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Title: History of King Charles The First of England
Author: Abbott, Jacob
Language: English
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Transcriber's Notes

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[Illustration: _John Hampden_


[Illustration: TOWER OF LONDON.]







    With Engravings.


    Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand
    eight hundred and forty-eight, by


    in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District
    of New York.


The history of the life of every individual who has, for any reason,
attracted extensively the attention of mankind, has been written in a
great variety of ways by a multitude of authors, and persons sometimes
wonder why we should have so many different accounts of the same
thing. The reason is, that each one of these accounts is intended for
a different set of readers, who read with ideas and purposes widely
dissimilar from each other. Among the twenty millions of people in the
United States, there are perhaps two millions, between the ages of
fifteen and twenty-five, who wish to become acquainted, in general,
with the leading events in the history of the Old World, and of ancient
times, but who, coming upon the stage in this land and at this period,
have ideas and conceptions so widely different from those of other
nations and of other times, that a mere republication of existing
accounts is not what they require. The story must be told expressly
for them. The things that are to be explained, the points that are
to be brought out, the comparative degree of prominence to be given
to the various particulars, will all be different, on account of the
difference in the situation, the ideas, and the objects of these new
readers, compared with those of the various other classes of readers
which former authors have had in view. It is for this reason, and
with this view, that the present series of historical narratives is
presented to the public. The author, having had some opportunity to
become acquainted with the position, the ideas, and the intellectual
wants of those whom he addresses, presents the result of his labors to
them, with the hope that it may be found successful in accomplishing
its design.


    Chapter                                      Page

    I. HIS CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH                     13

    II. THE EXPEDITION INTO SPAIN                  34

    III. ACCESSION TO THE THRONE                   58

    IV. BUCKINGHAM                                 81

    V. THE KING AND HIS PREROGATIVE               107

    VI. ARCHBISHOP LAUD                           131

    VII. THE EARL OF STRAFFORD                    155


    IX. CIVIL WAR                                 203

    X. THE CAPTIVITY                              234

    XI. TRIAL AND DEATH                           261



    PORTRAIT OF HAMPDEN                 _Frontispiece._


    TOWER OF LONDON                                 1

    CHARLES I. AND ARMOR BEARER                    10

    QUEEN HENRIETTA MARIA                          11

    WINDSOR CASTLE                                 22

    THE ESCURIAL                                   55

    ST. STEPHEN'S                                  76

    LAMBETH PALACE                                133

    WESTMINSTER HALL                              187

    STRAFFORD AND LAUD                            199


    THE LANDING OF THE QUEEN                      228

    NEWARK                                        236

    CARISBROOKE CASTLE                            254

    RUINS OF CARISBROOKE CASTLE                   265






King Charles the first was born in Scotland. It may perhaps surprise
the reader that an English king should be born in Scotland. The
explanation is this:

[Sidenote: 1600.]

[Sidenote: Born in Scotland.]

[Sidenote: The circumstance explained]

They who have read the history of Mary Queen of Scots, will remember
that it was the great end and aim of her life to unite the crowns of
England and Scotland in her own family. Queen Elizabeth was then Queen
of England. She lived and died unmarried. Queen Mary and a young man
named Lord Darnley were the next heirs. It was uncertain which of the
two had the strongest claim. To prevent a dispute, by uniting these
claims, Mary made Darnley her husband. They had a son, who, after the
death of his father and mother, was acknowledged to be the heir to the
English throne, whenever Elizabeth's life should end. In the mean time
he remained King of Scotland. His name was James. He married a princess
of Denmark; and his child, who afterward was King Charles the First of
England, was born before he left his native realm.

[Sidenote: Princess Anne.]

King Charles's mother was, as has been already said, a princess of
Denmark. Her name was Anne. The circumstances of her marriage to
King James were quite extraordinary, and attracted great attention
at the time. It is, in some sense, a matter of principle among kings
and queens, that they must only marry persons of royal rank, like
themselves; and as they have very little opportunity of visiting each
other, residing as they do in such distant capitals, they generally
choose their consorts by the reports which come to them of the person
and character of the different candidates. The choice, too, is very
much influenced by political considerations, and is always more or
less embarrassed by the interference of other courts, whose ministers
make objections to this or that alliance, on account of its supposed
interference with some of their own political schemes.

[Sidenote: Royal marriages.]

[Sidenote: Getting married by proxy.]

As it is very inconvenient, moreover, for a king to leave his
dominions, the marriage ceremony is usually performed at the court
where the bride resides, without the presence of the bridegroom, he
sending an embassador to act as his representative. This is called being
married by proxy. The bride then comes to her royal husband's
dominions, accompanied by a great escort. He meets her usually on the
frontiers; and there she sees him for the first time, after having been
married to him some weeks by proxy. It is true, indeed, that she has
generally seen his _picture_, that being usually sent to her before
the marriage contract is made. This, however, is not a matter of much
consequence, as the personal predilections of a princess have generally
very little to do with the question of her marriage.

[Sidenote: James thwarted.]

[Sidenote: James sues for Anne.]

Now King James had concluded to propose for the oldest daughter of the
King of Denmark, and he entered into negotiations for this purpose.
This plan, however, did not please the government of England, and
Elizabeth, who was then the English queen, managed so to embarrass
and interfere with the scheme, that the King of Denmark gave his
daughter to another claimant. James was a man of very mild and quiet
temperament, easily counteracted and thwarted in his plans; but this
disappointment aroused his energies, and he sent a splendid embassy
into Denmark to demand the king's second daughter, whose name was
Anne. He prosecuted this suit so vigorously that the marriage articles
were soon agreed to and signed. Anne embarked and set sail for
Scotland. The king remained there, waiting for her arrival with great
impatience. At length, instead of his bride, the news came that the
fleet in which Anne had sailed had been dispersed and driven back by a
storm, and that Anne herself had landed on the coast of Norway.

[Sidenote: Their marriage.]

[Sidenote: James in Copenhagen.]

James immediately conceived the design of going himself in pursuit of
her. But knowing very well that all his ministers and the officers of
his government would make endless objections to his going out of the
country on such an errand, he kept his plan a profound secret from them
all. He ordered some ships to be got ready privately, and provided a
suitable train of attendants, and then embarked without letting his
people know where he was going. He sailed across the German Ocean to
the town in Norway where his bride had landed. He found her there, and
they were married. Her brother, who had just succeeded to the throne,
having received intelligence of this, invited the young couple to
come and spend the winter at his capital of Copenhagen; and as the
season was far advanced, and the sea stormy, King James concluded to
accept the invitation. They were received in Copenhagen with great pomp
and parade, and the winter was spent in festivities and rejoicings.
In the spring he brought his bride to Scotland. The whole world were
astonished at the performance of such an exploit by a king, especially
one of so mild, quiet, and grave a character as that which James had
the credit of possessing.

[Sidenote: Charles's feeble infancy.]

Young Charles was very weak and feeble in his infancy. It was feared
that he would not live many hours. The rite of baptism was immediately
performed, as it was, in those days, considered essential to the
salvation of a child dying in infancy that it should be baptized
before it died. Notwithstanding the fears that were at first felt,
Charles lingered along for some days, and gradually began to acquire
a little strength. His feebleness was a cause of great anxiety and
concern to those around him; but the degree of interest felt in the
little sufferer's fate was very much less than it would have been if
he had been the oldest son. He had a brother, Prince Henry, who was
older than he, and, consequently, heir to his father's crowns. It
was not probable, therefore, that Charles would ever be king; and the
importance of every thing connected with his birth and his welfare was
very much diminished on that account.

[Sidenote: Death of Elizabeth.]

[Sidenote: Accession of James to the English crown.]

It was only about two years after Charles's birth that Queen Elizabeth
died, and King James succeeded to the English throne. A messenger came
with all speed to Scotland to announce the fact. He rode night and
day. He arrived at the king's palace in the night. He gained admission
to the king's chamber, and, kneeling at his bedside, proclaimed him
King of England. James immediately prepared to bid his Scotch subjects
farewell, and to proceed to England to take possession of his new
realm. Queen Anne was to follow him in a week or two, and the other
children, Henry and Elizabeth; but Charles was too feeble to go.

[Sidenote: 1603.]

[Sidenote: Second sight.]

[Sidenote: Prediction fulfilled.]

In those early days there was a prevailing belief in Scotland, and,
in fact, the opinion still lingers there, that certain persons among
the old Highlanders had what they called the gift of the second
sight--that is, the power of foreseeing futurity in some mysterious
and incomprehensible way. An incident is related in the old histories
connected with Charles's infancy, which is a good illustration of this.
While King James was preparing to leave Scotland, to take possession
of the English throne, an old Highland laird came to bid him farewell.
He gave the king many parting counsels and good wishes, and then,
overlooking the older brother, Prince Henry, he went directly to
Charles, who was then about two years old, and bowed before him, and
kissed his hand with the greatest appearance of regard and veneration.
King James undertook to correct his supposed mistake, by telling him
that that was his second son, and that the other boy was the heir
to the crown. "No," said the old laird, "I am not mistaken. I know
to whom I am speaking. This child, now in his nurse's arms, will be
greater than his brother. This is the one who is to convey his father's
name and titles to succeeding generations." This prediction was
fulfilled; for the robust and healthy Henry died, and the feeble and
sickly-looking Charles lived and grew, and succeeded, in due time, to
his father's throne.

[Sidenote: An explanation.]

Now inasmuch as, at the time when this prediction was uttered, there
seemed to be little human probability of its fulfillment, it attracted
attention; its unexpected and startling character made every one notice
and remember it; and the old laird was at once an object of interest
and wonder. It is probable that this desire to excite the admiration
of the auditors, mingled insensibly with a sort of poetic enthusiasm,
which a rude age and mountainous scenery always inspires, was the
origin of a great many such predictions as these; and then, in the end,
those only which turned out to be true were remembered, while the rest
were forgotten; and this was the way that the reality of such prophetic
powers came to be generally believed in.

[Sidenote: Charles's titles of nobility.]

Feeble and uncertain of life as the infant Charles appeared to be,
they conferred upon him, as is customary in the case of young princes,
various titles of nobility. He was made a duke, a marquis, an earl,
and a baron, before he had strength enough to lift up his head in his
nurse's arms. His title as duke was Duke of Albany; and as this was
the highest of his nominal honors, he was generally known under that
designation while he remained in Scotland.

[Illustration: WINDSOR CASTLE.]

[Sidenote: Charles's governess.]

When his father left him, in order to go to England and take possession
of his new throne, he appointed a governess to take charge of the
health and education of the young duke. This governess was Lady
Cary. The reason why she was appointed was, not because of her
possessing any peculiar qualifications for such a charge, but because
her husband, Sir Robert Cary, had been the messenger employed by the
British government to communicate to James the death of Elizabeth, and
to announce to him his accession to the throne. The bearer of good news
to a monarch must always be rewarded, and James recompensed Sir Robert
for his service by appointing his wife to the post of governess of his
infant son. The office undoubtedly had its honors and emoluments, with
very little of responsibility or care.

[Sidenote: Windsor Castle.]

One of the chief residences of the English monarchs is Windsor Castle.
It is situated above London, on the Thames, on the southern shore.
It is on an eminence overlooking the river and the delightful valley
through which the river here meanders. In the rear is a very extensive
park or forest, which is penetrated in every direction by rides and
walks almost innumerable. It has been for a long time the chief country
residence of the British kings. It is very spacious, containing
within its walls many courts and quadrangles, with various buildings
surrounding them, some ancient and some modern.

[Sidenote: 1610.]

Here King James held his court after his arrival in England, and in
about a year he sent for the little Charles to join him.

[Sidenote: Journey to London.]

[Sidenote: A mother's love.]

The child traveled very slowly, and by very easy stages, his nurses
and attendants watching over him with great solicitude all the way.
The journey was made in the month of October. His mother watched his
arrival with great interest. Being so feeble and helpless, he was, of
course, her favorite child. By an instinct which very strongly evinces
the wisdom and goodness which implanted it, a mother always bestows
a double portion of her love upon the frail, the helpless, and the
suffering. Instead of being wearied out with protracted and incessant
calls for watchfulness and care, she feels only a deeper sympathy
and love, in proportion to the infirmities which call for them, and
thus finds her highest happiness in what we might expect would be a
weariness and a toil.

[Sidenote: Rejoicings.]

[Sidenote: Charles's continued feebleness.]

Little Charles was four years old when he reached Windsor Castle.
They celebrated his arrival with great rejoicings, and a day or two
afterward they invested him with the title of Duke of York, a still
higher distinction than he had before attained. Soon after this, when
he was perhaps five or six years of age, a gentleman was appointed to
take the charge of his education. His health gradually improved, though
he still continued helpless and feeble. It was a long time before he
could walk, on account of some malformation of his limbs. He learned to
talk, too, very late and very slowly. Besides the general feebleness of
his constitution, which kept him back in all these things, there was an
impediment in his speech, which affected him very much in childhood,
and which, in fact, never entirely disappeared.

[Sidenote: His progress in learning.]

As soon, however, as he commenced his studies under his new tutor, he
made much greater progress than had been expected. It was soon observed
that the feebleness which had attached to him pertained more to the
body than to the mind. He advanced with considerable rapidity in his
learning. His progress was, in fact, in some degree, promoted by his
bodily infirmities, which kept him from playing with the other boys of
the court, and led him to like to be still, and to retire from scenes
of sport and pleasure which he could not share.

The same cause operated to make him not agreeable as a companion, and
he was not a favorite among those around him. They called him _Baby_
Charley. His temper seemed to be in some sense soured by the feeling
of his inferiority, and by the jealousy he would naturally experience
in finding himself, the son of a king, so outstripped in athletic
sports by those whom he regarded as his inferiors in rank and station.

[Sidenote: 1616.]

[Sidenote: Charles improves in health.]

[Sidenote: Death of his brother.]

The lapse of a few years, however, after this time, made a total change
in Charles's position and prospects. His health improved, and his
constitution began to be confirmed and established. When he was about
twelve years of age, too, his brother Henry died. This circumstance
made an entire change in all his prospects of life. The eyes of the
whole kingdom, and, in fact, of all Europe, were now upon him as the
future sovereign of England. His sister Elizabeth, who was a few
years older than himself, was, about this time, married to a German
prince, with great pomp and ceremony, young Charles acting the part of
brideman. In consequence of his new position as heir-apparent to the
throne, he was advanced to new honors, and had new titles conferred
upon him, until at last, when he was sixteen years of age, he was made
Prince of Wales, and certain revenues were appropriated to support a
court for him, that he might be surrounded with external circumstances
and insignia of rank and power, corresponding with his prospective

[Sidenote: 1618.]

[Sidenote: Charles's love of athletic sports.]

In the mean time his health and strength rapidly improved, and with
the improvement came a taste for manly and athletic sports, and the
attainment of excellence in them. He became very famous for his skill
in all the exploits and performances of the young men of those days,
such as shooting, riding, vaulting, and tilting at tournaments. From
being a weak, sickly, and almost helpless child, he became, at twenty,
an active, athletic young man, full of life and spirit, and ready for
any romantic enterprise. In fact, when he was twenty-three years old,
he embarked in a romantic enterprise which attracted the attention of
all the world. This enterprise will presently be described.

[Sidenote: Buckingham.]

[Sidenote: Buckingham's style of living.]

There was at this time, in the court of King James, a man who became
very famous afterward as a favorite and follower of Charles. He is
known in history under the name of the Duke of Buckingham. His name
was originally George Villiers. He was a very handsome young man,
and he seems to have attracted King James's attention at first on
this account. James found him a convenient attendant, and made him,
at last, his principal favorite. He raised him to a high rank, and
conferred upon him, among other titles, that of Duke of Buckingham.
The other persons about the court were very envious and jealous of his
influence and power; but they were obliged to submit to it. He lived in
great state and splendor, and for many years was looked up to by the
whole kingdom as one of the greatest personages in the realm. We shall
learn hereafter how he came to his end.

[Sidenote: Royalty.]

[Sidenote: True character of royalty.]

If the reader imagines, from the accounts which have been given thus
far in this chapter of the pomp and parade of royalty, of the castles
and the ceremonies, the titles of nobility, and the various insignia
of rank and power, which we have alluded to so often, that the mode
of life which royalty led in those days was lofty, dignified, and
truly great, he will be very greatly deceived. All these things were
merely for show--things put on for public display, to gratify pride and
impress the people, who never looked behind the scenes, with high ideas
of the grandeur of those who, as they were taught, ruled over them
by a divine right. It would be hard to find, in any class of society
except those reputed infamous, more low, gross, and vulgar modes of
life than have been exhibited generally in the royal palaces of Europe
for the last five hundred years. King James the First has, among
English sovereigns, rather a high character for sobriety and gravity of
deportment, and purity of morals; but the glimpses we get of the real,
every-day routine of his domestic life, are such as to show that the
pomp and parade of royalty is mere glittering tinsel, after all.

[Sidenote: 1620.]

[Sidenote: The king and Buckingham.]

[Sidenote: Indecent correspondence.]

The historians of the day tell such stories as these. The king was
at one time very dejected and melancholy, when Buckingham contrived
this plan to amuse him. In the first place, however, we ought to say,
in order to illustrate the terms on which he and Buckingham lived
together, that the king always called Buckingham _Steeny_, which was
a contraction of Stephen. St. Stephen was always represented, in the
Catholic pictures of the saints, as a very handsome man, and Buckingham
being handsome too, James called him Steeny by way of compliment.
Steeny called the king _his dad_, and used to sign himself, in his
letters, "your slave and dog Steeny." There are extant some letters
which passed between the king and his favorite, written, on the part
of the king, in a style of grossness and indecency such that the
chroniclers of those days said that they were not fit to be printed.
They would not "blot their pages" with them, they said. King Charles's
letters were more properly expressed.

[Sidenote: Buckingham's pig.]

To return, then, to our story. The king was very much dejected and
melancholy. Steeny, in order to divert him, had a pig dressed up in the
clothes of an infant child. Buckingham's mother, who was a countess,
personated the nurse, dressed also carefully for the occasion. Another
person put on a bishop's robes, satin gown, lawn sleeves, and the
other pontifical ornaments. They also provided a baptismal font, a
prayer-book, and other things necessary for a religious ceremony, and
then invited the king to come in to attend a baptism. The king came,
and the pretended bishop began to read the service, the assistants
looking gravely on, until the squealing of the pig brought all gravity
to an end. The king was _not_ pleased; but the historian thinks the
reason was, not any objection which he had to such a profanation, but
to his not happening to be in a mood for it at that time.

[Sidenote: James's petulance.]

[Sidenote: The story of Gib.]

There was a negotiation going on for a long time for a marriage between
one of the king's sons, first Henry, and afterward Charles, and a
princess of Spain. At one time the king lost some of the papers, and
was storming about the palace in a great rage because he could not
find them. At last he chanced to meet a certain Scotchman, a servant
of his, named Gib, and, like a vexed and impatient child, who lays the
charge of a lost plaything upon any body who happens to be at hand to
receive it, he put the responsibility of the loss of the papers upon
Gib. "I remember," said he, "I gave them to you to take care of. What
have you done with them?" The faithful servant fell upon his knees,
and protested that he had not received them. The king was only made
the more angry by this contradiction, and kicked the Scotchman as he
kneeled upon the floor. The man rose and left the apartment, saying,
"I have always been faithful to your majesty, and have not deserved
such treatment as this. I can not remain in your service under such a
degradation. I shall never see you again." He left the palace, and went

[Sidenote: The king's frankness.]

A short time after this, the person to whose custody the king had
really committed the papers came in, and, on learning that they were
wanted, produced them. The king was ashamed of his conduct. He sent
for his Scotch servant again, and was not easy until he was found
and brought into his presence. He then kneeled before him and asked
his forgiveness, and said he should not rise till he had forgiven
him. Gib was disposed to evade the request, and urged the king to
rise; but James would not do so until he had said he forgave him, in
so many words. The whole case shows how little of dignity and noble
bearing there really was in the manners and conduct of the king in
his daily life, though we are almost ready to overlook the ridiculous
childishness and folly of his fault, on account of the truly noble
frankness and honesty with which he acknowledged it.

[Sidenote: Glitter of royalty.]

Thus, though every thing in which royalty appeared before the public
was conducted with great pomp and parade, this external magnificence
was then, and always has been, an outside show, without any thing
corresponding to it within. The great mass of the people of England
saw only the outside. They gazed with admiration at the spectacle of
magnificence and splendor which royalty always presented to their eyes,
whenever they beheld it from the distant and humble points of view
which their position afforded them. Prince Charles, on the other hand,
was behind the curtain. His childhood and youth were exposed fully to
all the real influences of these scenes.

[Sidenote: 1622.]

[Sidenote: The appearance.]

[Sidenote: The reality.]

The people of England submitted to be governed by such men, not because
they thought them qualified to govern, or that the circumstances
under which their characters were formed were such as were calculated
to form, in a proper manner, the minds of the rulers of a Christian
people. They did not know what those circumstances were. In their
conceptions they had grand ideas of royal character and life, and
imagined the splendid palaces which some saw, but more only heard of,
at Westminster, were filled with true greatness and glory. They were
really filled with vulgarity, vice, and shame. James was to them King
James the First, monarch of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, and
Charles was Charles, Prince of Wales, Duke of York, and heir-apparent
to the throne. Whereas, within the palace, to all who saw them and
knew them there, and really, so far as their true moral position was
concerned, the father was "Old Dad," and the son, what his father
always called him till he was twenty-four years old, "Baby Charley."



[Sidenote: 1623.]

In order that the reader may understand fully the nature of the
romantic enterprise in which, as we have already said, Prince Charles
embarked when he was a little over twenty years of age, we must premise
that Frederic, the German prince who married Charles's sister Elizabeth
some years before, was the ruler of a country in Germany called the
Palatinate. It was on the banks of the Rhine. Frederic's title, as
ruler of this country, was Elector Palatine. There are a great many
independent states in Germany, whose sovereigns have various titles,
and are possessed of various prerogatives and powers.

[Sidenote: The Palatinate.]

[Sidenote: Wars between the Protestants and Catholics.]

Now it happened that, at this time, very fierce civil wars were raging
between the Catholics and the Protestants in Germany. Frederic got
drawn into these wars on the Protestant side. His motive was not any
desire to promote the progress of what he considered the true faith,
but only a wish to extend his own dominions, and add to his own power;
for he had been promised a kingdom, in addition to his Palatinate, if
he would assist the people of the kingdom to gain the victory over
their Catholic foes. He embarked in this enterprise without consulting
with James, his father-in-law, knowing that he would probably
disapprove of such dangerous ambition. James was, in fact, very sorry
afterward to hear of Frederic's having engaged in such a contest.

[Sidenote: Frederic dispossessed of his dominions.]

[Sidenote: Flees to Holland.]

The result was quite as disastrous as James feared. Frederic not only
failed of getting his new kingdom, but he provoked the rage of the
Catholic powers against whom he had undertaken to contend, and they
poured a great army into his own original territory, and made an easy
conquest of it. Frederic fled to Holland, and remained there a fugitive
and an exile, hoping to obtain help in some way from James, in his
efforts to recover his lost dominions.

The people of England felt a great interest in Frederic's unhappy
fate, and were very desirous that James should raise an army and give
him some efficient assistance. One reason for this was that they were
Protestants, and they were always ready to embark, on the Protestant
side, in the Continental quarrels.

[Sidenote: Elizabeth.]

Another reason was their interest in Elizabeth, the wife of Frederic,
who had so recently left England a blooming bride, and whom they
still considered as in some sense pertaining to the royal family of
England, and as having a right to look to all her father's subjects for

[Sidenote: James's plan.]

[Sidenote: Donna Maria.]

But King James himself had no inclination to go to war in such a
quarrel. He was inactive in mind, and childish, and he had little
taste for warlike enterprises. He undertook, however, to accomplish
the object in another way. The King of Spain, being one of the most
powerful of the Catholic sovereigns, had great influence in all their
councils. He had also a beautiful daughter, Donna Maria, called, as
Spanish princesses are styled, the Infanta. Now James conceived the
design of proposing that his son Charles should marry Donna Maria,
and that, in the treaty of marriage, there should be a stipulation
providing that the Palatinate should be restored to Frederic.

[Sidenote: Negotiations with Spain.]

These negotiations were commenced, and they went on two or three years
without making any sensible progress. Donna Maria was a Catholic, and
Charles a Protestant. Now a Catholic could not marry a Protestant
without a special dispensation from the pope. To get this dispensation
required new negotiations and delays. In the midst of it all, the King
of Spain, Donna Maria's father, died, and his son, her brother, named
Philip, succeeded him. Then the negotiations had all to be commenced
anew. It was supposed that the King of Spain did not wish to have the
affair concluded, but liked to have it in discussion, as it tended to
keep the King of England more or less under his control.

[Sidenote: Obstacles and delays.]

So they kept sending embassadors back and forth, with drafts of
treaties, articles, conditions, and stipulations without number.
There were endless discussions about securing to Donna Maria the full
enjoyment of the Catholic religion in England, and express agreements
were proposed and debated in respect to her having a chapel, and
priests, and the right to celebrate mass, and to enjoy, in fact, all
the other privileges which she had been accustomed to exercise in her
own native land. James did not object. He agreed to every thing; but
still, some how or other, the arrangement could not be closed. There
was always some pretext for delay.

[Sidenote: Buckingham's proposal.]

[Sidenote: Nature of the adventure.]

At last Buckingham proposed to Charles that they two should set off
for Spain in person, and see if they could not settle the affair.
Buckingham's motive was partly a sort of reckless daring, which made
him love any sort of adventure, and partly a desire to circumvent and
thwart a rival of his, the Earl of Bristol, who had charge of the
negotiations. It may seem to the reader that a simple journey from
London to Madrid, of a young man, for the purpose of visiting a lady
whom he was wishing to espouse, was no such extraordinary undertaking
as to attract the attention of a spirited young man to it from love
of adventure. The truth is, however, that, with the ideas that then
prevailed in respect to royal etiquette, there was something very
unusual in this plan. The prince and Buckingham knew very well that the
consent of the statesmen and high officers of the realm could never be
obtained, and that their only alternative was, accordingly, to go off
secretly and in disguise.

[Sidenote: Buckingham's dissimulation.]

It seemed, however, to be rather necessary to get the king's consent.
But Buckingham did not anticipate much difficulty in this, as he was
accustomed to manage James almost like a child. He had not, however,
been on very good terms with Charles, having been accustomed to treat
him in the haughty and imperious manner which James would usually
yield to, but which Charles was more inclined to resist and resent.
When Buckingham, at length, conceived of this scheme of going into
Spain, he changed his deportment toward Charles, and endeavored, by
artful dissimulation, to gain his kind regard. He soon succeeded, and
then he proposed his plan.

He represented to Charles that the sole cause of the delays in settling
the question of his marriage was because it was left so entirely in the
hands of embassadors, negotiators, and statesmen, who involved every
thing in endless mazes. "Take the affair into your own hands," said he,
"like a man. Set off with me, and go at once into Spain. Astonish them
with your sudden and unexpected presence. The Infanta will be delighted
at such a proof of your ardor, courage, and devotion, and will do all
in her power to co-operate with you in bringing the affair at once
to a close. Besides, the whole world will admire the originality and
boldness of the achievement."

[Sidenote: Charles persuaded.]

Charles was easily persuaded. The next thing was to get the king's
consent. Charles and Buckingham went to his palace one day, and,
watching their opportunity when he was pretty merry with wine, Charles
told him he had a favor to ask, and wanted his father to promise to
grant it before he knew what it was. James, after some hesitation,
half in jest and half in earnest, agreed to it. They made him promise
that he would not tell any one what it was, and then explained their
plan. The king was thunderstruck; his amazement sobered him at once. He
retracted his promise. He never could consent to any such scheme.

[Sidenote: James's perplexity.]

[Sidenote: He reluctantly yields.]

Buckingham here interposed with his aid. He told the king it was
perfectly safe for the prince to go, and that this measure was the
only plan which could bring the marriage treaty to a close. Besides,
he said, if he and the prince were there, they could act far more
effectually than any embassadors in securing the restoration of the
Palatinate to Frederic. James could not withstand these entreaties and
arguments, and he finally gave a reluctant consent to the plan.

[Sidenote: James's fears.]

[Sidenote: Royal captives.]

He repented, however, as soon as the consent was given, and when
Charles and Buckingham came next to see him, he said it must be given
up. One great source of his anxiety was a fear that his son might be
taken and kept a prisoner, either in France or Spain, and detained
a long time in captivity. Such a captive was always, in those days,
a very tempting prize to a rival power. Personages of very high rank
may be detained as captives, while all the time those who detain them
may pretend not to confine them at all, the guards and sentinels being
only marks of regal state, and indications of the desire of the power
into whose hands they have fallen to treat them in a manner comporting
with their rank. Then there were always, in those days, questions and
disputes pending between the rival courts of England, France, and
Spain, out of which it was easy to get a pretext for detaining any
strolling prince who might cross the frontier, as security for the
fulfillment of some stipulation, or for doing some act of justice
claimed. James, knowing well how much faith and honor were to be
expected of kings and courts, was afraid to trust his son in French or
Spanish dominions. He said he certainly could not consent to his going,
without first sending to _France_, at least, for a safe-conduct--that
is, a paper from the government, pledging the honor of the king not to
molest or interrupt him in his journey through his dominions.

[Sidenote: Buckingham's violence.]

Buckingham, instead of attempting to reassure the king by fresh
arguments and persuasions, broke out into a passion, accused him of
violating his promise not to reveal their plan to any one, as he knew,
he said, that this new opposition had been put into his head by some of
his counselors to whom he had made known the design. The king denied
this, and was terrified, agitated, and distressed by Buckingham's
violence. He wept like a child. His opposition at length gave way a
second time, and he said they might go. They named two attendants
whom they wanted to go with them. One was an officer of the king's
household, named Collington, who was then in the anteroom. They asked
the king to call him in to see if he would go. When Collington came in,
the king accosted him with, "Here's Steeny and Baby Charley that want
to go to Spain and fetch the Infanta. What think you of it?" Collington
did not think well of it at all.

[Sidenote: Angry disputes.]

There followed a new relapse on the part of the king from his consent,
a new storm of anger from Buckingham, more sullen obstinacy on the part
of Charles, with profane criminations and recriminations one against
another. The whole scene was what, if it had occurred any where else
than in a palace, would have been called a brawl.

