against the enmity of the
English, but would even take their part if Charles I should
ever break his promises to them, and would be inclined
in the pending negotiations for a general peace to make
the concessions necessary for attaining it, so as to be
able in the next spring, before there was anything to be
apprehended even from the Independent army, to give them

France was at this time at the height of her military power
and political influence in the world: she hoped before the
end of the year to establish her position by the conclusion
of peace at Munster: and then it was the purpose of her
leading minister to interfere actively in English affairs,
and support with all his strength the union between Charles
I and the Scots, which he hoped meanwhile to bring to

For this connexion concessions were necessary, and the
French court was entirely in favour of their being made,
but not of so comprehensive a kind as was demanded. Queen
Henrietta Maria warned her husband afresh against accepting
the Covenant; but she admitted that Bellièvre was right in
thinking that the Episcopalian system must be given up. She
well knew, she said, how distasteful this was to the King,
and it was equally so to herself, but there was no means of
saving the bishops without ruining himself. If he fell they
were irretrievably lost, whereas he might restore them, if
he again attained power. All seemed to her to depend on
his not giving up his prerogative in relation to the armed
force, the right of the militia; for then he would have
the means, and God would give him still more--she meant
French help--to restore all. The disorder in Ireland was
dying out: she had received from Scotland offers of great
importance, and from the Queen of Sweden satisfactory          [A.D. 1646.]
assurances of friendship. If the King stood fast, and
abandoned neither his friends nor the right of the militia,
their cause might yet prosper.

Ever since July Bellièvre had been with the King at
Newcastle. He had entered into more intimate relations with
him than might have been expected from the incidents of his
first mission, but they seemed forgotten in the whirl of
later events. Bellièvre wondered at the tranquillity with
which the King awaited the terrible events impending: he
said that he admired it, but could not imitate it[469].

Some Scots also repaired to Newcastle, where the forms of
the court were still observed; amongst them Charles I’s old
confidant, Hamilton, who had been released in the course
of events from his imprisonment at Pendennis, appeared one
day when the King gave audience. It was observed that both
blushed when their eyes met: Hamilton would have retired
among the rest of those present, but the King called him
to his side. In fact he had never believed in the actual
guilt of his old friend, and when he declared this, the
old confidence was at once restored between them: the King
said that Hamilton would not quit him in his misfortunes,
and Hamilton replied that he was ready to fulfil the King’s

But thereupon Hamilton urged him to give way on the subject
of religion, as without this he would never win to his
side either the Scots or the city of London, on which all
depended. Others, who were regarded as a middle party
between Argyle and Hamilton, promised the King shelter in
the country and armed assistance, but they made the same
condition. The King was firmly resolved not to accept
it; and among his attendants there was at least one who
gave him some hope that this unendurable necessity might
be spared him. This was Murray, who was on confidential
terms with many leading men in England and Scotland, and
knew their opinions. The King formed a very close intimacy
with him, and with his aid in the first half of October
concocted an answer to the last propositions, which he
hoped would find acceptance in London and in time at least,
might bring about a happy result.

It was not the French policy, though that was now backed       [A.D. 1646.]
by his wife, whose counsels usually had the greatest
weight with him, that the King adopted: on the contrary,
without any such exclusive reference to the Scots as
France recommended, he still hoped to attain his end by
the course of reconciliation with the English Parliament
once before tried. He accepted those of the propositions
which related to repression of the Papists: he declared
himself ready to give satisfaction to the Parliament in all
that concerned Ireland, in reference to war and religion:
while pronouncing a general amnesty most desirable, he
promised to go as far in the way of limiting it as honour
and justice allowed. He said further that it was impossible
for him to deprive himself for ever of the sword, and place
it unconditionally in the hands of Parliament; but since
it appeared necessary for the establishment and security
of peace, he would leave the right of the militia by land
and sea in the hands of Parliament for ten years, on the
condition however that afterwards it should stand as in
the times of his father and Queen Elizabeth. He implored
the members of Parliament, by their duty as Englishmen
and Christians, to accept this offer and thereby restore

