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the stall where we had been drinking, and ripping open one of the skirts, we there found the letter we wanted. Having thus got it into our hands, we delivered the man (whom we had left with our sentinely his saddle, told him he was an honest fellow, and bid him go about his business, which he did, pursuing his journey without more ado, and ignorant of the harm he had suffered. We found in the letter, that his majesty acquainted the Queen, that he was courted by both factions, the Scotch Presbyterians and the army; and that those which bade the fairest for him should have him : but yet he thought he should close with the Scotch sooner than with the other. Upon this we returned to Windsor; and finding we were not like to have good terms from the King, we from that time vowed his destruction.”

The want of good faith in Charles was obvious from the very commencement of the civil war. He first fomented the Scotch to rebel, with the hopes that he might be entrusted with an army to reduce them, and then when that expectation proved fruitless, he attempted to over-awe the great council of the nation by the forcible seizure of some of the most distinguished of its members. It is not easy to define the limits of regal authority, or to say what act of the monarch would justify subjects to resist; but certainly it appears that such an outrage as that which Charles committed against the House of Commons, when he came at the head of an armed force to take five of their members into custody, was an action utterly subversive of the principles of the constitution, and, bad it been persisted in, deserving of resistance. But upon this occasion, as well as many others of his life, it was the King's fortune to bave laid himself open to the censure of an ungracious action, without reaping any benefit from it. The members whom he thought to apprehend had had timely notice of his design, and secured themselves by flight, so that the King had all the odium of this project against the freedom of debate, without reaping any advantage from it.

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The next morning after this attempt on the privilege of Parliarnent, the King sent to the Lord Mayor of London, ordering him to call a common-council immediately; and, about ten o'clock, he himself, attended only by three or four lords, weut to Guildhall. He told the council, that he was come to them without any guard, in order to show them how much be relied on their affections; that he had accused certain men of high-treason, against whom he would proceed in a legal way, and therefore presumed, that they would receive no shelter in the city. After many other gracious expressions, he told one of the sheriffs, who of the two was the least inclined to his service, that he would dine with him. He departed the hall without receiving the applause he expected. In passing through the streets he heard the cry, Privilege of Parliament ! Privilege of Parliament ! resounding from all quarters. One of the populace, more insolent than the rest, drew nigh to his coach, and called out with a loud voice, “ To your tents, O Israel!” the words employed by the mutinous Israelites when they abandoned Reboboam, their rash and illcounselled sovereign.

Matters were now drawing fast to a crisis. « The prudence of the King's conduct in this juncture," says Hume, nobody pretended to justify. The legality of it met with many apologies; though generally offered to unwilling ears. No maxim of law, it was said, is more established, or more universally allowed, than that privileges of parliament do not extend to treason, felony, or breach of peace; nor has either House, during former ages, ever pretended, in any of those cases, to interpose in behalf of its members. Though some inconvenience should result from the observance of this maxim, that would not be sufficient, without other authority, to abolish a principle, established by uninterrupted precedent, and founded on the tacit consent of the whole legislature. But what are the inconveniences so much dreaded? The King,

treason, may seize any members of the op

under pretext


posite faction, and, for a time, gain to his partisans a majority 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 com. plain 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 bim 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 her Majesty had committed them for causes 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 ac. count 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.”

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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 were seized with the same rage. 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 had 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 inost 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 the 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 approbation 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 from 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 had 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 sovereigus of the house

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