[Sidenote: James's distress.]

It ended, as brawls usually do, in the triumph of the most unreasonable
and violent. James threw himself upon a bed which was in the room,
weeping bitterly, and saying that they would go, and he should lose
his Baby Charley. Considering that Charles was now the monarch's only
child remaining at home, and that, as heir to the crown, his life was
of great consequence to the realm, it is not surprising that his father
was distressed at the idea of his exposing himself to danger on such
an expedition; but one not accustomed to what is behind the scenes in
royal life would expect a little more dignity and propriety in the mode
of expressing paternal solicitude from a king.

[Sidenote: Charles and Buckingham depart.]

[Sidenote: Charles and Buckingham's boisterous conduct.]

Charles and Buckingham set off secretly from London; their two
attendants were to join them in different places--the last at Dover,
where they were to embark. They laid aside all marks of distinction in
dress, such as persons of high rank used to wear in those days, and
took the garb of the common people. They put on wigs, also, the hair
being very long, so as to shade the face and alter the expression of
their countenances. These external disguises, however, were all that
they could command. They could not assume the modest and quiet air
and manner of persons in the ordinary walks of life, but made such
displays, and were so liberal in the use of their money, and carried
such an air and manner in all that they did and said, that all who had
any intercourse with them perceived that they were in disguise. They
were supposed to be wild blades, out on some frolic or other, but still
they were allowed to pass along without any molestation.

[Sidenote: Arrested at Dover.]

They were, however, stopped at Dover, where in some way they attracted
the attention of the mayor of the town. Dover is on the Channel,
opposite to Calais, at the narrowest point. It was, of course,
especially in those days, the point where the principal intercourse
between the two nations centered. The magistrates of the two towns
were obliged, consequently, to be on the alert, to prevent the escape
of fugitives and criminals, as well as to guard against the efforts of
smugglers, or the entrance of spies or other secret enemies. The
Mayor of Dover arrested our heroes. They told him that their names were
Tom Smith and Jack Smith; these, in fact, were the names with which
they had traveled through England thus far. They said that they were
traveling for amusement. The mayor did not believe them. He thought
they were going across to the French coast to fight a duel. This was
often done in those days. They then told him that they were indeed
persons of rank in disguise, and that they were going to inspect the
English fleet. He finally allowed them to embark.

[Sidenote: Arrival at Paris.]

[Sidenote: Princess Henrietta.]

On landing at Calais, they traveled post to Paris, strictly preserving
their incognito, but assuming such an air and bearing as to create the
impression that they were not what they pretended. When they reached
Paris, Buckingham could not resist the temptation of showing Charles a
little of life, and he contrived to get admitted to a party at court,
where Charles saw, among other ladies who attracted his attention,
the Princess Henrietta. He was much struck with her beauty and grace,
but he little thought that it was this princess, and not the Infanta
whom he was going in pursuit of, who was really to become his wife, and
the future Queen of England.

[Sidenote: Bourdeaux.]

The young travelers thought it not prudent to remain long in Paris,
and they accordingly left that city, and pressed forward as rapidly
as possible toward the Spanish frontier. They managed, however, to
conduct always in such a way as to attract attention. Although they
were probably sincerely desirous of not having their true rank and
character known, still they could not resist the temptation to assume
such an air and bearing as to make people wonder who they were, and
thus increase the spirit and adventure of their journey. At Bourdeaux
they received invitations from some grandees to be present at some
great gala, but they declined, saying that they were only poor
gentlemen traveling to inform their minds, and were not fit to appear
in such gay assemblies.

[Sidenote: Entrance into Madrid.]

At last they approached Madrid. They had, besides Collington, another
attendant who spoke the Spanish language, and served them as an
interpreter. They separated from these two the day before they entered
Madrid, so as to attract the less attention. Their attendants were to
be left behind for a day, and afterward were to follow them into the
city. The name of the British embassador at Madrid was the Earl of
Bristol. He had had charge of all the negotiations in respect to the
marriage, and to the restoration of the Palatinate, and believed that
he had brought them almost to a successful termination. He lived in a
palace in Madrid, and, as is customary with the embassadors of great
powers at the courts of great powers, in a style of the highest pomp
and splendor.

[Sidenote: Bristol's amazement.]

[Sidenote: Charles's reception.]

Buckingham took the prince directly to Bristol's house. Bristol was
utterly confounded at seeing them. Nothing could be worse, he said, in
respect to the completion of the treaty, than the prince's presence in
Madrid. The introduction of so new and extraordinary an element into
the affair would undo all that had been done, and lead the King of
Spain to begin anew, and go over all the ground again. In speaking of
this occurrence to another, he said that just as he was on the point of
coming to a satisfactory conclusion of his long negotiations and toils,
a demon in the shape of Prince Charles came suddenly upon the stage to
thwart and defeat them all.

[Sidenote: Grand procession.]

The Spanish court was famous in those days--in fact, it has always been
famous--for its punctilious attention to etiquette and parade; and as
soon as the prince's arrival was known to the king, he immediately
began to make preparations to welcome him with all possible pomp and
ceremony. A great procession was made through the Prado, which is
a street in Madrid famous for promenades, processions, and public
displays of all kinds. In moving through the city on this occasion,
the king and Prince Charles walked together, the monarch thus treating
the prince as his equal. There was a great canopy of state borne over
their heads as they moved along. This canopy was supported by a large
number of persons of the highest rank. The streets, and the windows and
balconies of the houses on each side, were thronged with spectators,
dressed in the gay and splendid court dresses of those times. When they
reached the end of the route, and were about to enter the gate of the
palace, there was a delay to decide which should enter first, the king
and the prince each insisting on giving the precedence to the other. At
last it was settled by their both going in together.

[Sidenote: Spanish etiquette.]

[Sidenote: The Infanta kept secluded.]

[Sidenote: Athletic amusements.]

If the prince thus, on the one hand, derived some benefit in the
gratification of his pride by the Spanish etiquette and parade, he
suffered some inconvenience and disappointment from it, on the other
hand, by its excluding him from all intercourse or acquaintance with
the Infanta. It was not proper for the young man to see or to speak
to the young lady, in such a case as this, until the arrangements had
been more fully matured. The formalities of the engagement must have
proceeded beyond the point which they had yet reached, before the
bridegroom could be admitted to a personal interview with the bride.
It is true, he could see her in public, where she was in a crowd, with
other ladies of the court, and where he could have no communication
with her; but this was all. They arranged it, however, to give Charles
as many opportunities of this kind as possible. They got up shows, in
which the prince could see the Infanta among the spectators; and they
arranged tiltings and ridings at the ring, and other athletic sports,
such as Charles excelled in, and let him perform his exploits in her
presence. His rivals in these contests did not have the incivility to
conquer him, and his performances excited expressions, at least, of
universal admiration.

[Sidenote: Charles steals an interview.]

But the prince and Buckingham did not very willingly submit to the
stiffness and formality of the Spanish court. As soon as they came
to feel a little at home, they began to act with great freedom. At
one time the prince learned that the Infanta was going, early in the
morning, to take a walk in some private pleasure grounds, at a country
house in the neighborhood of Madrid, and he conceived the design
of gaining an interview with her there by stealth. He accordingly
repaired to the place, got admitted in some way within the precincts of
the palace, and contrived to clamber over a high wall which separated
him from the grounds in which the Infanta was walking, and so let
himself down into her presence. The accounts do not state whether
she herself was pleased or alarmed, but the officer who had her in
charge, an old nobleman, was very much alarmed, and begged the prince
to retire, as he himself would be subject to a very severe punishment
if it were known that he had allowed such an interview. Finally they
opened the door, and the prince went out. Many people were pleased
with this and similar adventures of the prince and of Buckingham, but
the leading persons about the court were displeased with them. Their
precise and formal notions of propriety were very much shocked by such

[Sidenote: Irregularities.]

[Sidenote: Delays and difficulties.]

Besides, it was soon found that the characters of these high-born
visitors, especially that of Buckingham, were corrupt, and their lives
very irregular. Buckingham was accustomed to treat King James in a
very bold, familiar, and imperious manner, and he fell insensibly
into the same habits of intercourse with those about him in Spain.
The little reserve and caution which he manifested at first soon wore
off, and he began to be very generally disliked. In the mean time the
negotiation was, as Bristol had expected, very much put back by the
prince's arrival. The King of Spain formed new plans, and thought of
new conditions to impose. The Catholics, too, thought that Charles's
coming thus into a Catholic country, indicated some leaning, on his
part, toward the Catholic faith. The pope actually wrote him a long
letter, the object of which was to draw him off from the ranks of
Protestantism. Charles wrote a civil, but rather an evasive reply.

[Sidenote: Letters.]

[Sidenote: The magic picture.]

In the mean time, King James wrote childish letters from time to time
to his two dear boys, as he called them, and he sent them a great
many presents of jewelry and splendid dresses, some for them to wear
themselves, and some for the prince to offer as gifts to the Infanta.
Among these, he describes, in one of his letters, a little mirror, set
in a case which was to be worn hung at the girdle. He wrote to Charles
that when he gave this mirror to the Infanta, he must tell her that
it was a picture which he had had imbued with magical virtue by means
of incantations and charms, so that whenever she looked into it, she
would see a portrait of the most beautiful princess in England, France,
or Spain.

[Sidenote: The pope's dispensation.]

[Sidenote: The treaty signed.]

At last the great obstacle in the way of the conclusion of the treaty
of marriage, which consisted in the delays and difficulties in
getting the pope's dispensation, was removed. The dispensation came.
But then the King of Spain wanted some new guarantees in respect to
the privileges of Catholics in England, under pretense of securing
more perfectly the rights of the Infanta and of her attendants when
they should have arrived in that country. The truth was, he probably
wanted to avail himself of the occasion to gain some foothold for the
Catholic faith in England, which country had become almost entirely
Protestant. At length, however, all obstacles seemed to be removed, and
the treaty was signed. The news of it was received with great joy in
England, as it seemed to secure a permanent alliance between the two
powerful countries of England and Spain. Great celebrations took place
in London, to do honor to the occasion. A chapel was built for the
Infanta, to be ready for her on her arrival; and a fleet was fitted out
to convey her and her attendants to her new home.

[Sidenote: Buckingham is hated.]

[Sidenote: He breaks off the match.]

In the mean time, however, although the king had signed the treaty,
there was a strong party formed against the marriage in Spain.
Buckingham was hated and despised. Charles, they saw, was almost
entirely under his influence. They said they would rather see the
Infanta in her grave than in the hands of such men. Buckingham became
irritated by the hostility he had awakened, and he determined
to break off the match entirely. He wrote home to James that he had
no idea that the Spanish court had any intention of carrying the
arrangement really into effect; that they were procrastinating the
affair on every possible pretext, and that he was really afraid
that, if the prince were to attempt to leave the country, they would
interpose and detain him as a prisoner. King James was very much
alarmed. He wrote in the greatest trepidation, urging "the lads" to
come away immediately, leaving a proxy behind them, if necessary, for
the solemnization of the marriage. This was what Buckingham wanted, and
he and the prince began to make preparations for their departure.

[Sidenote: Festivities at the Escurial.]

[Sidenote: Taking leave.]

The King of Spain, far from interposing any obstacles in the way,
only treated them with greater and higher marks of respect as the
time of their separation from his court drew nigh. He arranged great
and pompous ceremonies to honor their departure. He accompanied them,
with all the grandees of the court, as far as to the Escurial, which
is a famous royal palace not far from Madrid, built and furnished in
the most sumptuous style of magnificence and splendor. Here they had
parting feasts and celebrations. Here the prince took his leave of
the Infanta, Bristol serving as interpreter, to translate his parting
speeches into Spanish, so that she could understand them. From the
Escurial the prince and Buckingham, with a great many English noblemen
who had followed them to Madrid, and a great train of attendants,
traveled toward the seacoast, where a fleet of vessels were ready to
receive them.

[Illustration: THE ESCURIAL.]

[Sidenote: Return to London.]

[Sidenote: The Spanish match broken off.]

They embarked at a port called St. Andrew. They came very near being
lost in a storm of mist and rain which came upon them while going out
to the ships, which were at a distance from the shore, in small boats
provided to convey them. Having escaped this danger, they arrived
safely at Portsmouth, the great landing point of the British navy on
the southern shores of England, and thence proceeded to London.
They sent back orders that the proxy should not be used, and the match
was finally abandoned, each party accusing the other of duplicity and
bad faith. King James was, however, very glad to get his son safe
back again, and the people made as many bonfires and illuminations
to celebrate the breaking up of this Catholic match, as they had
done before to do honor to its supposed completion. As all hope of
recovering the Palatinate by negotiation was now past, the king began
to prepare for the attempt to reconquer it by force of arms.



[Sidenote: 1625.]

King James made slow progress in his military preparations. He could
not raise the funds without the action of Parliament, and the houses
were not in very good humor. The expenses of the prince's visit to
Spain had been enormous, and other charges, arising out of the pomp and
splendor with which the arrangements of the court were maintained, gave
them a little feeling of discontent. They had other grievances of which
they were disposed to complain, and they began to look upon this war,
notwithstanding its Protestant character, as one in which the king was
only striving to recover his son-in-law's dominions, and, consequently,
as one which pertained more to his personal interests than to the
public welfare of the realm.

[Sidenote: James prepares for war.]

[Sidenote: He falls ill.]

[Sidenote: Suspicions.]

While things were in this state the king fell sick. The mother of the
Duke of Buckingham undertook to prescribe for him. It was understood
that Buckingham himself, who had, in the course of the Spanish
enterprise, and since his return, acquired an entire ascendency over
Charles, was not unwilling that his old master should leave the stage,
and the younger one reign in his stead; and that his mother shared in
this feeling. At any rate, her prescriptions made the king much worse.
He had the sacrament administered to him in his sick chamber, and said
that he derived great comfort from it. One morning, very early, he sent
for the prince to come and see him. Charles rose, dressed himself, and
came. His father had something to say to him, and tried to speak.

[Sidenote: Death of James.]

He could not. His strength was too far gone. He fell back upon his
pillow, and died.

[Sidenote: Accession of Charles.]

Charles was, of course, now king. The theory in the English monarchy
is, that the king never dies. So soon as the person in whom the royal
sovereignty resides ceases to breathe, the principle of supremacy
vests immediately in his successor, by a law of transmission entirely
independent of the will of man. The son becomes king by a divine right.
His being proclaimed and crowned, as he usually is, at some convenient
time early in his reign, are not ceremonies which _make_ him king.
They only acknowledge him to be so. He does not, in any sense, derive
his powers and prerogatives from these acts. He only receives from his
people, by means of them, a recognition of his right to the high office
to which he has already been inducted by the fiat of Heaven.

[Sidenote: Different ideas of the nature and end of government.]

It will be observed, thus, that the ideas which prevailed in respect
to the nature and province of government, were very different in
England at that time from those which are entertained in America at
the present day. With us, the administration of government is merely
_a business_, transacted for the benefit of the people by their
agents--men who are put in power for this purpose, and who, like other
agents, are responsible to their principals for the manner in which
they fulfill their trusts. But government in England was, in the days
of the Stuarts--and it is so to a great extent at the present day--a
_right_ which one family possessed, and which entitled that family to
certain immunities, powers, and prerogatives, which they held entirely
independent of any desire, on the part of the people, that they should
exercise them, or even their _consent_ that they should do so. The
right to govern the realm of Great Britain was a sort of estate which
descended to Charles from his ancestors, and with the possession and
enjoyment of which the community had no right to interfere.

[Sidenote: Hereditary succession illustrated by an argument.]

This seems, at first view, very absurd to us, but it is not
particularly absurd. Charles's lawyers would say to any plain
proprietor of a piece of land, who might call in question his right
to govern the country, the king holds his crown by precisely the
same tenure that you hold your farm. Why should you be the exclusive
possessor of that land, while so many poor beggars are starving?
Because it has descended to you from your ancestors, and nothing has
descended to them. And it is precisely so that the right to manage
the fleets and armies, and to administer the laws of the realm, has
descended, under the name of _sovereignty_, to him, and no such
political power has descended to you.

True, the farmer would reply; but in matters of government we are to
consider what will promote the general good. The great object to be
attained is the welfare and happiness of the community. Now, if this
general welfare comes into competition with the supposed rights of
individuals, arising from such a principle as hereditary succession,
the latter ought certainly to yield.

[Sidenote: Property and prerogatives.]

[Sidenote: Hereditary succession an absolute right.]

But why, might the lawyer reply, should rights founded on hereditary
succession yield any more readily in the case of _government_ than in
the case of _property_? The distribution of property influences the
general welfare quite as much as the management of power. Suppose it
were proved that the general welfare of your parish would be promoted
by the division of your land among the destitute there. You have
nothing to oppose to such a proposition but your hereditary right.
And the king has that to oppose to any plan of a division of his
prerogatives and powers among the people who would like to share them.

Whatever may be thought of this reasoning on this side of the Atlantic,
and at the present day, it was considered very satisfactory in England
two or three centuries ago. The true and proper jurisdiction of an
English monarch, as it had existed from ancient times, was considered
as an _absolute right_, vesting in each successive inheritor of the
crown, and which the community could not justly interfere with or
disturb for any reasons less imperious than such as would authorize an
interference with the right of succession to private property. Indeed,
it is probable that, with most men at that time, an inherited right to
_govern_ was regarded as the most sacred of the two.

[Sidenote: Three things hereditary in England.]

The fact seems to be, that the right of a son to come into the place
of his father, whether in respect to property, power, or social rank,
is not a natural, inherent, and indefeasible right, but a _privilege_
which society accords, as a matter of convenience and expediency. In
England, expediency is, on the whole, considered to require that all
three of these things, viz., property, rank, and power, in certain
cases, should descend from father to son. In this country, on the other
hand, we confine the hereditament to property, abrogating it in the
case of rank and power. In neither case is there probably any absolute
natural right, but a conventional right is allowed to take its place in
one, or another, or all of these particulars, according to the opinion
of the community in respect to what its true interests and the general
welfare, on the whole, require.

[Sidenote: The Stuarts.]

The kings themselves of this Stuart race--which race includes Mary
Queen of Scots, the mother of the line, and James I., Charles I.,
Charles II., and James II.--entertained very high ideas of these
hereditary rights of theirs to govern the realm of England. They felt
a determination to maintain these rights and powers at all hazards.
Charles ascended the throne with these feelings, and the chief point of
interest in the history of his reign is the contest in which he engaged
with the English people in his attempts to maintain them.

[Sidenote: Parliament.]

[Sidenote: The Legislature in the United States.]

The body with which the king came most immediately into conflict
in this long struggle were the two houses of Parliament. And here
American readers are very liable to fall into a mistake by considering
the houses of Parliament as analogous to the houses of legislation
in the various governments of this country. In our governments the
chief magistrate has only to execute definite and written laws and
ordinances, passed by the Legislature, and which the Legislature may
pass with or without his consent; and when enacted, he must be governed
by them. Thus the president or the governor is, in a certain sense,
the agent and officer of the legislative power of the state, to carry
into effect its decisions, and this _legislative_ power has really the

[Sidenote: The nature of Parliament.]

By the ancient Constitution of England, however, the Parliament was
merely a body of counselors, as it were, summoned by the king to give
him their advice, to frame for him such laws as he wanted to have
framed, and to aid him in raising funds by taxing the people. The king
might call this council or not, as he pleased. There was no necessity
for calling it unless he needed more funds than he could raise by his
own resources. When called, they felt that they had come, in a great
measure, to aid the king in doing his will. When they framed a law,
they sent it to him, and if he was satisfied with it, he _made it law_.
It was the king who really enacted it. If he did not approve the law,
he wrote upon the parchment which contained it, "The king will think of
it," and that was the end. The king would call upon them to assess a
tax and collect the money, and would talk to them about his plans, and
his government, and the aid which he wanted from them to enable him to
accomplish what he had himself undertaken. In fact, the king was the
government, and the houses of Parliament his instruments to aid him in
giving effect to his decrees.

[Sidenote: The nobles.]

[Sidenote: The House of Commons.]

[Sidenote: Its humble position.]

The nobles, that is, the heads of the great families, and also the
bishops, who were the heads of the various dioceses of the Church,
formed one branch of this great council. This was called the House
of Lords. Certain representatives of the counties and of the towns
formed another branch, called the House of Commons. These delegates
came to the council, not from any right which the counties and towns
were supposed to possess to a share in the government, but simply
because they were summoned by the king to come and give him their
aid. They were to serve without pay, as a matter of duty which they
owed to the sovereign. Those that came from counties were called
knights, and those from the towns burgesses. These last were held in
very little estimation. The towns, in those days, were considered as
mere collections of shopkeepers and tradesmen, who were looked down
upon with much disdain by the haughty nobles. When the king called
his Parliament together, and went in to address them, he entered the
chamber of the House of Peers, and the commons were called in, to stand
where they could, with their heads uncovered, to hear what he had to
say. They were, in a thousand other ways, treated as an inferior class;
but still their counsels might, in some cases, be of service, and so
they were summoned to attend, though they were to meet always, and
deliberate, in a separate chamber.

[Sidenote: The king's power over Parliament.]

[Sidenote: His responsibility.]

As the king could call the Parliament together at any time and place
he pleased, so he could suspend or terminate their sittings at any
time. He could intermit the action of a Parliament for a time, sending
the members to their homes until he should summon them again. This was
called a _prorogation_. Or he could dissolve the body entirely at any
time, and then require new elections for a new Parliament whenever he
wanted to avail himself of the wisdom or aid of such a body again.

Thus every thing went on the supposition that the real responsibility
for the government was with the king. He was the monarch, and the real
sovereignty vested in him. He called his nobles, and a delegation from
the mass of the people, together, whenever he wanted their help, and
not otherwise. He was responsible, not to them nor to the people at
large, but to God only, for the acts of his administration. The duty of
Parliament was limited to that of aiding him in carrying out his plans
of government, and the people had nothing to do but to be obedient,
submissive, and loyal. These were, at any rate, the ideas of the
kings, and all the forms of the English Constitution, and the ancient
phraseology in which the transactions are expressed, correspond with

[Sidenote: An illustration.]

[Sidenote: James's message to Parliament.]

We can not give a better proof and illustration of what has been said
than by transcribing the substance of one of King James's messages to
his Parliament, delivered about the close of his life, and, of course,
at the period of which we are writing. It was as follows:

 "My Lords spiritual and temporal, and you the Commons: In my last
 Parliament I made long discourses, especially to them of the Lower
 House. I did open the true thought of my heart. But I may say with our
 Savior, 'I have piped to you and ye have not danced; I have mourned to
 you and you have not lamented;' so all my sayings turned to me again
 without any success. And now, to tell the reasons of your calling and
 of this meeting, apply it to yourselves, and spend not the time in
 long speeches. Consider that the Parliament is a thing composed of
 a head and a body; the monarch and the two estates. It was, first,
 a monarchy; then, after, a Parliament. There are no Parliaments but
 in monarchical governments; for in Venice, the Netherlands, and
 other free governments there are none. The head is to call the body
 together; and for the clergy the bishops are chief, for shires their
 knights, for towns and cities their burgesses and citizens. These are
 to treat of difficult matters, and counsel their king with their best
 advice to make laws[1] for the commonweal; and the Lower House is also
 to petition the king and acquaint him with their grievances, and not
 to meddle with the king's prerogative. They are to offer supply for
 his necessity, and he to distribute, in recompense thereof, justice
 and mercy. As in all Parliaments it is the _king's_ office to make
 good laws, whose fundamental cause is the people's ill manners, so at
 this time.

 [1] Meaning advice to him how he shall make laws, as is evident from
 what is said below.

 "For a supply to my necessities, I have reigned eighteen years, in
 which I have had peace, and I have received far less supply than
 hath been given to any king since the Conquest. The last queen had,
 one year with another, above a hundred thousand pounds per annum in
 subsidies; and in all my time I have had but four subsidies and six
 fifteens.[2] It is ten years since I had a subsidy, in all which time
 I have been sparing to trouble you. I have turned myself as nearly to
 save expenses as I may. I have abated much in my household expenses,
 in my navies, and the charge of my munition."

[2] Species of taxes granted by Parliament.

[Sidenote: James's message to Parliament.]

After speaking about the affairs of the Palatinate, and calling
upon the Parliament to furnish him with money to recover it for his
son-in-law, he adds:

 "Consider the trade for the making thereof better, and show me the
 reason why my mint, these eight or nine years, hath not gone. I
 confess I have been liberal in my grants; but if I be informed, I
 will amend all hurtful grievances. But whoever shall hasten after
 grievances, and desire to make himself popular, he hath the spirit of
 Satan. I was, in my first Parliament, a novice; and in my last, there
 was a kind of beasts, called _undertakers_, a dozen of whom undertook
 to govern the last Parliament, and they led me. I shall thank you
 for your good office, and desire that the world may say well of our

[Sidenote: Its high tone.]

This kind of harangue from the king to his Parliament seems not to
have been considered, at the time, at all extraordinary; though, if
such a message were to be sent, at the present day, by a President of
the United States to the houses of Congress, we think it would make a

[Sidenote: Privileges of the House of Commons.]

Still, notwithstanding what we have said, the Parliament did contrive
gradually to attain to the possession of some privileges and powers
of its own. The English people have a great deal of independence and
spirit, though Americans traveling there, with ideas carried from this
country, are generally surprised at finding so little instead of so
much. The knights and burgesses of the House of Commons, though they
submitted patiently to the forms of degradation which the lords and
kings imposed upon them, gradually got possession of certain powers
which they claimed as their own, and which they showed a strong
disposition to defend. They claimed the exclusive right to lay taxes
of every kind. This had been the usage so long, that they had the same
right to it that the king had to his crown. They had a right, too, to
petition the king for a redress of any grievances which they supposed
the people were suffering under his reign. These, and certain other
powers and immunities which they had possessed, were called their

[Sidenote: The king's prerogatives.]

[Sidenote: Charles's contest with Parliament.]

The king's rights were, on the other hand, called his _prerogatives_.
The Parliament were always endeavoring to extend, define, and establish
their privileges. The king was equally bent on maintaining his ancient
prerogatives. King Charles's reign derives its chief interest from the
long and insane contest which he waged with his Parliament on this
question. The contest commenced at the king's accession to the throne,
and lasted a quarter of a century: it ended with his losing all his
prerogatives and his head.

This circumstance, that the main interest in King Charles's reign is
derived from his contest with his Parliament, has made it necessary
to explain somewhat fully, as we have done, the nature of that body.
We have described it as it was in the days of the Stuarts; but, in
order not to leave any wrong impression on the mind of the reader in
regard to its present condition, we must add, that though all its
external forms remain the same, the powers and functions of the body
have greatly changed. The despised and contemned knights and burgesses,
that were not worthy to have seats provided for them when the king was
delivering them his speech, now rule the world; or, at least, come
nearer to the possession of that dominion than any other power has ever
done, in ancient or modern times. They decide who shall administer the
government, and in what way. They make the laws, settle questions of
trade and commerce, decide really on peace and war, and, in a word,
hold the whole control, while the nominal sovereign takes rides in
the royal parks, or holds drawing-rooms in the palaces, in empty and
powerless parade.

[Sidenote: Present condition of the Commons.]

[Sidenote: Its vast influence.]

There is no question that the British House of Commons has exerted a
far wider influence on the destinies of the human race than any other
governmental power that has ever existed. It has gone steadily on for
five, and perhaps for ten centuries, in the same direction and toward
the same ends; and whatever revolutions may threaten other elements of
European power, the British House of Commons, in some form or other, is
as sure as any thing human can be of existence and power for five or
ten centuries to come.

And yet it is one of the most remarkable of the strange phenomena of
social life, that this body, standing at the head, as it really does,
of all human power, submits patiently still to all the marks and
tokens of inferiority and degradation which accompanied its origin. It
comes together when the sovereign sends writs, _ordering_ the several
constituencies to choose their representatives, and the representatives
to assemble. It comes humbly into the House of Peers to listen to
the instructions of the sovereign at the opening of the session, the
members in a standing position, and with heads uncovered.[3]
It debates these suggestions with forms and in a phraseology which
imply that it is only considering what _counsel_ to give the king. It
enacts nothing--it only recommends; and it holds its existence solely
at the discretion of the great imaginary power which called it into
being. These forms may, very probably, soon be changed for others more
true to the facts; and the principle of election may be changed, so as
to make the body represent more fully the general population of the
empire; but the body itself will doubtless continue its action for a
very long period to come.

[3] Even in the case of a committee of conference between the two
houses, the lords have _seats_ in the committee-room, and wear their
hats. The members from the commons must _stand_, and be uncovered
during the deliberations.

[Sidenote: Old forms still retained.]

[Sidenote: Will probably be changed.]

[Sidenote: Effects of a demise of the crown.]

[Sidenote: All offices expire.]

According to the view of the subject which we have presented, it
would of course follow, as the real sovereignty was mainly in the
king's hands, that at the death of one monarch and the accession of
another, the functions of all officers holding their places under the
authority of the former would expire. This was actually the case. And
it shows how entirely the Parliament was considered as the instrument
and creation of the king, that on the death of a king, the Parliament
immediately expired. The new monarch must make a new Parliament if he
wished one to help him carry out his own plans. In the same manner
almost all other offices expired. As it would be extremely inconvenient
or impossible to appoint anew all the officers of such a realm on a
sudden emergency, it is usual for the king to issue a decree renewing
the appointments of the existing incumbents of these offices. Thus King
Charles, two days after his father's death, made it his first act to
renew the appointments of the members of his father's privy council, of
the foreign embassadors, and of the judges of the courts, in order that
the affairs of the empire might go on without interruption. He also
issued summonses for calling a Parliament, and then made arrangements
for the solemnization of his father's funeral.

[Illustration: ST. STEPHEN'S.]

[Sidenote: Westminster.]

[Sidenote: The Strand.]

[Sidenote: Temple Bar.]

The scene of these transactions was what was, in those days, called
Westminster. Minster means cathedral. A cathedral church had been
built, and an abbey founded, at a short distance west from London, near
the mouth of the Thames. The church was called the West _minster_, and
the abbey, Westminster Abbey. The town afterward took the same name.
The street leading to the city of London from Westminster was called
the Strand; it lay along the shore of the river. The gate by which
the city of London was entered on this side was called Temple Bar,
on account of a building just within the walls, at that point, which
was called the Temple. In process of time, London expanded beyond its
bounds and spread westward. The Strand became a magnificent street of
shops and stores. Westminster was filled with palaces and houses of
the nobility, the whole region being entirely covered with streets and
edifices of the greatest magnificence and splendor. Westminster is now
called the West End of London, though the jurisdiction of the city
still ends at Temple Bar.

