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posite faction, and, for a time, gain to his partisans a majo; rity of votes. But if he seizes only a few, will he not lose more friends by such a gross artifice, than he confines enemies? If he seizes a great number, is not this expedient force, open and bare-faced? And what remedy, at all times, against such force, but to oppose to it a force which is superior ? Even allowing that the King intended to employ violence, not authority, for seizing the members, though at that time, and ever afterwards, he positively asserted the contrary, yet will his conduct admit of excuse ? That the hall, where the Parliament assembles, is an inviolable sanctuary was never yet pretended. And if the Commons complain of the affront offered them, by an attempt to arrest their members in their presence, they ought only to complain of themselves, who had formerly refused compliance with the King's message, when he peaceably demanded these members. The sovereign is the great executor of the law, and his presence was here legally employed, both in order to prevent opposition, and to protect the House against those insults which their disobedience had so well merited."**
* In a Parliament of Queen Elizabeth, when Sir Edward Coke was speaker, the Queen sent a messenger, or serjeant at arms, into the House of Commons, and took out Mr. Morrice, and committed him to prison, with divers others, for some speeches spoken in the House. Thereupon Mr. Wroth moved the House, that they would be humble suitors to her Majesty, that she would be pleased to enlarge those members of the House that were restrained, which was done accordingly; and answer was sent by her privy council, that hur Majesty had committed them for causés best known to herself ; and to press her highness with this suit, would but hinder the whole good they sought: that the House must not call the Queen to an account for what she doth of her royal authority: that the causes for which they are restrained may be nigh and dangerous: that her Majesty liketh no such questions, neither doth it become the House to search into matters of that nature.”
But these arguments, however well urged, had little effect in pacifying the minds of the people. Petitions from various parts of the country were sent up to the Commons, promising to live and die in defence of the privileges of Parliament. The very women, Hume says, were seized with the same rage. “ A brewer's wife, followed by many thousands of her sex, brought a petition to the House; in which the petitioners expressed their terror of the Papists and prelates, and their dread of like massacres, rapes, and outrages, with those which bad been exercised upon their sex in Ireland. They had been necessitated, they said, to imitate the women of Tekoah; and they asserted equal right with the men, of declaring, by petition, their sense of the public cause; because Christ had purchased them at as dear a rate, and in the free enjoyment of Christ consists equally the happiness of both sexes. Pym came to the door of the House; and having told the female zealots, that their petition was thankfully accepted, and was presented in a seasonable time, he begged that their prayers for the success of the Commons might follow their petition.* Such low arts of popularity were affected, and by such illiberal cant were the unhappy people incited to civil discord and convulsions.
The King at this period retired from Whitehall, where his person was in danger, and both parties began to prepare seri
* The Parisian females, at the commencement of the French revolution, took a similar part in the atrocious disorders of that metropolis, and even proceeded to more horrid excesses. When the royal family were brought from Versailles, their carriage was surrounded by troops. of diabolical females, uttering the most dreadful imprecations, and, accusing the Queen of whatever the lowest and most virulent malice could suggest. When the Princess Lambelle was murdered, the common women of Paris were amongst the most forward in the perpetration of that tragedy, and even outstripped the men in the refinement of their cruelty.
ously for an appeal to arms. The nation was now divided between the King, and the remnant of the two Houses that remained at Westminster. The greater part of the old nobility and ancient families in the kingdom, who valued themselves upon the loyalty and virtue of their ancestors, adhered to cause of their sovereign, which was also sustained by all who wished well to the ancient constitution and hierarchy. All in general whom nature had endowed with generosity and benevolence of disposition, whose manners were polished by social and elegant intercourse, and whose minds were enlarged by a liberal education, glowed with ardour in the cause of injured loyalty, upon which nothing reflected more lustre than the approbatiou and attachment of the learned, loyal, and venerable university of Oxford. The opposite faction was composed of those whom the court had personally disobliged; of men of turbulent spirits and ambitious views, who wished for agitated times in order to mend their fortunes; of republicans and protestant dissenters, comprehending a great number of corporations, manufacturers, and the lower class of people, inflamed with the spirit of fanaticism. The traders were generally averse to the King, partly froin the discouragements to which commerce had been subjected during this reign ; partly from a spirit of independence become licentious and insolent; and partly from hatred and emulation of the ancient families which adhered to the interest of their sovereign.
