Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

ILLUSTRATIVE NOTES.

NotE 1, p. 8.—Ever since the Norman Conquest the royal assent to measures of Parliament has been given in a form from which there has been no variation. To “public bills” the words attached are “le roy le veult"; to petitions, “soit droit fait comme il est désiré", and for grants of money, “the King Åeartily thanks his subjects for their good wills.” In the present instance, instead of soit droit fait comme il est désiré, the King caused to be appended to the petition, “The King willeth that right be done according to the laws and customs of the realm ; that the statutes be put into due execution; and that his subjects may have no cause to complain of any wrong or oppressions contrary to their just rights and liberties, to the preservation whereof he holds himself in conscience as well obliged, as of his own prerogative.”—Rushworth, i., 588. On the forms of royal assent see the learned account by Selden in “Parliamentary History,” viii., 237.

NotE 2, p. 9.—Rushworth, i., 591. The version of Eliot's speech given by Rushworth is the one ordinarily reprinted in modern collections. But in the papers of the Earl of St. Germans, a descendant of Sir John Eliot, Mr. John Forster, some years ago, found a copy of the speech corrected by Eliot himself while in prison. This form, much superior to the others, is the one here reproduced.

NotE 3, p. 16.-Eliot, in the expression, “want of councils,” doubtless alludes to the absorption of the various powers of the State by Buckingham. The allusion was not without reason, as the list of Buckingham's titles shows. He was: Duke, Marquis, and Earl of Buckingham, Earl of Coventry, Viscount Villiers, Baron of Whaddon, Great Admiral of England and Ireland, etc., etc., etc., Governor-General of the Seas and the Ships of the same, Lieutenant-General Admiral, Captain-General and Governor of his Majesty's fleet and army, etc., Minister of the House, Lord Warden, Chancellor, and Admiral of the Cinque Ports, etc., Constable of Dover Castle, Justice in Eyrie of the Forest of Chases on this side of the Trent, Constable of the Castle of Windsor, Gentleman of the Bedchamber, Knight of the Garter, Privy Councillor, etc. The royal domains that he had managed to have given to him brought an income of £284,395 a year. All this was so much drawn from the public treasury. See Bradie's “Constitutional History,” new edition, vol. i., p. 424, and Guizot, “Charles I.,” Bohn's ed., p. 15. Note 4, p. 17.—The Elector Palatine, Frederick V., had married Elizabeth, the daughter of James I., of England, and by his election as King of Bohemia, became in a certain sense the representative and head of the Protestant party in Germany at the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War in 1618. His cause was badly managed at home, and still more wretchedly managed in England. Constantly deluded with hopes of support from the great Protestant power in the North, he was doomed to perpetual disappointment. His cause was shattered at the first serious conflict at White Mountain in 162o, and he was obliged to flee to Holland for his life. Twelve thousand English troops were subsequently sent to the support of Mansfeldt, but they were so ill managed that they nearly all perished before they could be of any assistance. The sacrifice of “honor” and of “men” was most abundant. Note 5, p. 17.-In 1627 Richelieu was engaged in the work of reducing La Rochelle, the stronghold of the Huguenots, into subordination to the King of France. The work had to be done by means of a siege, which included the construction of a dyke across the mouth of the harbor. Buckingham, inflamed with resentment against Richelieu, for personal reasons, determined to relieve the Rochellois. He collected a hundred ships and seven thousand land forces, and advanced to the rescue. But on reaching the scene of action, instead of advancing immediately to relieve the beleaguered city, he disembarked on the Isle of Rhée, and contented himself with issuing a proclamation, calling upon all French Protestants to arise for a relief of their brethren. The result was two-fold. In the first place, La Rochelle, after one of the most memorable sieges in all history, was reduced; and, secondly, the cause of Protestantism in France was completely crushed. In response to Buckingham's call, the Protestants everywhere arose; but Richelieu was now at leisure to destroy them, and thus their last hope perished. NotE 6, p. 17.—The beauty of this allusion to the policy and the power of Queen Elizabeth has very justly been greatly admired. Nothing could have been more adroit than Eliot's comparison of the ways of Elizabeth with those of Buckingham. NotE 7, p. 20.