[Sidenote: Somerset House.]

Parliament held its sessions in a building near the shore, called St.
Stephen's. The king's palace, called St. James's Palace, was near. The
old church became a place of sepulture for the English kings, where a
long line of them now repose. The palace of King James's wife, Anne of
Denmark, was on the bank of the river, some distance down the Strand.
She called it, during her life, Denmark House, in honor of her native
land. Its name is now Somerset House.

[Sidenote: James's funeral.]

King James's funeral was attended with great pomp. The body was
conveyed from Somerset House to its place of repose in the Abbey, and
attended by a great procession. King Charles walked as chief mourner.
Two earls attended him, one on each side, and the train of his robes
was borne by twelve peers of the realm. The expenses of this funeral
amounted to a sum equal to two hundred thousand dollars.

One thing more is to be stated before we can consider Charles as fairly
entered upon his career, and that is the circumstance of his marriage.
His father James, so soon as he found the negotiations with Spain must
be finally abandoned, opened a new negotiation with the King of France
for his daughter Henrietta Maria. After some delay, this arrangement
was concluded upon. The treaty of marriage was made, and soon after
the old king's death, Charles began to think of bringing home his bride.

[Sidenote: Marriage of Charles.]

He accordingly made out a commission for a nobleman, appointed for the
purpose, to act in his name, in the performance of the ceremony at
Paris. The pope's dispensation was obtained, Henrietta Maria, as well
as the Infanta, being a Catholic. The ceremony was performed, as such
ceremonies usually were in Paris, in the famous church of Nôtre Dame,
where Charles's grandmother, Mary Queen of Scots, had been married to a
prince of France about seventy years before.

[Sidenote: Imposing ceremonies.]

There was a great theater, or platform, erected in front of the altar
in the church, which was thronged by the concourse of spectators who
rushed to witness the ceremony. The beautiful princess was married by
proxy to a man in another kingdom, whom she had never seen, or, at
least, never known. It is not probable that she observed him at the
time when he was, for one evening, in her presence, on his journey
through Paris. The Duke of Buckingham had been sent over by Charles to
conduct home his bride. Ships were waiting at Boulogne, a port nearly
opposite to Dover, to take her and her attendants on board. She bade
farewell to the palaces of Paris, and set out on her journey.[4]

[4] See portrait at the commencement of this volume.

[Sidenote: Arrival of the bride at London.]

[Sidenote: Her residence.]

The king, in the mean time, had gone to Dover, where he awaited her
arrival. She landed at Dover on the day after sailing from Boulogne,
sea-sick and sad. The king received his bride, and with their
attendants they went by carriages to Canterbury, and on the following
day they entered London. Great preparations had been made for receiving
the king and his consort in a suitable manner; but London was, at this
time, in a state of great distress and fear on account of the plague
which had broken out there. The disease had increased during the king's
absence, and the alarm and anxiety were so great, that the rejoicings
on account of the arrival of the queen were omitted. She journeyed
quietly, therefore, to Westminster, and took up her abode at Somerset
House, which had been the residence of her predecessor. They had fitted
it up for her reception, providing for it, among other conveniences, a
Roman Catholic chapel, where she could enjoy the services of religion
in the forms to which she had been accustomed.



[Sidenote: Charles's accession.]

Charles commenced his reign in 1625. He continued to reign about
twenty-four years. It will assist the reader to receive and retain
in mind a clear idea of the course of events during his reign, if
we regard it as divided into three periods. During the first, which
continued about four years, Charles and the Parliament were both upon
the stage, contending with each other, but not at open war. Each party
managed, and maneuvered, and struggled to gain its own ends, the
disagreement widening and deepening continually, till it ended in an
open rupture, when Charles abandoned the plan of having Parliaments at
all, and attempted to govern alone. This attempt to manage the empire
without a legislature lasted for ten years, and is the second period.
After this a Parliament was called, and it soon made itself independent
of the king, and became hostile to him, the two powers being at open
war, which constitutes the third period. Thus we have four years spent
in getting into the quarrel between the king and Parliament, ten years
in an attempt by the king to govern alone, and, finally, ten years of
war, more or less open, the king on one side, and the Parliament on the

[Sidenote: Leading events of his reign.]

[Sidenote: Buckingham.]

[Sidenote: His influence over the king.]

The first four years--that is, the time spent in getting really into
the quarrel with Parliament, was Buckingham's work, for during that
time Buckingham's influence with the king was paramount and supreme;
and whatever was done that was important or extraordinary, though done
in the king's name, really originated in him. The whole country knew
this, and were indignant that such a man, so unprincipled, so low
in character, so reckless, and so completely under the sway of his
impulses and passions, should have such an influence over the king,
and, through him, such power to interfere with and endanger the mighty
interests of so vast a realm.

[Sidenote: General system of government.]

It must not be supposed, however, in consequence of what has been
said about the extent of the regal power in England, that the daily
care and responsibility of the affairs of government, in its ordinary
administration, rested directly upon the king. It is not possible that
any one mind can even comprehend, far less direct, such an enormous
complication of interests and of action as is involved in the carrying
on, from day to day, the government of an empire. Offices, authorities,
and departments of administration spring up gradually, and all the
ordinary routine of the affairs of the empire are managed by them. Thus
the navy was all completely organized, with its gradations of rank,
its rules of action, its records, its account books, its offices and
arrangements for provisionment and supply, the whole forming a vast
system which moved on of itself, whether the king were present or
absent, sick or well, living or dead. It was so with the army; it was
so with the courts; it was so with the general administration of the
government at London. The immense mass of business which constituted
the work of government was all systematized and arranged, and it moved
on regularly, in the hands of more or less prudent and careful men, who
governed, themselves, by ancient rules and usages, and in most cases
managed wisely.

[Sidenote: His majesty.]

[Sidenote: Every thing done in the king's name.]

Every thing, however, was done in the king's _name_. The ships were his
majesty's ships, the admirals were his majesty's servants, the war was
his majesty's war, the court was the _King's_ Bench. The idea was, that
all these thousands of officers, of all ranks and grades, were only an
enormous multiplication of his majesty; that they might do his will
and carry on his administration as he would himself carry it on were
he personally capable of attending to such a vast detail; subject, of
course, to certain limits and restrictions which the laws and customs
of the realm, and the promises and contracts of his predecessors, had
imposed. But although all this action was theoretically the king's
action, it came to be, in fact, almost wholly independent of him. It
went on of itself, in a regular and systematic way, pursuing its own
accustomed course, except so far as the king directly interposed to
modify its action.

It might be supposed that the king would certainly take _the general
direction_ of affairs into his own hands, and that this charge, at
least, would necessarily come upon him, as king, day by day. Some
monarchs have attempted to do this, but it is obvious that there must
be some provision for having this general charge, as well as all the
subordinate functions of government, attended to independently of the
king, as his being always in a condition to fulfill this duty is not
to be relied upon. Sometimes the king is young and inexperienced;
sometimes he is sick or absent; and sometimes he is too feeble in
mind, or too indolent, or too devoted to his pleasures to exercise any
governmental care. There has gradually grown up, therefore, in all
monarchies, the custom of having a central board of officers of state,
whom the king appoints, and who take the general direction of affairs
off his mind, except so far as he chooses to interfere. This board, in
England, is called the Privy Council.

[Sidenote: The Privy Council.]

[Sidenote: It represents the king.]

[Sidenote: Constitution and functions of the Privy Council.]

The Privy Council in England is a body of great importance. Its nature
and its functions are, of course, entirely different from those of
the two houses of Parliament. _They_ represent, or are intended to
represent, the nation. The Parliament is, in theory, the nation,
assembled at the king's command, to give him their advice. The Privy
Council, on the other hand, represents the king. It is the king's
Privy Council. They act in his name. They follow his directions when
he chooses to give any. Whatever they decide upon and decree, the king
signs--often, indeed, without any idea of what it is; but he still
signs it, and all such decrees go forth to the world as the king's
orders in council. The Privy Council, of course, would have its
meetings, its officers, its records, its rules of proceeding, and its
various usages, and these grew, in time, to be laws and rights; but
still it was, in theory, only a sort of expansion of the king, as if
to make a kind of artificial being, with one soul, but many heads and
hands, because no natural human being could possibly have capacities
and powers extensive and multifarious enough for the exigencies of
reigning. Charles thus had a council who went on with every thing,
except so far as he chose to interpose. The members were generally able
and experienced men. And yet Buckingham was among them. He had been
made Lord High Admiral of England, which gave him supreme command of
the navy, and admitted him to the Privy Council. These were very high

This Privy Council now took the direction of public affairs, attended
to every thing, provided for all emergencies, and kept all the
complicated machinery of government in motion, without the necessity
of the king's having any personal agency in the matter. The king might
interpose, more or less, as he was inclined; and when he did interpose,
he sometimes found obstacles in the way of immediately accomplishing
his plans, in the forms or usages which had gradually grown into laws.

[Sidenote: Restrictions on the royal power.]

[Sidenote: A new Parliament.]

For instance, when the king began his reign, he was very eager to have
the war for the recovery of the Palatinate go on at once; and he was,
besides, very much embarrassed for want of money. He wished, therefore,
in order to save time, that the old Parliament which King James had
called should continue to act under his reign. But his Privy Council
told him that that could not be. That was _James's_ Parliament. If he
wanted one for his reign, he must call upon the people to elect a new
Parliament for him.

The new Parliament was called, and Charles sent them a very civil
message, explaining the emergency which had induced him to call them,
and the reason why he was so much in want of money. His father had left
the government a great deal in debt. There had been heavy expenses
connected with the death of the former king, and with his own accession
and marriage. Then there was the war. It had been engaged in by his
father, with the approbation of the former Parliament; and engagements
had been made with allies, which now they could not honorably retract.
He urged them, therefore, to grant, without delay, the necessary

[Sidenote: The new Parliament meets at Oxford.]

The Parliament met in July, but the plague was increasing in London,
and they had to adjourn, early in August, to Oxford. This city is
situated upon the Thames, and was then, as it is now, the seat of a
great many colleges. These colleges were independent of each other
in their internal management, though united together in one general
system. The name of one of them, which is still very distinguished,
was Christ Church College. They had, among the buildings of that
college, a magnificent hall, more than one hundred feet long, and very
lofty, built in a very imposing style. It is still a great object of
interest to all who visit Oxford. This hall was fitted up for the use
of Parliament, and the king met the two houses there, and made a new
speech himself, and had others made by his ministers, explaining the
state of public affairs, and gently urging the houses to act with
promptness and decision.

[Sidenote: Difficulties commence between the king and Parliament.]

[Sidenote: Demands of Parliament, and the king's answers.]

The houses then separated, and each commenced its own deliberations.
But, instead of promptly complying with the king's proposals, they
sent him a petition for redress of a long list of what they called
grievances. These grievances were, almost all of them, complaints
of the toleration and encouragement of the Catholics, through the
influence of the king's Catholic bride. She had stipulated to have a
Catholic chapel, and Catholic attendants, and, after her arrival in
England, she and Buckingham had so much influence over the king, that
they were producing quite a change at court, and gradually through all
ranks of society, in favor of the Catholics. The Commons complained of
a great many things, nearly all, however, originating in this cause.
The king answered these complaints, clause by clause, promising redress
more or less distinctly. There is not room to give this petition and
the answers in full, but as all the subsequent troubles between Charles
and the people of England arose out of this difficulty of his young
wife's bringing in so strong a Catholic influence with her to the
realm, it may be well to give an abstract of some of the principal
petitions, with the king's answers.

 The Commons said

 That they had understood that popish priests, and other Catholics,
 were gradually creeping in as teachers of the youth of the realm, in
 the various seminaries of learning, and they wanted to have decided
 measures taken to examine all candidates for such stations, with a
 view to the careful exclusion of all who were not true Protestants.

 _King._--Allowed. And I will send to the archbishops and all the
 authorities to see that this is done.

       *       *       *       *       *

 _Commons._--That more efficient arrangements should be made for
 appointing able and faithful men in the Church--men that will really
 devote themselves to preaching the Gospel to the people, instead of
 conferring these places and salaries on favorites; sometimes, as has
 been the case, several to the same man.

 The king made some explanations in regard to this subject, and
 promised hereafter to comply with this requisition.

       *       *       *       *       *

 _Commons._--That the laws against sending children out of the country
 to foreign countries to be educated in Catholic seminaries should be
 strictly enforced, and the practice be entirely broken up.

 _King._--Agreed; and he would send to the lord admiral, and to all
 the naval officers on the coast, to watch very carefully and stop
 all children attempting to go abroad for such a purpose; and he would
 issue a proclamation commanding all the noblemen's children now on the
 Continent to return by a given day.

       *       *       *       *       *

 _Commons._--That no Catholic (or, as they called him, popish
 _recusant_, that is, a person _refusing_ to subscribe to the
 Protestant faith, _recusant_ meaning _person refusing_) be admitted
 into the king's service at court; and that no _English_ Catholic be
 admitted into the queen's service. They could not refuse to allow
 her to employ her own _French_ attendants, but to appoint English
 Catholics to the honorable and lucrative offices at her disposal was
 doing a great injury to the Protestant cause in the realm.

 The king agreed to this, with some conditions and evasions.

       *       *       *       *       *

 _Commons._--That all Jesuits and Catholic priests, owing allegiance
 to the See of Rome, should be sent away from the country, according
 to laws already existing, after fair notice given; and if they would
 not go, that they should be imprisoned in such a manner as to be kept
 from all communication with other persons, so as not to disseminate
 their false religion.

 _King._--The laws on this subject shall be enforced.

[Sidenote: The king and the Commons both in the wrong.]

The above are sufficient for a specimen of these complaints and of the
king's answers. There were many more of them, but they have all the
same character and end, namely, to stop the strong current of Catholic
influence and ascendency which was setting in to the court, and through
the court into the realm, through the influence of the young queen
and the persons connected with her. At the present day, and in this
country, the Commons will be thought to be in the wrong, inasmuch as
the thing which they were contending against was, in the main, merely
the toleration of the Catholic religion. But then the king was in the
wrong too, for, since the laws against this toleration stood enacted
by the consent and concurrence of his predecessors, he should not
have allowed them to be infracted and virtually annulled through the
influence of a foreign bride and an unworthy favorite.

[Sidenote: The king promises every thing.]

[Sidenote: His insincerity.]

Perhaps he felt that he was wrong, or perhaps his answers were all
framed for him by his Privy Council. At all events, they were entirely
favorable to the demands of the Commons. He promised every thing. In
many things he went even beyond their demands. It is admitted, however,
on all hands, that, so far as he himself had any agency in making these
replies, he was not really sincere. He himself, and Buckingham, were
very eager to get supplies. Buckingham was admiral of the fleet, and
had a great desire to enlarge the force at his command, with a view
to the performing of some great exploit in the war. It is understood,
therefore, that the king intended his replies as promises merely. At
any rate, the promises were made. The Commons were called into the
great hall again, at Christ Church, where the Peers assembled, and the
king's answers were read to them. Buckingham joined in this policy
of attempting to conciliate the Commons. He went into their assembly
and made a long speech, explaining and justifying his conduct, and
apologizing, in some sense, for what might seem to be wrong.

[Sidenote: Commons not satisfied.]

[Sidenote: Parliament dissolved.]

The Commons returned to their place of deliberation, but they were not
satisfied. They wanted something besides promises. Some were in favor
of granting supplies "in gratitude to his majesty for his gracious
answer." Others thought differently. They did not see the necessity
for raising money for this foreign war. They had greater enemies at
home (meaning Buckingham and popery) than they had abroad. Besides,
if the king would stop his waste and extravagance in bestowing honors
and rewards, there would be money enough for all necessary uses. In a
word, there was much debate, but nothing done. The king, after a short
time, sent a message to them urging them to come to decision. They sent
him back a declaration which showed that they did not intend to yield.
Their language, however, was of the most humble character. They called
him "their dread sovereign," and themselves "his poor commons." The
king was displeased with them, and dissolved the Parliament. They, of
course, immediately became private citizens, and dispersed to their

[Sidenote: 1628.]

[Sidenote: New one called.]

[Sidenote: Subterfuges of the king.]

[Sidenote: Parliament again dissolved.]

After trying some ineffectual attempts to raise money by his own royal
prerogatives and powers, the king called a new Parliament, taking
some curious precautions to keep out of it such persons as he thought
would oppose his plans. The Earl of Bristol, whom Buckingham had
been so jealous of, considering him as his rival, was an influential
member of the House of Peers. Charles and Buckingham agreed to omit
him in sending out the royal writs to summon the peers. He petitioned
Parliament, claiming a right to his seat. Charles then sent him his
writ, but gave him a command, as his sovereign, not to attend the
session. He also selected four of the prominent men in the House of
Commons, men whom he considered most influential in opposition to him
and to Buckingham, and appointed them to offices which would call them
away from London; and as it was the understanding in those days that
the sovereign had a right to command the services of his subjects,
they were obliged to go. The king hoped, by these and similar means,
to diminish the influence against him in Parliament, and to get a
majority in his favor. But his plans did not succeed. Such measures
only irritated the House and the country. After another struggle, this
Parliament was dissolved too.

[Sidenote: The breach between the king and the Parliament widens.]

Things went on so for four or five years, the breach between the king
and the people growing wider and wider. Within this time there were
four Parliaments called, and, after various contentions with them,
they were, one after another, dissolved. The original subject of
disagreement, viz., the growing influence of the Catholics, was not the
only one. Other points came up, growing out of the king's use of his
prerogative, and his irregular and, as they thought, illegal attempts
to interfere with their freedom of action. The king, or, rather,
Buckingham using the king's name, resorted to all sorts of contrivances
to accomplish this object. For instance, it had long been the custom,
in case any member of the House of Peers was absent, for him to give
authority to any friend of his, who was also a member, to vote for
him. This authority was called a _proxy_. This word is supposed to be
derived from _procuracy_, which means action in the place of, and in
behalf of, another. Buckingham induced a great number of the peers to
give him their proxies. He did this by rewards, honors, and various
other influences, and he found so many willing to yield to these
inducements, that at one time he had thirty or forty proxies in his
hands. Thus, on a question arising in the House of Lords, he could give
a very large majority of votes. The House, after murmuring for some
time, and expressing much discontent and vexation at this state of
things, finally made a law that no member of the House should ever have
power to use more than _two_ proxies.

[Sidenote: Impeachment of Buckingham.]

[Sidenote: The king interferes.]

One of the Parliaments which King Charles assembled at length brought
articles of impeachment against Buckingham, and a long contest arose
on this subject. An impeachment is a trial of a high officer of state
for maladministration of his office. All sorts of charges were brought
against Buckingham, most of which were true. The king considered
their interfering to call one of his ministers to account as wholly
intolerable. He sent them orders to dismiss that subject from their
deliberations, and to proceed immediately with their work of laying
taxes to raise money, or he would dissolve the Parliament as he had
done before. He reminded them that the Parliaments were entirely "in
his power for their calling, sitting, and dissolution, and as he
found their fruits were for good or evil, so they were to continue,
or not to be." If they would mend their errors and do their duty,
henceforward he would forgive the past; otherwise they were to expect
his irreconcilable hostility.

[Sidenote: Another dissolution.]

This language irritated instead of alarming them. The Commons persisted
in their plan of impeachment. The king arrested the men whom they
appointed as managers of the impeachment, and imprisoned them. The
Commons remonstrated, and insisted that Buckingham should be dismissed
from the king's service. The king, instead of dismissing him, took
measures to have him appointed, in addition to all his other offices,
Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, a very exalted station.
Parliament remonstrated. The king, in retaliation, dissolved the

[Sidenote: Buckingham's reckless conduct.]

Thus things went on from bad to worse, and from worse to worse again;
the chief cause of the difficulties, in almost all cases, being
traceable to Buckingham's reckless and arbitrary conduct. He was
continually doing something in the pursuit of his own ends, by the rash
and heedless exercise of the vast powers committed to him, to make
extensive and irreparable mischief. At one time he ordered a part of
the fleet over to the coast of France, to enter the French service, the
sailors expecting that they were to be employed against the Spaniards.
They found, however, that, instead of going against the Spaniards,
they were to be sent to Rochelle. Rochelle was a town in France in
possession of the Protestants, and the King of France wanted to subdue
them. The sailors sent a remonstrance to their commander, begging
not to be forced to fight against their brother Protestants. This
remonstrance was, in form, what is called a _Round Robin_.

[Sidenote: The Round Robin.]

[Sidenote: Return of the English fleet.]

In a Round Robin a circle is drawn, the petition or remonstrance is
written within it, and the names are written all around it, to prevent
any one's having to take the responsibility of being the first signer.
When the commander of the fleet received the Round Robin, instead
of being offended, he inquired into the facts, and finding that the
case was really as the Round Robin represented it, he broke away from
the French command and returned to England. He said he would rather
be hanged in England for disobeying orders than to fight against the
Protestants of France.

[Sidenote: The officers and men desert.]

Buckingham might have known that such a spirit as this in Englishmen
was not to be trifled with. But he knew nothing, and thought of
nothing, except that he wanted to please and gratify the French
government. When the fleet, therefore, arrived in England, he
peremptorily ordered it back, and he resorted to all sorts of pretexts
and misrepresentations of the facts to persuade the officers and
men that they were not to be employed against the Protestants. The
fleet accordingly went back, and when they arrived, they found that
Buckingham had deceived them. They were ordered to Rochelle. One of the
ships broke away and returned to England. The officers and men deserted
from the other ships and got home. The whole armament was disorganized,
and the English people, who took sides with the sailors, were
extremely exasperated against Buckingham for his blind and blundering
recklessness, and against the king for giving such a man the power to
do his mischief on such an extensive scale.

[Sidenote: Expedition to Spain.]

[Sidenote: Buckingham's egregious folly.]

[Sidenote: The expedition ends in disaster.]

At another time the duke and the king contrived to fit out a fleet
of eighty sail to make a descent upon the coast of Spain. It caused
them great trouble to get the funds for this expedition, as they had
to collect them, in a great measure, by various methods depending on
the king's prerogative, and not by authority of Parliament. Thus the
whole country were dissatisfied and discontented in respect to the
fleet before it was ready to sail. Then, as if this was not enough,
Buckingham overlooked all the officers in the navy in selecting a
commander, and put an officer of the army in charge of it; a man whose
whole experience had been acquired in wars on the land. The country
thought that Buckingham ought to have taken the command himself, as
lord high admiral; and if not, that he ought to have selected his
commander from the ranks of the service employed. Thus the fleet set
off on the expedition, all on board burning with indignation against
the arbitrary and absurd management of the favorite. The result of
the expedition was also extremely disastrous. They had an excellent
opportunity to attack a number of ships, which would have made a very
rich prize; but the soldier-commander either did not know, or did not
dare to do, his duty. He finally, however, effected a landing, and
took a castle, but the sailors found a great store of wine there, and
went to drinking and carousing, breaking through all discipline. The
commander had to get them on board again immediately, and come away.
Then he conceived the plan of going to intercept what were called the
Spanish galleons, which were ships employed to bring home silver from
the mines in America, which the Spaniards then possessed. On further
thoughts he concluded to give up this idea, on account of the plague,
which, as he said, broke out in his ships. So he came back to England
with his fleet disorganized, demoralized, and crippled, and covered
with military disgrace. The people of England charged all this to
Buckingham. Still the king persisted in retaining him. It was his
prerogative to do so.

[Sidenote: Buckingham's quarrel with Richelieu.]

[Sidenote: He resolves on war.]

After a while Buckingham got into a personal quarrel with Richelieu,
who was the leading manager of the French government, and he resolved
that England should make war upon France. To alter the whole political
position of such an empire as that of Great Britain, in respect to
peace and war, and to change such a nation as France from a friend to
an enemy, would seem to be quite an undertaking for a single man to
attempt, and that, too, without having any reason whatever to assign,
except a personal quarrel with a minister about a love affair. But so
it was. Buckingham undertook it. It was the king's prerogative to make
peace or war, and Buckingham ruled the king.

[Sidenote: The French servants dismissed.]

[Sidenote: War declared against France.]

He contrived various ways of fomenting ill will. One was, to alienate
the mind of the king from the queen. He represented to him that the
queen's French servants were getting to be very disrespectful and
insolent in their treatment of him, and finally persuaded him to
send them all home. So the king went one day to Somerset House, which
was the queen's residence--for it is often the custom in high life in
Europe for the husband and wife to have separate establishments--and
requested her to summon her French servants into his presence, and when
they were assembled, he told them that he had concluded to send them
all home to France. Some of them, he said, had acted properly enough,
but others had been rude and forward, and that he had concluded it best
to send them all home. The French king, on hearing of this, seized a
hundred and twenty English ships lying in his harbors in retaliation
of this act, which he said was a palpable violation of the marriage
contract, as it certainly was. Upon this the king declared war against
France. He did not ask Parliament to act in this case at all. There was
no Parliament. Parliament had been dissolved in a fit of displeasure.
The whole affair was an exercise of the royal prerogative. He did not
dare to call a Parliament to provide means for carrying on the war, but
set his Privy Council to devise modes of doing it, through this same

[Sidenote: Expedition to France abortive.]

The attempts to raise money in these ways made great trouble. The
people resisted, and interposed all possible difficulties. However,
some funds were raised, and a fleet of a hundred sail, and an army of
seven thousand men, were got together. Buckingham undertook the command
of this expedition himself, as there had been so much dissatisfaction
with his appointment of a commander to the other. It resulted just as
was to be expected in the case of seven thousand men, and a hundred
ships, afloat on the swelling surges of the English Channel, under
the command of vanity, recklessness, and folly. The duke came back to
England in three months, bringing home one third of his force. The rest
had been lost, without accomplishing any thing. The measure of public
indignation against Buckingham was now full.

[Sidenote: Another projected.]

[Sidenote: 1628.]

[Sidenote: Assassination of Buckingham.]

Buckingham himself walked as loftily and proudly as ever. He got
up another fleet, and was preparing to set sail in it himself, as
commander again. He went to Portsmouth, accordingly, for this purpose,
Portsmouth being the great naval station then, as now, on the southern
coast of England. Here a man named Felton, who had been an officer
under the duke in the former expedition, and who had been extremely
exasperated against him on account of some of his management there,
and who had since found how universal was the detestation of him in
England, resolved to rid the country of such a curse at once. He
accordingly took his station in the passage-way of the house where
Buckingham was, armed with a knife. Buckingham came out, talking with
some Frenchmen in an angry manner, having had some dispute with them,
and Felton thrust the knife into his side as he passed, and, leaving
it in the wound, walked away, no one having noticed who did the deed.
Buckingham pulled out the knife, fell down, and died. The bystanders
were going to seize one of the Frenchmen, when Felton advanced and
said, "I am the man who did the deed; let no man suffer that is
innocent." He was taken. They found a paper in his hat, saying that he
was going to destroy the duke, and that he could not sacrifice his life
in a nobler cause than by delivering his country from so great an enemy.

[Sidenote: The king not sorry.]

King Charles was four miles off at this time. They carried him the
news. He did not appear at all concerned or troubled, but only
directed that the murderer--he ought to have said, perhaps, the
_executioner_--should be secured, and that the fleet should proceed to
sail. He also ordered the treasurer to make arrangements for a splendid

[Sidenote: Buckingham's monument the universal execration of his

The treasurer said, in reply, that a funeral would only be a temporary
show, and that he could hereafter erect a _monument_ at half the
cost, which would be a much more lasting memorial. Charles acceded.
Afterward, when Charles spoke to him about the monument, the treasurer
replied, What would the world say if your majesty were to build a
monument to the duke before you erect one for your father? So the plan
was abandoned, and Buckingham had no other monument than the universal
detestation of his countrymen.



[Sidenote: Difficulty in raising funds.]

The great difficulty in governing without a Parliament was how to
raise funds. By the old customs and laws of the realm, a tax upon the
people could only be levied by the action of the House of Commons; and
the great object of the king and council during Buckingham's life, in
summoning Parliaments from time to time, was to get their aid in this
point. But as Charles found that one Parliament after another withheld
the grants, and spent their time in complaining of his government, he
would dissolve them, successively, after exhausting all possible means
of bringing them to a compliance with his will. He would then be thrown
upon his own resources.

[Sidenote: The king's resources.]

[Sidenote: Modes of raising money.]

The king had _some_ resources of his own. These were certain estates,
and lands, and other property, in various parts of the country, which
belonged to the crown, the income of which the king could appropriate.
But the amount which could be derived from this source was very small.
Then there were certain other modes of raising money, which had been
resorted to by former monarchs, in emergencies, at distant intervals,
but still in instances so numerous that the king considered precedents
enough had been established to make the power to resort to these modes
a part of the prerogative of the crown. The people, however, considered
these acts of former monarchs as irregularities or usurpations. They
denied the king's right to resort to these methods, and they threw
so many difficulties in the way of the execution of his plans, that
finally he would call another Parliament, and make new efforts to
lead them to conform to his will. The more the experiment was tried,
however, the worse it succeeded; and at last the king determined to
give up the idea of Parliaments altogether, and to compel the people to
submit to his plans of raising money without them.

[Sidenote: Parliaments abandoned.]

[Sidenote: The government attaches the property of a member of

The final dissolution of Parliament, by which Charles entered upon
his new plan of government, was attended with some resistance, and
the affair made great difficulty. It seems that one of the members, a
certain Mr. Rolls, had had some of his goods seized for payment of some
of the king's irregular taxes, which he had refused to pay willingly.
Now it had always been considered the law of the land in England,
that the person and the property of a member of Parliament were
sacred during the session, on the ground that while he was giving his
attendance at a council meeting called by his sovereign, he ought to be
protected from molestation on the part either of his fellow-subjects or
his sovereign, in his person and in his property. The House of Commons
considered, therefore, the seizure of the goods of one of the members
of the body as a breach of their privilege, and took up the subject
with a view to punish the officers who acted. The king sent a message
immediately to the House, while they were debating the subject, saying
that the officer acted, in seizing the goods, in obedience to his own
direct command. This produced great excitement and long debates. The
king, by taking the responsibility of the seizure upon himself, seemed
to bid the House defiance. They brought up this question: "Whether the
seizing of Mr. Rolls's goods was not a breach of privilege?" When the
time came for a decision, the speaker, that is, the presiding officer,
refused to put the question to vote. He said he had been commanded _by
the king_ not to do it! The House were indignant, and immediately
adjourned for two days, probably for the purpose of considering, and
perhaps consulting their constituents on what they were to do in so
extraordinary an emergency as the king's coming into their own body and
interfering with the functions of one of their own proper officers.

