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BRODIE’S HISTORY OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE 1824 - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume VI - Essays on England, Ireland, and the Empire 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume VI - Essays on England, Ireland, and the Empire, ed. John M. Robson, Introduction by Joseph Hamburger (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1982).
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BRODIE’S HISTORY OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE
Westminster Review, II (Oct., 1824), 346-402. Headed: “Art. V. A History of the British Empire, from the Accession of Charles I, to the Restoration; with an introduction, tracing the Progress of Society, and the Constitution, from the Feudal Times, to the Opening of the History; and including a particular Examination of Mr. Hume’s Statements, relative to the Character of the English Government. By George Brodie, Esq., Advocate. In Four Volumes, 8vo. Edinburgh. Bell & Bradfute. London. Longman & Co. 1822.” Running titles: “Brodie’s History of the British Empire.” Unsigned; not republished. Identified in Mill’s bibliography as “A review of Brodie’s history of Charles I and the Commonwealth, in the fourth number of the Westminster Review” (MacMinn, 6). Vol. II of the Westminster in the Somerville College Library has no corrections or alterations. For comment on the review, see viii-ix and lvi-lvii above.
Brodie’s History of the British Empire
mr. brodie has rendered no mean service to his country by these volumes. We allude, not so much to the merits of his work as a history, though these are considerable, as to the unexampled exposure which he has furnished of the demerits of former writers, and particularly of Hume.[*] In no portion of our history has mis-representation more extensively prevailed, because in no portion of it have the motives, which lead to mis-representation, been more strong.
Hume possessed powers of a very high order; but regard for truth formed no part of his character. He reasoned with surprising acuteness; but the object of his reasonings was, not to attain truth, but to shew that it is unattainable. His mind, too, was completely enslaved by a taste for literature; not those kinds of literature which teach mankind to know the causes of their happiness and misery, that they may seek the one and avoid the other; but that literature which without regard for truth or utility, seeks only to excite emotion. With the earlier part of his work, we at present have no concern. The latter part has no title to be considered as a history. Called a history, it is really a romance; and bears nearly the same degree of resemblance to any thing which really happened, as Old Mortality, or Ivanhoe,[†] while it is far more calculated to mislead. As every romance must have a hero, in his romance of the Stuarts, the hero is Charles I: and in making a pathetic story about Charles I, the thing he gave himself least concern about was, whether it was true.
Romance is always dangerous, but when romance assumes the garb of history, it is doubly pernicious. To say nothing of its other evils, on which this is no place to expatiate, it infallibly allies itself with the sinister interests[‡] of the few. When events come to be looked at, not as they affect the great interests of mankind, but as they bear upon the pleasures and pains of an individual; a habit is engendered of considering the pleasures and pains of an individual as of more importance than the great interests of mankind. That this is one of the most pernicious of all habits, is proved by merely telling what it is; that it is one which the prevailing system of education carefully fosters, is too true; that it is a habit into which the mind has of itself too strong a tendency to fall, is matter of universal experience. The pleasures and pains most interesting to an ill-cultivated mind, are those of the one and of the few; of the men in exalted stations, whose lot is most conspicuous, whose felicity, to the ignorant, appears something almost divine, and whose misfortunes, from their previous elevation, most powerfully affect the imagination. The sufferings of the many, though multiplied almost beyond calculation from their indefinite extent, are thought nothing of: they seem born to suffer; their fall is from a less height; their miseries lie hidden, and do not meet the eye. Who is there that would not admit, that it is better one should suffer than a million? Yet among those who can feel and cannot reason, nothing is so rare as to sympathize with the million. The one, with them, is every thing, the million, nothing; merely because the one is higher in rank, and perhaps suffers rather more, than any one assignable individual among the million. They would rather that a thousand individuals should suffer one degree each, than that one individual should suffer two degrees.
This propensity is so thoroughly incompatible with the pursuit of the only true end of morality, the greatest happiness of the greatest number, that genuine and enlarged morality cannot exist till it be destroyed; and to this object, he who writes to benefit his species will bend his most strenuous efforts: but he who writes for effect, without caring whether good or evil is the consequence, must address himself to the prevalent feeling, and to this, one of the strongest of prevalent feelings. He must select a hero; if possible a monarch, or a warrior; and to excite a strong interest in this hero, every thing must be sacrificed. If he be an historian, he will probably have to relate, among the actions of his hero, some by which the many are made to suffer; these it is necessary for him to justify or excuse. He may have to relate attempts on the part of the many, to guard themselves against those actions of his hero by which they are made to suffer; these attempts he must represent as extremely wicked, and the many as villains for engaging in such attempts. In short, whenever the interests of mankind, and of his hero, are at variance, he must endeavour to make the reader take part with his hero against mankind.
Such was the object of Hume; and the object to which he deliberately sacrificed truth, honesty, and candour. When, in order to attain the most mischievous of ends, a man does not scruple to employ the most mischievous of means, it makes very little difference in the degree of his immorality, whether he be himself the dupe of his own artifices or not. To that extent, Hume may very possibly have been sincere. He may, perhaps, have been weak enough to believe, that the pleasures and pains of one individual are of unspeakable importance, those of the many of no importance at all. But though it be possible to defend Charles I, and be an honest man, it is not possible to be an honest man, and defend him as Hume has done.
A skilful advocate will never tell a lie, when suppressing the truth will answer his purpose; and if a lie must be told, he will rather, if he can, lie by insinuation than by direct assertion. In all the arts of a rhetorician, Hume was a master: and it would be a vain attempt to describe the systematic suppression of the truth which is exemplified in this portion of his history; and which, within the sphere of our reading, we have scarcely, if ever, seen matched. Particular instances of this species of mendacity, Mr. Brodie has brought to light in abundance;[*] of the degree in which it pervades the whole, he has not given, nor would it be possible to give, an adequate conception, unless by printing Mr. Brodie’s narrative and Hume’s in opposite columns. Many of the most material facts, facts upon which the most important of the subsequent transactions hinged, and which even the party writers of the day never attempted to deny, Hume totally omits to mention; others, which are so notorious that they cannot safely be passed over in silence, he either affects to disbelieve, or mentioning no evidence, indirectly gives it to be understood that there was none. The direct lies are not a few; the lies insinuated are innumerable. We do not mean that he originated any lies; for all those which he could possibly need were ready made to his hand. But if it be criminal to be the original inventor of a lie, the crime is scarcely less of him who knowingly repeats it.
The authorities from which the history of those times is to be collected are various. There are royalist writers, and republican writers; and there are original documents, letters, and others, from which the facts may be gathered, free from that colouring which is put upon them in the apologetical writings of either party. There are, in particular, a variety of letters, written, some of them by Charles himself, others by Strafford, and other eminent persons in the royal party, where they unfold to one another designs which were carefully concealed from the public, and which, when imputed to them by their opponents, they repelled as the vilest of calumnies.[†] Almost the whole of these documents Hume passes over, as if they did not exist: because they prove his hero, not only to have been an adept in dissimulation and perfidy, but to have been in the constant habit of making asseverations, and corroborating them by the most solemn appeals to Heaven, which asseverations, when he uttered them, he perfectly well knew to be totally false. And as this fact, if known, would have spoiled him for a hero, Hume makes a point, not only of concealing, but of constantly and unblushingly denying it.[*]
Exclusively of these documents, the authorities which remain are the publications of the two parties at the time, and those of their partisans afterwards. If compelled to draw his whole information from these questionable sources, a fair historian would at least take nothing upon trust from either party; would compare their statements with one another, reject the exaggerations of both sides, and while he would repose tolerable confidence in their admissions against their own cause, would attach little weight to their assertions, when tending to asperse an adversary, or vindicate themselves. As for Hume, had he never looked into any but the royalist publications, the spirit in which he has written his history might have been pardoned, as the effect of blind credulity and partiality. But the names of Whitelocke, Ludlow, Rushworth, May,[†] appear so often at the bottom of the page, as to leave no doubt that, with regard to many of the events which he relates, he knew the truth, and wilfully concealed it. The republican writers are believed—when they bear testimony in favour of the royalists; while the royalists are never disbelieved, except when, by any chance, they make admissions against themselves.
If we consider who these royalists were, we shall be able to form some estimate of the credibility of a history, nearly the whole of which is copied from them.
The first, and, on the whole, the most respectable, is Clarendon;[‡] whom, though he was himself an actor in the scenes which he describes, and was not the more likely to be impartial, that he was a renegade, it has been usual to regard as a man of unimpeachable veracity, for no other reason that we can discover, but because Hume says so;[§] for it surely is no proof that a man will tell truth, because, like every man of sense and prudence, he is sparing of foul language. The question, however, concerning the veracity of Clarendon, may now be considered as settled; see Brodie, Vol. III, pp. 110n-14n, 263n-4n, 265n, 306n-8n, 316n, 334n-5n, 336n, 389n, 551n-4n, et passim, for various instances of his dishonesty and bad faith. It is too much to require that we should believe what Hume says of Clarendon rather than what Clarendon says of himself. A writer who makes a boast of the dexterity with which he fabricated speeches, and published them in the names of some of the parliamentary leaders,[*] was not likely to be over scrupulous, when he sat down to write an express vindication of himself and of his party.
If such be the character of the most candid of the royalist writers, it may be judged what credit is due to the more furious partisans. Even Clarendon, indeed, is too honest for Hume; for he occasionally lets out facts which it suits Hume to conceal.[†] His other authorities were less scrupulous. The chief of these are Carte, Clement Walker, and Perinchief;[‡] particularly the former, whom he seems almost to have taken as his text book, but whom he rarely ventures to quote; and he frequently commits the dishonesty of referring to Whitelocke or Rushworth for a story, of which the important features are to be found only in Carte. It is chiefly towards the latter end of the story that Perinchief and Walker come into play. Of these three, it is difficult to say which is least deserving of credit. Carte was a vulgar fanatic on the side of royalty, who believed every thing in favour of Charles, and nothing against him; and it is some presumption in favour of his sincerity, that, by the documents published in his Appendix, he furnished, in a great measure, the materials of his own refutation. Of Walker we shall say more hereafter. Of Perinchief we need say nothing, because we are quite sure that no man who has ever read a page of his work, will pay the least regard to any thing that he asserts.
The arts by which Hume has succeeded in obtaining belief for a period so much exceeding the ordinary duration of party lies, are various, and well worthy of examination.
In the first place, he avoids the appearance of violence, and yields some points, in order to make a show of moderation; knowing well that a writer, if he acknowledges only a tenth part of what is true, obtains a reputation for candour which frequently causes people to overlook the mis-statement of the other nine-tenths. Such points, therefore, as are wholly untenable, he gives up with a good grace. He allows some merit to the popular leaders, and acknowledges that they had some reason to complain. Yet, though the people may sometimes have been in the right, he will not allow that Charles can ever have been in the wrong; and if he allows that the people can have been right, it is only to a trifling extent.[§] To extenuate the abuses of the government, there is no sort of concealment which he does not practise: for those which cannot be concealed, while, by an ordinary artifice, he represents them as solitary instances, and exceptions to the general rule, he industriously supplies every palliation which the most refined ingenuity can devise. In the first place, however bad the government might be, it was milder under Charles than under his predecessors;[*] as if that were true; or any thing to the purpose if it were. In the next place, we are told, in at least twenty places, that he was driven to these abuses by an appearance of necessity;[†] when Charles himself never pretended to be moved by necessity, but asserted that he had a right to do all that he did. The religious grievances are expressly declared to be of no consequence;[‡] as if it were of no consequence when a king attempts to force his own religion down the throats of the people; as if this were not of itself one of the most tyrannical of all acts of power; and as if a king who would do this, would not do any thing. If it be fanaticism to resist the introduction of a superstitious observance, how much greater is the fanaticism of upholding that observance, by cutting off men’s ears and imprisoning them for life? Or, if Charles was himself conscious of the frivolity of the ceremonies which he imposed, what more charitable supposition remains, than that he supported Laud’s religion, that Laud might support his power?
Another of the artifices of Hume consists in attempting to prepossess the reader for or against a particular person, while he is still in ignorance of those actions of that person, from which, and not from the assertions of his partisans, or of his enemies, his character ought to be inferred. Thus, every opportunity is taken of holding up King Charles as a person distinguished by every moral excellence: many of his actions indicate the reverse; but as the character has the advantage of coming first, it is hoped that the reader will credit the character rather than the actions. The parliamentary leaders, on the other hand, he represents as hypocrites or fanatics, and (when he dares) as uneducated, coarse, and brutal in their manners and in their character.[§] All this, as Mr. Brodie has shown, is untrue;[¶] but it answers the purpose; and the reasoning amounts to this: Vane, Ireton, and Harrison were fanatics, therefore King Charles’s government was good: a specimen of argumentation which, if not strictly logical, is, at any rate, extremely convenient, since it is hard if a partisan, however weak his cause, cannot contrive to pick a hole either in the intellectual or moral character of some one or more of his opponents.
We might fill a whole article with an analysis of the artifices of Hume; but a few specimens are necessary, to convince the reader that we have not brought charges which it is not in our power to prove; imperfect as the conception is which can be given by specimens, of a work of which almost every sentence contains in it more or less of misrepresentation. And as it is also incumbent on us to give some idea of what Mr. Brodie has done to throw light upon this portion of history, it seems to us that these two objects may best be united by such a concise sketch of the events of the period as is compatible with the narrow limits of an article; and to this, after requesting the indulgence of the reader to the very general view which it is in our power to afford, we shall proceed.
It is first, however, necessary to say something on the nature of the government before the time of the Stuarts. Mr. Brodie has written a long, and, he will forgive us for saying, a dull, introductory volume, to prove that it was by no means so arbitrary as is generally imagined. Though this volume contains much valuable information concerning the practical workings of the government, and the condition of the people, we wish he had placed it at the end rather than at the beginning; for it looks formidable, and its bulk may alarm the reader, while it contributes little to the main object of the history. The agitation, indeed, of such a question is of little use for any purpose, and, assuredly, of no use whatever for the purpose of enabling us to form a correct judgment on the events which ensued. It is of little consequence whether misgovernment was of an ancient or of a modern date in Great Britain; in either case, resistance to it was equally a duty; the opposition to that resistance, equally a crime; and it is a strange doctrine, that we are not entitled to good government, unless we can prove, that our ancestors enjoyed it: although, as mankind, educated as they have hitherto been, are governed by custom and precedent much more than by reason, it was perfectly natural that each party at the time should endeavour to throw the reproach of innovation upon its opponents.
The truth, in as far as it can be elicited from the facts which have been handed down to us, seems perfectly to coincide with what the experience of all nations, similarly situated, would have led us to infer. There was no distinct line of demarcation between what was permitted to the king, and what was forbidden. He was not nominally recognized as absolute; at the same time, he was practically so, as often as he was a man of talents, and circumstances favoured his power. When, on the other hand, a weak prince filled the throne, the nobles were every thing, and the king nothing. Precedents, therefore, may be found (if by precedents the question is to be decided), both for and against the claim of absolute power. If it be true, as Mr. Brodie asserts, that Elizabeth and Henry VIII rarely attempted to raise money without consent of parliament,[*] what does this prove, except that the parliament was always willing to grant, if not as much as those monarchs desired, so much that, dependant as they were on public opinion from their peculiar situation, they did not care to provoke the people by exacting more? In like manner, if it be true that the Tudors did not imprison and fine men in the star-chamber to so great an extent as is supposed,[*] so neither, it should be remembered, did Charles, unless when some one resisted his authority; and under the Tudors there was no resistance to authority, or none capable of exciting any uneasiness in the breast of the sovereign. But, at length, resistance came; and with resistance came cruelty, for the purpose of its suppression.