There was still left the chief demand, concerning the
abolition of the Episcopalian establishment. The idea
occurred to the King himself, that in respect to this also
he might by a temporary concession calm their minds and
at the same time not violate his conscience: everything
should stay for three years in the present condition, and
during that time the question should be discussed from
all sides by a new committee, and ultimately settled in
the old parliamentary fashion. Even about this he had
scruples, and would not make the proposal until he had
received the assurance of two distinguished bishops--those
of London and Salisbury--that he might do so with an easy
conscience[471]. He requested them to tell him their
opinion freely and candidly, as they would answer for it       [A.D. 1646.]
at the Judgment Day. The bishops answered that, assuming
it to be the King’s firm resolve not to depart from his
coronation oath, and to maintain the Established Church, to
which end the new proposals were meant to serve, they were
of opinion that he would not be breaking his oath by making
them, for he was only allowing for a time what he could not

Thus assured by an episcopal judgment which he valued very
highly, the King offered to sanction the Presbyterian
establishment with all its forms, and the order of public
worship already adopted, for a term of three years,
without prejudice to his own personal liberty: a definite
arrangement to be resolved on after that time by himself
and the two Houses of Parliament, after new consultations
of the committee with the Assembly of Divines[473].

These were the first definite offers made by King Charles
after his defeat. They are closely connected with those
suggested by him at Uxbridge through his representatives;
but compared with them are certainly much more
comprehensive. The right of the militia is handed over to
the Parliament, no longer for three years and jointly with
the King, but completely and for ten years. He offered not
a meaningless approximation to the Presbyterian system,
but an effective recognition of it for several years.
Nevertheless his own standpoint, it is easy to discern,
was still not materially changed. The King contemplated
a return to the old state of things, unconditionally in
respect to the first point: as to the second he clearly
expected that it would follow.

The doubt was whether he would effect anything by this.
The first storm he had to withstand was from his wife. She
had wished, in accordance with the French policy, that
he should firmly hold to his temporal rights and make
extensive concessions as to religion. Instead of this
Charles I gave way a step further in temporal matters, but
in religious matters conceded so little that he could not      [A.D. 1646.]
have hoped to obtain any result in Scotland. The Queen
told him that he seemed not to value the right of the
militia highly enough, and that if his conscience would
allow him to comply in the religious question for three
years, he might well have given way further to save his

The King was much concerned at the opposition of his wife,
whose esteem and love was a great consolation to him in
all his troubles; but even against her he stood firm. He
replied that military strength did not form so thoroughly
stable a power in England as perhaps in France, and that he
did not surrender his rights: so too he held to his claims
as to religion--the temporary compliance which he offered
would not wound his conscience, but further he would not
be urged to go. His previous ill-fortune he regarded as
the punishment of God for the weakness of which he had
been guilty in allowing the execution of Strafford and the
exclusion of the bishops from Parliament. The abolition of
the Episcopalian system would be a relapse into the same
error, would draw down the wrath of God upon him afresh,
and deprive him of his settled peace of mind--he should
fall into despair.

Charles then had an idea of resigning the supreme power
to the Prince of Wales; if he could reconcile it to his
conscience to make greater concessions to the Scots, he
might do so. But neither his wife nor the Prince would hear
of this: Mazarin also and Bellièvre deemed the project too
dangerous. They would have been afraid of a republic being
immediately proclaimed, and perhaps obtaining control of
the three kingdoms.

As the royal authority could not be induced to grant the
chief demand of the Scots, the French had no other resource
for carrying out their plan, except to try how far the
Scots would be satisfied with the King’s concessions.
At the beginning of December, 1646, his answer to the
propositions was sent to them, and met with a very
unfavourable reception. The limitation to three years of
the recognition of Presbyterianism, the exemption of the
royal family from all pledges to conform to it, the entire
omission of any mention of the Covenant, displeased the
zealous Scots in the highest degree. The French did not        [A.D. 1646.]
yet despair of bringing about a good understanding: once
more Montereuil repaired to Scotland with instructions to
suggest a prospect of the open intervention of France in
favour of the King, and to promise splendid rewards to all
who should take part in the great work of restoring the
King[474]. Montereuil spoke first with Hamilton and his
friends: they assured him that they were ready to shed
their blood for their King, but that they should be able
to achieve nothing for him with their countrymen unless he
signed the Covenant. Montereuil hurried next to the middle
party, with which Bellièvre had had dealings, Traquair,
Calander, Roxburgh, Morton: they declared that they could
do nothing without the Hamiltons, and also required the
concession which was not to be obtained from the King.
In Parliament a resolution was passed in opposition to
more moderate proposals, to insist on the acceptation of
the propositions as a whole, and if the King refused, to
provide for the government of the country without him. The
Church Assembly expressed itself to the same effect: the
King should never be received in the country unless he
accepted the Covenant, and gave a satisfactory answer in
respect to the propositions[475].