[Sidenote: Confusion in the House of Commons.]

[Sidenote: Resolutions.]

[Sidenote: The Commons refuse to admit the king's officers.]

They met on the day to which they had adjourned, prepared to insist
on the speaker's putting the question. But he, immediately on the
House coming to order, said that he had received the king's command to
adjourn the House for a week, and to put no question whatever. He then
was going to leave the chair, but two of the members advanced to him
and held him in his place, while they read some resolutions which had
been prepared. There was great confusion and clamor. Some insisted that
the House was adjourned, some were determined to pass the resolutions.
The resolutions were very decided. They declared that whoever should
counsel or advise the laying of taxes not granted by Parliament, or
be an actor or instrument in collecting them, should be accounted an
innovator, and a capital enemy to the kingdom and Commonwealth. And
also, that if any person whatever should voluntarily pay such taxes,
he should be counted a capital enemy also. These resolutions were read
in the midst of great uproar. The king was informed of the facts, and
sent for the sergeant of the House--one of the highest officers--but
the members locked the door, and would not let the sergeant go. Then
the king sent one of his own officers to the House with a message. The
members kept the door locked, and would not let him in until they had
disposed of the resolutions. Then the House adjourned for a week.

[Sidenote: Members imprisoned.]

The next day, several of the leading members who were supposed to have
been active in these proceedings were summoned to appear before the
council. They refused to answer out of Parliament for what was said
and done by them in Parliament. The council sent them to prison in the

[Sidenote: Dissolution of Parliament.]

[Sidenote: The king in the House of Lords.]

[Sidenote: The king's speech on dissolving Parliament.]

The week passed away, and the time for the reassembling of the
Houses arrived. It had been known, during the week, that the king
had determined on dissolving Parliament. It is usual, in dissolving
a Parliament, for the sovereign not to appear in person, but to send
his message of dissolution by some person commissioned to deliver it.
This is called dissolving the House by commission. The dissolution
is always declared in the House of Lords, the Commons being summoned
to attend. In this case, however, the king attended in person. He was
dressed magnificently in his royal robes, and wore his crown. He would
not deign, however, to send for the Commons. He entered the House of
Peers, and took his seat upon the throne. Several of the Commons,
however, came in of their own accord, and stood below the bar, at the
usual place assigned them. The king then rose and read the following
speech. The antiquity of the language gives it an air of quaintness now
which it did not possess then.

 "My Lords,--I never came here upon so unpleasant an occasion, it being
 the Dissolution of a Parliament. Therefore Men may have some cause
 to wonder why I should not rather chuse to do this by Commission,
 it being a general Maxim of Kings to leave harsh Commands to their
 Ministers, Themselves only executing pleasing things. Yet considering
 that Justice as well consists in Reward and Praise of Virtue as
 Punishing of Vice, I thought it necessary to come here to-day,
 and to declare to you and all the World, that it was merely the
 undutiful and seditious Carriage in the Lower House that hath made the
 Dissolution of this Parliament. And you, my Lords, are so far from
 being any Causers of it, that I take as much comfort in your dutiful
 Demeanour, as I am justly distasted with their Proceedings. Yet, to
 avoid their Mistakings, let me tell you, that it is so far from me to
 adjudge all the House alike guilty, that I know there are many there
 as dutiful subjects as any in the World; it being but some few Vipers
 among them that did cast this Mist of Undutifulness over most of their
 Eyes. Yet to say Truth, there was a good Number there that could not
 be infected with this Contagion.

 "To conclude, As those Vipers must look for their Reward of
 Punishment, so you, my Lords, may justly expect from me that Favor and
 Protection that a good King oweth to his loving and faithful Nobility.
 And now, my Lord Keeper, do what I have commanded you."

Then the lord keeper pronounced the Parliament dissolved. The lord
keeper was the keeper of the great seal, one of the highest officers of
the crown.

[Sidenote: The king resolves to do without Parliaments.]

Of course this affair produced a fever of excitement against the king
throughout the whole realm. This excitement was kept up and increased
by the trials of the members of Parliament who had been imprisoned.
The courts decided against them, and they were sentenced to long
imprisonment and to heavy fines. The king now determined to do without
Parliaments entirely; and, of course, he had to raise money by his
royal prerogative altogether, as he had done, in fact, before, a great
deal, during the intervals between the successive Parliaments. It will
not be very entertaining, but it will be very useful to the reader to
peruse carefully some account of the principal methods resorted to
by the king. In order, however, to diminish the necessity for money
as much as possible, the king prepared to make peace with France and
Spain; and as they, as well as England, were exhausted with the wars,
this was readily effected.

[Sidenote: 1630.]

[Sidenote: Forced loans.]

One of the resorts adopted by the king was to a system of _loans_,
as they were called, though these loans differed from those made by
governments at the present day, in being apportioned upon the whole
community according to their liability to taxation, and in being
made, in some respects, compulsory. The loan was not to be absolutely
collected by force, but all were expected to lend, and if any refused,
they were to be required to make oath that they would not tell any
body else that they had refused, in order that the influence of their
example might not operate upon others. Those who did refuse were to be
reported to the government. The officers appointed to collect these
loans were charged not to make unnecessary difficulty, but to do all in
their power to induce the people to contribute freely and willingly.
This plan had been before adopted, in the time of Buckingham, but it
met with little success.

[Sidenote: Monopolies of the necessaries of life.]

Another plan which was resorted to was the granting of what was called
monopolies: that is, the government would select some important and
necessary articles in general use, and give the exclusive right of
manufacturing them to certain persons, on their paying a part of the
profits to the government. Soap was one of the articles thus chosen.
The exclusive right to manufacture it was given to a company, on their
paying for it. So with leather, salt, and various other things. These
persons, when they once possessed the exclusive right to manufacture
an article which the people must use, would abuse their power by
deteriorating the article, or charging enormous prices. Nothing
prevented their doing this, as they had no competition. The effect
was, that the people were injured much more than the government was
benefited. The plan of granting such monopolies by governments is now
universally odious.

[Sidenote: Tonnage and poundage.]

Another method of taxation was what was called _tonnage and poundage_.
This was an ancient tax, assessed on merchandise brought into the
country in ships, like the _duties_ now collected at our custom-houses.
It was called tonnage and poundage because the merchandise on which it
was assessed was reckoned by weight, viz., the ton and the pound. A
former king, Edward III., first assessed it to raise money to suppress
piracy on the seas. He said it was reasonable that the merchandise
protected should pay the expense of the protection, and in proper
proportion. The Parliament in that day opposed this tax. They did
not object to the tax itself, but to the king's assessing it by his
own authority. However, they granted it themselves afterward, and it
was regularly collected. Subsequent Parliaments had granted it, and
generally made the law, once for all, to continue in force during the
life of the monarch. When Charles commenced his reign, the Peers were
for renewing the law as usual, to continue throughout his reign. The
Commons wanted to enact the law only for a year at a time, so as to
keep the power in their own hands. The two houses thus disagreed, and
nothing was done. The king then went on to collect the tax without any
authority except his own prerogative.

[Sidenote: Ship money.]

[Sidenote: Origin of these taxes.]

Another mode of levying money adopted by the king was what was called
_ship money_. This was a plan for raising a navy by making every town
contribute a certain number of ships, or the money necessary to build
them. It originated in ancient times, and was at first confined to
seaport towns which had ships. These towns were required to furnish
them for the king's service, sometimes to be paid for by the king, at
other times by the country, and at other times not to be paid for at
all. Charles revived this plan, extending it to the whole country; a
tax was assessed on all the towns, each one being required to furnish
money enough for a certain number of ships. The number at one time
required of the city of London was twenty.

[Sidenote: 1636.]

[Sidenote: John Hampden.]

[Sidenote: He refuses to pay ship money.]

There was one man who made his name very celebrated then, and it has
continued very celebrated since, by his refusal to pay his ship money,
and by his long and determined contest with the government in regard to
it, in the courts. His name was John Hampden. He was a man of fortune
and high character. His tax for ship money was only twenty shillings,
but he declared that he would not pay it without a trial. The king had
previously obtained the opinion of the judges that he had a right, in
case of necessity, to assess and collect the ship money, and Hampden
knew, therefore, that the decision would certainly, in the end, be
against him. He knew, however, that the attention of the whole country
would be attracted to the trial, and that the arguments which he should
offer to prove that the act of collecting such a tax on the part of the
king's government was illegal and tyrannical, would be spread before
the country, and would make a great impression, although they certainly
would not alter the opinion of the judges, who, holding their offices
by the king's appointment, were strongly inclined to take his side.

[Sidenote: Hampden's trial.]

It resulted as Hampden had foreseen. The trial attracted universal
attention. It was a great spectacle to see a man of fortune and
standing like him, making all those preparations, and incurring so
great expense, on account of a refusal to pay five dollars, knowing,
too, that he would have to pay it in the end. The people of the realm
were convinced that Hampden was right, and they applauded and honored
him very greatly for his spirit and courage. The trial lasted twelve
days. The illegality and injustice of the tax were fully exposed. The
people concurred entirely with him, and even a part of the judges were
convinced. He was called the patriot Hampden, and his name will always
be celebrated in English history. The whole discussion, however, though
it produced a great effect at the time, would be of no interest now,
since it turned mainly on the question what the king's rights actually
were, according to the ancient customs and usages of the realm. The
question before mankind now is a very different one; it is not what the
powers and prerogatives of government have been in times past, but what
they ought to be now and in time to come.

[Sidenote: 1638.]

[Sidenote: He is compelled to pay.]

[Sidenote: A fleet raised.]

[Sidenote: Its exploits among the herring-busses.]

The king's government gained the victory, ostensibly, in this contest,
and Hampden had to pay his money. Very large sums were collected,
also, from others by this tax, and a great fleet was raised. The
performances and exploits of the fleet had some influence in quieting
the murmurs of the people. The fleet was the greatest which England had
ever possessed. One of its exploits was to compel the Dutch to pay a
large sum for the privilege of fishing in the narrow seas about Great
Britain. The Dutch had always maintained that these seas were public,
and open to all the world; and they had a vast number of fishing boats,
called herring-busses, that used to resort to them for the purpose
of catching herring, which they made a business of preserving and
sending all over the world. The English ships attacked these fleets of
herring-busses, and drove them off; and as the Dutch were not strong
enough to defend them, they agreed to pay a large sum annually, for the
right to fish in the seas in question, protesting, however, against it
as an extortion, for they maintained that the English had no control
over any seas beyond the bays and estuaries of their own shores.

One of the chief means which Charles depended upon during the long
period that he governed without a Parliament, was a certain famous
tribunal or court called the _Star Chamber_. This court was a very
ancient one, having been established in some of the earliest reigns;
but it never attracted any special attention until the time of Charles.
His government called it into action a great deal, and extended its
powers, and made it a means of great injustice and oppression, as
the people thought, or, as Charles would have said, a very efficient
means of vindicating his prerogative, and punishing the stubborn and

[Sidenote: Court of the Star Chamber.]

[Sidenote: Its constitution.]

There were three reasons why this court was a more convenient and
powerful instrument in the hands of the king and his council than any
of the other courts in the kingdom. First, it was, by its ancient
constitution, composed of members of the _council_, with the exception
of two persons, who were to be judges in the other courts. This plan of
having two judges from the common law courts seems to have been adopted
for the purpose of securing some sort of conformity of the Star Chamber
decisions with the ordinary principles of English jurisprudence. But
then, as these two law judges would always be selected with reference
to their disposition to carry out the king's plans, and as the other
members of the court were all members of the government itself, of
course the court was almost entirely under governmental control.

[Sidenote: Trial by jury.]

[Sidenote: No jury in the Star Chamber.]

The second reason was, that in this court there was no jury. There had
never been juries employed in it from its earliest constitution. The
English had contrived the plan of trial by jury as a defense against
the severity of government. If a man was accused of crime, the judges
appointed by the government that he had offended were not to be allowed
to decide whether he was guilty or not. They would be likely not to be
impartial. The question of his guilt or innocence was to be left to
twelve men, taken at hazard from the ordinary walks of life, and who,
consequently, would be likely to sympathize with the accused, if they
saw any disposition to oppress him, rather than to join against him
with a tyrannical government. Thus the jury, as they said, was a great
safeguard. The English have always attached great value to their system
of trial by jury. The plan is retained in this country, though there is
less necessity for it under our institutions. Now, in the Star Chamber,
it had never been the custom to employ a jury. The members of the court
decided the whole question; and as they were entirely in the interest
of the government, the government, of course, had the fate of every
person accused under their direct control.

[Sidenote: Crimes tried by the Star Chamber.]

The third reason consisted in the nature of the crimes which it had
always been customary to try in this court. It had jurisdiction in a
great variety of cases in which men were brought into collision with
the government, such as charges of riot, sedition, libel, opposition
to the edicts of the council, and to proclamations of the king. These
and similar cases had always been tried by the Star Chamber; and these
were exactly the cases which ought not to be tried by such a court; for
persons accused of hostility to government ought not to be tried by
government itself.

[Sidenote: Origin of the term.]

There has been a great deal of discussion about the origin of the
term Star Chamber. The hall where the court was held was in a palace
at Westminster, and there were a great many windows in it. Some think
that it was from this that the court received its name. Others suppose
it was because the court had cognizance of a certain crime, the Latin
name of which has a close affinity with the word star. Another reason
is, that certain documents, called _starra_, used to be kept in the
hall. The prettiest idea is a sort of tradition that the ceiling of
the hall was formerly ornamented with stars, and that this circumstance
gave name to the hall. This supposition, however, unfortunately, has
no better foundation than the others; for there were no stars on the
ceiling in Charles's time, and there had not been any for a hundred
years; nor is there any positive evidence that there ever were.
However, in the absence of any real reason for preferring one of
these ideas over the other, mankind seem to have wisely determined on
choosing the prettiest of them, so that it is generally agreed that the
origin of the name was the ancient decoration of the ceiling of the
hall with gilded stars.

[Sidenote: Immense power of the Court of Star Chamber.]

[Sidenote: Oppressive fines.]

However this may be, the court of the Star Chamber was an engine of
prodigious power in the hands of Charles's government. It helped them
in two ways. They could punish their enemies, and where these enemies
were wealthy, they could fill up the treasury of the government by
imposing enormous fines upon them. Sometimes the offenses for which
these fines were imposed were not of a nature to deserve such severe
penalties. For instance, there was a law against turning tillage
land into pasturage. Land that is tilled supports men. Land that
is pastured supports cattle and sheep. The former were a burden,
sometimes, to landlords, the latter a means of wealth. Hence there
was then, as there is now, a tendency in England, in certain parts
of the country, for the landed proprietors to change their tillage
land to pasture, and thus drive the peasants away from their homes.
There were laws against this, but a great many persons had done it
notwithstanding. One of these persons was fined four thousand pounds;
an enormous sum. The rest were alarmed, and made _compositions_, as
they were called; that is, they paid at once a certain sum on condition
of not being prosecuted. Thirty thousand pounds were collected in this
way, which was then a very large amount.

[Sidenote: King's forests.]

There were in those days, as there are now, certain tracts of land in
England called the king's forests, though a large portion of them are
now without trees. The boundaries of these lands had not been very
well defined, but the government now published decrees specifying the
boundaries, and extending them so far as to include, in many cases, the
buildings and improvements of other proprietors. They then prosecuted
these proprietors for having encroached, as they called it, upon the
crown lands, and the Star Chamber assessed very heavy fines upon them.
The people said all this was done merely to get pretexts to extort
money from the nation, to make up for the want of a Parliament to
assess regular taxes; but the government said it was a just and legal
mode of protecting the ancient and legitimate rights of the king.

[Sidenote: Offences against the king and his lords.]

In these and similar modes, large sums of money were collected as
fines and penalties for offenses more or less real. In other cases
very severe punishments were inflicted for various sorts of offenses
committed against the personal dignity of the king, or the great lords
of his government. It was considered highly important to repress
all appearance of disrespect or hostility to the king. One man got
into some contention with one of the king's officers, and finally
struck him. He was fined ten thousand pounds. Another man said that a
certain archbishop had incurred the king's displeasure by wanting some
toleration for the Catholics. This was considered a slander against
the archbishop, and the offender was sentenced to be fined a thousand
pounds, to be whipped, imprisoned, and to stand in the pillory at
Westminster, and at three other places in various parts of the kingdom.

[Sidenote: A gentleman fined for resenting an insult.]

A gentleman was following a chase as a spectator, the hounds belonging
to a nobleman. The huntsman, who had charge of the hounds, ordered him
to keep back, and not come so near the hounds; and in giving him this
order, spoke, as the gentleman alleged, so insolently, that he struck
him with his riding-whip. The huntsman threatened to complain to his
master, the nobleman. The gentleman said that if his master should
justify him in such insulting language as he had used, he would serve
him in the same manner. The Star Chamber fined him ten thousand pounds
for speaking so disrespectfully of a lord.

[Sidenote: Murmurs silenced.]

By these and similar proceedings, large sums of money were collected
by the Star Chamber for the king's treasury, and all expression
of discontent and dissatisfaction on the part of the people was
suppressed. This last policy, however, the suppression of expressions
of dissatisfaction, is always a very dangerous one for any government
to undertake. Discontent, silenced by force, is exasperated and
extended. The outward signs of its existence disappear, but its inward
workings become wide-spread and dangerous, just in proportion to the
weight by which the safety-valve is kept down. Charles and his court of
the Star Chamber rejoiced in the power and efficacy of their tremendous
tribunal. They issued proclamations and decrees, and governed the
country by means of them. They silenced all murmurs. But they were,
all the time, disseminating through the whole length and breadth of
the land a deep and inveterate enmity to royalty, which ended in a
revolution of the government, and the decapitation of the king. They
stopped the hissing of the steam for the time, but caused an explosion
in the end.

[Sidenote: 1633.]

[Sidenote: The kingdom of Scotland.]

Charles was King of Scotland as well as of England. The two countries
were, however, as countries, distinct, each having its own laws, its
own administration, and its own separate dominions. The sovereign,
however, was the same. A king could inherit two kingdoms, just as a man
can, in this country, inherit two farms, which may, nevertheless, be
at a distance from each other, and managed separately. Now, although
Charles had, from the death of his father, exercised sovereignty over
the realm of Scotland, he had not been crowned, nor had even visited
Scotland. The people of Scotland felt somewhat neglected. They
murmured that their common monarch gave all his attention to the sister
and rival kingdom. They said that if the king did not consider the
Scottish crown worth coming after, they might, perhaps, look out for
some other way of disposing of it.

[Sidenote: The king visits Scotland.]

[Sidenote: He is crowned there.]

[Sidenote: The king returns to London.]

The king, accordingly, in 1633, began to make preparations for a royal
progress into Scotland. He first issued a proclamation requiring a
proper supply of provisions to be collected at the several points of
his proposed route, and specified the route, and the length of stay
which he should make in each place. He set out on the 13th of May with
a splendid retinue. He stopped at the seats of several of the nobility
on the way, to enjoy the hospitalities and entertainments which they
had prepared for him. He proceeded so slowly that it was a month before
he reached the frontier. Here all his English servants and retinue
retired from their posts, and their places were supplied by Scotchmen
who had been previously appointed, and who were awaiting his arrival.
He entered Edinburgh with great pomp and parade, all Scotland flocking,
to the capital to witness the festivities. The coronation took place
three days afterward. He met the Scotch Parliament, and, for form's
sake, took a part in the proceedings, so as actually to exercise his
royal authority as King of Scotland. This being over, he was conducted
in great state back to Berwick, which is on the frontier, and thence
he returned by rapid journeys to London.

[Sidenote: Increasing discontent.]

The king dissolved his last Parliament in 1629. He had now been
endeavoring for four or five years to govern alone. He succeeded
tolerably well, so far as external appearances indicated, up to
this time. There was, however, beneath the surface, a deep-seated
discontent, which was constantly widening and extending, and, soon
after the return of the king from Scotland, real difficulties gradually
arose, by which he was, in the end, compelled to call a Parliament
again. What these difficulties were will be explained in the subsequent



[Sidenote: Archbishop Laud.]

In getting so deeply involved in difficulties with his people, King
Charles did not act alone. He had, as we have already explained, a
great deal of help. There were many men of intelligence and rank who
entertained the same opinions that he did, or who were, at least,
willing to adopt them for the sake of office and power. These men he
drew around him. He gave them office and power, and they joined him
in the efforts he made to defend and enlarge the royal prerogative,
and to carry on the government by the exercise of it. One of the most
prominent and distinguished of these men was Laud.

[Sidenote: The Church.]

[Sidenote: 1633-6.]

[Sidenote: System of the English Church.]

[Sidenote: The Archbishop of Canterbury.]

The reader must understand that _the Church_, in England, is very
different from any thing that exists under the same name in this
country. Its bishops and clergy are supported by revenues derived
from a vast amount of property which belongs to the Church itself.
This property is entirely independent of all control by the people
of the parishes. The clergyman, as soon as he is appointed, comes
into possession of it in his own right; and he is not appointed by
the people, but by some nobleman or high officer of state, who has
_inherited_ the right to appoint the clergyman, of that particular
parish. There are bishops, also, who have very large revenues, likewise
independent; and over these bishops is one great dignitary, who
presides in lofty state over the whole system. This officer is called
the Archbishop of Canterbury. There is one other archbishop, called
the Archbishop of York; but his realm is much more limited and less
important. The Archbishop of Canterbury is styled the Lord Primate of
all England. His rank is above that of all the peers of the realm. He
crowns the kings. He has two magnificent palaces, one at Canterbury
and one at London, for his residences, and has very large revenues to
maintain a style of living in accordance with his rank. He has the
superintendence of all the affairs of the Church for the whole realm,
except a small portion pertaining to the archbishopric of York. His
palace in London is on the bank of the Thames, opposite Westminster. It
is called Lambeth Palace.

[Illustration: LAMBETH PALACE.]

[Sidenote: Canterbury.]

[Sidenote: The Cathedral.]

[Sidenote: Officers.]

The city of Canterbury, which is the chief seat of his dominion, is
southeast of London, not very far from the sea. The Cathedral is there,
which is the archbishop's church. It is more than five hundred feet in
length, and the tower is nearly two hundred and fifty feet high. The
magnificence of the architecture and the decorations of the building
correspond with its size. There is a large company of clergymen and
other officers attached to the service of the Cathedral. They are more
than a hundred in number. The palace of the archbishop is near.

[Sidenote: Laud made archbishop.]

The Church was thus, in the days of Charles, a complete realm of
itself, with its own property, its own laws, its own legislature,
and courts, and judges, its own capital, and its own monarch. It was
entirely independent of the mass of the people in all these respects,
as all these things were entirely controlled by the bishops and clergy,
and the clergy were generally appointed by the noblemen, and the
bishops by the king. This made the system almost entirely independent
of the community at large; and as there was organized under it a
vast amount of wealth, and influence, and power, the Archbishop of
Canterbury, who presided over the whole, was as great in authority as
he was in rank and honor. Now Laud was Archbishop of Canterbury.

[Sidenote: His business capacity.]

King Charles had made him so. He had observed that Laud, who had been
advanced to some high stations in the Church by his father, King James,
was desirous to enlarge and strengthen the powers and prerogatives
of the Church, just as he himself was endeavoring to do in respect
to those of the throne. He accordingly promoted him from one post of
influence and honor to another, until he made him at last Archbishop
of Canterbury. Thus he was placed upon the summit of ecclesiastical
grandeur and power.

[Sidenote: Laud's character.]

[Sidenote: Episcopacy in England and the United States.]

He commenced his work, however, of strengthening and aggrandizing the
Church, before he was appointed to this high office. He was Bishop of
London for many years, which is a post, in some respects, second only
to that of Archbishop of Canterbury. While in this station, he was
appointed by the king to many high civil offices. He had great capacity
for the transaction of business, and for the fulfillment of high
trusts, whether of Church or state. He was a man of great integrity
and moral worth. He was stern and severe in manners, but learned and
accomplished. His whole soul was bent on what he undoubtedly considered
the great duty of his life, supporting and confirming the authority
of the king, and the power and influence of English Episcopacy.
Notwithstanding his high qualifications, however, many persons were
jealous of the influence which he possessed with the king, and murmured
against the appointment of a churchman to such high offices of state.

There was another source of hostility to Laud. There was a large
part of the people of England who were against the Church of England
altogether. They did not like a system in which all power and influence
came, as it were, from above downward. The king made the noblemen, the
noblemen made the bishops, the bishops made the clergy, and the clergy
ruled their flocks; the flocks themselves having nothing to say or do
but to submit. It is very different with Episcopacy in this country.
The people here choose the clergy, and the clergy choose the bishops,
so that power in the Church, as in every thing else here, goes from
below upward. The two systems, when at rest, look very similar in
the two countries; but when in action, the current of life flows in
contrary directions, making the two diametrically opposite to each
other in spirit and power. In England, Episcopacy is an engine by which
the people are ecclesiastically governed. Here, it is the machinery by
which they govern. Whatever the forms are, the fact must be that the
people govern here.

[Sidenote: Opposition to the Established Church.]

[Sidenote: The Puritans.]

Now in England there was a large and increasing party who hated and
opposed the whole Episcopal system. Laud, to counteract this tendency,
attempted to define, and enlarge, and extend that system as far as
possible. He made the most of all the ceremonies of worship, and
introduced others, which were, indeed, not exactly new, but rather
ancient ones revived. He did this conscientiously, no doubt, thinking
that these forms of devotion were adapted to impress the soul of the
worshiper, and lead him to feel, in his heart, the reverence which his
outward action expressed. Many of the people, however, bitterly opposed
these things. They considered it a return to popery. The more that
Laud, and those who acted with him, attempted to magnify the rites and
the powers of the Church, the more these persons began to abhor every
thing of the kind. They wanted Christianity itself, _in its purity_,
uncontaminated, as they said, by these popish and idolatrous forms.
They were called _Puritans_.

[Sidenote: Disputes about the services of the Church.]

There were a great many things which seem to us at the present day
of very little consequence, which were then the subjects of endless
disputes and of the most bitter animosity. For instance, one point was
whether the place where the communion was to be administered should
be called the communion table or the altar; and in what part of the
church it should stand; and whether the person officiating should be
called a priest or a clergyman; and whether he should wear one kind of
dress or another. Great importance was attached to these things; but it
was not on their own account, but on account of their bearing on the
question whether the Lord's Supper was to be considered only a ceremony
commemorative of Christ's death, or whether it was, whenever celebrated
by a regularly authorized priest, _a real renewal_ of the sacrifice of
Christ, as the Catholics maintained. Calling the communion table an
altar, and the officiating minister a priest, and clothing him in a
sacerdotal garb, countenanced the idea of a renewal of the sacrifice
of Christ. Laud and his coadjutors urged the adoption of all these and
similar usages. The Puritans detested them, because they detested and
abhorred the doctrine which they seemed to imply.

[Sidenote: Controversy about amusements on Sunday.]

Another great topic of controversy was the subject of amusements.
It is a very singular circumstance, that in those branches of the
Christian Church where rites and forms are most insisted upon, the
greatest latitude is allowed in respect to the gayeties and amusements
of social life. Catholic Paris is filled with theaters and dancing,
and the Sabbath is a holiday. In London, on the other hand, the number
of theaters is small, dancing is considered as an amusement of a more
or less equivocal character, and the Sabbath is rigidly observed; and
among all the simple Democratic churches of New England, to dance or
to attend the theater is considered almost morally wrong. It was just
so in the days of Laud. He wished to encourage amusements among the
people, particularly on Sunday, after church. This was partly for the
purpose of counteracting the efforts of those who were inclined to
Puritan views. They attached great importance to their sermons and
lectures, for in them they could address and influence the people.
But by means of these addresses, as Laud thought, they put ideas
of insubordination into the minds of the people, and encroached on
the authority of the Church and of the king. To prevent this, the
High-Church party wished to exalt the _prayers_ in the Church service,
and to give as little place and influence as possible to the sermon,
and to draw off the attention of the people from the discussions
and exhortations of the preachers by encouraging games, dances, and
amusements of all kinds.

[Sidenote: Laud's contention with the judges.]

The judges in one of the counties, at a regular court held by them,
once passed an order forbidding certain revels and carousals connected
with the Church service, on account of the immoralities and disorders,
as they alleged, to which they gave rise; and they ordered that public
notice to this effect should be given by the bishop. The archbishop
(Laud) considered this an interference on the part of the civil
magistrates with the powers and prerogatives of the Church. He had the
judges brought before the council, and censured there; and they were
required by the council to revoke their order at the next court. The
judges did so, but in such a way as to show that they did it simply
in obedience to the command of the king's council. The people, or at
least all of them who were inclined to Puritan views, sided with the
judges, and were more strict in abstaining from all such amusements on
Sunday than ever. This, of course, made those who were on the side of
Laud more determined to promote these gayeties. Thus, as neither party
pursued, in the least degree, a generous or conciliatory course toward
the other, the difference between them widened more and more. The
people of the country were fast becoming either bigoted High-Churchmen
or fanatical Puritans.

[Sidenote: Severe punishments for expression of opinion.]

Laud employed the power of the Star Chamber a great deal in the
accomplishment of his purpose of enforcing entire submission to the
ecclesiastical authority of the Church. He even had persons sometimes
punished very severely for words of disrespect, or for writings in
which they censured what they considered the tyranny under which they
suffered. This severe punishment for the mere expression of opinion
only served to fix the opinion more firmly, and disseminate it more
widely. Sometimes men would glory in their sufferings for this cause,
and bid the authorities defiance.

[Sidenote: Case of Lilburne.]

[Sidenote: His indomitable spirit.]