The great deficiency in Mr. Brodie’s work, is, that he has not explained why resistance began so soon; how it happened, that sentiments and ideas, in almost every other country then utterly unknown, were at this early period so widely diffused in Great Britain. It is scarcely fair, indeed, to blame Mr. Brodie for a deficiency which he shares with all former English historians. Our present concern, however, is not with the causes of the resistance, but with the resistance itself.
There is sufficient evidence to prove, that James I had a strong leaning to popery;* moved, it may be supposed, in part, by respect to the memory of his mother,[†] but chiefly by the readiness with which that religion allies itself with arbitrary power. In proportion to his inclination for popery, was his hatred of all the protestant sectaries. Where he had, as in England, archbishoprics and bishoprics to give away, he had a tolerable security that the conduct of a majority in the church would be sufficiently conformable to his wishes, whatever they might be. In Scotland, where he had no such precious gifts at his disposal, he found the clergy by no means equally compliant. To the presbyterian church government, therefore, he professed an inveterate dislike; “declaring that, under it, Jack, and Tom, and Dick, and Will, presumed to instruct him in affairs of state.” (Brodie, Vol. I, p. 333.)[‡] His aversion extended to the Puritans in England, who were Presbyterians, and hostile, if not at first to episcopacy, at least to the intermeddling of bishops in secular affairs. And throughout the reign of James they were severely visited with the penalties of the law. Nor was the civil government of James less despotic than the ecclesiastical. In profession, indeed, his claim of arbitrary power went far beyond that of his most tyrannical predecessors. “The power of kings,” he told the parliament, “was like the divine power; for, as God can create and destroy, make and unmake at his pleasure, so kings can give life and death, judge all and be judged by none. As it was blasphemy,” he added, “to dispute what God might do, so it was sedition in subjects to dispute what a king might do, in the height of his power.”[*] Nor did his practice fall short of his professions.
In ecclesiastical matters he assumed supreme power, and struck at the very vitals of the constitution by issuing illegal proclamations with penalties, which were enforced by the court of star-chamber, while, by levying taxes without an act of parliament, he prepared the way for the disuse of that assembly. He, of his own accord, imposed new duties at the ports, and arrogated the right of doing so at pleasure, a pretension in which he was supported by venal statesmen and corrupt lawyers, who concurred in fabricating precedents to deceive the people; nay, his judges solemnly decided so monstrous a principle in his favour. Innumerable projects and monopolies were devised for raising money, but he was latterly obliged to pass an act against them: forced loans, without the pressing emergencies which were used as an apology for them in the preceding reign, were resorted to; and the hateful measure of benevolence, which had been so much reprobated, and so opposed even in Henry VIII, and so long discontinued, was revived. (Ibid., pp. 351-2.)[†]
All offices were filled by creatures of the unworthy favourite, Buckingham; selected, not for their fitness, but for subservience to his will. We except, of course, such offices as were sold (which was the case with many) for the benefit of the king or of his favourite.
Let us suppose that Charles I, when he ascended the throne, had expressed the strongest determination to redress these abuses; is there any one who will have the folly to say that he ought to have been trusted? That, because he found it convenient to make promises, in contradiction to his obvious interest, he should have been left at full liberty to perform them, or not, as he pleased? But when there was not only no reason to anticipate a reform, but every reason to anticipate the contrary; when, in defiance of public opinion, he had just married an avowed Catholic,[‡] and issued warrants to forbear all proceedings against recusants; when he not only pursued the same measures as his predecessor; but the same men, and especially Buckingham, so deservedly the object of popular odium, still maintained a boundless ascendancy over his counsels; this surely was not the time to show unlimited confidence, but rather the time to push for beneficial concessions, before the king should have advanced so far as to be unable, without humiliation, to recede.
We may be excused for dwelling at so much length upon the state of affairs at the commencement of Charles’s reign, when it is considered what reproaches have been cast upon his first parliament by Hume, because, instead of granting immediately all the money which he required, they gave him, at first, but little, that they might still retain some control over his actions. Hume, however, declares that, at this period, “an unbounded power was exercised by the crown,” and that “it was necessary to fix a choice, either to abandon entirely the privileges of the people, or to secure them by firmer and more precise barriers than the constitution had hitherto provided for them.”[*] What, then, in his opinion, ought they to have done? To have submitted to despotism? If not, what means had they to resist it, other than by withholding supplies? They are further accused of having acted an ungenerous part, by forcing the king upon a war, and then refusing him the means of carrying it on.[†] True, as usual, in sound, and false in substance. It was well known by Hume to have been one main cause of the war, that Charles and Buckingham, on their return from Spain, had told (or, at least, the one had looked on while the other told) some few lies to the parliament, concerning the transactions in which they had been engaged.[‡] And the other motive by which the parliament were swayed, when they urged the king to a war, was the hope of, by that means, preventing him from marrying a Catholic, which, notwithstanding, he immediately did; their quarrel was not with Spain, but with popery and slavery: it was Charles and his favourite who now pressed the war, and from motives of purely personal pique.
The last subsidies had been granted under an express condition that their expenditure should be controlled by commissioners appointed by parliament;[§] this condition had never been fulfilled, and it was now complained, surely not without reason, that an account of the expenditure, though promised, did not make its appearance. Great complaints, too, were heard against an oppressive imposition which the late king had imposed, by his own authority, upon wines.[¶] It was evident, that by summoning the parliament to the metropolis during one of the most dreadful pestilences ever known in England, it had been hoped to obtain an immediate supply, without leaving time to enter upon the consideration of grievances. The Commons, therefore, wisely granted two subsidies, and no more.[∥]
At this time, Montague, one of the king’s chaplains, published a work,[**] called, by Hume, “a moderate book, which, to their great disgust, saved virtuous Catholics, as well as other Christians, from eternal torments:”[††] but he does not state that this moderate book was a tissue of the most furious invective against the Puritans; that it openly vindicated many of the popish tenets, and more covertly, though not less really, defended that religion as a whole. A committee of the Commons was appointed to report upon this work, and Montague was bound, under recognizances, to answer for it at the bar of the House. From this transaction Hume takes occasion to accuse the Commons of illiberality, forgetting, that in the age in which they lived, some degree of intolerance towards popery was necessary for self-defence; that those dangers which are now chimerical, were then real and alarming; that those disabilities, which can now serve no purpose, except that of oppression, were necessary then to hinder Protestants from being blown up, or, once more, burnt in Smithfield. Such a book, too, from a chaplain of the king, and that chaplain retaining his place, proved surely that the king himself could not be very hostile to the sentiments which it contained. The Commons had no claim upon Charles for the punishment of Montague, but they had a claim for his dismissal. Proceedings, however, were stopped by a message from the king, declaring that he meant to take the matter under his own consideration.[*] So well did he keep his word, that, ere long, Montague was made a bishop.
It is for acts like this that we read so often in Hume’s history of Charles’s mild and tolerant disposition.[†] As if any man in his senses could believe that the persecutor of Leighton and Prynne was an enemy to persecution; as if it were any proof of a mild and tolerant disposition, to bestow rewards upon one religion and inflict punishments upon another. We had always thought that this was the very essence of intolerance; what else, we take leave to ask, does intolerance mean?
Before the parliament was re-assembled, an incident had occurred, which, alone, would have sufficed to justify all its subsequent proceedings. The French king[‡] was then at war with his protestant subjects at Rochelle: to aid him in subduing them, Charles lent him a fleet; and, but for the manly resistance of the sailors, a fleet, equipped with the very money granted for the defence of the Protestants in Germany, would have been employed for the suppression of the protestant religion in France, and the support of popery and arbitrary power. As an excuse for Charles, Hume observes, that he was probably deceived by the French government; which is more than was asserted by Buckingham himself, in the long speech which he made in parliament on the occasion.[§] But Hume is not ashamed to defend the transaction itself; and because the English resented it, he thence infers, that of all European nations they were at that time the most bigotted.[¶] If this be bigotry, may they always continue bigots.
Had the parliament been previously inclined to add any thing to their former grant, they would scarcely have done so after this experience of the use to which they might expect it to be applied. The king’s complaint of poverty[*] was met by remonstrances against extravagant expenditure;* and he was petitioned against the sale of offices, against monopolies and illegal impositions: yet Hume does not scruple to say, that the growth of popery was ever the chief of their grievances, and now their only one; though he had said, a few pages before, that an unbounded power was exercised by the crown; but this, in his opinion, was no grievance.[†] Charles dissolved the parliament, and supplied his present wants by a compulsory loan, the produce of which being dissipated in an unsuccessful expedition against Cadiz, he was compelled to summon another parliament. By pricking several of the popular leaders[‡] sheriffs of counties, he incapacitated them from being returned to parliament. This paltry artifice, by which he hoped to secure compliance with his desires, only exposed his weakness, without repressing the spirit of resistance to mis-rule.
The Commons immediately voted three subsidies and three fifteenths, and, soon after, one subsidy more; but deferred passing their vote into a law, until after the public grievances should have been considered.[§] Situated as they were, it is difficult to see how they should have adopted a wiser, or a more moderate course.
A condition, [says Hume,] was thus made, in a very undisguised manner, with their sovereign. Under colour of redressing grievances, which, during this short reign could not be very numerous, they were to proceed in regulating and controlling every part of government which displeased them; and if the king either cut them short in this undertaking, or refused compliance with their demands, he must not expect any supply from the Commons. Great dissatisfaction was expressed by Charles, at a treatment which he deemed so harsh and undutiful.[¶]
This is the way in which the people of England are spoken of, for exercising their legal and acknowledged privilege of withholding supplies. For what purpose was that privilege given to them, but to enable them to “make conditions with their sovereign?” for what purpose, but that they might avail themselves of his necessities to curtail his mischievous power? To hold up the making “conditions” with their sovereign in this manner ad invidiam, as if to make conditions with their sovereign were a crime, is to insinuate a doctrine which Hume himself does not dare to acknowledge as his own, and which, therefore, he artfully puts into the mouth of another.[∥] Their grievances, too, “during this short reign, could not be very numerous.” As if a grievance ever consisted in a single oppressive act; as if the continual liability to such acts—the system, the state of things, which renders them possible, were of no consequence whatever. The individual act, however tyrannical, is past, and cannot be recalled. What is sought is, security against its renewal; and it is for this aiming at security, that the people of England, throughout this portion of Hume’s history, are held up to scorn and detestation.
The sale of offices, and the exorbitant gifts lavished upon Buckingham and his creatures, being warmly complained of, and some members not sparing their censures upon the favorite himself, Charles summoned both houses to Whitehall, where he told them, that to reflect upon the duke was to reflect upon himself, and threatened them, if they persevered, with a dissolution. The Commons, however, were not to be discouraged by menaces; and they soon shewed their resolution, by preferring an impeachment against the duke.[*]
None of their proceedings has been more grossly misrepresented than this. They have been reproached for voting, that common fame was a sufficient ground for accusation.[†] Common fame is not, certainly, a sufficient ground for punishment; but punishment is one thing, and accusation another. It may not only be justifiable, but an imperative duty, to proceed against an individual, even upon a slight suspicion, that so his guilt or innocence may be fully ascertained. If a charge were never brought until it were known with certainty that it could be proved, where, we ask, would be the use of trial?
All the charges, Hume goes on to say, appear, from comparing the accusation and reply, to be either frivolous, or false, or both.[‡] How their truth or falsehood can be established, by hearing the accusers affirm, and the accused deny, Hume, with his usual accuracy, omits to inform us. If embezzlement, extortion, neglect of duty as admiral, the purchase and sale of offices, the loan of ships to suppress the Protestants in France, and the poisoning of the late king, be frivolous accusations, then, indeed, the charges against Buckingham were frivolous—that they were false, remained to be proved by trial: that trial which the Commons sought, and which Charles and Buckingham avoided. The principal managers[§] of the impeachments were sent to the Tower, and soon after the parliament was dissolved.
After a breach with the parliament, [says Hume,] which seemed so difficult to repair, the only rational counsel which Charles could pursue was, immediately to conclude a peace with Spain, and to render himself, as far as possible, independent of his people, who discovered so little inclination to support him, or rather, who seem to have formed a determined resolution to abridge his authority. Nothing could be easier in the execution than this measure, nor more agreeable to his own and to national interest.[*]
The same man, who thus stands forward, the open and avowed advocate of despotism, can nevertheless lavish hypocritical praises upon the popular leaders, for resisting designs, so “agreeable to national interest.”
Despotism in the design, hypocrisy in the outside, he here acknowledges to have characterized the conduct of his hero. “Had he possessed any military force, on which he could rely, it is not improbable that he had at once taken off the mask, and governed without any regard to parliamentary privileges.”[†] To some it may appear, that he could not well have taken off the mask more completely than he did. Ship-money, benevolences, and a general forced loan, were the expedients resorted to for obtaining money: for resisting these illegal exactions, seventy-six gentlemen were imprisoned, five of whom appealed to the law for redress. Sir Randolph Carew, chief justice, not being found a ready-enough tool, was displaced to make room for Sir Nicholas Hyde, who readily pronounced the power of arbitrary imprisonment to be legal.[‡] Billetting of soldiers was another instrument of extortion. Manwaring, the king’s chaplain, published two sermons,[§] maintaining broadly the doctrine of active and passive obedience, and particularly the right of levying taxes without consent of parliament. For refusing to licence these sermons (which were printed by the king’s special command), the primate Abbot was suspended from his office, and confined to his country house. The employment of popish recusants was continued, notwithstanding a solemn promise to the parliament.[¶]
One of the grand objects of Hume’s History is, to prove, that Charles’s conduct, throughout, was open and sincere. “Some historians have rashly questioned the good faith of this prince: but, for this reproach, the most malignant scrutiny of his conduct, which in every circumstance is now thoroughly known, affords not any reasonable foundation. Probity and honor ought justly to be numbered among his most shining qualities.”[∥] It is difficult to understand, what Hume meant by probity and honor. The instances of Charles’s bad faith are far too numerous to be named; some of the more remarkable of them will be noticed as we go on: but, in this instance, Hume admits him to have violated a solemn pledge; and mark the attempt to palliate this breach of faith: “he was apt, in imitation of his father, to imagine that the parliament, when they failed of supplying his necessities, had, on their part, freed him from the obligation of a strict performance.”[*] Apt to do what? Only to lie; an offence which, in Hume’s estimation, seems to be very venial.
Fortunately the king was mad enough to plunge himself into a war with France; which compelled him, once more, to summon a parliament. Resolved to leave him no just ground of complaint, the Commons voted five subsidies, the largest supply, according to Mr. Brodie, ever before granted in parliament.[†] They withheld, however, for a time, the bill of supply, and proceeded to frame a law, called the Petition of Right, which should secure them in time to come from the oppression under which they had suffered.[‡] By this enactment (which inquirers of all parties are, to an extraordinary degree, unanimous in applauding), “forced loans, benevolences, taxes without consent of parliament, arbitrary imprisonments, the billetting of soldiers, martial law”* were declared illegal.