Thus this negotiation also miscarried. Bellièvre attempted
to open to the King the chance of flight to Ireland or
the Scottish Highlands, for he must stay in one of his
kingdoms, so as to be able to form a party: but even
an attempt at such a thing proved impracticable; in
consequence of a fresh turn in politics the vigilance
around his person had been doubled.

Turning away from all dealings which might lead to a
one-sided alliance with the King and with France, the
Scots had again come to terms with the English Parliament.
Their religious zeal was satisfied by Presbyterianism
being now in fact introduced into England: lay elders had
been chosen and church sessions established in London:         [A.D. 1647.]
the Assembly of Divines were proceeding to compile a
catechism and confession. The Scots had no objection to the
King being kept for the future in custody in England: they
hoped that either he would thus be brought to accept the
propositions, or that without this form they would succeed
in carrying out their old purposes. This concession was
joined to a new agreement, whereby all differences between
England and Scotland were fully settled: the English
agreed to pay all arrears due to the Scots, £400,000 in
all, £200,000 at once in two instalments: the Scots agreed
to quit England; the first instalment was to be paid to
them before they recrossed the Tyne, the second directly

We shall soon see what views, as against other common
enemies, were at the bottom of this reconciliation. The
immediate consequence was that the King’s answer to the
propositions had no effect in England; for as the Scots,
who had no reason for being entirely satisfied with them,
held firmly to them, it was not likely that the English
Parliament, from which they proceeded, should abandon
them. It was agreed that the King should be brought to
Holmby House, and remain there until he gave his assent
to the last proposals: the Scots only stipulated that
the constitution should not be further altered, nor the
succession interfered with. The moderate members of the
English Parliament readily assented, for they hoped,
having these fixed points to rely on, that they would be
better able to resist the opposite party, which aimed at
abolishing the monarchy. The Presbyterians of the two
countries, being thus united, hoped to establish for ever
their joint supremacy.

The execution of these arrangements, when once decided
on, was not delayed for a moment. The money payment
was brought in a somewhat offensive way into connexion
with the surrender of the King. On January 21, 1646/7,
Thursday, the first payment towards the stipulated sum
was made near Northallerton, both parties appearing with
military escorts: on the following Saturday the English
commissioners arrived at Newcastle, to inform the King
that he must follow them. It was Lord Pembroke, who in the
most submissive form, not omitting the three reverences        [A.D. 1647.]
practised at Whitehall, made these announcements to
the King. He told him that he was deputed by Parliament
to follow him to Holmby, and be at his service on the
journey[476]. The King as usual begged for time to consider
it. He spoke first with the deputies from Scotland, who
gave him to understand, though in the gentlest terms
which they could find, that the Scottish Parliament fully
concurred. They informed him that their garrison would quit
Newcastle, and an English one enter in their stead. On
Saturday, the 30th, the Scots quitted Newcastle, and the
English entered: in the afternoon an English guard entered
the King’s presence under arms instead of the Scottish
one. The Scottish deputies left him, after presenting
a declaration of their Parliament in relation to his
surrender: and the English entered in their stead: the
latter told him that he would be received with joy by his
people (always assuming that he accepted the Covenant),
and that never had a King been more powerful in England
than he should be. He fixed February 3 for the day of his
departure: they made short journeys by day, so as not to
be exposed at night-fall to any disasters, or inconvenient
demonstration. All the magic effect of the reverence,
which for centuries had been shewn to the wearer of the
crown, still remained with Charles I. Crowds streamed in
from all sides, in order to be cured, according to the
old belief, by his health-giving touch, in such numbers
that the concourse had to be stopped by proclamation. When
they reached Holmby--a country house built by Christopher
Hatton in the splendid style of the Elizabethan age, that
at a later date had passed into the hands of the royal
family--the strictest confinement was ordered as lately
at Newcastle. No man durst approach the King, who had not
committed himself to the new order of things by accepting
the protest and the Covenant. Even of these the sentinels
let none pass, who could not produce written leave from
the commissioners, through whose hands all letters which
concerned him, had to pass. The treatment of the King
recalls what his grandmother Mary Stuart had to endure         [A.D. 1647.]
at Fotheringhay: the difference was that his life was
secured by treaty with the Scots; and the prevailing
Parliamentary authority, at least in most part of the
members constituting it, was in fact of opinion that the
promise should be kept.