One man, for instance, named Lilburne, was brought before the Star
Chamber, charged with publishing seditious pamphlets. Now, in all
ordinary courts of justice, no man is called upon to say any thing
against himself. Unless his crime can be proved by the testimony of
others, it can not be proved at all. But in the Star Chamber, whoever
was brought to trial had to take an oath at first that he would answer
all questions asked, even if they tended to criminate himself. When
they proposed this oath to Lilburne, he refused to take it. They
decided that this was contempt of court, and sentenced him to be
whipped, put in the pillory, and imprisoned. While they were whipping
him, he spent the time in making a speech to the spectators against the
tyranny of bishops, referring to Laud, whom he considered as the author
of these proceedings. He continued to do the same while in the pillory.
As he passed along, too, he distributed copies of the pamphlets which
he was prosecuted for writing. The Star Chamber, hearing that he was
haranguing the mob, ordered him to be gagged. This did not subdue him.
He began to stamp with his foot and gesticulate; thus continuing to
express his indomitable spirit of hostility to the tyranny which he
opposed. This single case would be of no great consequence alone, but
it was not alone. The attempt to put Lilburne down was a symbol of
the experiment of coercion which Charles in the state, and Laud in the
Church, were trying upon the whole nation; it was a symbol both in
respect to the means employed, and to the success attained by them.

[Sidenote: The young lawyers' toast.]

[Sidenote: Ingenious plea.]

One curious case is related, which turned out more fortunately than
usual for the parties accused. Some young lawyers in London were
drinking at an evening entertainment, and among other toasts they drank
confusion to the Archbishop of Canterbury. One of the waiters, who
heard them, mentioned the circumstance, and they were brought before
the Star Chamber. Before their trial came on, they applied to a certain
nobleman to know what they should do. "Where was the waiter," asked the
nobleman, "when you drank the toast?" "At the door." "Oh! very well,
then," said he; "tell the court that he only heard a part of the toast,
as he was going out; and that the words really were, 'Confusion to the
Archbishop of Canterbury's enemies.'" By this ingenious plea, and by
means of a great appearance of humility and deference in the presence
of the archbishop, the lawyers escaped with a reprimand.

[Sidenote: Laud's designs upon the Scotch Church.]

Laud was not content with establishing and confirming throughout all
England the authority of the Church, but he wanted to extend the same
system to Scotland. When King Charles went to Scotland to be crowned,
he took Laud with him. He was pleased with Laud's endeavors to enlarge
and confirm the powers of the Church, and wished to aid him in the
work. There were two reasons for this. One was, that the same class
of men, the Puritans, were the natural enemies of both, so that the
king and the archbishop were drawn together by having one common foe.
Then, as the places in the Church were not hereditary, but were filled
by appointments from the king and the great nobles, whatever power
the Church could get into its hands could be employed by the king to
strengthen his own authority, and keep his subjects in subjection.

[Sidenote: Motives of Laud and the king.]

We must not, however, censure the king and his advisers too strongly
for this plan. They doubtless were ambitious; they loved power; they
wanted to bear sway, unresisted and unquestioned, over the whole
realm. But then the king probably thought that the exercise of such a
government was necessary for the order and prosperity of the realm,
besides being his inherent and indefeasible right. Good and bad
motives were doubtless mingled here, as in all human action; but then
the king was, in the main, doing what he supposed it was his duty to
do. In proposing, therefore, to build up the Church in Scotland, and to
make it conform to the English Church in its rites and ceremonies, he
and Laud doubtless supposed that they were going greatly to improve the
government of the sister kingdom.

[Sidenote: The Liturgy.]

There was in those days, as now, in the English Church, a certain
prescribed course of prayers, and psalms, and Scripture readings, for
each day, to be read from a book by the minister. This was called the
Liturgy. The Puritans did not like a liturgy. It tied men up, and did
not leave the individual mind of the preacher at liberty to range
freely, as they wished it to do, in conducting the devotional services.
It was on this very account that the friends of strong government _did_
like it. They wanted to curtail this liberty, which, however, they
called license, and which they thought made mischief. In extemporaneous
prayers, it is often easy to see that the speaker is aiming much more
directly at producing a salutary effect on the minds of his hearers
than at simply presenting petitions to the Supreme Being. But,
notwithstanding this evil, the existence of which no candid man can
deny, the enemies of forms, who are generally friends of the largest
liberty, think it best to leave the clergyman free. The friends of
forms, however, prefer forms on this very account. They like what they
consider the wholesome and salutary restraints which they impose.

[Sidenote: The Scotch.]

[Sidenote: Laud prepares them a Liturgy.]

Now there has always been a great spirit of freedom in the Scottish
mind. That people have ever been unwilling to submit to coercion or
restraints. There is probably no race of men on earth that would
make worse slaves than the Scotch. Their sturdy independence and
determination to be free could never be subdued. In the days of Charles
they were particularly fond of freely exercising their own minds, and
of speaking freely to others on the subject of religion. They thought
for themselves, sometimes right and sometimes wrong; but they would
think, and they would express their thoughts; and their being thus
unaccustomed, in one particular, to submit to restraints, rendered them
more difficult to be governed in others. Laud thought, consequently,
that _they_, particularly, needed a Liturgy. He prepared one for
them. It was varied somewhat from the English Liturgy, though it
was substantially the same. The king proclaimed it, and required the
bishops to see that it was employed in all the churches in Scotland.

[Sidenote: 1637.]

[Sidenote: Scenes of tumult.]

[Sidenote: Preaching to an empty church.]

The day for introducing the Liturgy was the signal for riots all
over the kingdom. In the principal church in Edinburgh they called
out "_A pope! A pope!_" when the clergyman came in with his book and
his pontifical robes. The bishop ascended the pulpit to address the
people to appease them, and a stool came flying through the air at his
head. The police then expelled the congregation, and the clergyman
went through with the service of the Liturgy in the empty church, the
congregation outside, in great tumult, accompanying the exercises with
cries of disapprobation and resentment, and with volleys of stones
against the doors and windows.

[Sidenote: The Scotch rebel.]

The Scotch sent a sort of embassador to London to represent to the king
that the hostility to the Liturgy was so universal and so strong that
it could not be enforced. But the king and his council had the same
conscientious scruples about giving up in a contest with subjects,
that a teacher or a parent, in our day, would feel in the case of
resistance from children or scholars. The king sent down a proclamation
that the observance of the Liturgy must be insisted on. The Scotch
prepared to resist. They sent delegates to Edinburgh, and organized a
sort of government. They raised armies. They took possession of the
king's castles. They made a solemn covenant, binding themselves to
insist on religious freedom. In a word, all Scotland was in rebellion.

[Sidenote: The king's fool.]

It was the custom in those days to have, connected with the court, some
half-witted person, who used to be fantastically dressed, and to have
great liberty of speech, and whose province was to amuse the courtiers.
He was called the _king's jester_, or, more commonly, _the fool_. The
name of King Charles's fool was Archy. After this rebellion broke
out, and all England was aghast at the extent of the mischief which
Laud's Liturgy had done, the fool, seeing the archbishop go by one day,
called out to him, "My lord! who is the fool now?" The archbishop, as
if to leave no possible doubt in respect to the proper answer to the
question, had poor Archy tried and punished. His sentence was to have
his coat pulled up over his head, and to be dismissed from the king's
service. Had the archbishop let it pass, it would have ended with a
laugh in the street; but by resenting it, he gave it notoriety, caused
it to be recorded, and has perpetuated the memory of the jest to all
future times. He ought to have joined in the laugh, and rewarded Archy
on the spot for so good a witticism.

[Sidenote: A general assembly called in Scotland.]

The Scotch, besides organizing a sort of civil government, took
measures for summoning a general assembly of their Church. This
assembly met at Glasgow. The nobility and gentry flocked to Glasgow
at the time of the meeting, to encourage and sustain the assembly,
and to manifest their interest in the proceedings. The assembly very
deliberately went to work, and, not content with taking a stand against
the Liturgy which Charles had imposed, they abolished the fabric of
Episcopacy--that is, the government of bishops--altogether. Thus Laud's
attempt to perfect and confirm the system resulted in expelling it
completely from the kingdom. It has never held up its head in Scotland
since. They established Presbyterianism in its place, which is a sort
of republican system, the pastors being all officially equal to each
other, though banded together under a common government administered by

[Sidenote: 1639.]

[Sidenote: The king's expedition to the north.]

The king was determined to put down this rebellion at all hazards. He
had made such good use of the various irregular modes of raising money
which have been already described, and had been so economical in the
use of it, that he had now quite a sum of money in his treasury; and
had it not been for the attempt to enforce the unfortunate Liturgy
upon the people of Scotland, he might, perhaps, have gone on reigning
without a Parliament to the end of his days. He had now about two
hundred thousand pounds, by means of which, together with what he could
borrow, he hoped to make one single demonstration of force which would
bring the rebellion to an end. He raised an army and equipped a fleet.
He issued a proclamation summoning all the peers of the realm to attend
him. He moved with this great concourse from London toward the north,
the whole country looking on as spectators to behold the progress of
this great expedition, by which their monarch was going to attempt to
subdue again his _other_ kingdom.

[Sidenote: The army at York.]

[Sidenote: The oath.]

Charles advanced to the city of York, the great city of the north of
England. Here he paused and established his court, with all possible
pomp and parade. His design was to impress the Scots with such an idea
of the greatness of the power which was going to overwhelm them as to
cause them to submit at once. But all this show was very hollow and
delusive. The army felt a greater sympathy with the Scots than they
did with the king. The complaints against Charles's government were
pretty much the same in both countries. A great many Scotchmen came
to York while the king was there, and the people from all the country
round flocked thither too, drawn by the gay spectacles connected with
the presence of such a court and army. The Scotchmen disseminated their
complaints thus among the English people, and finally the king and his
council, finding indications of so extensive a disaffection, had a form
of an oath prepared, which they required all the principal persons to
take, acknowledging allegiance to Charles, and renouncing their having
any intelligence or correspondence with the enemy. The Scotchmen all
took the oath very readily, though some of the English refused.

At any rate, the state of things was not such as to intimidate the
Scotch, and lead them, as the king had hoped, to sue for peace. So he
concluded to move on toward the borders. He went to Newcastle, and
thence to Berwick. From Berwick he moved along the banks of the Tweed,
which here forms the boundary between the two kingdoms, and, finding a
suitable place for such a purpose, the king had his royal tent pitched,
and his army encamped around him.

[Sidenote: The king's march.]

[Sidenote: Artifice of the Scots.]

Now, as King Charles had undertaken to subdue the Scots by a show of
force, it seems they concluded to defend themselves by a show too,
though theirs was a cheaper and more simple contrivance than his. They
advanced with about three thousand men to a place distant perhaps seven
miles from the English camp. The king sent an army of five thousand men
to attack them. The Scotch, in the mean time, collected great herds of
cattle from all the country around, as the historians say, and arranged
them behind their little army in such a way as to make the whole appear
a vast body of soldiers. A troop of horsemen, who were the advanced
part of the English army, came in sight of this formidable host first,
and, finding their numbers so much greater than they had anticipated,
they fell back, and ordered the artillery and foot-soldiers who were
coming up to retreat, and all together came back to the encampment.
There were two or three military enterprises of similar character,
in which nothing was done but to encourage the Scotch and dishearten
the English. In fact, neither officers, soldiers, nor king wanted to
proceed to extremities. The officers and soldiers did not wish to fight
the Scotch, and the king, knowing the state of his army, did not really
dare to do it.

[Sidenote: The compromise.]

[Sidenote: The army disbanded.]

[Sidenote: The king's difficulties.]

Finally, all the king's council advised him to give up the pretended
contest, and to settle the difficulty by a compromise. Accordingly,
in June, negotiations were commenced, and before the end of the month
articles were signed. The king probably made the best terms he could,
but it was universally considered that the Scots gained the victory.
The king disbanded his army, and returned to London. The Scotch leaders
went back to Edinburgh. Soon after this the Parliament and the General
Assembly of the Church convened, and these bodies took the whole
management of the realm into their own hands. They sent commissioners
to London to see and confer with the king, and these commissioners
seemed almost to assume the character of embassadors from a foreign
state. These negotiations, and the course which affairs were taking in
Scotland, soon led to new difficulties. The king found that he was
losing his kingdom of Scotland altogether. It seemed, however, as if
there was nothing that he could do to regain it. His reserved funds
were gone, and his credit was exhausted.

[Sidenote: He thinks of a Parliament.]

There was no resource left but to call a Parliament and ask for
supplies. He might have known, however, that this would be useless, for
there was so strong a fellow-feeling with the Scotch in their alleged
grievances among the people of England, that he could not reasonably
expect any response from the latter, in whatever way he might appeal to



[Sidenote: 1621.]

During the time that the king had been engaged in the attempt to
govern England without Parliaments, he had, besides Laud, a very
efficient co-operator, known in English history by the name of the
Earl of Strafford. This title of Earl of Strafford was conferred upon
him by the king as a reward for his services. His father's name was
Wentworth. He was born in London, and the Christian name given to him
was Thomas. He was educated at the University of Cambridge, and was
much distinguished for his talents and his personal accomplishments.
After finishing his education, he traveled for some time on the
Continent, visiting foreign cities and courts, and studying the
languages, manners, and customs of other nations. He returned at
length to England. He was made a knight. His father died when he was
about twenty-one, and left him a large fortune. He was about seven
years older than King Charles, so that all these circumstances took
place before the commencement of Charles's reign. For many years after
this he was very extensively known in England as a gentleman of large
fortune and great abilities, by the name of Sir Thomas Wentworth.

[Sidenote: The Earl of Strafford.]

[Sidenote: His early life.]

[Sidenote: Strafford's course in Parliament.]

[Sidenote: His opposition to the king.]

Sir Thomas Wentworth was a member of Parliament in those days, and
in the contests between the king and the Parliament he took the side
of Parliament. Charles used to maintain that _his_ power alone was
hereditary and sovereign; that the Parliament was his council; and
that they had no powers or privileges except what he himself or his
ancestors had granted and allowed them. Wentworth took very strong
ground against this. He urged Parliament to maintain that their
rights and privileges were inherent and hereditary as well as those
of the king; that such powers as they possessed were their own, and
were entirely independent of royal grant or permission; and that the
king could no more encroach upon the privileges of Parliament, than
Parliament upon the prerogatives of the king. This was in the beginning
of the difficulties between the king and the Commons.

[Sidenote: 1628.]

[Sidenote: The leaders removed.]

[Sidenote: The opposition still continues.]

It will, perhaps, be recollected by the reader, that one of the plans
which Charles adopted to weaken the opposition to him in Parliament
was by appointing six of the leaders of this opposition to the office
of sheriff in their several counties. And as the general theory of
all monarchies is that the subjects are bound to obey and serve the
king, these men were obliged to leave their seats in Parliament and go
home, to serve as sheriffs. Charles and his council supposed that the
rest would be more quiet and submissive when the leaders of the party
opposed to him were taken away. But the effect was the reverse. The
Commons were incensed at such a mode of interfering with their action,
and became more hostile to the royal power than ever.

[Sidenote: Wentworth imprisoned.]

[Sidenote: His return to Parliament.]

Wentworth himself, too, was made more determined in his opposition by
this treatment. A short time after this, the king's plan of a forced
loan was adopted, which has already been described; that is, a sum
of money was assessed in the manner of a tax upon all the people of
the kingdom, and each man was required to lend his proportion to the
government. The king admitted that he had no right to make people
_give_ money without the action of Parliament, but claimed the right to
require them to _lend_ it. As Sir Thomas Wentworth was a man of large
fortune, his share of the loan was considerable. He absolutely refused
to pay it. The king had him brought before a court which was entirely
under his influence, and he was condemned to be imprisoned. Knowing,
however, that this claim on the part of the king was very doubtful,
they mitigated his confinement by allowing him first a range of two
miles around his place of confinement, and afterward they released him

He was chosen a member of Parliament again, and he returned to his seat
more powerful and influential than ever. Buckingham, who had been his
greatest enemy, was now dead, and the king, finding that he had great
abilities and a spirit that would not yield to intimidation or force,
concluded to try kindness and favors.

[Sidenote: Wentworth is courted.]

[Sidenote: He goes over to the king.]

In fact, there are two different modes by which sovereigns in all ages
and countries endeavor to neutralize the opposition of popular leaders.
One is by intimidating them with threats and punishments, and the other
buying them off with appointments and honors. Some of the king's high
officers of state began to cultivate the acquaintance of Wentworth, and
to pay him attentions and civilities. He could not but feel gratified
with these indications of their regard. They complimented his talents
and his powers, and represented to him that such abilities ought to be
employed in the service of the state. Finally, the king conferred upon
him the title of baron. Common gratitude for these marks of distinction
and honor held him back from any violent opposition to the king. His
enemies said he was bought off by honors and rewards. No doubt he was
ambitious, and, like all other politicians, his supreme motive was love
of consideration and honor. This was doubtless his motive in what he
had done in behalf of the Parliament. But all that he could do as a
popular leader in Parliament was to acquire a general ascendency over
men's minds, and make himself a subject of fame and honor. All places
of real authority were exclusively under the king's control, and he
could only rise to such stations through the sovereign's favor. In a
word, he could acquire only _influence_ as a leader in Parliament,
while the king could give him _power_.

[Sidenote: The king appoints Wentworth to office.]

Kings have always, accordingly, a great control over the minds of
legislators by offering them office; and King Charles, after finding
that his first advances to Wentworth were favorably received, appointed
him one of his Privy Council. Wentworth accepted the office. His former
friends considered that in doing this he was deserting them, and
betraying the cause which he had at first espoused and defended. The
country at large were much displeased with him, finding that he had
forsaken their cause, and placed himself in a position to act against

Persons who change sides in politics or in religion are very apt to
go from one extreme to another. Their former friends revile them, and
they, in retaliation, act more and more energetically against them. It
was so with Strafford. He gradually engaged more and more fully and
earnestly in upholding the king. Finally, the king appointed him to a
very high station, called the Presidency of the North. His office was
to govern the whole north of England--of course, under the direction of
the king and council. There were four counties under his jurisdiction,
and the king gave him a commission which clothed him with enormous
powers--powers greater, as all the people thought, than the king had
any right to bestow.

[Sidenote: Wentworth is appointed President of the North.]

Strafford proceeded to the north, and entered upon the government of
his realm there, with a determination to carry out all the king's plans
to the utmost. From being an ardent advocate of the rights of the
people, as he was at the commencement of his career, he became a most
determined and uncompromising supporter of the arbitrary power of the
king. He insisted on the collection of money from the people in all the
ways that the king claimed the power to collect it by authority of his
prerogative; and he was so strict and exacting in doing this, that he
raised the revenue to four or five times what any of his predecessors
had been able to collect. This, of course, pleased King Charles and
his government extremely; for it was at a time during which the king
was attempting to govern without a Parliament, and every accession to
his funds was of extreme importance. Laud, too, the archbishop, was
extremely pleased with his exertions and his success, and the king
looked upon Laud and Wentworth as the two most efficient supporters of
his power. They were, in fact, the two most efficient promoters of his

[Sidenote: 1632.]

Of course, the people of the north hated him. While he was earning the
applause of the archbishop and the king, and entitling himself to new
honors and increased power, he was sowing the seeds of the bitterest
animosity in the hearts of the people every where. Still he enjoyed all
the external marks of consideration and honor. The President of the
North was a sort of king. He was clothed with great powers, and lived
in great state and splendor. He had many attendants, and the great
nobles of the land, who generally took Charles's side in the contests
of the day, envied Wentworth's greatness and power, and applauded the
energy and success of his administration.

[Sidenote: Wentworth appointed to the government of Ireland.]

[Sidenote: Wentworth's arbitrary government.]

Ireland was, at this time, in a disturbed and disordered state, and
Laud proposed that Wentworth should be appointed by the king to the
government of it. A great proportion of the inhabitants were Catholics,
and were very little disposed to submit to Protestant rule. Wentworth
was appointed lord deputy, and afterward lord lieutenant, which made
him king of Ireland in all but the name. Every thing, of course, was
done in the name of Charles. He carried the same energy into his
government here that he had exhibited in the north of England. He
improved the condition of the country astonishingly in respect to
trade, to revenue, and to public order. But he governed in the most
arbitrary manner, and he boasted that he had rendered the king as
absolute a sovereign in Ireland as any prince in the world could be.
Such a boast from a man who had once been a very prominent defender of
the rights of the people against this very kind of sovereignty, was
fitted to produce a feeling of universal exasperation and desire of
revenge. The murmurs and muttered threats which filled the land, though
suppressed, were very deep and very strong.

[Sidenote: He is made an earl.]

The king, however, and Laud, considered Wentworth as their most able
and efficient coadjutor; and when the difficulties in Scotland began
to grow serious, they recalled him from Ireland, and put that country
into the hands of another ruler. The king then advanced him to the rank
of an earl. His title was the Earl of Strafford. As the subsequent
parts of his history attracted more attention than those preceding
his elevation to this earldom, he has been far more widely known
among mankind by the name of Strafford than by his original name of
Wentworth, which was, from this period, nearly forgotten.

[Sidenote: 1640.]

[Sidenote: Difficulties.]

[Sidenote: Laud's administration of his office.]

To return now to the troubles in Scotland. The king found that it
would be impossible to go on without supplies, and he accordingly
concluded, on the whole, to call a Parliament. He was in serious
trouble. Laud was in serious trouble too. He had been indefatigably
engaged for many years in establishing Episcopacy all over England, and
in putting down, by force of law, all disposition to dissent from it;
and in attempting to produce, throughout the realm, one uniform system
of Christian faith and worship. This was his idea of the perfection
of religious order and right. He used to make an annual visitation
to all the bishoprics in the realm; inquire into the usages which
prevailed there; put a stop, so far as he could, to all irregularities;
and confirm and establish, by the most decisive measures, the
Episcopal authority. He sent in his report to the king of the results
of his inquiries, asking the king's aid, where his own powers were
insufficient, for the more full accomplishment of his plans. But,
notwithstanding all this diligence and zeal, he found that he met with
very partial success. The irregularities, as he called them, which he
suppressed in one place, would break out in another; the disposition to
throw off the dominion of bishops was getting more and more extensive
and deeply seated; and now, the result of the religious revolution in
Scotland, and of the general excitement which it produced in England,
was to widen and extend this feeling more than ever.

[Sidenote: Defense of Episcopacy.]

[Sidenote: Progress of non-conformity.]

He did not, however, give up the contest. He employed an able writer
to draw up a defense of Episcopacy, as the true and scriptural form
of Church government. The book, when first prepared, was moderate in
its tone, and allowed that in some particular cases a Presbyterian
mode of government might be admissible; but Laud, in revising the
book, struck out these concessions as unnecessary and dangerous, and
placed Episcopacy in full and exclusive possession of the ground, as
the divinely instituted and only admissible form of Church government
and discipline. He caused this book to be circulated; but the attempt
to reason with the refractory, after having failed in the attempt to
coerce them, is not generally very successful. The archbishop, in his
report to the king this year of the state of things throughout his
province, represents the spirit of non-conformity to the Church of
England as getting too strong for him to control without more efficient
help from the civil power; but whether it would be wise, he added, to
undertake any more effectual coercion in the present distracted state
of the kingdom, he left it for the king to decide.

[Sidenote: A Parliament called.]

[Sidenote: Strafford appointed commander-in-chief.]

Laud proposed that the council should recommend to the king the calling
of a Parliament. At the same time, they passed a resolution that,
in case the Parliament "should prove peevish, and refuse to grant
supplies, they would sustain the king in the resort to extraordinary
measures." This was regarded as a threat, and did not help to
prepossess the members favorably in regard to the feeling with which
the king was to meet them. The king ordered the Parliament to be
elected in December, but did not call them together until April. In
the mean time, he went on raising an army, so as to have his military
preparations in readiness. He, however, appointed a new set of officers
to the command of this army, neglecting those who were in command
before, as he had found them so little disposed to act efficiently in
his cause. He supplied the leader's place with Strafford. This change
produced very extensive murmurs of dissatisfaction, which, added to
all the other causes of complaint, made the times look very dark and

[Sidenote: Meeting of Parliament.]

[Sidenote: The king's speech.]

The Parliament assembled in April. The king went into the House of
Lords, the Commons being, as usual, summoned to the bar. He addressed
them as follows:

 "My Lords and gentlemen,--There was never a King who had a more great
 and weighty Cause to call his People together than myself. I will not
 trouble you with the particulars. I have informed my Lord keeper, and
 now command him to speak, and I desire your Attention."

The keeper referred to was the keeper of the king's seals, who was,
of course, a great officer of state. He made a speech, informing the
houses, in general terms, of the king's need of money, but said that it
was not necessary for him to explain minutely the monarch's plans, as
they were exclusively his own concern. We may as well quote his words,
in order to show in what light the position and province of a British
Parliament was considered in those days.

 "His majesty's kingly resolutions," said the lord keeper, "are seated
 in the ark of his sacred breast, and it were a presumption of too
 high a nature for any Uzzah uncalled to touch it. Yet his Majesty is
 now pleased to lay by the shining Beams of Majesty, as Phœbus did
 to Phaeton, that the distance between Sovereignty and Subjection
 should not bar you of that filial freedom of Access to his Person and
 Counsels; only let us beware how, with the Son of Clymene, we aim not
 at the guiding of the Chariot, as if that were the only Testimony
 of Fatherly Affection; and let us remember, that though the King
 sometimes lays by the Beams and Rays of Majesty, he never lays by
 Majesty itself."

[Sidenote: Address of the lord keeper.]

[Sidenote: Grievances.]

[Sidenote: Messages.]

When the keeper had finished his speech, the king confirmed it by
saying that he had exaggerated nothing, and the houses were left to
their deliberations. Instead of proceeding to the business of raising
money, they commenced an inquiry into the grievances, as they called
them--that is, all the unjust acts and the maladministration of the
government, of which the country had been complaining for the ten years
during which there had been an intermission of Parliaments. The king
did all in his power to arrest this course of procedure. He sent them
message after message, urging them to leave these things, and take up
first the question of supplies. He then sent a message to the House
of Peers, requesting them to interpose, and exert their influence to
lead the Commons to act. The Peers did so. The Commons sent them back a
reply that their interference in the business of supply, which belonged
to the Commons alone, was a breach of their privileges. "And," they
added, "therefore, the Commons desire their lordships in their wisdom
to find out some way for the reparation of their privileges broken by
that act, and to prevent the like infringement in future."

[Sidenote: Parliament dissolved.]

Thus repulsed on every hand, the king gave up the hope of accomplishing
any thing through the action of the House of Commons, and he suddenly
determined to dissolve Parliament. The session had continued only about
three weeks. In dissolving the Parliament the king took no notice of
the Commons whatever, but addressed the Lords alone. The Commons and
the whole country were incensed at such capricious treatment of the
national Legislature.

The king and his council tried all summer to get the army ready to be
put in motion. The great difficulty, of course, was want of funds. The
_Convocation_, which was the great council of the Church, and which
was accustomed in those days to sit simultaneously with Parliament,
continued their session afterward in this case, and raised some money
for the king. The nobles of the court subscribed a considerable amount,
also, which they lent him. They wanted to sustain him in his contest
with the Commons on their own account, and then, besides, they felt a
personal interest in him, and a sympathy for him in the troubles which
were thickening around him.

[Sidenote: The Scots cross the borders and invade England.]

The summer months passed away in making the preparations and getting
the various bodies of troops ready, and the military stores collected
at the place of rendezvous in York and Newcastle. The Scots, in the
mean time, had been assembling their forces near the borders, and,
being somewhat imboldened by their success in the previous campaign,
crossed the frontier, and advanced boldly to meet the forces of the

[Sidenote: March of the Scots.]

[Sidenote: The king goes to York.]

They published a manifesto, declaring that they were not entering
England with any hostile intent toward their sovereign, but were only
coming to present to him their humble petitions for a redress of
their grievances, which they said they were sure he would graciously
receive as soon as he had opportunity to learn from them how great
their grievances had been. They respectfully requested that the people
of England would allow them to pass safely and without molestation
through the land, and promised to conduct themselves with the utmost
propriety and decorum. This promise they kept. They avoided molesting
the inhabitants in any way, and purchased fairly every thing they
consumed. When the English officers learned that the Scotch had crossed
the Tweed, they sent on immediately to London, to the king, urging him
to come north at once, and join the army, with all the remaining forces
at his command. The king did so, but it was too late. He arrived at
York; from York he went northward to reach the van of his army, which
had been posted at Newcastle, but on his way he was met by messengers
saying that they were in full retreat, and that the Scotch had got
possession of Newcastle.

[Sidenote: Defeat of the English.]

The circumstances of the battle were these. Newcastle is upon the
Tyne. The banks at Newcastle are steep and high, but about four miles
above the town is a place called Newburn, where was a meadow near the
river, and a convenient place to cross. The Scotch advanced in a very
slow and orderly manner to Newburn, and encamped there. The English
sent a detachment from Newcastle to arrest their progress. The Scotch
begged them not to interrupt their march, as they were only going to
_present petitions to the king_! The English general, of course, paid
no attention to this pretext. The Scotch army then attacked them, and
soon put them to flight. The routed English soldiers fled to Newcastle,
and were there joined by all that portion of the army which was in
Newcastle in a rapid retreat. The Scotch took possession of the town,
but conducted themselves in a very orderly manner, and bought and paid
for every thing they used.

[Sidenote: Perplexities and dangers.]

The poor king was now in a situation of the most imminent and terrible
danger. Rebel subjects had got full possession of one kingdom, and
were now advancing at the head of victorious armies into the other. He
himself had entirely alienated the affections of a large portion of his
subjects, and had openly quarreled with and dismissed the Legislature.
He had no funds, and had exhausted all possible means of raising
funds. He was half distracted with the perplexities and dangers of his

His deciding on dissolving Parliament in the spring was a hasty step,
and he bitterly regretted it the moment the deed was done. He wanted
to recall it. He deliberated several days about the possibility of
summoning the same members to meet again, and constituting them again
a Parliament. But the lawyers insisted that this could not be done. A
dissolution was a dissolution. The Parliament, once dissolved, was no
more. It could not be brought to life again. There must be new orders
to the country to proceed to new elections. To do this at once would
have been too humiliating for the king. He now found, however, that the
necessity for it could no longer be postponed.

[Sidenote: The king calls a council of peers.]

There was such a thing in the English history as a council of peers
alone, called in a sudden emergency which did not allow of time for the
elections necessary to constitute the House of Commons. Charles called
such a council of peers to meet at York, and they immediately assembled.

[Sidenote: Message from the Scots.]

[Sidenote: The king compromises with the Scots.]