The king, by an ambiguous answer,[§] evaded giving his assent to the petition of right. Meanwhile, the Commons sent up an impeachment against Manwaring,[¶] for the two sermons to which we before referred. It is very easy to cry out against intolerance; but, if they had not met their opponents with their own weapons, they could not have met them at all. It was surely excusable to punish adversaries, whom they were not permitted to refute. No one is so great an enemy to intolerance as Hume, when it is the intolerance of the Puritans; but, he is very indulgent to the bitterest persecution, when Charles is the persecutor. It is better to avoid persecution, as it is better in war to refrain from the massacre of prisoners; but, if your enemy obstinately refuses to give quarter, it would be very false humanity on your part, to abstain from retaliation.—Manwaring was sentenced to imprisonment, deprivation, and fine. No sooner did the session terminate, than he was pardoned, received a living, and some years after was promoted to a bishopric.
The Commons proceeded to inquire into a commission which had been granted to levy troops in Germany, and transport them into England. As the number mentioned was only a thousand horse, Hume insinuates a doubt that they were intended for a mischievous purpose:[∥] omitting to state, that arms were likewise ordered for ten thousand foot.
At length the king, being hard pressed for money, gave his assent to the petition of right, and the subsidy bill passed immediately after.[*] The Commons then framed a Remonstrance, recapitulating their grievances, and ascribing them wholly to the counsels of Buckingham.[†] “As this,” says Hume, “was the first return which he (Charles) met with for his late beneficial concessions, and for his sacrifices of prerogative, the greatest by far ever made by an English sovereign, nothing could be more the object of great and natural indignation.”[‡]
A grosser falsehood than is insinuated here, it is scarcely possible to conceive. The remonstrance was the “first return” for his concessions! when Hume has just before told us, that the “first return” was the grant of money. In the next place, Charles had made no concessions which had not been forced upon him, and which he did not, as we shall presently see, intend to revoke, as soon as it should be in his power.
Soon after, the king, hearing that they were preparing a remonstrance against the levying of tonnage and poundage, in open infringement of the petition of right, without consent of parliament, came suddenly to the house of Lords, and ended the session by a prorogation.[§]
The petition of right was no sooner passed, than it was violated: duties were levied, and merchants imprisoned for refusing to pay them, as before. Charles likewise gave a striking proof of the insincerity of his concessions, by suppressing the copies of the petition of right which the parliament had ordered to be printed, and circulating others with his former evasive answer annexed: “an expedient,” says Hume, “by which Charles endeavoured to persuade the people, that he had nowise receded from his former claims and pretensions.”[¶] Yet this writer has the effrontery to say of Charles, in another place, “In every treaty, those concessions which he thought he could not in conscience maintain, he never could, by any motive or persuasion, be induced to make.”[∥]
No sooner was the parliament re-assembled, than the Commons proceeded to inquire into this pitiful evasion: they took notice of the recent violations of the petition of right; complained of the popish ceremonies which the prelates had already begun to introduce, and resumed the consideration of the question of tonnage and poundage. When, at length, at the motion of Sir John Elliot, and after a discussion of more than usual violence, a remonstrance was passed against levying that impost without parliamentary authority, Charles was so enraged that he at once dissolved the parliament,[**] and committed Elliot, Hollis, and other leading members,[*] to prison; where Elliot soon after died, a victim to his exertions to free his country from the yoke of despotism.
For twelve years after this period, no more parliaments were summoned: and here Mr. Brodie pauses to pass under review the individuals who at this time swayed the counsels of Charles.[†] In this we shall follow his example, confining, however, our attention to the principal figures in the picture—Strafforde and Laud.
The tragical close of Strafforde’s life has enabled his partisans to throw a theatrical glare over his character, which has long concealed its deformity from the public eye. In private life he was haughty, vindictive, and cruel; in public, he had no principle, other than the aggrandizement of himself: from his first entry into public life, he put himself up to auction, and only when the court refused to buy him, threw himself into the popular party: when bought, he turned round, and at once became not only the unblushing advocate, but the active instrument, of that system of tyranny which he had been the loudest to condemn.
With equal tyranny, and equal servility, were joined in Laud the most furious bigotry and the most puerile superstition. Himself a papist, in every thing except the supremacy of the pope, he caused the popish tenets and the popish ceremonies to be adopted by the Church of England: and so general was the expectation, that through his means Great Britain would again be brought within the catholic pale, that he actually had the offer of a cardinal’s hat, which, however, he did not venture to accept. In lending himself, body and soul, to the service of despotism, he only did what almost any man would have done in a similar situation. His other vices were peculiarly his own; cringing and adulation in order to rise, insolence after he had risen; the basest ingratitude towards his benefactors, and the most inveterate hatred towards all whom he believed to be, in any way, obstacles to the increase of his power.*
But how shall we attempt to describe the atrocities perpetrated during the twelve years’ intermission of parliament, under the government of Charles and of these worthy instruments? In the space to which we are confined, it would be the height of absurdity to make the attempt. Mr. Brodie has dedicated a long chapter to the purpose, and to him, therefore, the reader must refer.[‡] Suffice it to say, that ship-money, benevolences, loans, were now the least oppressive modes of extortion. Obsolete forest laws, statutes concerning tillage, and an old law against the increase of the metropolis, were revived;[*] and under pretence of these laws, fines were levied upon hundreds. Every person who possessed £20 a year in land was compelled to receive the honour of knighthood, which involved the payment of exorbitant fees. On the pretext of remedying defective titles to land, those who would not pay largely for a new title were threatened with the loss of their estates. Monopolies were carried to an extent before unknown; and the severest penalties were inflicted on all who infringed them. Chambers, a merchant of London, for refusing to pay tonnage and poundage without parliamentary authority, was summoned before the council, where having remarked that the merchants of England were as much screwed up as in Turkey, he was fined £2,000 in the star-chamber;[†] and lay twelve years in prison, because he would not degrade himself by submission. One Hillyard was fined £5,000 for selling salt-petre, contrary to proclamation: Rea, £2,000 for exporting fuller’s earth;[‡] and so in hundreds of instances which it would be tedious to mention. “Such severities,” says Hume, “were afterwards magnified into the greatest enormities.”[§] They really were not, then, in his opinion, enormities!
In respect to religion, Hume labours to the utmost of his power to excite contempt and scorn for the great mass of the people, because they thought there was reason to apprehend the re-establishment of popery; and he says that “the groundless charge” of popery against Laud, “was belied by his whole life and conduct.”[¶] We would willingly ask Hume, or any who share his sentiments, what there is in popery which renders it so great a curse to mankind? Its intolerance? But if in this respect there was any difference between the Church of England and the Church of Rome, it was only that the one employed one sort of torture, and the other another; that the one persecuted by burning, the other by protracted torments, exceeding in magnitude a hundred burnings. But they differed, perhaps, in tenets. Scarcely so; when image-worship, prayer to the dead, adoration at the altar, worship of saints, the real presence, confession, and absolution, were part of the established religion.* In ceremonials? But the formalities of the catholic church, whether with respect to worship, or to days, meats, and vestments, were scrupulously exacted. Nor was this all: even the supremacy of the king was denied; and the divine authority of bishops, and their superiority to the civil power, became fundamental articles of the high-church creed. Nay, an open defence of popery itself, published by one Chowney,[*] was dedicated to, and patronized by, Laud. The assertion, therefore, that there was no danger of popery, if it be true in sound, is in substance one of the grossest falsehoods ever palmed upon the credulity of the world.
Of the punishments inflicted upon all who vindicated the doctrines of the reformed, in opposition to popery and to the Church of England, we shall present the reader with a few examples.
Leighton, a doctor of divinity, for writing against the hierarchy, and the new ceremonies,[†] was seized by the officers of the high-commission, and after the most brutal treatment, was adjudged by the star-chamber to pay 10,000 pounds; in addition to which, it was ordained that,
after degradation, he should be whipped at Westminster, and set in the pillory there during the sitting of the court; have one ear cut off, one side of his nose slit, and one cheek branded with s. s. for sower of sedition: that he should then be carried back to prison, and, at a future convenient time, be brought to Cheapside, on a market-day, and be there whipt again, and set in the pillory, and have his other ear cut off, his other cheek branded, and the other side of his nose slit: after which was only to follow imprisonment for life.*
The whole of this sentence was executed to the letter. What an unfeeling slave must he be, who can talk in the following strain of these atrocious cruelties:
Leighton who had written libels against the king, the queen, the bishops, and the whole administration, was condemned by a very severe, if not a cruel sentence; but the execution of it was suspended for some time, in expectation of his submission.† All the severities, indeed, of this reign were exercised against those who triumphed in their sufferings, who courted persecution, and braved authority; and, on that account their punishment may be deemed the more just, but the less prudent.‡
A king, then, may justly be guilty of any cruelties which he pleases, provided he practises them only upon those who resist his power; only upon those on whom alone he can have any motive to practise them. The robber, who murders you to obtain your purse, would find this doctrine extremely convenient: had you quietly consented to give up your money you might possibly have escaped with your life; for which reason he is perfectly justified in depriving you of both.
Prynne, declared by Lord Clifford in the House of Lords (10th May, 1809) to have been one of the most eminent lawyers whom England ever produced, had written a book to prove the unlawfulness of stage-plays.[*] Bastwick, a physician, in a work against popery and prelacy, had asserted the supremacy of the king.[†] For these crimes, Prynne was condemned to lose his ears, to stand twice in the pillory, to be degraded from the bar, and at the university, to pay a fine of £5,000, and to be imprisoned for life. Bastwick, to pay £1,000; to be debarred his practice of physic, to be excommunicated, and imprisoned till he made a recantation.
These two individuals published vindications of themselves;[‡] not without considerable warmth of expression (and no wonder): for this they were adjudged to lose their ears (Prynne’s having, on the former occasion, been imperfectly cut off), and to be closely imprisoned for life in the isles of Jersey, Guernsey and Scilly, without access of kindred or friends, and without books, pens, ink, or paper.[§] In this situation they continued until released by the long parliament. Burton, a divine, for two sermons which he had published, suffered the same punishment. This “severity” (such is the mild expression of Hume), he is pleased to acknowledge as having been “perhaps, in itself, somewhat blameable.”[¶]
Persecution was not confined to the opponents of the established religion; it was extended to all who resisted arbitrary power, and to all against whom Laud and Strafforde had any personal pique.
Sir David Foulis, a member of the council of York, was, upon a charge of speaking irreverently of his office, opposing the commission of knighthood, and throwing out some remarks against Wentworth, which he denied, fined by the star-chamber, 5,000l.; assessed in damages to Wentworth, 3,000l.; and ordained to make an acknowledgment of his offences, both to his majesty and to Wentworth, not only in the star-chamber, but in the court of York, and at the assizes, and condemned to imprisonment during the king’s pleasure, and to be deprived of his various offices as member of the council of York, deputy-lieutenant, and justice of peace; his son, Henry, was likewise fined 500l.*
Williams, bishop of Lincoln, who had raised Laud to his present power, and whom, as a formidable rival, Laud was resolved to crush, was, on frivolous pretences, suspended from his office, fined 10,000l., and imprisoned during the king’s pleasure; and further, on a charge of having received letters, in which contemptuous allusions were made to some one, supposed to be Laud, he was fined 8,000l. more, and again imprisoned.*
These are a few of the acts of that administration, under which Hume can say that the people enjoyed “every blessing of government except liberty”[*] (quære, what does he mean by liberty). These are some of the grievances which, in his opinion, were “neither burthensome on the people’s properties, nor anyway shocking to the natural humanity of mankind.”[†] And when Hampden, Pym, and others, resolved to seek refuge in another hemisphere from the tyranny which oppressed them at home, Hume can assert, that they fled in order to “enjoy lectures and discourses of any length or form which pleased them!”[‡]
But we are now drawing near to a period when these horrors were to be at an end; and the first blow was struck from a quarter from which it was least to be expected—from the aristocracy.
While in England the accumulation of property, and the rise of the commercial towns, had raised up a wealthy mercantile class, which trimmed the balance between the king and the nobility; the neighbouring country of Scotland had continued poor, and like the other poor countries of Europe, to a great degree feudal and aristocratic. Hence an important difference in the character of the struggle which ensued. In England, the people were strong enough to overcome the united force of the king and of the nobility. In Scotland, the quarrel was substantially nothing more than that struggle for power between the aristocracy and the king, which had existed in one shape or another from the earliest period of its history. The people followed, as usual, the banner of their superiors, with only the additional stimulus of religious zeal.
The king had never been so powerful in Scotland as in England, because the nobility had been more so. By the addition which he obtained to his power from his accession to another throne, he was enabled to carry various measures into effect, which, though hurtful to the aristocracy, were beneficial to the people. The greater part of the church-lands had, at the Reformation, been granted out to the nobility. A general revocation[*] was now published; it was never executed, but suspended, in terrorem, over their heads. The tithes, which had been transferred to them at the same period, and which they had exacted from the smaller proprietors, or heritors, with much greater rigour than ever the church had done, they were now ordered to dispose of to the heritors at a fixed rate.[†]
It was by the extraordinary institution of the Lords of Articles that the passing of these acts had been obtained. The lords of articles were a committee of thirty-two (eight barons, eight prelates, and sixteen commoners), appointed originally to prepare bills for the parliament, but who had by custom obtained the initiative of the laws. In this committee the spiritual lords chose the temporal, and the temporal the spiritual; but the commons had hitherto chosen deputies for themselves.[‡] By giving the choice of the sixteen commoners to the sixteen lords, James had given absolute power over the committee, and consequently over the parliament, to the prelates, that is, to himself, the parliament retaining only a veto, which they were usually afraid to exercise.[§]
Even this power Charles might have retained, could he have refrained from insulting the religious feelings of the people. But, whether from bigotry or love of power, or, as is most probable, from both combined, he cherished an inveterate hatred against the presbyterian religion.
For the overthrow of this sect, James had already done much; he had re-established episcopacy, as the religion of the state; he had obtained in a packed general assembly the ratification of the five articles of Perth, by which, ceremonies borrowed from the English church, and savouring of popery, were introduced; he had further, without any colour of law, established the high-commission court, which assumed the power of summoning persons before it, interrogating them on their religious opinions, and if their answers were not deemed satisfactory, inflicting the most arbitrary punishments.[¶] All this the people had borne; but this was not enough for Charles: not content with having established the episcopal church government, he must needs impose upon them the episcopal tenets also.
He visited Scotland in person, and summoned a parliament, which gratified him by passing, among other obnoxious acts, one which gave him the power of regulating the habits of the clergy.[∥] It was generally believed that this and other acts were obtained by making a false return of the votes. A petition which had been prepared against them, but which had never been presented nor published, was, nevertheless, made use of to crush Balmerino, one of the refractory lords. The only crime which could be laid to his charge, was that of possessing a copy of the petition, and showing it confidentially to a friend. For this he was tried by a packed jury, condemned to death, and only not executed from apprehension of popular resentment.[*]
The accurate, the candid Hume, who so often asserts that a groundless dread of popery was the sole cause of the Scottish troubles—what says he of this? Not a word. Of an event so notorious, he gives no intimation whatever; because it is alone sufficient to stamp with falsehood the whole of his assertions concerning the mildness of Charles, and the inoffensiveness of his measures.