[460] Turner (to whom he spoke) Memoirs 41.

[461] The papers which passed between his sacred Majesty
and Mr. Alexander Henderson--three letters of Henderson’s
and five of the King’s, in Aiton’s Henderson 633.

[462] Cp. § xiii of the Newcastle propositions with § xvii
of the Uxbridge ones. Baillie ii. 377, 379.

[463] Bellièvre, July 15/25 from London: ‘Retablir leur roi
non seulement dans le pouvoir qu’ils appellent légitime,
mais dans une autorité fort rapprochante de la plus grande
qu’eut jamais un roi d’Angleterre.’ Ambassade de Bellièvre

[464] ‘(Les Ecossais) me promettent autant que les Anglais
une chose qui peut être la décision de cette affaire,
qu’ils empêcheront que le roi de Gr. Brne. ne soit pressé
de prendre le covenant (ib.).’

[465] Mémoire du roi à Mr. de Bellièvre, apporté par Mr. de
Montereuil. 19 Sept.

[466] A. Bellièvre, 6 Août. ‘Je suis bien de cet avis,
qu’il vaudroit mieux attendre toutes les violences que
le parlement pourroit commettre, même celle a déposséder
le roi, mais non pas que luy même consentist qu’on ne
luy laissait que le nom et la figure du roi, qu’on ne
manqueroit pas de luy oster peu de temps après.’

[467] ‘En cas qu’ils se disposent a faire leur devoir, on
se relâchera d’icy en beaucoup de choses pour faciliter la
conclusion de la paix générale, affin de nous mettre en
état de les secourir.’

[468] Henrietta Maria to Charles I, Oct. 9/19, 1646. ‘Cl.
Mazarin m’a assuré que la paix générale seroit faite devant
Noël, et cela estant, on vous assisteroit puissamment.’

[469] ‘La force d’attendre l’évènement de toutes ces choses
horribles avec une tranquillité d’âme sans example.’

[470] The King to the Queen, in Bruce 65, 67.

[471] ‘A proposition which no man but myself has thought
on.’ Charles I for William Murray. Clarendon State Papers
ii. 267.

[472] The two letters; Clarendon State Papers ii. 265, 267.

[473] His Majesty’s answer to the propositions, in Burnet,
Hamiltons 299. As it appears, it was first drawn up towards
the middle of November during a second visit of Murray to
Newcastle (Letter to the Queen of Nov. 14 in Bruce 75). The
earlier drafts, differing in some few points, were also
communicated to the Queen.

[474] ‘La paix générale se faisant, comme, Dieu mercy,
nous sommes à la veille, la France se declarera en faveur
du roy de la Gr. Brne., comme aussi, si dés à present il
ne manquoit pour faire declarer en faveur du dit roy, si
ce n’est que la France se declarast, LL. MM. y seroient
disposés, pourvu que Ton vit evidemment Futilité du
restablissement du roi.’ (Mazarin to Bellièvre, Dec. 10.)

[475] Letter of Lanerick, Dec. 17, in Burnet, Hamiltons 306.

[476] So says Montereuil, to whom the King had told it.
Jan. 26.