In the mean time the Scotch sent embassadors to York, saying to the
king that they were advancing to lay their grievances before him!
They expressed great sorrow and regret at the victory which they
had been compelled to gain over some forces that had attempted to
prevent them from getting access to their sovereign. The king laid
this communication before the lords, and asked their advice what to
do; and also asked them to counsel him how he should provide funds to
keep his army together until a Parliament could be convened. The lords
advised him to appoint commissioners to meet the Scotch, and endeavor
to compromise the difficulties; and to send to the city of London,
asking that corporation to lend him a small sum until Parliament could
be assembled.

[Sidenote: Opposition to Strafford.]

[Sidenote: Strafford desires to return to Ireland.]

[Sidenote: The king's promised protection.]

This advice was followed. A temporary treaty was made with the rebels,
although making a treaty with rebels is perhaps the most humiliating
thing that a hereditary sovereign is ever compelled to do. The Earl
of Strafford was, however, entirely opposed to this policy. He urged
the king most earnestly not to give up the contest without a more
decisive struggle. He represented to him the danger of beginning to
yield to the torrent which he now began to see would overwhelm them
all if it was allowed to have its way. He tried to persuade the king
that the Scots might yet be driven back, and that it would be possible
to get along without a Parliament. He dreaded a Parliament. The king,
however, and his other advisers, thought that they must yield a little
to the storm. Strafford then wanted to be allowed to return to his
post in Ireland, where he thought that he should probably be safe from
the terrible enmity which he must have known that he had awakened in
England, and which he thought a Parliament would concentrate and bring
upon his devoted head. But the king would not consent to this. He
assured Strafford that if a Parliament should assemble, he would take
care that they should not hurt a hair of his head. Unfortunate monarch!
How little he foresaw that that very Parliament, from whose violence he
thus promised to defend his favorite servant so completely as to insure
him from the slightest injury, would begin by taking off his favorite's
head, and end with taking off his own!



[Sidenote: Opening of the new Parliament.]

The Parliament assembled in November, 1640. The king proceeded to
London to meet them. He left Strafford in command of the army at York.
Active hostilities had been suspended, as a sort of temporary truce
had been concluded with the Scots, to prepare the way for a final
treaty. Strafford had been entirely opposed to this, being still full
of energy and courage. The king, however, began to feel alarmed. He
went to London to meet the Parliament which he had summoned, but he was
prepared to meet them in a very different spirit from that which he
had manifested on former occasions. He even gave up all the external
circumstances of pomp and parade with which the opening of Parliament
had usually been attended. He had been accustomed to go to the House of
Lords in state, with a numerous retinue and great parade. Now he was
conveyed from his palace along the river in a barge, in a quiet and
unostentatious manner.

[Sidenote: The king's speech.]

His opening speech, too, was moderate and conciliatory. In a word, it
was pretty evident to the Commons that the proud and haughty spirit of
their royal master was beginning to be pretty effectually humbled.

[Sidenote: Attacks on Strafford and Laud.]

[Sidenote: Speeches against them.]

Of course, now, in proportion as the king should falter, the
Commons would grow bold. The House immediately began to attack Laud
and Strafford in their speeches. It is the theory of the British
Constitution that the king can do no wrong; whatever criminality at
any time attaches to the acts of his administration, belongs to his
_advisers_, not to himself. The speakers condemned, in most decided
terms, the arbitrary and tyrannical course which the government had
pursued during the intermission of Parliaments, but charged it all, not
to the king, but to Strafford and Laud. Strafford had been, as they
considered, the responsible person in civil and military affairs, and
Laud in those of the Church. These speeches were made to try the temper
of the House and of the country, and see whether there was hostility
enough to Laud and Strafford in the House and in the country, and
boldness enough in the expression of it, to warrant their impeachment.

The attacks thus made in the House against the two ministers were made
very soon. Within a week after the opening of Parliament, one of the
members, after declaiming a long time against the encroachments and
tyranny of Archbishop Laud, whose title, according to English usage,
was "his Grace," said he hoped that, before the year ran round, his
grace would either have more grace or no grace at all; "for," he added,
"our manifold griefs do fill a mighty and vast circumference, yet in
such a manner that from every part our lines of sorrow do meet in him,
and point at him the center, from whence our miseries in this Church,
and many of them in the Commonwealth, do flow." He said, also, that if
they must submit to a pope, he would rather obey one that was as far
off as the Tiber, than to have him come as near as the Thames.

[Sidenote: Feelings of hostility.]

[Sidenote: Bill of attainder.]

Similar denunciations were made against Strafford, and they awakened no
opposition. On the contrary, it was found that the feeling of hostility
against both the ministers was so universal and so strong, that the
leaders began to think seriously of an impeachment on a charge of high
treason. High treason is the greatest crime known to the English law,
and the punishment for it, especially in the case of a peer of the
realm, is very terrible. This punishment was generally inflicted by
what was called a bill of attainder, which brought with it the worst
of penalties. It implied the perfect destruction of the criminal in
every sense. He was to lose his life by having his head cut off upon a
block. His body, according to the strict letter of the law, was to be
mutilated in a manner too shocking to be here described. His children
were disinherited, and his property all forfeited. This was considered
as the consequence of the _attainting_ of the blood, which rendered it
corrupt, and incapable of transmitting an inheritance. In fact, it was
the intention of the bill of attainder to brand the wretched object of
it with complete and perpetual infamy.

[Sidenote: Mode of proceeding.]

[Sidenote: The trial.]

The proceedings, too, in the impeachment and trial of a high minister
of state, were always very imposing and solemn. The impeachment must be
moved by the Commons, and tried by the Peers. A peer of the realm could
be tried by no inferior tribunal. When the Commons proposed bringing
articles of impeachment against an officer of state, they sent first
a messenger to the House of Peers to ask them to arrest the person
whom they intended to accuse, and to hold him for trial until they
should have their articles prepared. The House of Peers would comply
with this request, and a time would be appointed for the trial. The
Commons would frame the charges, and appoint a certain number of their
members to manage the prosecution. They would collect evidence, and get
every thing ready for the trial. When the time arrived, the chamber of
the House of Peers would be arranged as a court room, or they would
assemble in some other hall more suitable for the purpose, the prisoner
would be brought to the bar, the commissioners on the part of the
Commons would appear with their documents and their evidence, persons
of distinction would assemble to listen to the proceedings, and the
trial would go on.

[Sidenote: Proceedings against Strafford.]

[Sidenote: Arrest of Strafford.]

It was in accordance with this routine that the Commons commenced
proceedings against the Earl of Strafford, very soon after the opening
of the session, by appointing a committee to inquire whether there was
any just cause to accuse him of treason. The committee reported to the
House that there was just cause. The House then appointed a messenger
to go to the House of Lords, saying that they had found that there was
just cause to accuse the Earl of Strafford of high treason, and to
ask that they would sequester him from the House, as the phrase was,
and hold him in custody till they could prepare the charges and the
evidence against him. All these proceedings were in secret session, in
order that Strafford might not get warning and fly. The Commons then
nearly all accompanied their messenger to the House of Lords, to show
how much in earnest they were. The Lords complied with the request.
They caused the earl to be arrested and committed to the charge of
the _usher of the black rod_, and sent two officers to the Commons to
inform them that they had done so.

[Sidenote: Usher of the black rod.]

The usher of the black rod is a very important officer of the House
of Lords. He is a sort of sheriff, to execute the various behests
of the House, having officers to serve under him for this purpose.
The badge of his office has been, for centuries, a black rod with a
golden lion at the upper end, which is borne before him as the emblem
of his authority. A peer of the realm, when charged with treason, is
committed to the custody of this officer. In this case he took the Earl
of Strafford under his charge, and kept him at his house, properly
guarded. The Commons went on preparing the articles of impeachment.

[Sidenote: 1641.]

[Sidenote: Laud threatened with violence.]

This was in November. During the winter following the parties struggled
one against another, Laud doing all in his power to strengthen the
position of the king, and to avert the dangers which threatened
himself and Strafford. The animosity, however, which was felt against
him, was steadily increasing. The House of Commons did many things to
discountenance the rites and usages of the Episcopal Church, and to
make them odious. The excitement among the populace increased, and mobs
began to interfere with the service in some of the churches in London
and Westminster. At last a mob of five hundred persons assembled around
the archbishop's palace at Lambeth.[5] This palace, as has been before
stated, is on the bank of the Thames, just above London, opposite to
Westminster. The mob were there for two hours, beating at the doors and
windows in an attempt to force admission, but in vain. The palace was
very strongly guarded, and the mob were at length repulsed. One of the
ringleaders was taken and hanged.

[5] See view of this palace on page 133.

[Sidenote: Arrest of Laud on the charge of treason.]

One would have thought that this sort of persecution would have
awakened some sympathy in the archbishop's favor; but it was too
late. He had been bearing down so mercilessly himself upon the people
of England for so many years, suppressing, by the severest measures,
all expressions of discontent, that the hatred had become entirely
uncontrollable. Its breaking out at one point only promoted its
breaking out in another. The House of Commons sent a messenger to the
House of Lords, as they had done in the case of Strafford, saying that
they had found good cause to accuse the Archbishop of Canterbury of
treason, and asked that he might be sequestered from the House, and
held in custody till they could prepare their charges, and the evidence
to sustain them.

The archbishop was at that time in his seat. He was directed to
withdraw. Before leaving the chamber he asked leave to say a few words.
Permission was granted, and he said in substance that he was truly
sorry to have awakened in the hearts of his countrymen such a degree of
displeasure as was obviously excited against him. He was most unhappy
to have lived to see the day in which he was made subject to a charge
of treason. He begged their lordships to look at the whole course of
his life, and he was sure that they would be convinced that there was
not a single member of the House of Commons who could really think him
guilty of such a charge.

[Sidenote: Laud's speech.]

Here one of the lords interrupted him to say, that by speaking in
that manner he was uttering slander against the House of Commons,
charging them with solemnly bringing accusations which they did not
believe to be true. The archbishop then said, that if the charge must
be entertained, he hoped that he should have a fair trial, according
to the ancient Parliamentary usages of the realm. Another of the lords
interrupted him again, saying that such a remark was improper, as it
was not for him to prescribe the manner in which the proceedings should
be conducted. He then withdrew, while the House should consider what
course to take. Presently he was summoned back to the bar of the House,
and there committed to the charge of the usher of the black rod. The
usher conducted him to his house, and he was kept there for ten weeks
in close confinement.

[Sidenote: His confinement.]

[Sidenote: Trial of Strafford.]

[Sidenote: Unjust conduct of the Commons.]

At last the time for the trial of Strafford came on, while Laud was in
confinement. The interest felt in the trial was deep and universal.
There were three kingdoms, as it were, combined against one man.
Various measures were resorted to by the Commons to diminish the
possibility that the accused should escape conviction. Some of them
have since been thought to be unjust and cruel. For example, several
persons who were strong friends of Strafford, and who, as was supposed,
might offer testimony in his favor, were charged with treason and
confined in prison until the trial was over. The Commons appointed
thirteen persons to manage the prosecution. These persons were many
months preparing the charges and the evidence, keeping their whole
proceedings profoundly secret during all the time. At last the day
approached, and Westminster Hall was fitted up and prepared to be the
scene of the trial.

[Sidenote: Arrangements at Westminster Hall.]

Westminster Hall has the name of being the largest room whose roof is
not supported by pillars in Europe. It stands in the region of the
palaces and the Houses of Parliament at Westminster, and has been for
seven centuries the scene of pageants and ceremonies without number.
It is said that ten thousand persons have been accommodated in it at a

[6] It is two hundred and seventy feet long, seventy-five wide, and
ninety high.

[Illustration: WESTMINSTER HALL.]

This great room was fitted up for the trial. Seats were provided for
both houses of Parliament; for the Commons were to be present as
accusers, and the Lords as the court. There was, as usual, a chair of
state, or throne, for the king, as a matter of form. There was also a
private gallery, screened from the observation of the spectators, where
the king and queen could sit and witness the proceedings. They attended
during the whole trial.

[Sidenote: Charges.]

[Sidenote: Imposing Scene.]

[Sidenote: Strafford's able and eloquent defense.]

One would have supposed that the deliberate solemnity of these
preparations would have calmed the animosity of Strafford's enemies,
and led them to be satisfied at last with something less than his
utter destruction. But this seems not to have been the effect. The
terrible hostilities which had been gathering strength so long, seemed
to rage all the more fiercely now that there was a prospect of their
gratification. And yet it was very hard to find any thing sufficiently
distinct and tangible against the accused to warrant his conviction.
The commissioners who had been appointed to manage the case divided the
charges among them. When the trial commenced, they stated and urged
these charges in succession. Strafford, who had not known beforehand
what they were to be, replied to them, one by one, with calmness and
composure, and yet with great eloquence and power. The extraordinary
abilities which he had shown through the whole course of his life,
seemed to shine out with increased splendor amid the awful solemnities
which were now darkening its close. He was firm and undaunted, and yet
respectful and submissive. The natural excitements of the occasion;
the imposing assembly; the breathless attention; the magnificent hall;
the consciousness that the opposition which he was struggling to
stem before that great tribunal was the combined hostility of three
kingdoms, and that the torrent was flowing from a reservoir which had
been accumulating for many years; and that the whole civilized world
were looking on with great interest to watch the result; and perhaps,
more than all, that he was in the unseen presence of his sovereign,
whom he was accustomed to look upon as the greatest personage on earth;
these, and the other circumstances of the scene, filled his mind with
strong emotions, and gave animation, and energy, and a lofty eloquence
to all that he said.

[Sidenote: The charge of treason a mere pretext.]

The trial lasted eighteen days, the excitement increasing constantly to
the end. There was nothing proved which could with any propriety be
considered as treason. He had managed the government, it is true, with
one set of views in respect to the absolute prerogatives and powers of
the king, while those who now were in possession of power held opposite
views, and they considered it a matter of necessity that he should
die. The charge of treason was a pretext to bring the case somewhat
within the reach of the formalities of law. It is one of the necessary
incidents of all governmental systems founded on force, and not on the
consent of the governed, that when great and fundamental questions
of policy arise, they often bring the country to a crisis in which
there can be no real settlement of the dispute without the absolute
destruction of one party or the other. It was so now, as the popular
leaders supposed. They had determined that stern necessity required
that Laud and Strafford must die; and the only object of going through
the formality of a trial was to soften the violence of the proceeding
a little, by doing all that could be done toward establishing a legal
justification of the deed.

[Sidenote: Vote on the bill of attainder.]

The trial, as has been said, lasted eighteen days. During all this
time, the leaders were not content with simply urging the proceedings
forward energetically in Westminster Hall. They were maneuvering
and managing in every possible way to secure the final vote. But,
notwithstanding this, Strafford's defense was so able, and the failure
to make out the charge of treason against him was so clear, that it
was doubtful what the result would be. Accordingly, without waiting
for the decision of the Peers on the impeachment, a bill of attainder
against the earl was brought forward in the House of Commons. This bill
of attainder was passed by a large majority--yeas 204, nays 59. It was
then sent to the House of Lords. The Lords were very unwilling to pass

[Sidenote: Interposition of the king.]

While they were debating it, the king sent a message to them to say
that in his opinion the earl had not been guilty of treason, or of
any attempt to subvert the laws; and that several things which had
been alleged in the trial, and on which the bill of attainder chiefly
rested, were not true. He was willing, however, if it would satisfy
the enemies of the earl, to have him convicted of a misdemeanor, and
made incapable of holding any public office from that time; but he
protested against his being punished by a bill of attainder on a charge
of treason.

[Sidenote: Clamor of the populace.]

[Sidenote: Condemnation.]

This interposition of the king in Strafford's favor awakened loud
expressions of displeasure. They called it an interference with the
action of one of the houses of Parliament. The enemies of Strafford
created a great excitement against him out of doors. They raised
clamorous calls for his execution among the populace. The people made
black lists of the names of persons who were in the earl's favor, and
posted them up in public places, calling such persons Straffordians,
and threatening them with public vengeance. The Lords, who would have
been willing to have saved Strafford's life if they had dared, began
to find that they could not do so without endangering their own. When
at last the vote came to be taken in the House of Lords, out of eighty
members who had been present at the trial, only forty-six were present
to vote, and the bill was passed by a vote of thirty-five to eleven.
The thirty-four who were absent were probably all against the bill, but
were afraid to appear.

The responsibility now devolved upon the king. An act of Parliament
must be signed by the king. He really enacts it. The action of the two
houses is, in theory, only a recommendation of the measure to him. The
king was determined on no account to give his consent to Strafford's
condemnation. He, however, laid the subject before his Privy Council.
They, after deliberating upon it, recommended that he should sign the
bill. Nothing else, they said, could allay the terrible storm which
was raging, and the king ought to prefer the peace and safety of
the realm to the life of any one man, however innocent he might be.
The populace, in the mean time, crowded around the king's palace at
Whitehall, calling out "_Justice! justice!_" and filling the air with
threats and imprecations; and preachers in their pulpits urged the
necessity of punishing offenders, and descanted on the iniquity which
those magistrates committed who allowed great transgressors to escape
the penalty due for their crimes.

[Sidenote: The king hesitates about signing the bill.]

The queen, too, was alarmed. She begged the king, with tears, not any
longer to attempt to withstand the torrent which threatened to sweep
them all away in its fury. While things were in this state, Charles
received a letter from Strafford in the Tower, expressing his consent,
and even his request, that the king should yield and sign the bill.

[Sidenote: The Tower.]

The Tower of London is very celebrated in English history. Though
called simply by the name of the Tower, it is, in fact, as will be seen
by the engraving in the frontispiece, an extended group of buildings,
which are of all ages, sizes, and shapes, and covering an extensive
area. It is situated below the city of London, having been originally
built as a fortification for the defense of the city. Its use for this
purpose has, however, long since passed away.

[Sidenote: Strafford's letter to the king.]

Strafford said, in his letter to the king,

 "To set your Majesty's conscience at Liberty, I do most humbly
 beseech your Majesty for Prevention of Evils, which may happen by
 your Refusal, to pass this Bill. Sir, My Consent shall more acquit
 you herein to God, than all the World can do besides; To a willing
 Man there is no Injury done; and as by God's Grace, I forgive all the
 World, with a calmness and Meekness of infinite Contentment to my
 dislodging Soul, so, Sir, to you I can give the Life of this World
 with all the cheerfulness imaginable, in the just Acknowledgment of
 your exceeding Favors; and only beg that in your Goodness you would
 vouchsafe to cast your gracious Regard upon my poor Son and his three
 sisters, less or more, and no otherwise than as their unfortunate
 Father may hereafter appear more or less guilty of this Death. God
 long preserve your Majesty."

[Sidenote: The king signs the bill.]

[Sidenote: Strafford's surprise.]

On receiving this letter the king caused the bill to be signed. He
would not do it with his own hands, but commissioned two of his council
to do it in his name. He then sent a messenger to Strafford to announce
the decision, and to inform him that he must prepare to die. The
messenger observed that the earl seemed surprised; and after hearing
that the king had signed the bill, he quoted, in a tone of despair, the
words of Scripture, "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the sons of
men, for in them is no salvation." Historians have thought it strange
that Strafford should have expressed this disappointment when he had
himself requested the king to resist the popular will no longer; and
they infer from it that he was not sincere in the request, but supposed
that the king would regard it as an act of nobleness and generosity on
his part, that would render him more unwilling than ever to consent to
his destruction, and that he was accordingly surprised and disappointed
when he found that the king had taken him at his word. It is said,
however, by some historians, that this letter was a forgery, and that
it was written by some of Strafford's enemies to lead the king to
resist no longer. The reader, by perusing the letter again, can perhaps
form some judgment whether such a document was more likely to have
been fabricated by enemies, or really written by the unhappy prisoner

[Sidenote: The king asks mercy for Strafford.]

[Sidenote: Mercy refused.]

The king did not entirely give up the hope of saving his friend, even
after the bill of attainder was signed. He addressed the following
message to the House of Lords.

 My Lords,--I did yesterday satisfy the Justice of this Kingdom by
 passing the Bill of Attainder against the Earl of Strafford: but Mercy
 being as inherent and inseparable to a King as Justice, I desire at
 this time in some measure to shew that likewise, by suffering that
 unfortunate Man to fulfill the natural course of his Life in a close
 Imprisonment: yet so, if ever he make the least Offer to escape, or
 offer directly or indirectly to meddle in any sort of public Business,
 especially with Me either by Message or Letter, it shall cost him his
 Life without farther Process. This, if it may be done without the
 Discontentment of my People, will be an unspeakable Contentment to me.

 "I will not say that your complying with me in this my intended Mercy,
 shall make me more willing, but certainly 'twill make me more cheerful
 in granting your just Grievances: But if no less than his Life can
 satisfie my People, I must say Let justice be done. Thus again
 recommending the consideration of my Intention to you, I rest,

"Your Unalterable and Affectionate Friend, "CHARLES R."

[Illustration: STRAFFORD AND LAUD.]

[Sidenote: Strafford's message to Laud.]

The Lords were inexorable. Three days from the time of signing the
bill, arrangements were made for conducting the prisoner to the
scaffold. Laud, who had been his friend and fellow-laborer in the
king's service, was confined also in the Tower, awaiting his turn to
come to trial. They were not allowed to visit each other, but Strafford
sent word to Laud requesting him to be at his window at the time when
he was to pass, to bid him farewell, and to give him his blessing.
Laud accordingly appeared at the window, and Strafford, as he passed,
asked for the prelate's prayers and for his blessing. The old man, for
Laud was now nearly seventy years of age, attempted to speak, but
he could not command himself sufficiently to express what he wished to
say, and he fell back into the arms of his attendants. "God protect
you," said Strafford, and walked calmly on.

[Sidenote: Composure of Strafford.]

[Sidenote: His execution.]

He went to the place of execution with the composure and courage of a
hero. He spoke freely to those around him, asserted his innocence, sent
messages to his absent friends, and said he was ready and willing to
die. The scaffold, in such executions as this, is a platform slightly
raised, with a block and chairs upon it, all covered with black cloth.
A part of the dress has to be removed just before the execution,
in order that the neck of the sufferer may be fully exposed to the
impending blow. Strafford made these preparations himself, and said, as
he did so, that he was in no wise afraid of death, but that he should
lay his head upon that block as cheerfully as he ever did upon his

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Execution of Laud.]

[Sidenote: His firmness.]

Charles found his position in no respect improved by the execution of
Strafford. The Commons, finding their influence and power increasing,
grew more and more bold, and were from this time so absorbed in the
events connected with the progress of their quarrel with the king,
that they left Laud to pine in his prison for about four years. They
then found time to act over again the solemn and awful scene of a
trial for treason before the House of Peers, the passing of a bill
of attainder, and an execution on Tower Hill. Laud was over seventy
years of age when the ax fell upon him. He submitted to his fate with
a calmness and heroism in keeping with his age and his character. He
said, in fact, that none of his enemies could be more desirous to send
him out of life than he was to go.



[Sidenote: Increasing demands of the Commons.]

The way in which the king came at last to a final rupture with
Parliament was this. The victory which the Commons gained in the case
of Strafford had greatly increased their confidence and their power,
and the king found, for some months afterward, that instead of being
satisfied with the concessions he had made, they were continually
demanding more. The more he yielded, the more they encroached. They
grew, in a word, bolder and bolder, in proportion to their success.
They considered themselves doing the state a great and good service by
disarming tyranny of its power. The king, on the other hand, considered
them as undermining all the foundations of good government, and as
depriving him of personal rights, the most sacred and solemn that could
vest in any human being.

[Sidenote: The king gradually loses his power.]

It will be recollected that on former occasions, when the king had got
into contention with a Parliament, he had dissolved it, and either
attempted to govern without one, or else had called for a new election,
hoping that the new members would be more compliant. But he could not
dissolve the Parliament now. They had provided against this danger. At
the time of the trial of Strafford, they brought in a bill into the
Commons providing that thenceforth the Houses could not be prorogued
or dissolved without their own consent. The Commons, of course, passed
the bill very readily. The Peers were more reluctant, but they did not
dare to reject it. The king was extremely unwilling to sign the bill;
but, amid the terrible excitements and dangers of that trial, he was
overborne by the influences of danger and intimidation which surrounded
him. He signed the bill. Of course the Commons were, thereafter, their
own masters. However dangerous or destructive the king might consider
their course of conduct to be, he could now no longer arrest it, as
heretofore, by a dissolution.

He went on, therefore, till the close of 1641, yielding slowly and
reluctantly, and with many struggles, but still all the time yielding,
to the resistless current which bore him along. At last he resolved
to yield no longer. After retreating so long, he determined suddenly
and desperately to face about and attack his enemies. The whole world
looked on with astonishment at such a sudden change of his policy.

[Sidenote: The king determines to change his policy.]

The measure which he resorted to was this. He determined to select a
number of the most efficient and prominent men in Parliament, who had
been leaders in the proceedings against him, and demand their arrest,
imprisonment, and trial, on a charge of high treason. The king was
influenced to do this partly by the advice of the queen, and of the
ladies of the court, and other persons who did not understand how deep
and strong the torrent was which they thus urged him to attempt to
stem. They thought that if he would show a little courage and energy
in facing these men, they would yield in their turn, and that their
boldness and success was owing, in a great measure, to the king's want
of spirit in resisting them. "Strike boldly at them," said they; "seize
the leaders; have them tried, and condemned, and executed. Threaten the
rest with the same fate; and follow up these measures with energetic
and decisive action, and you will soon make a change in the aspect of

[Sidenote: 1642.]

[Sidenote: The king sends his officers to the House.]

The king adopted this policy, and he did make a change in the aspect
of affairs, but not such a change as his advisers had anticipated.
The Commons were thrown suddenly into a state of astonishment one day
by the appearance of a king's officer in the House, who rose and read
articles of a charge of treason against five of the most influential
and popular members. The officer asked that a committee should be
appointed to hear the evidence against them which the king was
preparing. The Commons, on hearing this, immediately voted, that if any
person should attempt even to seize the papers of the persons accused,
it should be lawful for them to resist such an attempt by every means
in their power.

The next day another officer appeared at the bar of the House of
Commons, and spoke as follows. "I am commanded by the king's majesty,
my master, upon my allegiance, that I should come to the House of
Commons, and require of Mr. Speaker five gentlemen, members of the
House of Commons; and those gentlemen being delivered, I am commanded
to arrest them in his majesty's name, on a charge of high treason." The
Commons, on hearing this demand, voted that they would take it into

[Sidenote: The king goes to the House himself.]

[Sidenote: The king's speech in the House.]

The king's friends and advisers urged him to follow the matter up
vigorously. Every thing depended, they said, on firmness and decision.
The next day, accordingly, the king determined to go himself to the
House, and make the demand in person. A lady of the court, who was made
acquainted with this plan, sent notice of it to the House. In going,
the king took his guard with him, and several personal attendants. The
number of soldiers was said to be five hundred. He left this great
retinue at the door, and he himself entered the House. The Commons,
when they heard that he was coming, had ordered the five members who
were accused to withdraw. They went out just before the king came in.
The king advanced to the speaker's chair, took his seat, and made the
following address.

 "Gentlemen,--I am sorry for this occasion of coming unto you.
 Yesterday I sent a Sergeant-at-Arms upon a very important occasion
 to apprehend some that by my Command were accused of High Treason;
 whereunto I did expect Obedience and not a message. And I must declare
 unto you here, that albeit no king that ever was in England shall be
 more careful of your Privileges, to maintain them to the uttermost
 of his Power, than I shall be; yet you must know that in cases of
 Treason no Person hath a Privilege; and therefore I am come to know if
 any of those Persons that were accused are here. For I must tell you,
 Gentlemen, that so long as these Persons that I have accused (for no
 slight Crime, but for Treason) are here, I can not expect that this
 House will be in the right way that I do heartily wish it. Therefore I
 am come to tell you that I must have them wherever I find them."

After looking around, and finding that the members in question were not
in the hall, he continued:

 "Well! since I see the Birds are flown, I do expect from you that you
 shall send them unto me as soon as they return hither. But I assure
 you, on the Word of a King, I never did intend any Force, but shall
 proceed against them in a legal and fair way, for I never meant any

 "I will trouble you no more, but tell you I do expect, as soon as they
 come to the House, you will send them to me, otherwise I must take my
 own course to find them."

[Sidenote: Great excitement in the House.]

[Sidenote: The speaker's reply.]

The king's coming thus into the House of Commons, and demanding in
person that they should act according to his instructions, was a very
extraordinary circumstance--perhaps unparalleled in English history. It
produced the greatest excitement. When he had finished his address, he
turned to the speaker and asked him where those men were. He had his
guard ready at the door to seize them. It is difficult for us, in this
country, to understand fully to how severe a test this sudden question
put the presence of mind and courage of the speaker; for we can not
realize the profound and awful deference which was felt in those days
for the command of a king. The speaker gained great applause for the
manner in which he stood the trial. He fell upon his knees before the
great potentate who had addressed him, and said, "I have, sir, neither
eyes to see, nor tongue to speak, in this place, but as the House is
pleased to direct me, whose servant I am. And I humbly ask pardon that
I can not give any other answer to what your majesty is pleased to
demand of me."

[Sidenote: Results of the king's rashness.]

The House was immediately in a state of great excitement and confusion.
They called out "_Privilege! privilege!_" meaning that their
privileges were violated. They immediately adjourned. News of the
affair spread every where with the greatest rapidity, and produced
universal and intense excitement. The king's friends were astonished at
such an act of rashness and folly, which, it is said, only _one_ of the
king's advisers knew any thing about, and he immediately fled. The five
members accused went that night into the city of London, and called on
the government and people of London to protect them. The people armed
themselves. In a word, the king found at night that he had raised a
very threatening and terrible storm.

[Sidenote: Committee of the Commons.]

The Commons met the next morning, but did not attempt to transact
business. They simply voted that it was useless for them to proceed
with their deliberations, while exposed to such violations of their
rights. They appointed a committee of twenty-four to inquire into
and report the circumstances of the king's intrusion into their
councils, and to consider how this breach of their privileges could be
repaired. They ordered this committee to sit in the city of London,
where they might hope to be safe from such interruptions, and then the
House adjourned for a week, to await the result of the committee's

The committee went to London. In the mean time, news went all over the
kingdom that the House of Commons had been compelled to suspend its
sittings on account of an illegal and unwarrantable interference with
their proceedings on the part of the king. The king was alarmed; but
those who had advised him to adopt this measure told him that he must
not falter now. He must persevere and carry his point, or all would be

[Sidenote: The king goes to London.]