Having thus struck terror, as he thought, into the Scottish aristocracy, Charles next proceeded to introduce a new liturgy and canons, resembling closely, in most respects, the religion of the Church of England, but in some points more nearly approaching to popery than their model.[†] A despot never knows when his safety requires him to stop short. At the introduction of the new service-book, the tumult was so great that it could not be read, and the bishop[‡] who attempted to read it was compelled to fly for his life. Charles still persisted in his design, and by his imprudent measures, the ferment was still further increased. The nobles improved the opportunity: petitions without number were poured in against the service-book; a great proportion of the gentry, and twenty peers, openly protested against it; the people thronged to Edinburgh, and the council, alarmed at their numbers, consented to the appointment of representatives to manage the concerns of the whole body. The popular party was thus regularly organized, and the four tables, so the deputies were called, gave unity to all their proceedings.
The king, as is usual with weak persons when their will is unexpectedly resisted, first bullied, and then became alarmed. A furious proclamation was put forth, bestowing praise on the liturgy, and abuse on the petitioners, and commanding them, under the penalties of high treason, to disperse.[§] This proclamation was protested against as soon as issued, and led to the famous Covenant, which was now drawn up and signed by a great majority of the Scottish population.[¶] The king at length took the alarm, and determined to temporize. He sent the Marquis of Hamilton into Scotland, with authority to treat; and “he thought,” says Hume, “that on his part he had made very satisfactory concessions, when he offered to suspend the canons and the liturgy, till, in a fair and legal way, they could be received, and so to model the high-commission that it should no longer give offence to his subjects.”[*] The Covenanters, however, were not to be so easily duped; and it was as impossible to disunite, as to deceive or overcome them. The commissioner wrote to the king, saying, that he must either prepare for war, or recal the canons, the liturgy, and the five articles of Perth, summon a parliament, and convoke a general assembly of the church.[†] Charles soon took his resolution; but directed Hamilton to temporize till his preparations for war should be completed. In Burnet’s Memoirs of the Hamiltons, a work to which Hume continually refers, several of Charles’s letters are preserved, in which he permits the commissioner to flatter the covenanters with what hopes he pleases, provided he does not commit the king himself; and tells him, that his chief end is, to win time till the royal fleet shall have set sail.* Yet, Hume can say, that Charles “was candid, sincere, upright, as much as any man whom we meet with in history;” that “it would be difficult to find another character so unexceptionable in this particular;” and that, “even his enemies, though they loaded him with many calumnies, did not insist on this accusation.”[‡]
Hamilton returned to London and, finding the king’s preparations less advanced than he had expected, convinced him that, to gain time, great concessions must be made. While the king, therefore, was maturing his preparations, Hamilton was sent back into Scotland with power to recal the canons and liturgy, to abolish the high-commission, to suspend the five articles of Perth, and to summon a parliament and a general assembly. He carried down with him a counter-covenant,[§] containing a bond to maintain the established religion as at present professed, a phrase applicable alike to both the contending sects. So palpable an evasion had no effect, but still further to disgust the opposite party. The general assembly met: and before any thing had been done, the commissioner, by the king’s direction (see his own letters), found a pretext for dissolving it.[¶] (Yet the king was ever “candid, upright, sincere.”) Matters were now at a crisis. The alternative was, to disobey, or to give up all that had been gained. Having proved by precedents their right of sitting, notwithstanding any injunction to the contrary, the assembly proceeded to abolish episcopacy, and abrogate the articles of Perth.[*]
It was impossible any longer to avoid a war. The king appears to have anticipated an easy conquest: so ill was he prepared for the resistance which he experienced, that without a single battle, or almost a single skirmish, he was compelled to patch up a peace, and convoke an assembly and a parliament.
Without mentioning the former assembly, that which was now convened proceeded to confirm its acts; and the new commissioner, Traquair, was authorized by the king to ratify these regulations, but not without captious distinctions. Even Hume is here compelled to admit, that the king secretly “retained an intention of seizing favourable opportunities, in order to recover the ground which he had lost:”[†] and yet, “in every treaty, those concessions which he thought he could not in conscience maintain, he never could, by any motive or persuasion, be induced to make.”[‡]
A piece of casuistry, therefore, was provided. The bishops protested against the acts of the assembly; that the non-concurrence of what they deemed an essential part, might afford a pretext for disregarding the proceedings of the whole. Traquair was also directed to put in, at the close of the session, a reservation, that anything done in the king’s absence might be challenged afterwards, if prejudicial to his interest.
Episcopacy having been abolished, the institution of Lords of Articles, as formerly constituted, could no longer exist; and the parliament proceeded to place it on a different footing. It was now enacted, that each estate should choose its own deputies to sit on the articles, and that they should no longer possess a veto on debate, but merely the powers of a committee.[§] A bill was also prepared for triennial parliaments,[¶] and several other important measures were in progress, when Traquair, by the king’s direction, prorogued the parliament, a power hitherto exercised solely by the parliament itself. Cautious not to give any hold against them, they obeyed the order, and in the mean time, sent commissioners to London to protest against the prorogation.
Charles, however, now determined to take off the mask. Scarcely had the commissioners reached London, when they were thrown into prison. “The earl of Traquaire,” says Hume, “had intercepted a letter written to the king of France by the Scottish malcontents.”[∥] The insinuation contained in this phrase is false. The letter had never been intercepted, for it had never been sent. It had only been written: and besides, there was nothing in it which did not fairly bear an innocent interpretation. This, however, was the pretence on which the commissioners, Loudon and Dunfermline, were imprisoned.
When, to the ordinary charges of government, was to be added the expense of a war, the illegal resources, which were adequate to all common occasions, could no longer suffice. Charles called a parliament at Westminster, but the Commons, as before, refused to give supply the precedence over grievances.[*] He saw, or thought he saw, that if they continued to sit, they would pass a vote declaring ship-money to be illegal. This he prevented by a hasty dissolution,[†] before they had granted a supply, and committed three of their leading members to the Tower.[‡] To obtain money, new extortions were practised; the East India company (on pretence of a purchase on credit) were robbed of all their pepper, which was sold at a great discount for ready money. A grant from the convocation, and three subsidies which had been obtained from the Irish parliament, did something;[§] voluntary contributions from the royalist party supplied the rest.
The second Scottish campaign was still more unsuccessful than the first. No sooner had the king’s army advanced to Newcastle, than the Scots passed the Tweed, routed Lord Conway, and forced the king to retreat. Newcastle then fell into their hands. With an army disaffected, and a people more disposed to join with the Scots than to attack them, Charles did not venture to fight. A negotiation was opened, and during its continuance he had to maintain the Scottish army as well as his own. The money which, for this purpose, he was compelled to borrow from the city, could only be obtained on condition of summoning a parliament.
It was under new and favourable auspices that the long parliament was convened. Secured against dissolution by the necessities of the king, and by the presence of the Scottish army in England, they had only to improve the opportunity, and tyranny might yet be overthrown.
The same historian, who has laboured to disguise the selfishness of Charles under the mask of conscience and of principle, has endeavoured, by malicious insinuations, to discredit the motives of the popular leaders.[¶] With their motives, however, we have nothing to do; nor, if we had, is it possible that their motives should ever be, with any certainty, ascertained. During their lives these statesmen enjoyed a high reputation for integrity; nor do they appear, by any thing which they did, to have deserved to forfeit that character. If they had possessed undue power, they would probably, like other men, have abused it; not having such power, they are to be judged by what they did, and not by what, under other circumstances, they might have done.
Among the first and best of their acts was the impeachment of Strafforde.[*] His general support of despotism, and specific acts of misgovernment, as lord lieutenant of Ireland, and president of the council of York, were the principal charges. Finch and Laud were likewise impeached.[†] The former in his successive capacities of Speaker of the House of Commons, chief-justice and lord-keeper, had been the instrument of some of the worst acts of the government of Charles. He fled, and it is a striking proof of the moderation of the popular leaders, if, as was suspected, they connived at his escape. Some judges, ecclesiastics and others, the subordinate instruments, shared the fate of their superiors.[‡] Prynne, Bastwick, Burton, and other victims of judicial tyranny, were liberated from confinement. Ship-money, and other extortions, were declared to be illegal.[§] The levying of tonnage and poundage, without consent of parliament, was forbidden.[¶] Petitions against episcopacy, and complaints against the lives of the clergy, were received from all parts of the kingdom.[∥] To inquire into this last grievance, a committee was appointed, which Hume stigmatizes with the strongest epithets of reproach.[**] That in some cases undue severity may have been used, or venial trespasses exaggerated, is probable enough; we will add, that it is not to be wondered at: for when was it known that, in a dispute of such magnitude, either party confined itself scrupulously within the bounds of moderation? The only question which deserves the slightest consideration is, which party was substantially in the right. To lay undue stress upon a trifling irregularity, is among the strongest of all presumptions against the goodness of a cause.*
To prevent that disuse of parliaments, which had been the fruitful cause of so many evils, the triennial act was passed,[*] that one meeting of parliament, at least, in three years might be secured. It was not without great reluctance that Charles assented to this important bill.
At this period, however, if Hume is to be believed, he “resolved to alter his whole conduct, and to regain the confidence of his people by pliableness, by concessions, and by a total conformity to their inclinations and prejudices.”[†] This is one of those bold assertions by which Hume has generally succeeded in deceiving his readers, merely because they cannot believe, that a historian of eminence would hazard an assertion which he must necessarily have known to be false. But the insincerity of Charles is a subject on which, as yet, we cannot enter. The trial of Strafforde first demands our attention, as well from its importance, as from the utter want of candour which Hume’s account of it displays.
A committee had been appointed to prepare the articles of charge, “with authority,” says Hume, “to examine all witnesses, to call for every paper, and to use any means of scrutiny, with regard to any part of the earl’s behaviour and conduct.”[‡] This he calls an inquisition. In the first place, his account of it is false. They were not authorized to employ the torture: they could not therefore be authorized to use “any means of scrutiny.” What is probably true is, that their powers were not defined; nor, indeed, in English law, is any thing defined: but it does not appear that they went, in any respect, beyond the bounds of justice. In the next place, nothing is easier than to call any kind of investigatorial procedure an inquisition. “No man can be expected to oppose arguments to epithets.”* The question is simply this: Shall, or shall not, the accusers be compelled to bring charges, without knowing what charges there is evidence to support? Is it meant, that to examine witnesses, and to call for papers, is an inquisition? If so, it is an inquisition which ought always to exist.
What, above all, excites the indignation of Hume, is, that the committee was permitted to examine privy counsellors with regard to opinions delivered at the board; which banished, he says, all confidence from the deliberations in council.[§] One thing is clear—either the king who acts, or the ministers who advise, must be responsible: but whether the one or the other be punished, Hume’s indignation is the same.
He then deliberately asserts, that the impeachment of Sir George Ratcliffe had no other purpose than to deprive Strafforde of the assistance of his best friend. And where is the proof? the charge, it seems, was not prosecuted against him.[¶] As if Hume did not know, that not Ratcliffe only, but numbers of the tools of power were now impeached, and never afterwards molested. Ratcliffe was the principal accomplice in all the atrocities of Strafforde’s government in Ireland; all the evidence against Strafforde, was evidence against him; and he might with perfect justice have been put to the bar with Strafforde, tried, condemned, and executed along with him. The Commons were satisfied with one sacrifice to public justice; they spared the rest: and their moderation and forbearance are to be construed into a proof of intentional injustice!
In commenting upon the articles of charge, Hume has, if possible, been still more disingenuous. The odium which Strafforde had drawn upon himself in Ireland, Hume coolly ascribes to his virtues; and the general character of his administration Hume asserts to have been “innocent, and even laudable.”[*] We cannot convey a better idea of the character of Hume, than by advising the reader to look into Mr. Brodie,[†] nay, into the letters and despatches of Strafforde himself, and see what was Hume’s idea of innocent and laudable conduct in public men. Would space permit, we might enlarge upon the despotism, the rapacity, the cruelty, which characterized this “laudable” administration, and leave the reader to judge of the feelings of the man who can assert, that his conduct was “equally promotive of his master’s interests, and that of the subjects committed to his care.”[‡] But we willingly stake our case upon one single act: and that act we will quote in the words of Hume himself.
It had been reported at the table of Lord Chancellor Loftus, that Annesley, one of the deputy’s attendants, in moving a stool, had sorely hurt his master’s foot, who was at that time afflicted with the gout. Perhaps, said Mountnorris, who was present at table, it was done in revenge of that public affront which my lord deputy formerly put upon him:But he has a brother, who would not have taken such a revenge. This casual, and seemingly innocent, at least ambiguous, expression, was reported to Strafforde, who, on pretence that such a suggestion might prompt Annesley to avenge himself in another manner, ordered Mountnorris, who was an officer, to be tried by a court-martial for mutiny and sedition against his general. The court, which consisted of the chief officers of the army, found the crime to be capital, and condemned that nobleman to lose his head.[§]
A pretty stretch of authority, and a tolerable proof what must have been the spirit of Strafforde’s administration. But mark what follows:
In vain did Strafforde plead in his own defence, against this article of impeachment, that the sentence of Mountnorris was the deed, and that, too, unanimous, of the court, not the act of the deputy; that he spake not to a member of the court, nor voted in the cause, but sat uncovered as a party, and then immediately withdrew, to leave them to their freedom; that sensible of the iniquity of the sentence, he procured his majesty’s free pardon to Mountnorris; and that he did not even keep that nobleman a moment in suspense with regard to his fate, but instantly told him, that he himself would rather lose his right hand than execute such a sentence, nor was his lordship’s life in any danger.[*]
If ever the truth was so told, as to have the effect of a lie, it is here. What is true, is, that Strafforde did make these assertions, as is represented: what is not true is, that Hume believed them. When Strafforde, and his panegyrist, asserted that the sentence was the act of the court, and that he procured the king’s pardon, because he was sensible of the iniquity of the sentence, they forgot to state, that it was at the persuasion of Strafforde himself, and not without great difficulty, that the court was persuaded to pass sentence, and that they did not at length comply, without previously stipulating for Mountnorris’s life; in consequence of which stipulation, he was only dismissed the army, imprisoned for three years, and deprived of his estate. It may be pardonable in a man, whose life is at stake, to endeavour to save himself by a falsehood;* but what shall we say of a historian, who, with the facts before him, repeats and countenances a story which he must have known to be false?
Being unable to extenuate the conduct of the council of York, which, if possible, exceeded even that of the star-chamber in atrocity, Hume does his best to exculpate Strafforde, by asserting that he never in person presided in the court.[†] But what is to become of official responsibility, if a public functionary is not responsible for the conduct of a deputy, removeable at his pleasure, and sure, therefore, to act in the way which he knows to be agreeable to his superior?
With regard to the evidence of the illegal advice which Strafforde was accused of having given as a privy counsellor, Hume has a number of cavils, which have been fully exposed by Mr. Brodie,[‡] but which, in fact, were scarcely deserving of notice. To prove the words, was rather necessary on technical, than on rational, grounds. If the tyranny of the government was notorious, and if, of that government, Strafforde was a member, he was surely responsible for its tyranny, in justice, and even in law, unless he could prove that he had actually done whatever he could to prevent it.