-Having now come to the third division of his subject, “The insufficiency of our generals,” Eliot naturally pauses before dragging Buckingham personally upon the scene. But for what follows the Duke was personally responsible. Note 8, p. 21.—In 1625 an expedition of eighty sail had been fitted out for the purpose of intercepting the Spanish treasure ships from America. But by reason of the incompetency of the commander there was no concert of action in the fleet, and the treasure ships escaped, though seven of them that would have richly repaid the expedition might easily have been taken. But not wishing to return empty handed, the commander effected a landing near Cadiz. The soldiers broke open the wine-cellars and became so drunk that when the commander determined to withdraw, several hundred were left to perish under the knives of the peasants. NoTE 9, p. 24.—What the orator contemptuously calls the “journey to Algiers,” was nothing less than an expedition sent out for its conquest. But it fared like the most of Buckingham's other “journeys.” The Algerines turned upon the English; and thirty-five ships engaged in the Mediterranean trade were destroyed, and their crews sold into slavery. Note Io, p. 43.−For powers and privileges of the early English Parliaments, see Stubbs, ii., §§ 220–233, and 271– 298. Also on the right of Parliament to make a grant depend on redress of grievances, Hallam : “Mid. Ages,” Am. ed., iii., p. 84, seq. It is a curious fact that in the Early Middle Ages there was a very general reluctance on the part of towns to send representatives. Hallam : “Mid. Ages,” iii., III. Cox : “Ant. Parl. Elections,” 84, 93, 98. Todd: “Parl. Govt.,” ii., 21. Hearn : “Govt. in Eng.,” 394-407. NotE II, p. 43.-Bagehot, in his remarkable work on the English Constitution (p. 133) lays much stress on what he calls “the teaching” and “informing” functions of the House of Commons. “In old times one office of the House of Commons was to inform the Sovereign what was wrong.” Note 12, p. 45.—There is a remarkable letter written by Thomas Allured, a member of the Parliament of 1628, which describes what took place on the day alluded to. The letter is preserved in Rushworth's Hist., Coll. i., 609–10, and in part is reproduced in Carlyle's Cromwell, i., 46. After saying that “Upon Tuesday, Sir John Eliot moved that as we intended to furnish his Majesty with money, we should also supply him with counsel,” he says: “But next day, Wednesday, we had a message from his Majesty, by the Speaker ‘that we should husband the time and despatch our old business without entertertaining new.’ Yesterday, Thursday morning, a new message was brought us, which I have here inclosed, which, requiring us not to cast or lay any aspersion on any Minister of his Majesty, the House was much affected thereby. Sir Robert Philips, of Somershire, spoke and mingled his words with weeping. Mr. Pym did the like. Sir Edward Cook, overcome with passion, seeing the desolation likely to ensue, was forced to sit down, when he began to speak, by abundance of tears. Yea, the Speaker in his speech could not refrain from weeping and shedding of tears, besides a great many others whose grief made them dumb. But others bore up in that storm and encouraged the rest.” The writer then states how the House resolved itself into a Committee, how the Speaker who was in close communication with the King, asked for leave to withdraw for half an hour, and how “It was ordered that no other man leave the House on pain of going to the Tower.” He then continues : “Sir Edward Cook told us “He now saw God had not accepted of our humble and moderate carriages and fair proceedings; and he feared the reason was, we had not dealt sincerely with the King and country, and made a true representation of all these miseries, which he, for his part, repented that he had not done sooner. And, therefore, not knowing whether he should ever again speak in this House, he would now do it freely; and so did here protest, that the author and cause of all these miseries was the DUKE of BUCKINGHAM,” which was entertained and answered with a cheerful acclamation of the House. As when one good hound recovers the scent, the rest come in with full cry, so they pursued it, and every one came home, and laid the blame where he thought the fault was. And as we were putting it to the question whether he should be named in our Remonstrance, as the chief cause of all our miseries at home and abroad, the Speaker having been, not half an hour, but three hours absent, and with the King, returned, bringing this message :

« ПредишнаНапред »