[Sidenote: Cries of the people.]

He accordingly did persevere. He brought troops and arms to his palace
at Whitehall, to be ready to defend it in case of attack. He sent in to
London, and ordered the lord mayor to assemble the city authorities at
the Guildhall, which is the great city hall of London; and then, with
a retinue of noblemen, he went in to meet them. The people shouted,
"_Privileges of Parliament! privileges of Parliament!_" as he passed
along. Some called out, "_To your tents, O Israel!_" which was the
ancient Hebrew cry of rebellion. The king, however, persevered. When he
reached the Guildhall, he addressed the city authorities thus:

"Gentlemen,--I am come to demand such Persons as I have already accused
of High Treason, and do believe are shrouded in the City. I hope
no good Man will keep them from Me. Their Offenses are Treason and
Misdemeanors of a high Nature. I desire your Assistance, that they may
be brought to a legal Trial." Three days after this the king issued
a proclamation, addressed to all magistrates and officers of justice
every where, to arrest the accused members and carry them to the Tower.

[Sidenote: Preparations to escort the committee to Westminster.]

In the mean time, the committee of twenty-four continued their session
in London, examining witnesses and preparing their report. When the
time arrived for the House of Commons to meet again, which was on the
11th of January, the city made preparations to have the committee
escorted in an imposing manner from the Guildhall to Westminster. A
vast amount of the intercommunication and traffic between different
portions of the city then, as now, took place upon the river, though
in those days it was managed by watermen, who rowed small wherries to
and fro. Innumerable steamboats take the place of the wherries at the
present day, and stokers and engineers have superseded the watermen.
The watermen were then, however, a large and formidable body, banded
together, like the other trades of London, in one great organization.
This great company turned out on this occasion, and attended the
committee in barges on the river, while the military companies of the
city marched along the streets upon the land. The committee themselves
went in barges on the water, and all London flocked to see the
spectacle. The king, hearing of these arrangements, was alarmed for
his personal safety, and left his palace at Whitehall to go to Hampton
Court, which was a little way out of town.

[Sidenote: Report of the committee.]

The committee, after entering the House, reported that the transactions
which they had been considering constituted a high breach of the
privileges of the House, and was a seditious act, tending to a
subversion of the peace of the kingdom; and that the privileges
of Parliament, so violated and broken, could not be sufficiently
vindicated, unless his majesty would be pleased to inform them who
advised him to do such a deed.

[Sidenote: Alarm of the king.]

[Sidenote: The king yields.]

The king was more and more seriously alarmed. He found that the storm
of public odium and indignation was too great for him to withstand.
He began to fear for his own safety more than ever. He removed from
Hampton Court to Windsor Castle, a stronger place, and more remote
from London than Hampton Court; and he now determined to give up the
contest. He sent a message, therefore, to the House, saying that,
on further reflection, since so many persons had doubts whether
his proceedings against the five members were consistent with the
privileges of Parliament, he would waive them, and the whole subject
might rest until the minds of men were more composed, and then, if
he proceeded against the accused members at all, he would do so in a
manner to which no exception could be taken. He said, also, he would
henceforth be as careful of their privileges as he should be of his own
life or crown.

[Sidenote: Increasing excitement.]

Thus he acknowledged himself vanquished in the struggle, but the
acknowledgment came too late to save him. The excitement increased,
and spread in every direction. The party of the king and that of
the Parliament disputed for a few months about these occurrences,
and others growing out of them, and then each began to maneuver and
struggle to get possession of the military power of the kingdom. The
king, finding himself not safe in the vicinity of London, retreated to
York, and began to assemble and organize his followers. Parliament sent
him a declaration that if he did not disband the forces which he was
assembling, they should be compelled to provide measures for securing
the peace of the kingdom. The king replied by proclamations calling
upon his subjects to join his standard. In a word, before midsummer,
the country was plunged in the horrors of civil war.

[Sidenote: Civil war.]

[Sidenote: Its nature.]

A civil war, that is, a war between two parties in the same country,
is generally far more savage and sanguinary than any other. The hatred
and the animosities which it creates, ramify throughout the country,
and produce universal conflict and misery. If there were a war between
France and England, there might be one, or perhaps two invading armies
of Frenchmen attempting to penetrate into the interior. All England
would be united against them. Husbands and wives, parents and children,
neighbors and friends, would be drawn together more closely than ever;
while the awful scenes of war and bloodshed, the excitement, the
passion, the terror, would be confined to a few detached spots, or to a
few lines of march which the invading armies had occupied.

[Sidenote: Cruelties and miseries of civil war.]

In a civil war, however, it is very different. Every distinct portion
of the country, every village and hamlet, and sometimes almost every
family, is divided against itself. The hostility and hatred, too,
between the combatants, is always far more intense and bitter than that
which is felt against a foreign foe. We might at first be surprised
at this. We might imagine that where men are contending with their
neighbors and fellow-townsmen, the recollection of past friendships
and good-will, and various lingering ties of regard, would moderate
the fierceness of their anger, and make them more considerate and
forbearing. But this is not found to be the case. Each party considers
the other as not only enemies, but traitors, and accordingly they hate
and abhor each other with a double intensity. If an Englishman has a
_Frenchman_ to combat, he meets him with a murderous impetuosity, it
is true, but without any special bitterness of animosity. He _expects_
the Frenchman to be his enemy. He even thinks he has a sort of natural
right to be so. He will kill him if he can; but then, if he takes him
prisoner, there is nothing in his feelings toward him to prevent his
treating him with generosity, and even with kindness. He hates him,
but there is a sort of good-nature in his hatred, after all. On the
other hand, when he fights against his countrymen in a civil war, he
abhors and hates with unmingled bitterness the traitorous ingratitude
which he thinks his neighbors and friends evince in turning enemies to
their country. He can see no honesty, no truth, no courage in any thing
they do. They are infinitely worse, in his estimation, than the most
ferocious of foreign foes. Civil war is, consequently, always the means
of far wider and more terrible mischief than any other human calamity.

[Sidenote: Taking sides between the king and Parliament.]

In the contention between Charles and the Parliament, the various
elements of the social state adhered to one side or the other,
according to their natural predilections. The Episcopalians generally
joined the king, the Presbyterians the Parliament. The gentry and the
nobility favored the king; the mechanics, artisans, merchants, and
common people the Parliament. The rural districts of country, which
were under the control of the great landlords, the king; the cities and
towns, the Parliament. The gay, and fashionable, and worldly, the king;
the serious-minded and austere, the Parliament. Thus every thing was
divided. The quarrel ramified to every hamlet and to every fireside,
and the peace and happiness of the realm were effectually destroyed.

[Sidenote: Preparations for war.]

[Sidenote: Fruitless negotiations.]

Both sides began to raise armies and to prepare for war. Before
commencing hostilities, however, the king was persuaded by his
counselors to send a messenger to London and propose some terms of
accommodation. He accordingly sent the Earl of Southampton to the
House of Peers, and two other persons to the House of Commons. He
had no expectation, probably, of making peace, but he wanted to gain
time to get his army together, and also to strengthen his cause among
the people by showing a disposition to do all in his power to avoid
open war. The messengers of the king went to London, and made their
appearance in the two houses of Parliament.

The House of Lords ordered the Earl of Southampton to withdraw, and to
send his communication in in writing, and in the mean time to retire
out of London, and wait for their answer. The House of Commons, in the
same spirit of hostility and defiance, ordered the messengers which
had been sent to them to come to the bar, like humble petitioners or
criminals, and make their communication there.

The propositions of the king to the houses of Parliament were, that
they should appoint a certain number of commissioners, and he also the
same number, to meet and confer together, in hope of agreeing upon
some conditions of peace. The houses passed a vote in reply, declaring
that they had been doing all in their power to preserve the peace of
the kingdom, while the king had been interrupting and disturbing it
by his military gatherings, and by proclamations, in which they were
called traitors; and that they could enter into no treaty with him
until he disbanded the armies which he had collected, and recalled his

[Sidenote: Messages between the king and Parliament.]

To this the king replied that he had never intended to call them
traitors; and that when they would recall their declarations and votes
stigmatizing those who adhered to him as traitors, he would recall
his proclamations. Thus messages passed back and forth two or three
times, each party criminating the other, and neither willing to make
the concessions which the other required. At last all hope of an
accommodation was abandoned, and both sides prepared for war.

[Sidenote: 1643.]

[Sidenote: Ravages of the war.]

The nobility and gentry flocked to the king's standard. They brought
their plate, their jewels, and their money to provide funds. Some of
them brought their servants. There were two companies in the king's
guard, one of which consisted of gentlemen, and the other of their
servants. These two companies were always kept together. There was the
greatest zeal and enthusiasm among the upper classes to serve the king,
and equal zeal and enthusiasm among the common people to serve the
Parliament. The war continued for four years. During all this time the
armies marched and countermarched all over the kingdom, carrying ruin
and destruction wherever they went, and plunging the whole country in


[Sidenote: Death of Hampden.]

At one of the battles which was fought, the celebrated John Hampden,
the man who would not pay his ship money, was slain. He had been a very
energetic and efficient officer on the Parliamentary side, and was
much dreaded by the forces of the king. At one of the battles between
Prince Rupert, Charles's nephew, and the army of the Parliament, the
prince brought to the king's camp a large number of prisoners which
he had taken. One of the prisoners said he was confident that Hampden
was hurt, for he saw him riding off the field before the battle was
over, with his head hanging down, and his hands clasping the neck of
his horse. They heard the next day that he had been wounded in
the shoulder. Inflammation and fever ensued, and he died a few days
afterward in great agony.

[Sidenote: Prince Rupert. His knowledge and ingenuity.]

This Prince Rupert was a very famous character in all these wars.
He was young and ardent, and full of courage and enthusiasm. He was
always foremost and ready to embark in the most daring undertakings.
He was the son of the king's sister Elizabeth, who married the Elector
Palatine, as narrated in a preceding chapter. He was famous not only
for his military skill and attainments, but for his knowledge of
science, and for his ingenuity in many philosophical arts. There is
a mode of engraving called mezzotinto, which is somewhat easier of
execution than the common mode, and produces a peculiar effect. Prince
Rupert is said to have been the inventor of it, though, as is the case
with almost all other inventions, there is a dispute about it. He
discovered a mode of dropping melted glass into water so as to form
little pear-shaped globules, with a long slender tail. These globules
have this remarkable property, that if the tip of the tail is broken
off ever so gently, the whole flies into atoms with an explosion.
These drops of glass are often exhibited at the present day, and
are called Prince Rupert's drops. The prince also discovered a very
tenacious composition of metals for casting cannon. As artillery is
necessarily very heavy, and very difficult to be transported on marches
and upon the field of battle, it becomes very important to discover
such metallic compounds as have the greatest strength and tenacity in
resisting the force of an explosion. Prince Rupert invented such a
compound, which is called by his name.

[Sidenote: Progress of the war.]

[Sidenote: Difficulty of making peace.]

[Sidenote: The women clamor for peace.]

There were not only a great many battles and fierce encounters between
the two great parties in this civil war, but there were also, at
times, temporary cessations of the hostilities, and negotiations for
peace. But it is very hard to make peace between two powers engaged
in civil war. Each considers the other as acting the part of rebels
and traitors, and there is a difficulty, almost insuperable, in the
way of even opening negotiations between them. Still the people became
tired of the war. At one time, when the king had made some propositions
which the Parliament would not accept, an immense assemblage of women
collected together, with white ribbons in their hats, to go to the
House of Commons with a petition for peace. When they reached the door
of the hall their number was five thousand. They called out, "Peace!
peace! Give us those traitors that are against peace, that we may tear
them to pieces." The guards who were stationed at the door were ordered
to fire at this crowd, loading their guns, however, only with powder.
This, it was thought, would frighten them away; but the women only
laughed at the volley, and returned it with stones and brickbats, and
drove the guards away. Other troops were then sent for, who charged
upon the women with their swords, and cut them in their faces and
hands, and thus at length dispersed them.

[Sidenote: Queen Henrietta's arrival in England.]

During the progress of the war, the queen returned from the Continent
and joined the king. She had some difficulty, however, and encountered
some personal danger, in her efforts to return to her husband. The
vice-admiral, who had command of the English ships off the coast,
received orders to intercept her. He watched for her. She contrived,
however, to elude his vigilance, though there were four ships in her
convoy. She landed at a town called Burlington, or Bridlington, in
Yorkshire. This town stands in a very picturesque situation, a little
south of a famous promontory called Flamborough Head, of which there is
a beautiful view from the pier of the town.

[Sidenote: The vice-admiral cannonades the queen.]

The queen succeeded in landing here. On her arrival at the town, she
found herself worn down with the anxiety and fatigue of the voyage,
and she wanted to stop a few days to rest. She took up her residence
in a house which was on the quay, and, of course, near the water. The
quay, as it is called, in these towns, is a street on the margin of
the water, with a wall, but no houses next the sea. The vice-admiral
arrived at the town the second night after the queen had landed. He was
vexed that his expected prize had escaped him. He brought his ships up
near to the town, and began to fire toward the house in which the queen
was lodging.


This was at five o'clock in the morning. The queen and her attendants
were in their beds, asleep. The reports of the cannon from the ships,
the terrific whistling of the balls through the air, and the crash of
the houses which the balls struck, aroused the whole village from their
slumbers, and threw them into consternation. The people soon came to
the house where the queen was lodging, and begged her to fly. They
said that the neighboring houses were blown to pieces, and that her own
would soon be destroyed, and she herself would be killed. They may,
however, have been influenced more by a regard to their own safety than
to hers in these injunctions, as it must have been a great object with
the villagers to effect the immediate removal of a visitor who was the
means of bringing upon them so terrible a danger.

[Sidenote: The queen's danger.]

These urgent entreaties of the villagers were soon enforced by two
cannon-balls, which fell, one after another, upon the roof of the
house, and, crashing their way through the roof and the floors, went
down, without seeming to regard the resistance, from the top to the
bottom. The queen hastily put on her clothes, and went forth with her
attendants on foot, the balls from the ships whistling after them all
the way.

[Sidenote: She seeks shelter in a trench.]

One of her servants was killed. The rest of the fugitives, finding
their exposure so great, stopped at a sort of trench which they came
to, at the end of a field, such as is dug commonly, in England, on one
side of the hedge, to make the barrier more impassable to the animals
which it is intended to confine. This trench, with the embankment
formed by the earth thrown out of it, on which the hedge is usually
planted, afforded them protection. They sought shelter in it, and
remained there for two hours, like besiegers in the approaches to a
town, the balls passing over their heads harmlessly, though sometimes
covering them with the earth which they threw up as they bounded by.
At length the tide began to ebb, and the vice-admiral was in danger
of being left aground. He weighed his anchors and withdrew, and the
queen and her party were relieved. Such a cannonading of a helpless and
defenseless woman is a barbarity which could hardly take place except
in a civil war.

[Sidenote: The queen joins her husband.]

[Sidenote: Her influence.]

The queen rejoined her husband, and she rendered him essential service
in many ways. She had personal influence enough to raise both money and
men for his armies, and so contributed very essentially to the strength
of his party. At last she returned to the Continent again, and went to
Paris, where she was still actively employed in promoting his cause. At
one of the battles in which the king was defeated, the Parliamentary
army seized his baggage, and found among his papers his correspondence
with the queen. They very ungenerously ordered it to be published, as
the letters seemed to show a vigorous determination on the part of the
king not to yield in the contest without obtaining from the Parliament
and their adherents full and ample concessions to his claims.

[Sidenote: 1646.]

[Sidenote: The royal cause declines.]

[Sidenote: The Prince of Wales.]

As time rolled on, the strength of the royal party gradually wasted
away, while that of Parliament seemed to increase, until it became
evident that the latter would, in the end, obtain the victory. The king
retreated from place to place, followed by his foes, and growing weaker
and more discouraged after every conflict. His son, the Prince of
Wales, was then about fifteen years of age. He sent him to the western
part of the island, with directions that, if affairs should still go
against him, the boy should be taken in time out of the country, and
join his mother in Paris. The danger grew more and more imminent, and
they who had charge of the young prince sent him first to Scilly, and
then to Jersey--islands in the Channel--whence he made his escape to
Paris, and joined his mother. Fifteen years afterward he returned to
London with great pomp and parade, and was placed upon the throne by
universal acclamation.

[Sidenote: Hopeless condition of the king.]

At last the king himself, after being driven from one place of
refuge to another, retreated to Oxford and intrenched himself there.
Here he spent the winter of 1646 in extreme depression and distress.
His friends deserted him; his resources were expended; his hopes
were extinguished. He sent proposals of peace to the Parliament,
and offered, himself, to come to London, if they would grant him a
safe-conduct. In reply, they _forbade_ him to come. They would listen
to no propositions, and would make no terms. The case, they saw, was in
their own hands, and they determined on unconditional submission. They
hemmed the king in on all sides at his retreat in Oxford, and reduced
him to despair.

[Sidenote: Invasion by the Scots.]

[Sidenote: The king surrenders to the Scots.]

[Sidenote: End of the civil war.]

In the mean time, the Scots, a year or two before this, had raised an
army and crossed the northern frontier, and entered England. They were
against monarchy and Episcopacy, but they were, in some respects, a
separate enemy from those against whom the king had been contending so
long; and he began to think that he had perhaps better fall into their
hands than into those of his English foes, if he must submit to one or
to the other. He hesitated for some time what course to take; but at
last, after receiving representations of the favorable feeling which
prevailed in regard to him in the Scottish army, he concluded to make
his escape from Oxford and surrender himself to them. He accordingly did
so, and the civil war was ended.



The circumstances of King Charles's surrender to the Scots were these.
He knew that he was surrounded by his enemies in Oxford, and that they
would not allow him to escape if they could prevent it. He and his
friends, therefore, formed the following plan to elude them.

[Sidenote: The king's escape from Hampton Court.]

They sent word to the commanders of each of the several gates of the
city, on a certain day, that during the ensuing night three men would
have to pass out on business of the king's, and that when the men
should appear and give a certain signal, they were to be allowed to
pass. The officer at each gate received this command without knowing
that a similar one had been sent to the others.

[Illustration: NEWARK.]

Accordingly, about midnight, the parties of men were dispatched, and
they went out at the several gates. The king himself was in one of
these parties. There were two other persons with him. One of these
persons was a certain Mr. Ashburnham, and the king was disguised as
his servant. They were all on horseback, and the king had a valise upon
the horse behind him, so as to complete his disguise. This was on the
27th of April. The next day, or very soon after, it was known at Oxford
that his majesty was gone, but no one could tell in what direction, for
there was no means even of deciding by which of the gates he had left
the city.

[Sidenote: The king delivers himself to the Scots.]

[Sidenote: His reception.]

The Scotch were, at this time, encamped before the town of Newark,
which is on the Trent, in the heart of England, and about one hundred
and twenty miles north of London. There was a magnificent castle at
Newark in those days, which made the place very strong. The town held
out for the king; for, though they had been investing it for some time,
they had not yet succeeded in compelling the governor to surrender.
The king concluded to proceed to Newark and enter the Scottish camp.
He considered it, or, rather, tried to have it considered, that he was
coming to join them as their monarch. _They_ were going to consider
it surrendering to them as their prisoner. The king himself must have
known how it would be, but it made his sense of humiliation a little
less poignant to carry this illusion with him as long as it was
possible to maintain it.

[Sidenote: Proclamation by Parliament.]

As soon as the Parliament found that the king had made his escape from
Oxford, they were alarmed, and on the 4th of May they issued an order
to this effect, "That what person soever should harbor and conceal, or
should know of the harboring or concealing of the king's person, and
should not immediately reveal it to the speakers of both houses, should
be proceeded against as a traitor to the Commonwealth, and die without
mercy." The proclamation of this order, however, did not result in
arresting the flight of the king. On the day after it was issued, he
arrived safely at Newark.

[Sidenote: Surrender of Newark.]

The Scottish general, whose name was Lesley, immediately represented
to the king that for his own safety it was necessary that they should
retire toward the northern frontier; but they could not so retire, he
said, unless Newark should first surrender. They accordingly induced
the king to send in orders to the governor of the castle to give up the
place. The Scots took possession of it, and, after having garrisoned
it, moved with their army toward the north, the king and General Lesley
being in the van.

[Sidenote: Negotiations about the disposal of the king's person.]

They treated the king with great distinction, but guarded him very
closely, and sent word to the Parliament that he was in their
possession. There ensued long negotiations and much debate. The
question was, at first, whether the English or Scotch should have the
disposal of the king's person. The English said that _they_, and not
the Scots, were the party making war upon him; that they had conquered
his armies, and hemmed him in, and reduced him to the necessity of
submission; and that he had been taken captive on English soil, and
ought, consequently, to be delivered into the hands of the English
Parliament. The Scots replied that though he had been taken in England,
he was their king as well as the king of England, and had made himself
their enemy; and that, as he had fallen into their hands, he ought to
remain at their disposal. To this the English rejoined, that the Scots,
in taking him, had not acted on their own account, but as the allies,
and, as it were, the agents of the English, and that they ought to
consider the king as a captive taken for them, and hold him subject to
their disposal.

They could not settle the question. In the mean time the Scottish army
drew back toward the frontier, taking the king with them.

[Sidenote: The Scots surrender the king.]

About this time a negotiation sprung up between the Parliament and
the Scots for the payment of the expenses which the Scottish army had
incurred in their campaign. The Scots sent in an account amounting
to two millions of pounds. The English objected to a great many of
the charges, and offered them two hundred thousand pounds. Finally it
was settled that four hundred thousand pounds should be paid. This
arrangement was made early in September. In January the Scots agreed to
give up the king into the hands of the English Parliament.

[Sidenote: Whether he was sold.]

The world accused the Scots of selling their king to his enemies
for four hundred thousand pounds. The Scots denied that there was
any connection between the two transactions above referred to. They
received the money on account of their just claims; and they afterward
agreed to deliver up the king, because they thought it right and proper
so to do. The friends of the king, however, were never satisfied
that there was not a secret understanding between the parties, that
the money paid was not the price of the king's delivery; and as this
delivery resulted in his death, they called it the price of blood.

[Sidenote: The king's amusements in captivity.]

Charles was at Newcastle when they came to this decision. His mind
had been more at ease since his surrender to the Scots, and he was
accustomed to amuse himself and while away the time of his captivity by
various games. He was playing chess when the intelligence was brought
to him that he was to be delivered up to the English Parliament. It
was communicated to him in a letter. He read it, and then went on with
his game, and none of those around him could perceive by his air and
manner that the intelligence which the letter contained was any thing
extraordinary. Perhaps he was not aware of the magnitude of the change
in his condition and prospects which the communication announced.

[Sidenote: Holmby House.]

[Sidenote: Contest about forms.]

[Sidenote: Intolerance.]

There was at this time, at a town called Holmby or Holdenby, in
Northamptonshire, a beautiful palace which was known by the name of
Holmby House. King Charles's mother had purchased this palace for him
when he was the Duke of York, in the early part of his life, while
his father, King James, was on the throne, and his older brother
was the heir-apparent. It was a very stately and beautiful edifice.
The house was fitted up in a very handsome manner, and all suitable
accommodations provided for the king's reception. He had many
attendants, and every desirable convenience and luxury of living; but,
though the war was over, there was still kept up between the king and
his enemies a petty contest about forms and punctilios, which resulted
from the spirit of intolerance which characterized the age. The king
wanted his own Episcopal chaplains. The Parliament would not consent to
this, but sent him two Presbyterian chaplains. The king would not allow
them to say grace at the table, but performed this duty himself; and on
the Sabbath, when they preached in his chapel, he never would attend.

[Sidenote: The Scotch preacher.]

One singular instance of this sort of bigotry, and of the king's
presence of mind under the action of it, took place while the king
was at Newcastle. They took him one day, to the chapel in the castle
to hear a Scotch Presbyterian who was preaching to the garrison. The
Scotchman preached a long discourse pointed expressly at the king.
Those preachers prided themselves on the fearlessness with which, on
such occasions, they discharged what they called their duty. To cap the
climax of his faithfulness, the preacher gave out, at the close of the
sermon, the hymn, thus: "We will sing the fifty-first Psalm:

    "'Why dost thou, tyrant, boast thyself,
        Thy wicked works to praise?'"

[Sidenote: The king's presence of mind.]

As the congregation were about to commence the singing, the king cast
his eye along the page, and found in the fifty-sixth hymn one which he
thought would be more appropriate. He rose, and said, in a very audible
manner, "We will sing the fifty-_sixth_ Psalm:

    "'Have mercy, Lord, on me I pray,
        For men would me devour.'"

The congregation, moved by a sudden impulse of religious generosity
extremely unusual in those days, immediately sang the psalm which the
king had chosen.

[Sidenote: The king receives letters from the queen.]

While he was at Holmby the king used sometimes to go, escorted by a
guard, to certain neighboring villages where there were bowling-greens.
One day, while he was going on one of these excursions, a man, in the
dress of a laborer, appeared standing on a bridge as he passed, and
handed him a packet. The commissioners who had charge of Charles--for
some of them always attended him on these excursions--seized the man.
The packet was from the queen. The king told the commissioners that
the letter was only to ask him some question about the disposal of his
son, the young prince, who was then with her in Paris. They seemed
satisfied, but they sent the disguised messenger to London, and the
Parliament committed him to prison, and sent down word to dismiss all
Charles's own attendants, and to keep him thenceforth in more strict

[Sidenote: The army.]

In the mean time, the Parliament, having finished the war, were ready
to disband the army. But the army did not want to be disbanded. They
would not be disbanded. The officers knew very well that if their
troops were dismissed, and they were to return to their homes as
private citizens, all their importance would be gone. There followed
long debates and negotiations between the army and the Parliament,
which ended, at last, in an open rupture. It is almost always so at the
end of a revolution. The military power is found to have become too
strong for the civil institutions of the country to control it.

[Sidenote: 1647.]

[Sidenote: Oliver Cromwell.]

[Sidenote: His plan to seize the king.]

Oliver Cromwell, who afterward became so distinguished in the days
of the Commonwealth, was at this time becoming the most influential
leader of the army. He was not the commander-in-chief in form, but
he was the great planner and manager in fact. He was a man of great
sternness and energy of character, and was always ready for the most
prompt and daring action. He conceived the design of seizing the
king's person at Holmby, so as to take him away from the control of
the Parliament, and transfer him to that of the army. This plan was
executed on the 4th of June, about two months after the king had been
taken to Holmby House. The abduction was effected in the following

[Sidenote: Cornet Joyce.]

Cromwell detached a strong party of choice troops, under the command of
an officer by the name of Joyce, to carry the plan into effect. These
troops were all horsemen, so that their movements could be made with
the greatest celerity. They arrived at Holmby House at midnight. The
cornet, for that was the military title by which Joyce was designated,
drew up his horsemen about the palace, and demanded entrance. Before
his company arrived, however, there had been an alarm that they were
coming, and the guards had been doubled. The officers in command asked
the cornet what was his name and business. He replied that he was
Cornet Joyce, and that his business was to speak to the king. They
asked him by whom he was sent, and he replied that he was sent by
_himself_, and that he must and would see the king. They then commanded
their soldiers to stand by their arms, and be ready to fire when the
word should be given. They, however, perceived that Joyce and his force
were a detachment from the army to which they themselves belonged, and
concluding to receive them as brothers, they opened the gates and let
them in.

[Sidenote: He forces admittance to the king.]

The cornet stationed sentinels at the doors of those apartments of the
castle which were occupied by the Scotch commissioners who had the
king in charge, and then went himself directly to the king's chamber.
He had a pistol loaded and cocked in his hand. He knocked at the door.
There were four grooms in waiting: they rebuked him for making such a
disturbance at that time of the night, and told him that he should wait
until the morning if he had any communication to make to the king.

[Sidenote: Joyce's interview with the king.]

The cornet would not accede to this proposition, but knocked violently
at the door, the servants being deterred from interfering by dread of
the loaded pistol, and by the air and manner of their visitor, which
told them very plainly that he was not to be trifled with. The king
finally heard the disturbance, and, on learning the cause, sent out
word that Joyce must go away and wait till morning, for he would not
get up to see him at that hour. The cornet, as one of the historians of
the time expresses it, "huffed and retired." The next morning he had an
interview with the king.

[Sidenote: His "instructions."]

When he was introduced to the king's apartment in the morning, the
king said that he wished to have the Scotch commissioners present at
the interview. Joyce replied that the commissioners had nothing to do
now but to return to the Parliament at London. The king then said that
he wished to see his instructions. The cornet replied that he would
show them to him, and he sent out to order his horsemen to parade in
the inner court of the palace, where the king could see them from his
windows; and then, pointing them out to the king, he said, "These, sir,
are my instructions." The king, who, in all the trials and troubles of
his life of excitement and danger, took every thing quietly and calmly,
looked at the men attentively.

They were fine troops, well mounted and armed. He then turned to the
cornet, and said, with a smile, that "his instructions were in fair
characters, and could be read without spelling." The cornet then
said that his orders were to take the king away with him. The king
declined going, unless the commissioners went too. The cornet made no
objection, saying that the commissioners might do as they pleased about
accompanying him, but that he himself must go.

[Sidenote: The king taken to Cambridge.]

[Sidenote: Closely guarded.]

The party set off from Holmby and traveled two days, stopping at night
at the houses of friends to their cause. They reached Cambridge, where
the leading officers of the army received the king, rendering him every
possible mark of deference and respect. From Cambridge he was conducted
by the leaders of the army from town to town, remaining sometimes
several days at a place. He was attended by a strong guard, and was
treated every where with the utmost consideration and honor. He was
allowed some little liberty, in riding out and in amusements, but every
precaution was taken to prevent the possibility of an escape.

[Sidenote: The king's evil.]

The people collected every where into the places through which he
had to pass, and his presence-chamber was constantly thronged. This
was not altogether on account of their respect and veneration for
him as king, but it arose partly from a very singular cause. There
is a certain disease called the scrofula, which in former times had
the name of the King's Evil. It is a very unmanageable and obstinate
disorder, resisting all ordinary modes of treatment; but in the days
of King Charles, it was universally believed by the common people
of England, that if a _king_ touched a patient afflicted with this
disease, he would recover. This was the reason why it was called the
king's evil. It was the evil that kings only could cure. Now, as kings
seldom traveled much about their dominions, whenever one did make such
a journey, the people embraced the opportunity to bring all the cases
which could possibly be considered as scrofula to the line of his
route, in order that he might touch the persons afflicted and heal them.