The most plausible part of Strafforde’s defence, was that in which he endeavoured to make it appear, that, whatever might be his guilt, he was not a traitor, the legal definition of treason not including his offence.[*] Nothing, indeed, can be more conclusive than his arguments against the practice of inflicting punishment for undefined offences; and it would be well if our lawyers, and lawyer-ridden legislators, would bestow somewhat more of attention upon them than has hitherto been usual. Unless, however, there be punishment for undefined offences, under English law there can be no punishment at all. Judge Hale long ago confessed, that he knew not what theft was;[†] yet we see men, every day, hanged for theft. It may be replied, moreover, that Strafforde, if he had not violated any one law, more than any other, had violated all the laws, by setting the royal authority above them: that if he was not tried under any particular law, so neither was he tried before a court of law, but before a tribunal expressly created to take cognizance of those offences, to the treatment of which the ordinary law was considered inadequate.
The legal argument, however, after considerable discussion, had so much weight with the Commons, that they dropped the impeachment and brought in a bill of attainder; a course which, though strictly legal, and a striking proof of their regard for the forms, as well as for the substance, of justice, is represented by Hume as a proof of their consciousness that grounds had not been shewn for a conviction.[‡] The impeachment, he says, was against law; and yet, to drop the impeachment, and proceed according to law, was, it seems, a proof of injustice.*
When the bill of attainder had passed both houses,[§] and awaited the royal assent, information was received of a conspiracy among the officers, instigated by Charles, to bring the army to London, rescue Strafforde, and dissolve the parliament. It is impossible to exceed the disingenuousness with which this incident is spoken of by Hume.[*] His object is, to make it appear that there was no plot, and to insinuate, that the whole story was a forgery of the popular leaders. He cannot deny that there was a secret association among the officers, in close correspondence with some of the king’s servants; that a petition was sent to Charles, countersigned by him, and sent back, to be signed by the army; and that in this petition they offered to come up to London.[†] He asserts, however, first, that the project had been laid aside, two months before it was disclosed to the parliament. In this he follows Clarendon:[‡] that the assertion is false, has been proved by Mr. Brodie from Clarendon himself, as well as by giving at length the evidence taken by the Commons on the occasion.[§] In the next place, he also copies from Clarendon in his account of the petition itself; although, as Mr. Brodie well observes, the gross anachronisms in Clarendon’s petition prove it conclusively to be a forgery. But, thirdly, he suppresses part, even of what Clarendon admits; viz. the recommendation to punish the ring-leaders in certain alleged tumults, for the suppression of which the army offered its services. But the plan, he says,[¶] was an absurd one, while the Scots were in England; yet the king is admitted to have countersigned the petition; folly, indeed, characterized his counsels throughout: and in calculating upon the probable conduct of a despot, we must never proceed upon the supposition that he possesses common sense.*
The king now finding it no longer safe to withhold his assent from the bill of attainder, the bill passed, and Strafforde was executed. The perfection of history, like the perfection of a novel, has usually been considered to be a strong dramatic effect. So fine an opportunity for pathos was not to be lost; of the last meeting of Strafforde with Laud, Hume has attempted to make a most affecting scene, and to call forth all the sympathies of mankind in favour of these great criminals, after turning the sufferings of their hundreds of victims into a jest.[∥] But this practice is universal with Hume; the many, and their sufferings, he laughs to scorn: are the one and the few affected? then is the time to whine.
Another bill, which received the royal assent conjointly with the bill of attainder, was, in its consequences, most fatal, and has never yet received due attention. We mean, the bill by which the parliament was made indissoluble, except by its own consent,[*] and was thus erected into a perpetual aristocracy. The professed object of this act was, to prevent the king from dissolving the parliament. But this might have been done, without rendering it indissoluble. The people, on those few occasions on which they have risen against misgovernment, have seldom, unhappily, been wise enough, while they overthrew one tyranny, to provide securities against the establishment of another.
The Commons might reasonably be expected still to continue faithful to their duty so long as they were weak; but no sooner was Charles overcome, and the powers of government thrown wholly into their hands, than the public interest was sure to be postponed to theirs, and their subsequent proceedings to degenerate into a mere struggle for power.
This bill gives Hume another opportunity for pathos; and he endows his hero, for the occasion, with an appropriate quantum of sentimentality.
Charles, in the agony of grief, shame, and remorse, for Strafforde’s doom, perceived not that this other bill was of still more fatal consequence to his authority, and rendered the power of his enemies perpetual, as it was already uncontrollable. In comparison with the bill of attainder, by which he deemed himself an accomplice in his friend’s murder, this concession made no figure in his eyes.[†]
Very pathetic truly; but history is not to be written like a tragedy. The truth is, that, without an abuse of terms, such a thing as friendship, between a king and his subject, cannot be said to exist; still less between a despot and his tool. As well might that name be applied to the connexion between a debauchee and the pimp who ministers to his pleasures. Charles knew, that by employing and protecting Strafforde, he was promoting his own interest; Strafforde knew, that, in serving Charles, he was promoting his. The real truth is, that Charles gave his assent to the bill, not out of grief for Strafforde, but as a means of getting money; a Lancashire knight having offered to procure him a loan of 650,000l. upon that condition. For the hero, however, of a romance, who could do so very unromantic a thing as to abandon his friend, it was absolutely necessary to find some palliation, and it was a very obvious thought to endow him with a remorse, which there is no sufficient reason to believe that he actually felt.
During the course of the above proceedings, bills had been prepared for the abolition of the council of York, the star-chamber, the high-commission, and other arbitrary and oppressive jurisdictions.[‡] After some hesitation, Charles passed the bills; and, though with great difficulty, was prevailed upon to disband the Irish army, which having been raised solely for the subjugation of Scotland, was now no longer required. The Scots immediately returned to their homes, and the English army was dismissed.
The king now determined to visit Scotland, where he had already begun to intrigue with a powerful party. “He arrived,” says Hume, “in Scotland with an intention of abdicating almost entirely the small share of power which there remained to him, and of giving full satisfaction, if possible, to his restless subjects in that kingdom.”[*] Hume’s language always imports, that he can dive into the hearts of all his characters. It is difficult to understand how that which he here asserts could have been known to him, even had it been true. In reality, however, he knew that it was not true; he must have learned as much even from Clarendon, who, for these transactions, is his chief authority.[†] That the king had no intention of resigning any power which he could safely keep, is sufficiently certain from the principles of human nature; but the perfidy which he meditated was of a still more atrocious kind; and the entire suppression of the evidence of it by Hume, had he been guilty of no other violation of truth, would alone suffice to cover him with eternal infamy.
Argyle and Hamilton, being seized with an apprehension, real or pretended, that the Earl of Crawford and others meant to assassinate them, left the parliament suddenly, and retired into the country; but, upon invitation and assurances, returned in a few days. This event, which had neither cause nor effect, that was visible, nor purpose, nor consequence, was commonly denominated the incident.[‡]
Would it be believed, that the event which is thus slurred over was a plot to seize, if not to assassinate the most distinguished of the popular leaders?
There were three parties at this time in Scotland; the royalists, the covenanters, and the trimmers. Of the covenanters, the acknowledged head was Argyle. The royalists had recently acquired a leader in Montrose, a man of no principle, who had begun his career as a covenanter, but finding himself supplanted in the field by Leslie, and in counsels by Argyle, went over to the court, and entered into a treaty to betray his late associates. Among those who by trimming and compromise endeavoured to keep well with both parties, Hamilton and his brother Laneric were the chief. As is usual with trimmers, they had no credit with either party; and were abhorred as rivals by Montrose, scarcely less than Argyle himself. A conspiracy was formed to seize the Hamiltons and Argyle, who were to be detained on board a frigate in Leith roads, and assassinated on the slightest resistance. Thus much is proved beyond the possibility of dispute, and confirmed, in the most material circumstances, by the evidence of the actors themselves. Such a project would never have been formed, without some ulterior design. The immediate renewal of the war is the very least which can have been contemplated. At the time, it was believed that the royalists were to rise in arms and possess themselves of Edinburgh, before the other party could recover from its surprise. We learn from Clarendon,[*] that Montrose had before offered to assassinate the three lords; but that the king had recommended as a preferable measure, that proofs should be prepared for a parliamentary impeachment. As it is evident by what sort of a parliament the impeachment would have been tried, if the conspiracy had succeeded, the atrocity would have been much the same whether perpetrated with or without the forms of law.
In a subsequent note,[†] Hume endeavours to prove, that Clarendon must have been mistaken in ascribing such an offer to Montrose; since, during the whole of Charles’s continuance in Scotland, Montrose was in prison; having been detected, during the expedition into England, in a secret correspondence with the court. But even men who are in prison may, notwithstanding, have ways and means of communicating with those who are without; no very recondite truth, one would suppose, but a truth of which Hume seems to have been ignorant. It is proved that three letters were conveyed to the king from Montrose, and that Cochrane, who carried the letters, and who was one of the chief actors in the conspiracy, had a secret interview with the king. We do not learn this from Hume, but we learn it from Murray,* groom of the chamber, through whose intervention Cochrane was introduced to a private audience.
The failure of this conspiracy did not deter Charles from engaging in new projects of a similar nature. And it was at this period that he resolved upon the violent proceedings, which almost immediately followed his return to Whitehall.
When he returned, he found the parliament already re-assembled, and the celebrated remonstrance already passed.[‡] In this document, the Commons recapitulated the principal of the grievances which had been complained of since Charles ascended the throne, ascribing them to the influence of evil counsels, which the king showed no inclination to discard. Nothing can be more undeserved than the reproaches thrown out by Hume upon this part of their conduct; nor any thing more unfair, than his whole representation of the posture of affairs at this crisis. “All these grievances had been already redressed, and even laws enacted for future security against their return.”[§] In the first place, it is not true, that all the grievances had been redressed. But secondly, in strictness of speech, none of them had been redressed at all. What, in fact, had been done? They had been declared illegal: was this an adequate “security against their return?” As much as this had been done by the petition of right; and with what advantage, the years of tyranny that followed abundantly testify. But further, Hume has entirely misrepresented the very nature and object of this celebrated state paper, in as far, at least, as it is possible to gather from his statements any conception of its nature and object at all. What the Commons complained of was, not the grievances, which had been removed, but the counsels which had occasioned them, and the want of securities against their revival.[*] Their object was, to obtain a real and effectual security, by making the appointment of public officers dependent upon the approbation of parliament. This, among many other beneficial regulations, had already been enacted in Scotland;[†] and a bill to the same effect had been introduced into the English House of Commons.[‡] The object of the remonstrance was, to prepare the way for this bill; and had the majority which passed the remonstrance been a large one, the bill would have been pressed with almost a certainty of success; the majority, however, being small, it was permitted for the present to drop.
The first act of Charles, on his return to the capital, was to dismiss a guard, which the parliament, in their alarm at the incident, had appointed under the Earl of Essex for their own protection. Hume plainly insinuates that their alarm was feigned,[§] which is exactly of a piece with all the rest of the story, as he tells it. The guard was no more than what is allowed to every petty court of justice; and when an attempt was made to circumvent the principal leaders of the popular party in Scotland, the leaders of that party in England had surely some reason for alarm. In lieu of the guard which he dismissed, the king offered them another; but they chose rather to dispense with a guard altogether, than to accept one under a commander of his appointment.[¶]
Various circumstances now contributed to hasten a breach. By the power of impressing any of his subjects at pleasure, the king could inflict a severe punishment upon any one who might be obnoxious to him for any reason. The bill which was before the House, for pressing soldiers to serve against the Irish rebels, seemed to offer a favourable opportunity for redressing this grievance; and a clause, directed against the power of arbitrary imprisonment, was inserted in the bill, and sent up to the Lords along with it.[∥] That Charles should willingly acquiesce in this invasion of his power, was certainly not to be expected; and in violation of parliamentary privilege, he came to the upper House, while the bill was there depending, and declared that he would not pass the bill if it contained any such clause.[*] The growing strength of the popular party had already begun to alarm the aristocracy; and the Lords endeavoured to delay the bill, not daring openly to reject it.
Although the designs of Charles were, as yet, by no means matured, he had the imprudence to act as if they had already been successful. Sir Henry Vane was dismissed from his office, for no apparent cause except the evidence he had given against Strafforde. A frivolous accusation was brought by Charles himself against Lord Newport, another material witness on the same great occasion. And he unaccountably chose this time to publish a proclamation, for conformity to the established church and worship;[†] thus clearly manifesting a determination to refuse all the demands of the Commons with respect to religion. At the same time, he gave fresh cause for alarm, by dismissing Sir William Balfour, Lieutenant of the Tower, and appointing in his stead one Colonel Lunsford, who was actually under outlawry for an attempt at assassination. Meanwhile, the king had collected round him a number of discharged officers and soldiers who, together with some royalist gentlemen, and students of the inns of court, formed, under the command of Lunsford and others, a sort of irregular guard, ready to act as circumstances might require.
Against the appointment of Lunsford as Lieutenant of the Tower, petitions were presented, and resolutions passed:[‡] when these were found ineffectual, Lord Newport, Constable of the Tower, was ordered by the parliament to reside within it, as a check upon Lunsford; but was immediately dismissed from his office. And when at length the king felt himself under the necessity of dismissing Lunsford, he appointed Sir John Byron, who was almost equally obnoxious.
The alarm of the Commons was still further heightened, when twelve of the bishops, alleging that their access to the House of Peers was obstructed by the mob, protested against any thing which might be done in their absence. This, it will be remembered, was the very artifice which had already been employed to invalidate the proceedings of the general assembly fo the Scottish church. The bishops were impeached and thrown into confinement.[§] Their conduct, though in itself merely contemptible, and utterly unworthy of notice, was calculated, from the accompanying circumstances, to give serious reason for alarm. The protestation, before it was presented to parliament, had been communicated to the king, and approved by him. This even Hume calls an “egregious imprudence.”[*] But was it no more? A declaration of the king (for having received his approbation it was his), that whatever the parliament might hereafter do, was by him considered to be invalid, and, therefore, not binding upon him, however he might find it convenient to give it his nominal assent—was this no more than an imprudence? To the impartial reader, it may perhaps appear to be treachery, and treachery of the basest, because of the most pernicious, kind.
“A few days after,” says Hume, “the king was betrayed into another indiscretion, still more fatal; an indiscretion, to which all the ensuing disorders and civil wars ought immediately and directly to be ascribed. This was the impeachment of Lord Kimbolton and the five members.”[†]
Even this admission from Hume is important. The measure, however, to which, as he truly says, the war which ensued is directly to be ascribed; the measure by which the king declared open war against his parliament, and demonstrated that his ever cordially acquiescing in the just and necessary diminution of his power was hopeless; this measure, which, in a most artful and plausible manner, Hume labours to represent as the effect of passion and precipitation,[‡] had actually been resolved upon before the king left Scotland.