It has always been a matter of surprise, both at the time
and since, that King Charles attached so much importance
to the maintenance of Episcopacy, even more than to the
preservation of his military prerogative. In one of his
letters to his wife he writes that a King of England,
even if he remains in possession of military power, will
have but little enjoyment of it, so long as obedience is
not preached from the pulpits, and that this can never be
obtained from the Presbyterians: for their view was to
wrest from the crown its ecclesiastical authority, and
place it in the hands of Parliament, and also to introduce
the doctrine that the supreme power belongs to the people,
that the prince may be called to account and punished by
them, and that resistance to him is a lawful thing[477]. To
these views and doctrines Charles I would not submit, being
every moment conscious that he was contending for right by
the grace of God, for the old personal authority of the

Even in the condition of strict imprisonment in which he
was kept, he still possessed power, and felt it. The Lower
House changed a number of the propositions rejected by
him--for instance the abolition of Episcopacy, and the
arrangements about the military authority--into ordinances;
but laws they could not become without the King’s assent:
it was felt to be of some importance to obtain it from         [A.D. 1647.]
him. Moreover there were other complications which made the
Parliament anxious for its own sake to come to terms with
the King.

The Presbyterian majority proceeded to execute its great
long-prepared and decisive scheme for putting down the
Independents. It was this purpose which was originally at
the bottom of their connexion with the Scots, in conformity
to the interests of both parties. The Scots agreed so
easily to quit England, in order to remove the pretext on
which the retention of an army in England was justified.
To disband the army would be the ruin of the entire party
which relied upon it. For the same reason the city lent the
money requisite to content the Scots and induce them to
depart. The agreement by which the King was delivered into
the hands of the English Parliament was intended to serve
also as a reason for disbanding the army, now that all that
quarrel was terminated[478]. Under the additional influence
of various petitions which came in from all parts of the
country against burdening it any longer with the cost of a
standing army which was no more wanted, the Lower House at
the beginning of March 1647 passed several comprehensive
resolutions about the further destination of the army.

Now that England was at peace it was time to put an end to
the truce in Ireland, and prosecute the war there with all
vigour. For this purpose it was deemed advisable to send to
Ireland seven regiments of foot and four of horse, 11,400
men in all, all of whom were to be taken from the standing
army under General Fairfax. In England only so many troops
were to be retained as were necessary for garrisoning the
fortified places. County by county the fortresses were
enumerated which were to be kept or to be razed: by far
the greater part were doomed to demolition. The numbers of
the army being thus considerably reduced, care was further
taken for securing their absolute obedience. On March 8 a
resolution was passed that no member of the Lower House        [A.D. 1647.]
should hold a command in these garrisons or in the army,
and that no higher military rank than colonel should be
suffered to exist under the General-in-Chief: a majority
of 136 votes against 108 further decided that the officers
of the army should one and all accept the Covenant, and
conform to the church system established by Parliament[479].

It is obvious that if these resolutions were carried
out the Independentism of the army would no longer be
dangerous,--for this very reason it was inevitable that
resistance should be offered to them.

How long and strenuously had Parliament contended with the
King for the right to control the army. It is a sort of
irony of success that now it was as far as possible from
being master of the very army which had been formed under
its eyes.

On March 21 the officers of all ranks had assembled in
Thomas Fairfax’s head-quarters at Saffron-Walden: when
the demand was laid before them to enter for service in
Ireland, they gave it to be understood that they could not
do so until satisfactory answers were given to several
questions, especially who was to command in Ireland, how
the army was to be ensured its arrears for past service,
its pay for the future, and an indemnity for all previous
acts. In reply the Parliament resolved to set apart for the
army a considerable sum (£60,000 a month), and it seemed
as if this would have an influence on the decision of the
officers. Hereupon several captains showed themselves
inclined to enter on the new service, but the rest, all the
colonels, lieutenant-colonels, and majors present, a great
number of captains and some lieutenants adhered to their
resolutions of the previous day.

It is known from the German wars what a tendency to
independence prevailed generally in the armies of that age.
The English army did not scruple to make known its views in
the manner then usual in political bodies. A petition was
despatched to Parliament in which it disclaimed every sort
of obligation except to do England service, and insisted in
the name of all, that before the army was disbanded every      [A.D. 1647.]
officer’s claims should be settled and an indemnity
granted for every unlawful act done on service[480]. The
petition breathes a haughty consciousness of strength,
and is a manifesto of independence. Parliament was highly
offended, and did not delay to express its disapproval,
offering forgiveness to all who receded from the petition,
but declaring all who continued to urge it enemies of the
public peace and