[Sidenote: The king removed to Hampton Court.]

[Sidenote: The king's interview with his children.]

In the course of the summer the king was conducted to Hampton Court,
a beautiful palace on the Thames, a short distance above London. Here
he remained for some time. He had an interview here with two of his
children. The oldest son was still in France. The two whom he saw here
were the Duke of Gloucester and the Princess Elizabeth. He found that
they were under the care of a nobleman of high rank, and that they were
treated with great consideration. Charles was extremely gratified and
pleased with seeing these members of his family again, after so long a
separation. His feelings of domestic affection were very strong.

[Sidenote: Contentions.]

The king remained at Hampton Court two or three months. During this
time, London, and all the region about it, was kept in a continual
state of excitement by the contentions of the army and Parliament, and
the endless negotiations which they attempted with each other and with
the king. During all this time the king was in a sort of elegant and
honorable imprisonment in his palace at Hampton Court; but he found the
restraints to which he was subjected, and the harassing cares which the
contests between these two great powers brought upon him, so great,
that he determined to make his escape from the thraldom which bound
him. He very probably thought that he could again raise his standard,
and collect an army to fight in his cause. Or perhaps he thought of
making his escape from the country altogether. It is not improbable
that he was not decided himself which of these plans to pursue, but
left the question to be determined by the circumstances in which he
should find himself when he had regained his freedom.

[Sidenote: The king's escape from Hampton Court.]

At any rate, he made his escape. One evening, about ten o'clock,
attendants came into his room at Hampton Court, and found that he
had gone. There were some letters upon the table which he had left,
directed to the Parliament, to the general of the army, and to the
officer who had guarded him at Hampton Court. The king had left the
palace an hour or two before. He passed out at a private door, which
admitted him to a park connected with the palace. He went through the
park by a walk which led down to the water, where there was a boat
ready for him. He crossed the river in the boat, and on the opposite
shore he found several officers and some horses ready to receive him.
He mounted one of the horses, and the party rode rapidly away.

[Sidenote: 1648.]

They traveled all night, and arrived, toward morning, at the residence
of a countess on whose attachment to him and fidelity he placed great
reliance. The countess concealed him in her house, though it was
understood by all concerned that this was only a temporary place of
refuge. He could not long be concealed here, and her residence was
not provided with any means of defense; so that, immediately on their
arrival at the countess's, the king and the few friends who were with
him began to concert plans for a more secure retreat.

[Sidenote: Carisbrooke Castle.]

[Sidenote: Colonel Hammond.]

The house of the countess was on the southern coast of England, near
the Isle of Wight. There was a famous castle in those days upon this
island, near the center of it, called Carisbrooke Castle. The ruins
of it, which are very extensive, still remain. This castle was under
the charge of Colonel Hammond, who was at that time governor of the
island. Colonel Hammond was a near relative of one of King Charles's
chaplains, and the king thought it probable that he would espouse his
cause. He accordingly sent two of the gentlemen who had accompanied him
to the Isle of Wight to see Colonel Hammond, and inquire of him whether
he would receive and protect the king if he would come to him. But he
charged them not to let Hammond know where he was, unless he would
first solemnly promise to protect him, and not to subject him to any


[Sidenote: The king again a prisoner.]

[Sidenote: His confinement in Carisbrooke Castle.]

The messengers went, and, to the king's surprise, brought back
Hammond with them. The king asked them whether they had got his written
promise to protect him. They answered no, but that they could depend
upon him as a man of honor. The king was alarmed. "Then you have
betrayed me," said he, "and I am his prisoner." The messengers were
then, in their turn, alarmed at having thus disappointed and displeased
the king, and they offered to kill Hammond on the spot, and to provide
some other means of securing the king's safety. The king, however,
would not sanction any such proceeding, but put himself under Hammond's
charge, and was conveyed to Carisbrooke Castle. He was received with
every mark of respect, but was very carefully guarded. It was about the
middle of November that these events took place.

Hammond notified the Parliament that King Charles was in his hands,
and sent for directions from them as to what he should do. Parliament
required that he should be carefully guarded, and they appropriated
£5000 for the expenses of his support. The king remained in this
confinement more than a year, while the Parliament and the army were
struggling for the mastery of the kingdom.

[Sidenote: Negotiations.]

[Sidenote: The king's employments.]

He spent his time, during this long period, in various pursuits
calculated to beguile the weary days, and he sometimes planned schemes
for escape. There were also a great many messages and negotiations
going between the king and the Parliament, which resulted in nothing
but to make the breach between them wider and wider. Sometimes the
king was silent and depressed. At other times he seemed in his usual
spirits. He read serious books a great deal, and wrote. There is a
famous book, which was found in manuscript after his death among his
papers, in his handwriting, which it is supposed he wrote at this time.
He was allowed to take walks upon the castle wall, which was very
extensive, and he had some other amusements which served to occupy his
leisure time. He found his confinement, however, in spite of all these
mitigations, wearisome and hard to bear.

There were some schemes attempted to enable him to regain his liberty.
There was one very desperate attempt. It seems that Hammond, suspecting
that the king was plotting an escape, dismissed the king's own
servants and put others in their places--persons in whom he supposed
he could more implicitly rely. One of these men, whose name was Burley,
was exasperated at being thus dismissed. He went through the town
of Carisbrooke, beating a drum, and calling upon the people to rise
and rescue their sovereign from his captivity. The governor of the
castle, hearing of this, sent out a small body of men, arrested Burley,
and hanged and quartered him. The king was made a close prisoner
immediately after this attempt.

[Sidenote: Unsuccessful attempts to escape.]

[Sidenote: Osborne.]

Notwithstanding this, another attempt was soon made by the king
himself, which came much nearer succeeding. There was a man by the name
of Osborne, whom Hammond employed as a personal attendant upon the
king. He was what was called gentleman usher. The king succeeded in
gaining this person's favor so much by his affability and his general
demeanor, that one day he put a little paper into one of the king's
gloves, which it was a part of his office to hold on certain occasions,
and on this paper he had written that he was at the king's service.
At first Charles was afraid that this offer was only a treacherous
one; but at length he confided in him. In the mean time, there was
a certain man by the name of Rolf in the garrison, who conceived the
design of enticing the king away from the castle on the promise of
promoting his escape, and then murdering him. Rolf thought that this
plan would please the Parliament, and that he himself, and those who
should aid him in the enterprise, would be rewarded. He proposed this
scheme to Osborne, and asked him to join in the execution of it.

[Sidenote: Plan of escape.]

[Sidenote: Rolf's treacherous design.]

Osborne made the whole plan known to the king. The king, on reflection,
said to Osborne, "Very well; continue in communication with Rolf,
and help him mature his plan. Let him thus aid in getting me out of
the castle, and we will make such arrangements as to prevent the
assassination." Osborne did so. He also gained over some other soldiers
who were employed as sentinels near the place of escape. Osborne and
Rolf furnished the king with a saw and a file, by means of which he
sawed off some iron bars which guarded one of his windows. They were
then, on a certain night, to be ready with a few attendants on the
outside to receive the king as he descended, and convey him away.

[Sidenote: Rolf foiled.]

[Sidenote: The king made a closer prisoner.]

In the mean time, Rolf and Osborne had each obtained a number of
confederates, those of the former supposing that the plan was to
assassinate the king, while those of the latter understood that the
plan was to assist him in escaping from captivity. Some expressions
which were dropped by one of this latter class alarmed Rolf, and led
him to suspect some treachery. He accordingly took the precaution to
provide a number of armed men, and to have them ready at the window,
so that he should be sure to be strong enough to secure the king
immediately on his descent from the window. When the time came for the
escape, the king, before getting out, looked below, and, seeing so many
armed men, knew at once that Rolf had discovered their designs, and
refused to descend. He quickly returned to his bed. The next day the
bars were found filed in two, and the king was made a closer prisoner
than ever.

[Sidenote: The king's wretched condition.]

Some months after this, some commissioners from Parliament went to see
the king, and they found him in a most wretched condition. His beard
was grown, his dress was neglected, his health was gone, his hair
was gray, and, though only forty-eight years of age, he appeared as
decrepit and infirm as a man of seventy. In fact, he was in a state
of misery and despair. Even the enemies who came to visit him, though
usually stern and hard-hearted enough to withstand any impressions,
were extremely affected at the sight.



[Sidenote: The king removed to Hurst Castle.]

As soon as the army party, with Oliver Cromwell at their head, had
obtained complete ascendency, they took immediate measures for
proceeding vigorously against the king. They seized him at Carisbrooke
Castle, and took him to Hurst Castle, which was a gloomy fortress
in the neighborhood of Carisbrooke. Hurst Castle was in a very
extraordinary situation. There is a long point extending from the main
land toward the Isle of Wight, opposite to the eastern end of it. This
point is very narrow, but is nearly two miles long. The castle was
built at the extremity. It consisted of one great round tower, defended
by walls and bastions. It stood lonely and desolate, surrounded by
the sea, except the long and narrow neck which connected it with the
distant shore. Of course, though comfortless and solitary, it was a
place of much greater security than Carisbrooke.

[Sidenote: Its extraordinary situation.]

[Sidenote: Another plan of escape.]

[Sidenote: Objections.]

The circumstance of the king's removal to this new place of
confinement were as follows: In some of his many negotiations with
the Parliament while at Carisbrooke, he had bound himself, on certain
conditions, not to attempt to escape from that place. His friends,
however, when they heard that the army were coming again to take him
away, concluded that he ought to lose no time in making his escape
out of the country. They proposed the plan to the king. He made two
objections to it. He thought, in the first place, that the attempt
would be very likely to fail; and that, if it did fail, it would
exasperate his enemies, and make his confinement more rigorous, and his
probable danger more imminent than ever. He said that, in the second
place, he had promised the Parliament that he would not attempt to
escape, and that he could not break his word.

The three friends were silent when they heard the king speak these
words. After a pause, the leader of them, Colonel Cook, said,
"Suppose I were to tell your majesty that the army have a plan for
seizing you immediately, and that they will be upon you very soon
unless you escape. Suppose I tell you that we have made all the
preparations necessary--that we have horses all ready here, concealed
in a pent-house--that we have a vessel at the Cows[7] waiting for
us--that we are all prepared to attend you, and eager to engage in the
enterprise--the darkness of the night favoring our plan, and rendering
it almost certain of success. Now," added he, "these suppositions
express the real state of the case, and the only question is what your
majesty will resolve to do."

[7] There were two points or headlands, on opposite sides of an
inlet from the sea, on the northern side of the Isle of Wight, which
in ancient times received the name of _Cows_. They were called the
East Cow and the West Cow. The harbor between them formed a safe and
excellent harbor. The name is now spelled Cowes, and the port is, at
the present day, of great commercial importance.

[Sidenote: The king's perplexity.]

[Sidenote: He refuses to break his word.]

The king paused. He was distressed with perplexity and doubt. At length
he said, "They have promised _me_, and I have promised _them_, and I
will not break the promise first." "Your majesty means by _they_ and
_them_, the Parliament, I suppose?" "Yes, I do." "But the scene is now
changed. The Parliament have no longer any power to protect you. The
danger is imminent, and the circumstances absolve your majesty from all

But the king could not be moved. He said, come what may, he would not
do any thing that looked like a breaking of his word. He would dismiss
the subject and go to bed, and enjoy his rest as long as he could. His
friends told him that they feared it would not be long. They seemed
very much agitated and distressed. The king asked them why they were so
much troubled. They said it was to think of the extreme danger in which
his majesty was lying, and his unwillingness to do any thing to avert
it. The king replied, that if the danger were tenfold more than it was,
he would not break his word to avert it.

[Sidenote: Distress of the king's friends.]

[Sidenote: He is removed from Carisbrooke Castle.]

The fears of the king's friends were soon realized. The next morning,
at break of day, he was awakened by a loud knocking at his door. He
sent one of his attendants to inquire what it meant. It was a party of
soldiers come to take him away. They would give him no information in
respect to their plans, but required him to dress himself immediately
and go with them. They mounted horses at the gate of the castle. The
king was very earnest to have his friends accompany him. They allowed
one of them, the Duke of Richmond, to go with him a little way, and
then told him he must return. The duke bade his master a very sad and
sorrowful farewell, and left him to go on alone.


[Sidenote: Arrangements for the king's trial.]

The escort which were conducting him took him to Hurst Castle. The
Parliament passed a vote condemning this proceeding, but it was too
late. The army concentrated their forces about London, took possession
of the avenues to the houses of Parliament, and excluded all those
members who were opposed to them. The remnant of the Parliament which
was left immediately took measures for bringing the king to trial.

[Sidenote: Arbitrary measures of the Commons.]

The House of Commons did not dare to trust the trial of the king to
the Peers, according to the provisions of the English Constitution,
and so they passed an ordinance for attainting him of high treason,
and for appointing _commissioners_, themselves, to try him. Of course,
in appointing these commissioners, they would name such men as they
were sure would be predisposed to condemn him. The Peers rejected
this ordinance, and adjourned for nearly a fortnight, hoping thus to
arrest any further proceedings. The Commons immediately voted that the
action of the Peers was not necessary, and that they would go forward
themselves. They then appointed the commissioners, and ordered the
trial to proceed.

[Sidenote: The king brought to London.]

Every thing connected with the trial was conducted with great state
and parade. The number of commissioners constituting the court was
one hundred and thirty-three, though only a little more than half that
number attended the trial. The king had been removed from Hurst Castle
to Windsor Castle, and he was now brought into the city, and lodged in
a house near to Westminster Hall, so as to be at hand. On the appointed
day the court assembled; the vast hall and all the avenues to it were
thronged. The whole civilized world looked on, in fact, in astonishment
at the almost unprecedented spectacle of a king tried for his life by
an assembly of his subjects.

[Sidenote: Roll of commissioners.]

The first business after the opening of the court was to call the roll
of the commissioners, that each one might answer to his name. The name
of the general of the army, Fairfax, who was one of the number, was the
second upon the list. When his name was called there was no answer. It
was called again. A voice from one of the galleries replied, "He has
too much wit to be here." This produced some disorder, and the officers
called out to know who answered in that manner, but there was no reply.
Afterward, when the impeachment was read, the phrase occurred, "Of all
the people of England," when the same voice rejoined, "No, not the half
of them." The officers then ordered a soldier to fire into the seat
from which these interruptions came. This command was not obeyed, but
they found, on investigating the case, that the person who had answered
thus was Fairfax's wife, and they immediately removed her from the hall.

[Sidenote: The king brought into court.]

[Sidenote: His firmness.]

When the court was fully organized, they commanded the sergeant-at-arms
to bring in the prisoner. The king was accordingly brought in, and
conducted to a chair covered with crimson velvet, which had been placed
for him at the bar. The judges remained in their seats, with their
heads covered, while he entered, and the king took his seat, keeping
his head covered too. He took a calm and deliberate survey of the
scene, looking around upon the judges, and upon the armed guards by
which he was environed, with a stern and unchanging countenance. At
length silence was proclaimed, and the president rose to introduce the

He addressed the king. He said that the Commons of England, deeply
sensible of the calamities which had been brought upon England by
the civil war, and of the innocent blood which had been shed, and
convinced that he, the king, had been the guilty cause of it, were
now determined to make inquisition for this blood, and to bring him to
trial and judgment; that they had, for this purpose, organized this
court, and that he should now hear the charge brought against him,
which they would proceed to try.

[Sidenote: The charge.]

[Sidenote: The king interrupts its reading.]

An officer then arose to read the charge. The king made a gesture for
him to be silent. He, however, persisted in his reading, although the
king once or twice attempted to interrupt him. The president, too,
ordered him to proceed. The charge recited the evils and calamities
which had resulted from the war, and concluded by saying that "the said
Charles Stuart is and has been the occasioner, author, and continuer
of the said unnatural, cruel, and bloody wars, and is therein guilty
of all the treasons, murders, rapines, burnings, spoils, desolations,
damages, and mischiefs to this nation acted and committed in the said
wars, or occasioned thereby."

The president then sharply rebuked the king for his interruptions
to the proceedings, and asked him what answer he had to make to the
impeachment. The king replied by demanding by what authority they
pretended to call him to account for his conduct. He told them that
he was their king, and they his subjects; that they were not even the
Parliament, and that they had no authority from any true Parliament to
sit as a court to try him; that he would not betray his own dignity
and rights by making any answer at all to any charges they might bring
against him, for that would be an acknowledgment of their authority;
but he was convinced that there was not one of them who did not in his
heart believe that he was wholly innocent of the charges which they had
brought against him.

[Sidenote: The king objects to the jurisdiction of the court.]

These proceedings occupied the first day. The king was then sent back
to his place of confinement, and the court adjourned. The next day,
when called upon to plead to the impeachment, the king only insisted
the more strenuously in denying the authority of the court, and in
stating his reasons for so denying it. The court were determined not to
hear what he had to say on this point, and the president continually
interrupted him; while he, in his turn, continually interrupted the
president too. It was a struggle and a dispute, not a trial. At last,
on the fourth day, something like testimony was produced to prove that
the king had been in arms against the forces of the Parliament. On
the fifth and sixth days, the judges sat in private to come to their
decision; and on the day following, which was Saturday, January 27th,
they called the king again before them, and opened the doors to admit
the great assembly of spectators, that the decision might be announced.

[Sidenote: Sentence of death pronounced against the king.]

There followed another scene of mutual interruptions and disorder.
The king insisted on longer delay. He had not said what he wished to
say in his defense. The president told him it was now too late; that
he had consumed the time allotted to him in making objections to the
jurisdiction of the court, and now it was too late for his defense. The
clerk then read the sentence, which ended thus: "For all which treasons
and crimes this court doth adjudge that he, the said Charles Stuart,
is a tyrant, traitor, murderer, and public enemy, and shall be put to
death by the severing of his head from his body." When the clerk had
finished the reading, the president rose, and said deliberately and

"The sentence now read and published is the act, sentence, judgment,
and resolution of the whole court."

[Sidenote: Tumult.]

And the whole court rose to express their assent. The king then said
to the president, "Will you hear me a word, sir?"

_President._ "Sir, you are not to be heard after the sentence."

_King._ "Am I not, sir?"

_President._ "No, sir. Guards, withdraw the prisoner!"

_King._ "I may speak after sentence by your favor, sir. Hold--I say,
sir--by your favor, sir--If I am not permitted to speak--" The
other parts of his broken attempts to speak were lost in the tumult and
noise. He was taken out of the hall.

[Sidenote: The king grossly insulted.]

One would have supposed that all who witnessed these dreadful
proceedings, and who now saw one who had been so lately the sovereign
of a mighty empire standing friendless and alone on the brink of
destruction, would have relented at last, and would have found their
hearts yielding to emotions of pity. But it seems not to have been
so. The animosities engendered by political strife are merciless, and
the crowd through which the king had to pass as he went from the hall
scoffed and derided him. They blew the smoke of their tobacco in his
face, and threw their pipes at him. Some proceeded to worse indignities
than these, but the king bore all with quietness and resignation.

[Sidenote: The king's last requests.]

[Sidenote: They are granted.]

The king was sentenced on Saturday. On the evening of that day he
sent a request that the Bishop of London might be allowed to assist
at his devotions, and that his children might be permitted to see him
before he was to die. There were two of his children then in England,
his youngest son and a daughter. The other two sons had escaped to
the Continent. The government granted both these requests. By asking
for the services of an Episcopal clergyman, Charles signified his
firm determination to adhere to the very last hour of his life to the
religious principles which he had been struggling for so long. It is
somewhat surprising that the government were willing to comply with the

[Sidenote: Devotions of the king.]

It was, however, complied with, and Charles was taken from the palace
of Whitehall, which is in Westminster, to the palace of St. James, not
very far distant. He was escorted by a guard through the streets. At
St. James's there was a small chapel where the king attended divine
service. The Bishop of London preached a sermon on the future judgment,
in which he administered comfort to the mind of the unhappy prisoner,
so far as the sad case allowed of any comfort, by the thought that all
human judgments would be reviewed, and all wrong made right at the
great day. After the service the king spent the remainder of the day in
retirement and private devotion.

[Sidenote: He declines seeing his friends.]

During the afternoon of the day several of his most trusty friends
among the nobility called to see him, but he declined to grant them
admission. He said that his time was short and precious, and that he
wished to improve it to the utmost in preparation for the great change
which awaited him. He hoped, therefore, that his friends would not be
displeased if he declined seeing any persons besides his children. It
would do no good for them to be admitted. All that they could do for
him now was to pray for him.

[Sidenote: The king's interview with his children.]

The next day the children were brought to him in the room where he was
confined. The daughter, who was called the Lady Elizabeth, was the
oldest. He directed her to tell her brother James, who was the second
son, and now absent with Charles on the Continent, that he must now,
from the time of his father's death, no longer look upon Charles as
merely his older brother, but as his sovereign, and obey him as such;
and he requested her to charge them both, from him, to love each other,
and to forgive their father's enemies.

"You will not forget this, my dear child, will you?" added the king.
The Lady Elizabeth was still very young.

"No," said she, "I will never forget it as long as I live."

He then charged her with a message to her mother, the queen, who was
also on the Continent. "Tell her," said he, "that I have loved her
faithfully all my life, and that my tender regard for her will not
cease till I cease to breathe."

Poor Elizabeth was sadly grieved at this parting interview. The king
tried to comfort her. "You must not be so afflicted for me," he said.
"It will be a very glorious death that I shall die. I die for the
laws and liberties of this land, and for maintaining the Protestant
religion. I have forgiven all my enemies, and I hope that God will
forgive them."

[Sidenote: Parting messages.]

The little son was, by title, the Duke of Gloucester. He took him on
his knees, and said, in substance, "My dear boy, they are going to cut
off your father's head." The child looked up into his father's face
very earnestly, not comprehending so strange an assertion.

"They are going to cut off my head," repeated the king, "and perhaps
they will want to make you a king; but you must not be king as long as
your brothers Charles and James live; for if you do, very likely they
will, some time or other, cut off your head." The child said, with
a very determined air, that then they should never make him king as
long as he lived. The king then gave his children some other parting
messages for several of his nearest relatives and friends, and they
were taken away.

[Sidenote: The warrant.]

In cases of capital punishment, in England and America, there must be,
after the sentence is pronounced, written authority to the sheriff, or
other proper officer, to proceed to the execution of it. This is called
the warrant, and is usually to be signed by the chief magistrate of the
state. In England the sovereign always signs the warrant of execution;
but in the case of the execution of the sovereign himself, which was a
case entirely unprecedented, the authorities were at first a little at
a loss to know what to do. The commissioners who had judged the king
concluded finally to sign it themselves. It was expressed substantially
as follows:

 "At the High Court of Justice for the trying and judging of Charles
 Stuart, king of England, January 29th, 1648:

 "Whereas Charles Stuart, king of England, has been convicted,
 attainted, and condemned of high treason, and sentence was pronounced
 against him by this court, to be put to death by the severance of his
 head from his body, of which sentence execution yet remaineth to be
 done; these are, therefore, now to will and require you to see the
 said sentence executed in the open street before Whitehall, upon the
 morrow, being the thirtieth day of this instant month of January,
 between the hours of ten in the morning and five in the afternoon of
 the said day, with full effect; and for so doing this shall be your
 sufficient warrant."

[Sidenote: Warrant signed by the judges.]

Fifty-nine of the judges signed this warrant, and then it was sent to
the persons appointed to carry the sentence into execution.

[Sidenote: The king sleeps well.]

That night the king slept pretty well for about four hours, though
during the evening before he could hear in his apartment the noise
of the workmen building the platform, or scaffold as it was commonly
called, on which the execution was to take place. He awoke, however,
long before day. He called to an attendant who lay by his bedside, and
requested him to get up. "I will rise myself," said he, "for I have a
great work to do to-day." He then requested that they would furnish him
with the best dress, and an extra supply of under clothing, because it
was a cold morning. He particularly wished to be well guarded from the
cold, lest it should cause him to shiver, and they would suppose that
he was trembling from fear.

"I have no fear," said he. "Death is not terrible to me. I bless God
that I am prepared."

[Sidenote: Preparations.]

[Sidenote: Reading the service.]

The king had made arrangements for divine service in his room early
in the morning, to be conducted by the Bishop of London. The bishop
came in at the time appointed, and read the prayers. He also read,
in the course of the service, the twenty-ninth chapter of Matthew,
which narrates the closing scenes of our Saviour's life. This was,
in fact, the regular lesson for the day, according to the Episcopal
ritual, which assigns certain portions of Scripture to every day of
the year. The king supposed that the bishop had purposely selected
this passage, and he thanked him for it, as he said it seemed to
him very appropriate to the occasion. "May it please your majesty,"
said the bishop, "it is the proper lesson for the day." The king was
much affected at learning this fact, as he considered it a special
providence, indicating that he was prepared to die, and that he should
be sustained in the final agony.

[Sidenote: Summons.]

About ten o'clock, Colonel Hacker, who was the first one named in the
warrant of execution of the three persons to whom the warrant was
addressed, knocked gently at the king's chamber door. No answer was
returned. Presently he knocked again. The king asked his attendant to
go to the door. He went, and asked Colonel Hacker why he knocked. He
replied that he wished to see the king.

"Let him come in," said the king.

[Sidenote: The king carried to Whitehall.]

The officer entered, but with great embarrassment and trepidation.
He felt that he had a most awful duty to perform. He informed the
king that it was time to proceed to Whitehall, though he could have
some time there for rest. "Very well," said the king; "go on; I will
follow." The king then took the bishop's arm, and they went along

[Sidenote: Devotions.]

They found, as they issued from the palace of St. James into the park
through which their way lay to Whitehall, that lines of soldiers
had been drawn up. The king, with the bishop on one side, and the
attendant before referred to, whose name was Herbert, on the other,
both uncovered, walked between these lines of guards. The king walked
on very fast, so that the others scarcely kept pace with him. When he
arrived at Whitehall he spent some further time in devotion with the
bishop, and then, at noon, he ate a little bread and drank some light
wine. Soon after this, Colonel Hacker, the officer, came to the door
and let them know that the hour had arrived.

[Sidenote: Parting scenes.]

[Sidenote: The king's speech.]

[Sidenote: His composure.]

The bishop and Hacker melted into tears as they bade their master
farewell. The king directed the door to be opened, and requested the
officer to go on, saying that he would follow. They went through a
large hall, called the banqueting hall, to a window in front, through
which a passage had been made for the king to his scaffold, which
was built up in the street before the palace. As the king passed out
through the window, he perceived that a vast throng of spectators had
assembled in the streets to witness the spectacle. He had expected
this, and had intended to address them. But he found that this was
impossible, as the space all around the scaffold was occupied with
troops of horse and bodies of soldiers, so as to keep the populace at
so great a distance that they could not hear his voice. He, however,
made his speech, addressing it particularly to one or two persons who
were near, knowing that they would put the substance of it on record,
and thus make it known to all mankind. There was then some further
conversation about the preparations for the final blow, the adjustment
of the dress, the hair, &c., in which the king took an active part,
with great composure. He then kneeled down and laid his head upon the

[Sidenote: Death.]

The executioner, who wore a mask that he might not be known, began to
adjust the hair of the prisoner by putting it up under his cap, when
the king, supposing that he was going to strike, hastily told him to
wait for the sign. The executioner said that he would. The king spent a
few minutes in prayer, and then stretched out his hands, which was the
sign which he had arranged to give. The axe descended. The dissevered
head, with the blood streaming from it, was held up by the assistant
executioner, for the gratification of the vast crowd which was gazing
on the scene. He said, as he raised it, "Behold the head of a traitor!"

[Sidenote: The body taken to Windsor Castle.]

The body was placed in a coffin covered with black velvet, and taken
back through the window into the room from which the monarch had
walked out, in life and health, but a few moments before. A day or two
afterward it was taken to Windsor Castle upon a hearse drawn by six
horses, and covered with black velvet. It was there interred in a vault
in the chapel, with an inscription upon lead over the coffin:



[Sidenote: The Commonwealth.]

[Sidenote: Government in the United States.]

[Sidenote: Ownership.]

After the death of Charles, a sort of republic was established in
England, called the Commonwealth, over which, instead of a king,
Oliver Cromwell presided, under the title of Protector. The country
was, however, in a very anomalous and unsettled state. It became more
distracted still after the death of the Protector, and it was only
twelve years after beheading the father that the people of England,
by common consent, called back the son to the throne. It seems as
if there could be no stable government in a country where any very
large portion of the inhabitants are destitute of property, without
the aid of that mysterious but all-controlling principle of the human
breast, a spirit of reverence for the rights, and dread of the power
of an hereditary crown. In the United States almost every man is the
possessor of property. He has his house, his little farm, his shop and
implements of labor, or something which is his own, and which he feels
would be jeopardized by revolution and anarchy. He dreads a general
scramble, knowing that he would probably get less than he would lose
by it. He is willing, therefore, to be governed by abstract law. There
is no need of holding up before him a scepter or a crown to induce
obedience. He submits without them. He votes with the rest, and then
abides by the decision of the ballot-box. In other countries, however,
the case is different. If not an actual majority, there is at least
a very large proportion of the community who possess nothing. They
get scanty daily food for hard and long-continued daily labor; and as
change, no matter what, is always a blessing to sufferers, or at least
is always looked forward to as such, they are ready to welcome, at all
times, any thing that promises commotion. A war, a conflagration, a
riot, or a rebellion, is always welcome. They do not know but that they
shall gain some advantage by it, and in the mean time the excitement
of it is some relief to the dead and eternal monotony of toil and

[Sidenote: No stable governments result from violent revolutions.]

It is true that the revolutions by which monarchies are overturned
are not generally effected, in the first instance, by this portion of
the community. The throne is usually overturned at first by a higher
class of men; but the deed being done, the inroad upon the established
course and order of the social state being once made, this lower mass
is aroused and excited by it, and soon becomes unmanageable. When
property is so distributed among the population of a state that all
have an _interest_ in the preservation of order, then, and not till
then, will it be safe to give to all a share in the _power_ necessary
for preserving it; and, in the mean time, revolutions produced by
insurrections and violence will probably only result in establishing
governments unsteady and transient just in proportion to the suddenness
of their origin.


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