In justice to Hume, it is necessary to state, that the correspondence between Charles and Secretary Nicholas, by which this important fact is completely and indisputably established, had not, at the time when he wrote, been given to the world.[§] Enough, however, was even then known to render it almost certain, that this violent measure had been long premeditated, and was by no means adopted, as he represents, in a moment of haste. The whole conduct of the king, from his arrival at Whitehall; the dismissal of the guard under Essex; the appointment of Lunsford and Byron to the command of the Tower; the large number of reformed officers whom he had assembled round him, and the threatening language which they held; all these are important articles of circumstantial evidence, and the exact similarity of the project to the Scottish incident, renders it probable that both were part of the same preconcerted plan of operations.
The charges against the six members, Kimbolton, Hampden, Hollis, Pym, Hazlerig, and Strode, were, that they had attempted to subvert the fundamental laws, to alienate the people from the king, and deprive him of his authority, that they had endeavoured to draw the king’s army into disobedience, had encouraged a foreign power to invade the kingdom, had countenanced tumults, and lastly, had conspired to levy, and actually had levied, war against the king.
With the exception of the latter charge, which we do not understand, there was none of these accusations which was not equally applicable to a great majority of the parliament: if the leaders were guilty of high treason, so also were all those who had followed in their steps. Resistance was now an act of self-defence. In a period of peace and order, when a fair trial can be rationally hoped for, if the accused does not submit to it, he may fairly be presumed to be guilty; but such rules are not applicable to a crisis like the present; deprived of their leaders, the parliament would have been an easy prey to their infuriated enemy: war might now be regarded as openly declared, the king was plainly the aggressor, and on his head were all the consequences which might ensue.
A party was sent, by the sole authority of the king, to seal up the trunks and doors of the impeached members. This conduct the Commons declared to be a breach of privilege;[*] meanwhile, a serjeant at arms came to the lower house, and demanded the five members. The Commons hereupon appointed a committee to acquaint the king, that his message was so important as to require a serious consideration, but that they would return an answer as speedily as possible, and in the meantime would take care that the members should be ready to answer to the accusation. Without replying to this message, Charles came in person, the next day, to the lower house, “accompanied,” says Hume, “by his ordinary retinue to the number of above two hundred, armed as usual, some with halberds, some with walking staves.”[†] Thus much could not be concealed; but the fact was, that, in addition to his ordinary retinue, he was accompanied by the lately-enlisted guards, and that the whole number of his attendants was not less than five hundred; in addition to which, the gentlemen from the inns of court, who had recently been gained over, were ordered to be ready at an hour’s notice. The king’s followers used the most insulting and threatening language towards the Commons, and some of them asked, “When comes the word?” Being questioned afterwards by a committee of the House of Commons, what they meant by that expression, they answered that “questionless, in the posture they were set, if the word had been given, they should have fallen upon the House of Commons, and cut all their throats.”[‡] It was further proved, that a hundred stand of arms, and two barrels of gunpowder, with match and shot in proportion, were sent, on this very day, from the Tower to Whitehall, with the knowledge of the lieutenant.[*] All these facts, which Hume prudently conceals, render it manifest that the employment of force, if any resistance should be offered, had been fully determined on beforehand. The five members, however, having received timely notice of the king’s intention, had already left the house.
The same evening, they removed for protection into the city, whither Lord Digby proposed to follow them, “with a select company of gentlemen,” says Clarendon, “whereof Sir Thomas Lunsford was one, to seize upon them and bring them away alive, or leave them dead in the place, which,” he continues, “must have had a wonderful effect.”[†] The king chose rather to go in person into the city and demand them; but, though he was received without disrespect, he obtained no encouragement.* A petition against his late proceedings was presented, two days afterwards, from the city, but received an evasive answer.[‡] The total failure of the intended arrest had, for the present, disconcerted Charles’s plans; he issued a proclamation for the apprehension of the impeached members, and immediately retired from the capital.
Here was another fine opportunity for pathos:
the king, [says Hume,] apprehensive of danger from the enraged multitude, had retired to Hampton Court, deserted by all the world, and overwhelmed with grief, shame, and remorse, for the fatal measures into which he had been hurried. His distressed situation he could no longer ascribe to the rigours of destiny, or the malignity of enemies. His own precipitancy and indiscretion must bear the blame of whatever disasters should henceforth befal him.[§]
This may, for aught we know, be very pathetic; but it is wholly untrue. We pass over the insinuation of danger from the multitude, where there is no appearance that there was, and great appearance that there was not, any danger whatever. There is falsehood at the very root of the whole. The king, who is described as having left London thus overwhelmed by remorse, left it with a determination immediately to make war upon his people.
The labyrinth of falsehood in which Hume found it necessary to involve himself, in order to exonerate Charles from the criminality of the ensuing war, is in itself no trifling presumptive evidence of that monarch’s guilt. In the first place, it was necessary to make it appear that the parliament were the aggressors; that they were encroaching upon him, not he upon them; that he was upholding that ancient constitution which they were endeavouring to destroy. For this purpose it was necessary to dwell minutely upon the most trifling instances of discretionary power in former reigns, and to make it appear that there was systematic despotism, where there was really nothing systematic at all; that there was a regular and definite constitution, when even the forms of public business had nothing settled or defined, and the substance still less than the forms.[*] In the next place, supposing this to have been established, what does it prove? It might have been retorted, that although the Commons had aimed at subverting the ancient constitution, yet, if the ancient constitution was a bad one, to subvert it was not only excusable, but meritorious. That it was a bad one, Hume admits; since he says it was a despotism; and no one but a supporter of despotism would blame those who resisted it. All this might have been said, Hume himself felt how justly; it being impossible, therefore, to blame the resistance itself, there still, however, remained two things to blame, the time and manner of the resistance, and the extent to which they pushed it. The manner, he represents as insidious, harsh, and cruel;[†] and the insinuations, for they are insinuations rather than reasons, by which he supports this representation, leave no other inference, than that he disapproved of the resistance itself: on no ground can resistance at that period be condemned, which would not be an equally good ground for condemning resistance at any period; on no ground can resistance by the means which they adopted, and which were the only means that they could adopt, be disapproved of, unless upon the supposition that they ought not to have resisted at all. So much for the means. Next, as to the extent of the resistance, it is Hume’s indefatigable endeavour, to prove that, after having obtained the temporary cessation of immediate oppression, they should have stopt short and left Charles with full possession to re-establish it: that so long as they resisted present tyranny, they were right; so soon as they attempted to obtain future security, they were wrong; an inference which the experience of every age and nation laughs to scorn; but which it was only for that reason the more necessary to support by falsehood and concealment. For this it is, that all the pretended perils of the king are magnified into the most serious dangers, while the well-grounded fears of the popular party are derided as visionary, or exclaimed against as feigned alarms—feigned for the mere purpose of stimulating the passions of the populace. For this, did Hume, with the evidence before him, ridicule the army-plot as an unfounded and calumnious imputation, and slur over the royalist conspiracy in Scotland, without even adverting to it as a subject of controversy. For this, finally, does he represent the project of resorting to arms, as having originated with the parliament; and as having been adopted by Charles, only in consequence of the attempt to wrest from him the power of the sword:[*] though Clarendon admits that Charles, before he left Whitehall, despatched the Earl of Newcastle to seize and garrison Hull; and that at the same time it was resolved, that the queen should proceed to Portsmouth, which Goring, the governor, had already engaged to surrender.[†] Not a trace of this is to be found in Hume, who abandons even the royalist historians, when by any accident they deviate into sincerity and candour.
In the same spirit, when Charles’s band of discarded officers, with Lunsford at their head, retired to Kingston-upon-Thames, and when Digby, having gone to them by the king’s command, accepted of their service in the king’s name, arms and ammunition being at that very time actually on their passage to the same place; the following is Hume’s version of this transaction: “Lord Digby having entered Kingston in a coach and six, attended by a few livery servants, the intelligence was conveyed to London, and it was immediately voted that he had appeared in a hostile manner, to the terror and affright of his majesty’s subjects, and had levied war against the king and kingdom.”[‡] Would it be believed, that Digby himself, in his apologetical defence of his conduct, admits that “many soldiers and commanders” were assembled at Kingston, and that he was sent there to convey his majesty’s good acceptance of their service?[§]
There can be little doubt that the purpose of Charles, at this juncture, was to assemble troops and march upon London, where a sure person was already in command of the Tower. This design, however, was frustrated by the vigilance of the Commons. The arms and ammunition which were on their passage to Kingston were stopped, and any attempt in that quarter was guarded against, by raising the four neighbouring counties. Goring was enjoined to obey no orders but such as came from the king and parliament: Sir John Hotham was sent as governor, with similar orders, to Hull. Hume, while he dwells invidiously upon these precautionary measures, omits to state the motives by which they were occasioned, and leaves it to be inferred, that they were acts of unprovoked aggression. Sir John Byron, Governor of the Tower, was ordered to attend the parliament and give an account of certain suspicious proceedings: on his refusal, he was voted a delinquent, a guard was placed round the Tower, and the king was petitioned for his removal, which was at length granted, now when he could be of no further use.[¶]
The immediate designs of Charles being thus defeated, the queen, under pretence of conveying her daughter, the Princess Mary, to her husband in Holland, went abroad to solicit assistance from foreign states, and raise money on the security of the crown jewels.* Meanwhile, the king resolved to temporize till he could reach a place of security, where he might organize an army.
A bill for removing the bishops from parliament had already passed both houses; and now, together with the bill for impressment,[*] received the royal assent. These bills, which he found it necessary to pass, when he feared least the queen should be detained in England by the parliament, he never intended to observe; and we are told by Clarendon that he satisfied his conscience with the wretched subterfuge, that in their passage through the houses there had been something like constraint. Hume, though compelled to acknowledge this piece of jesuitry in a note, has the boldness to say, “neither Clarendon, nor any other of the royalists, ever justify him from insincerity, as not supposing that he had ever been accused of it.”[†] He asserts, moreover, that this scruple of the king affected only the two bills in question;[‡] directly in the teeth of Clarendon (an unquestionable authority), who says, “I doubt this logic had an influence upon other acts, of no less moment than these.”†
The bill for vesting the command of the militia in officers appointed by parliament, was the pretext, rather than the cause of the final breach.[§] By this bill, the parliament did not arrogate to themselves a greater power than the parliament of the present day constantly exercises by means of the annual mutiny-bill. In the posture of affairs at that time, it is not too much to say that it was absolutely necessary. The king still continued to temporize. Hume wishes it to be understood, that he had even yet no intention of war;[*] though even Clarendon does not attempt to conceal that, before the queen left England, not only had he resolved upon war, but had even promised never to make peace without her consent. Yet, even now, and long after, he continued to declare with the most solemn asseverations before God, that he had no thought of making war. Even after a supply of arms had been received from Holland, and when his warlike preparations were already far advanced, he issued a declaration, expressing in the strongest terms his abhorrence of such a design; and this declaration was signed by all the lords and counsellors present, not excepting the virtuous Lord Falkland;[†] of all which, not a word in Hume. At length, after some acrimonious correspondence between the king and parliament, and a fruitless attempt on the part of Charles to obtain admittance into Hull, he erected his standard at Nottingham, and hostilities commenced.
Thus, for the gratification of his own appetite for power, did Charles voluntarily plunge his country into all the horrors of a civil war. Next in immorality to the monarch, who could perpetrate, with his eyes open, this greatest of all crimes, may justly be reckoned the historian who could praise it, and who could hold up such detestable selfishness to the applause of the world, under the high-sounding names of conscience and of principle.
Had Charles succeeded in his guilty undertaking, we have it on unquestionable authority, that of the more moderate men in his own party, that all appearance of moderation would have been discarded from his counsels, and that he would have been wholly governed by the most furious of the royalists, particularly by his Catholic queen, and her Catholic faction. Such was the opinion of Lord Savile, afterwards Earl of Sussex; such was known to be the opinion of Lord Falkland; and such, from the letters of Lord Spencer, another distinguished royalist, Mr. Brodie proves to have been his opinion also.[‡] These men, who had not utterly discarded all regard for their afflicted country, dreaded almost as much the success of their own, as that of the opposite party.
More than once during the war, negotiations were opened for a treaty; and Hume, as often as he can, endeavours to throw the blame of their failure upon the parliament;[§] but Clarendon informs us, that the king’s overtures were feigned, and that from the beginning he was resolved against peace, upon any other terms than absolute submission; “the promise to the queen having shut out all opposite consultations.”[*]
As it is not our intention to write a history of the civil wars, we shall content ourselves with sketching the rise and progress of the dissentions in the popular party itself; a portion of history which even Mr. Brodie seems not fully to comprehend, though his conception of it is more correct than that of any former historian.
Of the two sets of men into which the popular party was divided, because one set called themselves Presbyterians, and the other set Independents, it has been supposed that the contest between them was mainly a religious dispute. In reality, it was essentially a struggle for power. The parliament, we have already observed, was an aristocracy, and, like every other aristocracy, it split into factions. It would have done the same thing had there been no religious disputes; though, as there were, the two parties naturally fell in with the two sects. Religion merely constituted that bond of union, which otherwise would certainly have been supplied by something else.
These calamitous dissentions were heightened by the death of the two men of highest character in the party, Hampden and Pym, which threw the government into the hands of such men as St. John, Hollis, Hazlerig, and Vane; men, for the most part, either unprincipled, or weak; and enabled one man of superior talents, to subdue one party, overreach the other, and raise himself to sovereignty upon the ruins of both.
Various circumstances combined to make the Presbyterian party, and the aristocratic, coincide. In the first place, the Independent tenets were nearly akin to republicanism. In the next place, the Scottish covenanters were bigotted Presbyterians. Further, the military leaders, being novi homines, were the great opponents of the aristocracy; but the military leaders were naturally of that religion which enabled them, in the capacity of preachers, to secure to themselves an undivided ascendancy over the soldiers, whose obedience they must otherwise have been content to share with the ministers of religion. Add to this, that Independency, excluding persecution, was the religion of the enlightened, and the enlightened are necessarily enemies to aristocracy. The leaders of the Independents were Vane and Cromwell; of the Presbyterians, Hollis, who was driven, we are told, into that party, principally by jealousy of those eminent men.[†]
Though weak, and in numbers insignificant in the commencement, the Independent party gained strength with the continuance of the war, by the gradual rise to power of the military leaders. But the epoch of their decisive victory was the self-denying ordinance,[‡] which, by excluding all members of either house from civil and military employments, threw the command of the army into the hands of Fairfax and Skippon, both of whom belonged to the Independent party.
Of the mode in which the Independents effected the passing of this act, Hume has borrowed from Clarendon a long account, which it is scarcely possible to believe that he did not know to be false.[*] The story is, that they caused a general fast to be proclaimed the day before, and procured the preachers at all the churches in the metropolis to exert themselves strenuously on that day in favour of the measure; of which concurrence they afterwards availed themselves, as a declaration from heaven in its favour. Now, Rushworth, who is also quoted by Hume, gives a circumstantial account of the whole proceedings, with dates and speeches, proving, says Mr. Brodie, “that the new model was resolved upon before a fast was even voted, and that the ordinance itself had undergone the fullest discussion before the fast was held:”[†] that the fast, moreover, when it did take place, was kept only by the two Houses, and not by the public, so that there could not possibly be that concurrence in the language of the different preachers on that day, which is pretended.