The numerical strength of the Parliament party, from the very commencement of the contest, was superior to that of the King's; but their strength did not so much lie in the numbers of their party, as in the materials of which it was composed. Men of energy and vigour, equal to the task of controling the events of stormy times, are not always to be found in the upper walks of life ; and a variety of causes bad tended to lessen the nobility of England in the estimation of the people at the time when Charles had the most essential calls for their service. It had been the policy of the sovereigns of the house
of Tudor to diminish the influence of the nobility, and to extend that of the Commons. The reformation had gone a great way to effect this purpose; but what, perhaps, had contributed most to bring the nobility into disrespect, was the conduct of James I. who, conferring the highest titles of nobility on his worthless favorites, and making honors vendible, had degraded the whole order of nobility.
At the breaking out of the first disputes between Charles and the Commons, the Upper House showed a degree of tame=' ness in regard to the King's interest, which augured unfavorably of their future exertions. The execution of the Earl of Strafford, and the deprivation of the Bishops of their seats, were acts which had much lessened the weight of the House of Peers, and few could rely on, or have much veneration for, a body of men who could so miserably betray their own cause.
But the great advantage which the Parliament party possessed over the King, was in the temper of the nation. The invention of printing, and the Lutheran and Calvinistical reformations, events which trod closely on the heels of each other, had produced a burst of light all over Europe. The tyranny of the Roinan see, which for so many ages had held the most potent states of Europe in subjection, had in many parts vanished before the zeal of the reformers of the church; and at no period, from the time of the Greek republics, had the principles of civil government been more freely discussed. The discovery of a new coutinent; by Christopher Columbus, and the opening i of a new route to the East Indies, by the passage round the Cape of Good Hope, had brought a vast influx of wealth into Europe, and given to commerce that lionorable estimation which it wanted'in preceding times. These materially tended to weaken the royal, and to give strength to the republican party. To the general diffusion of wealth and information, which at this period was so remarkable, and qualified almost the meanest individuals to take a share in the great events then , depending, was added a spirit of innovation in civil and reli-:
gious matters, which bore down all established authorities, and ended in the total subversion of the civil and ecclesiastical constitution of the realm.
Whether the first opposers of Charles designed the overthrow of the monarchy, is a question which may very well admit of a doubt; but none can be entertained, that the measures they took were those which were precisely calculated to produce that catastrophe. Among the popular leaders there were many men of the purest patriotic views, unmixed with any selfish or fanatical motives, who only desired the constitution to be placed on sueh a footing, that the powers and privileges of each branch of the legislature might be properly defined, and the rights of the subject fixed on an immoveable basis. Nothing could be more glorious than the cause for which these men took up arms; nothing more desirable than the object they sought to accomplish. But it was the misfortune of these high-minded patriots to liave enlisted under the same banners with them, a class of men austere and narrow-minded in their principles, and carrying into disputes, which should have been considered purely as of a civil nature, all the sanguinary and ferocious intolerance of religious bigotry. These were the men who, affecting to themselves a superior sanctity of life and conversation, obtained the name of Puritans, and were incessant in their endeavours to destroy the church of England, and to substitute in its place the sour discipline of the Scottish · kirk. These were the persons with whom the real civil griev
ances, under which the nation laboured, were as nothing, the imaginary ecclesiastical grievances everything. Hence religion, which, in fact, was not the real ground of the quarrel between the King and Parliament, became the ostensible motive to the war, and occasioned all those wild excesses of fanaticism and hypocrisy which the author of Hudibras so justly exposes.
It is not easy for the imagination to figure to itself a sect of men so austere and malignant in their dispositions, so frenetic in their humours, and uncomplying in their demands, as the