The self-denying ordinance was unquestionably a stroke of party, but it does not follow that it was a bad measure. Essex, Manchester, and the other aristocratic commanders, were destitute of military skill; and, as it was not their interest that the king should be entirely subdued, they did not exert to the utmost even the talents which they possessed. The new model placed the command of the army in abler and more efficient hands, and was so far good. In what respect it was bad we are yet to learn. If it be said that the new commanders would abuse their power, so also, we answer, would the old ones, or any others, under an equal absence of control. Power, without responsibility, can no more be trusted in the hands of one man, than in those of another.*
At length the decisive defeat of Naseby compelled Charles to throw himself upon the mercy of the Scots. Had this infatuated prince even then been capable of common honesty and fair dealing, he might have retained his throne, and with it a considerable share of power. But while in public he professed a resolution to put an end to the war, and wrote to Ormonde, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, to suspend the negotiations which he had been directed to open with the Irish rebels,[‡] he at the same time, sent privately to him, commanding him to disobey; and the result of his intrigues was, the conclusion of a treaty, by which the Irish agreed to pour an army of 20,000 men into Scotland. Even this, however, was not enough. Like most cunning persons, he laid so many trains that they interfered with one another. We shall not here enter into the history of the commission to Glamorgan; that transaction, which was so strenuously denied by the royalist party at the time, and the evidence of which has been so craftily, and, at the same time, so impudently evaded by Hume, who has not scrupled, for that purpose, to make assertions which even the royalists did not venture to hazard in their own vindication. The reader who has drawn his conception of Charles’s character from Hume, if he peruse the evidence as adduced by Mr. Brodie,[*] will be filled with astonishment at finding this paragon of candour to have been as finished a dissembler, and even perjurer, as the page of history can supply; false to his word, nay, false to his oath, and a traitor even to Ormonde, the most devoted of his adherents. “It is impossible,” says Hume, alluding to a letter in which the king tells Ormonde that he never meant Glamorgan to act independently of his control, “it is impossible that any man of honour, however he might dissemble with his enemies, would assert a falsehood in so solemn a manner to his best friend.”[†] Suffice it, then, to say, that Mr. Brodie has shown, that he actually did assert such a falsehood; and has laid open a scene of complicated treachery, which nothing can equal but the disingenuous arts of the historian, who, to pander to the vulgar appetite for an affecting story, has condescended to erect such a man into a hero!
Meanwhile, the struggle between the two parties was rapidly drawing to a crisis: the Presbyterian party still retained a majority in parliament, which was considerably increased since the close of the war: for when, at length, the western counties, so long the seat of military operations, began again to send members to parliament, these members, who were mostly royalists, joined with the Presbyterian party, as the best inclined to monarchy of the two. The grand object of Hollis, and the Presbyterian leaders now was, to rid themselves of the army: but while they were anxious to disband the troops, or send them to fight against the rebels in Ireland, they were by no means equally anxious to pay them their arrears, for which, indeed, they had not the means. The discontents in the army, which this had a tendency to excite, were the grand resource of the Independent party for raising themselves to power. They exerted themselves, not only to stimulate but to organize the malcontents. A council was formed of deputies from every troop, called adjutators, a word afterwards corrupted into agitators: Ireton, son-in-law of Cromwell, a staunch republican, took the lead in their proceedings. Deputies were appointed to negociate with the parliamentary commissioners. Encouraged by their growing strength, they were not content with demanding payment of their arrears. They soon preferred other complaints; they did not object to the Presbyterian church-government, but they objected to its intolerance; and complained that the parliament, notwithstanding the self-denying ordinance, shared all offices among their own body, and appropriated the public money to themselves.
Alarmed at the rising spirit of the army, and sensible that the probability of its quietly disbanding grew every day less and less, the Presbyterian leaders took measures for raising another. The army were guided at this time by men of talents. They acted with promptitude and decision; they possessed themselves of the king’s person (of importance now, when parties were so nearly balanced), and marched, without loss of time, against the parliament. Their professed object was to obtain a speedy dissolution, with a biennial law to secure a frequent change;[*] and, the seclusion, in the mean time, of eleven obnoxious members, including Hollis, Stapleton, Waller, Massey, Maynard,[†] and the other leaders of the Presbyterian party. The two Speakers,[‡] and a great proportion of both Houses, seceded, and joined with the army: after some unavailing attempts at resistance, the parliament was compelled to yield, the eleven members were expelled, and the Independent party became for the present supreme.
Their power, however, was still far from being firmly established. They had yet to conquer the whole Scottish nation; all of whom, whether Royalists or Presbyterians, were their irreconcileable enemies. Even in England, both Presbyterians and Cavaliers were still far from being entirely subdued. Thus situated, the Independent leaders were naturally anxious to obtain the king’s support and sanction to their undertakings, and so far were they, at this time, from meditating the abolition of monarchy, that they offered him better terms than had been proposed before the commencement of the war.
That unhappy prince, however, instead of hearkening to accommodation, only meditated a fresh war upon his people. Courted now by all parties, he was intoxicated by hope, and vainly believed that he had it in his power to hold the balance between them. Without relaxing in his exertions to obtain the aid of the Irish rebels, he was now intriguing with the Scottish commissioners, Laneric and Lauderdale: and at this time was laid, according to Clarendon, the foundation of the famous engagement.[§] So elated was he with the prospect of success in these various intrigues, that he not only rejected the overtures of the Independent leaders, but had the imprudence to give them personal offence. Not long after, finding that his secret plottings began to get wind, he determined upon flight, but managed his enterprise so ill as to fall into the hands of Hammond, Governor of the Isle of Wight, and a faithful adherent of the parliament.
Without one particle of evidence, Hume takes upon himself to assert, that the Independent leaders rejoiced at Charles’s flight because it gave them a pretext for keeping him in close confinement.[*] But why should we suppose them insincere in their wish for an accommodation? It was obviously for their interest; that they thought so, is proved by the mildness of their terms. They were not now so insane as to have any confidence in his sincerity; yet it is not true that they treated him with any degree of severity, beyond what the security of his person absolutely required; and they offered him, even now, better terms than had been proposed by the Presbyterians when he was in the Scottish camp. But Charles had now completed his negotiations with the Scottish commissioners. A clandestine treaty had been concluded, in which he engaged to confirm the covenant, to establish presbytery for three years, and to join in extirpating the sectaries, that is, the Independents. This treaty, which was never intended to be kept, but only to purchase the aid of a Scottish army, and enable Charles to recover the power of the sword, was inclosed in a sheet of lead, and buried in a garden, as it was suspected that the Scottish commissioners might be searched on leaving the Isle of Wight. It was afterwards, however, transmitted to them in London. The warmest advocates of Charles are unable to justify this new attempt to plunge his country into a war. It is in fact so difficult, even of palliation, that Hume found it the shortest course to say nothing about it. His silence, however, is in this case nearly as expressive as his words. Could any thing, even plausible, have been urged, either to justify the treaty, or to invalidate its authenticity, the historian who has ventured to deny the commission to Glamorgan, would not have allowed the “engagement” to pass unnoticed.
Not content with suppressing the truth, he tells a direct falsehood, or rather two: first, he asserts that the vote of the Commons to send no more addresses to the king, and the precautionary measures which they took to prevent his escape, were occasioned solely by his rejecting their terms,[†] when in reality they were occasioned by the detection of his intrigues with the Scots. Secondly, he has described those precautionary measures themselves, as being much more severe than they really were: as may be seen by comparing his statement with that of Herbert, a keen royalist, who, at this time, was in actual attendance upon the king.[‡] Herbert, however, was too honest a man to assert what he knew to be false. From what source Hume drew his statements, or whether from any source, except his own invention, we cannot pretend to determine.
Meanwhile, the effects of the engagement, so the secret treaty was called, began to manifest themselves. The royalists rose in all parts of the kingdom. On the return of Laneric and Lauderdale to their own country, an invasion of England was resolved on by the Scottish parliament,[*] notwithstanding the vehement opposition of Argyle, and the rigid Presbyterians, who, however attached to presbytery, and averse to a republic, would not trust Charles, nor unite themselves to the royalist party.
The renewal of the war, by removing from the English parliament such of its members as held commands in the army, restored a temporary preponderance to the Presbyterian party. The eleven secluded members resumed their seats, and in their turn opened a negotiation with Charles; who, even now, had he agreed to their terms, might have regained considerable authority. But he confidently expected that the success of the insurrection would restore him to absolute power. “Of all the demands of the parliament,” says Hume, “Charles refused only two. Though he relinquished almost every power of the crown, he would neither give up his friends to punishment, nor desert what he esteemed his religious duty.”[†] And upon this foundation, Hume proceeds to ascribe to him a high sense of principle and moral duty, as if he had been in reality a martyr to his friendship and to his religion. It happens rather unfortunately for Hume, that during these negotiations Charles himself writes to Sir William Hopkins, “To deal fairly with you, the great concession I made to-day was merely in order to my escape, of which, if I had not hopes, I had not done.”[‡] And from this and other evidence, which proves him to have been at this time meditating an escape, it is obvious that there was no sincerity in his concessions, that he was only temporizing, and that he made a stand upon the two points of religion and of his friends, merely because he thought them to be the most popular grounds he could choose.*
This letter of Charles is in direct contradiction, by the way, to another also of Hume’s assertions: “Having given his word to the parliament, not to attempt the recovery of his liberty during the treaty, and three weeks after, he would not, by any persuasion, be induced to hazard the reproach of violating that promise.”[*] A very different story, we see, is told by the unhappy monarch himself.
While Charles was thus endeavouring to gain time, with a view to escape, the opportunity passed away. The royalist insurrection was suppressed; the Scottish army was defeated; Hamilton was taken prisoner, and Argyle and his party restored to undisputed sway. Triumphant now in every other quarter, the Independents had only to regain the ascendancy in the legislature. The army marched to London, and purged the parliament of almost all the Presbyterian members, thus finally crushing that party, which never recovered from the blow.
It was now manifest that the king was not to be trusted. No engagement which he might enter into would be held valid one moment longer than while he had not power to set it aside. While he survived, a hundred accidents might restore him to power. The dominant party consulted their own safety by bringing him to the scaffold.
That Charles deserved punishment, it has been our object, throughout this article, to prove. Whether, under a good government, he ought to have been put to death, would have been a question of policy, not a question of justice. He was sacrificed, however, not to the good of the many, but to that of the few, who then happened to possess power. His execution was the act of a nest of despots, removing a rival despot out of their way.
But Hume, whose grand object is, to render his hero interesting, and the enemies of his hero odious, seems to have picked up indiscriminately all the old woman’s stories which he could find, about the prodigious sufferings of Charles, and the unheard of enormities of those by whom he was put to death; to such of them, indeed, as are not of themselves sufficiently pathetic, he adds copiously from his own stores.
It is lamentable to find a writer like Hume, who cannot easily be suspected of credulity, retailing with an air of sincerity, the puerile tales of Clement Walker and Perinchief. The former of these he represents as a writer of vast authority; and why? because he is a parliamentarian.[†] Now we can inform the reader, that there were two sets of parliamentarians—Presbyterians and Independents; each of which hated the other with at least as much bitterness as either hated the royalists: and that Clement Walker happened to belong to that set by whom the regicides were considered to be little better than demons. As for Perinchief, from whom, without acknowledgment, Hume copies whole paragraphs almost word for word, he does not even dare to make a reference to him more than once;[*] well aware that any thing known to rest upon such authority, would never obtain so much as a moment’s belief.
Notwithstanding the length to which this article has extended, there are some of these stories, addressed either ad misericordiam or ad invidiam, which we cannot pass unnoticed. He puts a speech into the mouth of Cromwell, in which he makes him assert, that, when offering up prayers for the king, he felt his tongue cleave to the roof of his mouth. The first part of this speech is taken, without acknowledgment, from Walker; where he found the latter part we know not, except that there is something a little like it in Perinchief, which it is probable that Hume manufactured, to suit his purpose. (See Brodie, Vol. IV, p. 183.)[†]
He next makes up a good story concerning a prophesying woman of Herefordshire, out of a passage in Whitelocke.[‡] The passage, to be sure, does not bear him out in more than one half of the story; but this was nothing to a writer of Hume’s ingenuity; he could easily fill up the outline.
For the same purpose of making a good story, he affirms that Charles, when in the Isle of Wight, allowed his beard to grow as if estranged from the world; when, in reality, he was wholly intent upon the renewal of the war.[§] Now the fact is, that Charles was in the habit of wearing his beard. And what is the foundation of this story? A passage in Perinchief, stating that Charles neglected during that period to have his beard so neatly picked as was his custom![¶] Had not these artifices formed part of a system, we should be ashamed to insist upon things so little worthy of the notice of an historian. But Hume seizes hold of every thing that can be adapted to his purpose, from the gaining of a battle down to the combing of a man’s beard.
“The soldiers, instigated by their superiors, were brought, though with difficulty, to cry aloud for justice. ‘Poor souls,’ said the king to one of his attendants, ‘for a little money they would do as much against their commanders.’ Some of them were permitted to go the utmost length of brutal insolence, and to spit in his face as he was conducted along the passage to the court.”[∥] Now, is it possible to believe that, if this story of the spitting had been true, Herbert, the king’s most faithful attendant, and who was present at the time, would have omitted to mention it? Yet not only does he omit the spitting, but tells a very different story concerning the cry for justice.[*] Hume was not, however, without authority, for Mr. Brodie saw his pencil marks opposite to this story, in the copy of Perinchief belonging to the Advocate’s library.[†]
The silly story of the four lords who offered themselves to suffer instead of Charles, Hume himself quotes from Perinchief, and Lloyde, another writer of equal authority.[‡] The story about the conversation between Charles and the young Duke of Glocester, is taken, without acknowledgment, from Lloyde.[§] Both these tales, if true, must have been known to Herbert, yet he seems not to have been acquainted with them.
From the same Perinchief, Hume drew the ridiculous stories which he gravely relates, concerning women who miscarried, and men who died of grief, at the news of Charles’s execution. There is only one important part of the story which he has omitted to mention; an omission the more surprising, as it is very fully related by Perinchief. We allude to the miracles which were worked by handkerchiefs dipped in the royal martyr’s blood.[¶]
Hume likewise asserts, that, every night during the interval between his trial and his execution, “the king slept sound as usual, though the noise of workmen, employed in forming the scaffold and other preparations for his execution, continually resounded in his ears.”[∥] This, we presume, is meant to be a fine dramatic incident: it is taken from Walker. Not only is it false, but Hume knew it to be such; for Mr. Brodie found his pencil marks in Herbert’s Memoirs, opposite to the very passage in which we are informed that Charles slept at St. James’s, and therefore could not possibly hear the noise of the scaffolding at Whitehall.[**] Even Walker himself unguardedly admits, that he came from St. James’s to Whitehall on the morning of his execution.
But the instance of misrepresentation and misquoting which we have now to mention, is probably unmatched in the pages of any historian of reputation.
A fresh instance of hypocrisy was displayed the very day of the king’s death. The generous Fairfax, not content with being absent from the trial, had used all the interest which he yet retained to prevent the execution of the fatal sentence; and had even employed persuasion with his own regiment, though none else would follow him, to rescue the king from his disloyal murderers. Cromwell and Ireton, informed of this intention, endeavoured to convince him that the Lord had rejected the king; and they exhorted him to seek by prayer some direction from heaven on this important occasion: but they concealed from him that they had already signed the warrant for the execution. Harrison was the person appointed to join in prayer with the unwary general. By agreement, he prolonged his doleful cant until intelligence arrived that the fatal blow was struck; he then rose from his knees, and insisted with Fairfax, that this event was a miraculous and providential answer, which heaven had sent to their devout supplications.[*]
This is another of Perinchief’s stories, though Hume has the assurance to quote Herbert for it. Mr. Brodie has given the very passage of Herbert which Hume had marked in the copy belonging to the Advocate’s library.[†] And what does this passage prove? Merely that Herbert met Fairfax, who had been at prayer with other officers in Harrison’s room, and that from a question which Fairfax casually asked, Herbert inferred that he was ignorant of the king’s execution!
The truth is, that Fairfax was among the foremost in all the measures of the Independent party to a late period: at the Restoration, however, he ratted, and became a courtier, for which reason, as well as his high character, the royalists are eager to exculpate him from all these transactions, and to throw the blame upon any one rather than upon him.
But we have already far exceeded our ordinary limits, and we must refer our readers for further information to Mr. Brodie. One word, however, is required in justice to the memory of that unfortunate and traduced body, the Long Parliament.
They were despots, no doubt: but compare them with other despots—compare them with any English parliament before or since. What British legislature, subsequent to our boasted Revolution, has dared to execute the plans which they devised? Had their authority continued, landed property would have been made liable for simple contract debts; the absurd fictions of fine and recovery would have been abolished; a system of universal registration would have been established for contracts in land; and the whole body of law would have been digested into a code. Bills for all these reforms had been introduced into the Long Parliament,[‡] and were broken off only by its abrupt dissolution. So much for what they would have done. What they did was, perhaps, the most important step to a reform in the law, which in this country has ever been taken, down to the present day. The legal proceedings, which, till that time, had been carried on in Norman-French, were ordered to be henceforth transacted in the vulgar tongue.[*] The abolition, at the same time, of monopolies, and other exclusive privileges, gave a new stimulus to industry and accumulation, and caused wealth to increase with a rapidity before unknown.[†]
The Independent leaders have been as disgracefully calumniated by Hume, in their private, as in their public capacity. He has, indeed, made it his business to hold them up, individually and collectively, to sovereign contempt; yet they were men of the best education which their age and country could afford; men, for the most part, of approved integrity, and many of them of distinguished talent. The reader who wishes for specimens of the inaccuracy and disingenuousness which he has here displayed, may refer, in particular, to his characters of Cromwell, Harrison, Ireton, and Vane, with Mr. Brodie’s remarks.*
We shall not now relate the subjugation of the Presbyterian or monarchical party in Scotland; the forcible dissolution of the Long Parliament, and the elevation of one man to unbounded power; the struggles of that man to maintain himself against the two parties, the royalists on the one hand, and the republicans on the other; the impotent attempt of the Long Parliament to recover their authority at his death, and their renewed dissolution by the army; when the contest degenerated into a struggle between two rival generals,[‡] and he who was victorious found it more for his interest to restore the exiled king, than to take his chance of maintaining himself in that seat which Cromwell himself had scarcely been able to hold. Even Monk, of whose character the lowness and meanness has long been universally acknowledged, is not too contemptible to be made a hero by Hume.[*] But we may now leave this writer, after the specimens we have given, to the fair judgment of the impartial reader.
It is necessary to say something, though our limits preclude us from saying so much as we would wish, on the character of Mr. Brodie as a historian. From what we have said, it will readily be understood, that his principal merits are diligence, accuracy, and perseverance. He displays, too, considerable skill in evolving the facts from a number of scattered, and seemingly unconnected, articles of circumstantial evidence. In the higher qualities of an historian, in aquaintance with the great principles of legislative philosophy, and in that comprehensiveness of intellect, which traces up effects to their causes, and teaches the reader to take in by a coup d’œil the mutual connexion of all the great events of the age, Mr. Brodie has not evinced any extraordinary degree of excellence. His style, though not strikingly deficient, has no peculiar merit. He has produced, nevertheless, one of the most important historical works of which modern English literature has to boast; and although something had already been done by Mr. Laing and Mrs. Macauley, he has added so many new facts, and confirmed by so much new evidence the facts which they had adduced, that we cannot but express a hope that we do not now part with him for ever. We trust that he will persevere in his useful undertaking; that he will carry on his labours to the period immediately following the Restoration, and will render the same service to the history of the second Charles, which he has already rendered to that of the first.
[[*] ]David Hume, The History of England from the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the Revolution in 1688, 8 vols. (London: Cadell, Rivington, et al., 1823). Hereafter cited as Hume, with volume and page references.
[[†] ]Walter Scott, Old Mortality, in Tales of My Landlord, 4 vols. (Edinburgh: Blackwood; London: Murray, 1816), Vols. II-IV; and Ivanhoe: A Romance (Edinburgh: Constable, 1820).
[[‡] ]The phrase derives from Bentham; see, e.g., Plan of Parliamentary Reform, in Works, ed. John Bowring, 11 vols. (Edinburgh: Tait; London: Simpkin, Marshall; Dublin: Cumming, 1843), Vol. III, pp. 440, 446.
[[*] ]See, e.g., Brodie, A History of the British Empire,Vol. II, pp. 292n, 314-15; Vol. III, pp. 311n-12n, 553n. Hereafter cited as Brodie, with volume and page references.
[[†] ]Mill has in mind letters printed in William Bray, ed., “Private Correspondence between King Charles I and His Secretary of State, Sir Edward Nicholas,” in Memoirs, Illustrative of the Life and Writings of John Evelyn, Esq., F.R.S., 2 vols. (London: Colburn, 1818), Vol. II; Gilbert Burnet, The Memoires of the Lives and Actions of James and William Dukes of Hamilton and Castleherald (London: Royston, 1677); Thomas Carte, An History of the Life of James, Duke of Ormonde, 3 vols. (London: Knapton, Strahan, et al., 1735-36); Arthur Collins, ed., Letters and Memorials of State, 2 vols. (London: Osborne, 1746); Thomas Wagstaffe, A Vindication of King Charles the Martyr, 3rd ed. (London: Wilkin, 1711); and Thomas Wentworth, The Earl of Strafforde’s Letters and Despatches, ed. William Knowler, 2 vols. (London: Bowyer, 1739). For specific references, see, e.g., pp. 40, 26, 52, 32, 31 below.
[[*] ]See, e.g., Hume, Vol. VII, pp. 147-8. See also p. 34n below.
[[†] ]Bulstrode Whitelocke, Memorials of the English Affairs (London: Ponder, 1682); Edmund Ludlow, Memoirs, 3 vols. (Vivay: n.p., 1698-99); John Rushworth, Historical Collections, 7 vols. (London: Thomason, Wright and Chiswell, et al., 1659-1701); and Thomas May, The History of the Parliament of England Which Began Nov. the Third, 1640 (London: Thomason, 1647).
[[‡] ]Edward Hyde (Earl of Clarendon), The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England, 3 vols. (Oxford: printed at the Theater, 1702-04).
[[§] ]See, e.g., Hume, Vol. VII, p. 348.
[[*] ]See Edward Hyde, The Life of Edward, Earl of Clarendon (Oxford: Clarendon Printing House, 1759), Pt. II, pp. 69-71.
[[†] ]See Brodie, Vol. III, pp. 315-16.
[[‡] ]Clement Walker, The History of Independency, 2 pts. (London: n.p., 1648-49); Richard Perrinchief, The Royal Martyr; or, The Life and Death of King Charles I (London: Royston, 1676).
[[§] ]Hume, Vol. VI, pp. 203-4, 220.
[[*] ]Ibid., Vol. VII, p. 526.
[[†] ]See, e.g., ibid., Vol. VI, pp. 199, 204, 206, 212, 213, 214, 227-39.
[[‡] ]Ibid., pp. 203, 210-11.
[[§] ]Ibid., Vol. VII, pp. 109-10, 145, 314, 383.
[[¶] ]See Brodie, Vol. III, pp. 19n, 22n-4n, 499n-508n.
[[*] ]Ibid., Vol. I, pp. 47-8, 250.
[[*] ]Ibid., pp. 158ff., 192-4, 244.
[* ]In his very first speech to parliament he acknowledged the Romish church to be his mother church, though defiled with some deformities and impurities; he declared that he would indulge their clergy, if they would but renounce the pope’s supremacy, and his pretended power to grant dispensation for the murder of kings; if they would but abandon their late corruptions, he would meet them half way; but he did not specify what these corruptions were. [Mill is indirectly quoting Brodie, Vol. I, p. 336n, who is referring to James I’s First Speech to Parliament (1603): see The Parliamentary History of England, ed. William Cobbett and John Wright, 36 vols. (London: Bagshaw, Longmans, 1806-20), Vol. I, cols. 982-4 (hereafter cited as Cobbett, with volume and column references).]
[[†] ]Mary (of Scotland).
[[‡] ]See James I’s speech (14 Jan., 1604) in “Proceedings in a Conference at Hampton Court,” in A Complete Collection of State Trials, ed. Thomas Bayly Howell, 34 vols. (London: Longman, et al., 1809-28), Vol. II, col. 35 (hereafter cited as State Trials, with volume and column references).
[[*] ]Brodie, Vol. I, pp. 350-1; for James I’s speech, see the preceding note.
[[†] ]See, e.g., State Trials, Vol. II, cols. 371ff., 899ff.; for the Act against monopolies, see 21 James I, c. 3 (1623).
[[‡] ]Henrietta Maria (of France).
[[*] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 204.
[[†] ]Ibid., pp. 200-7.
[[‡] ]See Villiers’ address of 24 Feb., 1624, to both Houses of Parliament, in Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. III, p. 220.
[[§] ]21 James I, c. 34 (1623).
[[¶] ]See Cobbett, Vol. II, cols. 45-6.
[[∥] ]1 Charles I, c. 6 (1625).
[[**] ]Richard Montagu, Appello Caesarem (London: Lownes, 1625).
[[††] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 210.
[[*] ]See Cobbett, Vol. II, cols. 6-7.
[[†] ]E.g., Hume, Vol. VI, pp. 206, 210, 223, 293.
[[‡] ]Louis XIII.
[[§] ]Cobbett, Vol. II, cols. 26-31.
[[¶] ]Hume, Vol. VI, pp. 209-10.
[[*] ]See Cobbett, Vol. II, cols. 11-16.
[* ]How well founded these remonstrances were, may be seen in Brodie, Vol. II, pp. 77-8, 90-1. [See also Cobbett, Vol. II, cols. 11-12.]
[[†] ]Hume, Vol. VI, pp. 210, 204.
[[‡] ]Including Edward Coke, Robert Phelips, Francis Seymour, and Thomas Wentworth.
[[§] ]Cobbett, Vol. II, cols. 56, 101.
[[¶] ]Hume, Vol. VI, pp. 213-14; see also Cobbett, Vol. II, cols. 47-50.
[[∥] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 226.
[[*] ]See Cobbett, Vol. II, cols. 46, 50-1. For the King’s Speech to Parliament of 28 Mar., 1626, see ibid., col. 60. See also “Articles of Impeachment Exhibited by the Commons against the Duke of Buckingham,” ibid., cols. 106-19.
[[†] ]Hume, Vol. VI, pp. 215-16; Cobbett, Vol. II, col. 55.
[[‡] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 216.
[[§] ]Dudley Digges and John Eliot.
[[*] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 223.
[[†] ]Ibid., p. 224.
[[‡] ]See “Proceedings on the Habeas Corpus, Brought by Sir Thomas Darnel, Sir John Corbet, Sir Walter Earl, Sir John Heveningham, and Sir Edward Hampden, . . . 1627,” in State Trials, Vol. III, cols. 51-9.
[[§] ]Roger Maynwaring, Religion and Allegiance: In Two Sermons (London: Badger, 1627).]
[[¶] ]See Cobbett, Vol. II, cols. 248-53.
[[∥] ]Hume, Vol. VII, p. 147.
[[*] ]Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 220.
[[†] ]Brodie, Vol. II, pp. 174-5. For the five subsidies, see 3 Charles I, c. 7 (1627).
[[‡] ]For the debate on Supply, see Cobbett, Vol. II, cols. 253-6; the “Petition of Right” was enacted as 3 Charles I, c. 1 (1627).
[* ]Hume [Vol. VI, p. 246].
[[§] ]Cobbett, Vol. II, col. 377.
[[¶] ]“The Declaration of the Commons against Roger Manwaring,” in Cobbett, Vol. II, cols. 388-90; for the sentence mentioned below (1628), see State Trials, Vol. III, col. 356.
[[∥] ]Hume, Vol. VI, pp. 257-8.
[[*] ]3 Charles I, c. 7 (1627).
[[†] ]“Remonstrance of the Commons against the D. of Bucks, as Being the Cause of All Grievances,” in Cobbett, Vol. II, cols. 420-7.
[[‡] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 259.
[[§] ]See Cobbett, Vol. II, cols. 431-4.
[[¶] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 265; Cobbett, Vol. II, cols. 410, 430, 442.
[[∥] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 147.
[[**] ]Cobbett, Vol. II, cols. 435-7, 443-53, 466; for the Remonstrance and the King’s Declaration, see cols. 488-504.
[[*] ]Including William Coryton, Peter Heyman, Miles Hobart, Walter Long, John Seldon, William Strode, and Benjamin Valentine.
[[†] ]Brodie, Vol. II, pp. 236ff.
[* ]If Hume is to be believed, Laud was perfectly sincere and disinterested. “All his enemies were also imagined by him the declared enemies to loyalty and true piety, and every exercise of his anger, by that means, became in his eyes a merit and a virtue.” [Vol. VI, p. 285.] How Hume knew all this he has not thought it proper to inform us.
[[‡] ]Brodie, Vol. II, pp. 274-403.
[[*] ]Respectively, the “Assize of the Forest” of Henry II (in Select Charters, ed. William Stubbs [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1870], pp. 150-2); 4 Henry VII, c. 19 (1487); 35 Elizabeth, c. 6 (1593).
[[†] ]Brodie, Vol. II, p. 275; see also “Proceedings against Mr. Richard Chambers, in the Star-Chamber, for Seditious Speeches before the Privy-Council, 1629,” in State Trials, Vol. III, cols. 373-5.
[[‡] ]See Rushworth, Historical Collections, Vol. III, pp. 68-9, and Vol. II, pp. 348-9.
[[§] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 306.
[[¶] ]Ibid., Vol. VII, p. 38.
[* ]Hume, with his usual candour, constantly represents the disputes about religion as involving nothing but mere ceremonies: “the surplice, the rails placed about the altar, the bows exacted on approaching it, the liturgy, the breach of the sabbath, embroidered capes, lawn sleeves, the use of the ring in marriage, and of the cross in baptism. On account of these,” says he, “were the popular leaders content to throw the government into such violent convulsions.” [Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 388.] Can disingenuousness go beyond this?
[[*] ]Thomas Chouneus, Collectiones theologicarum quarundam conclusionum, ex diversis authorum sententiis . . . excerptae (London: Seyle, 1635).
[[†] ]Alexander Leighton, An Appeal to the Parliament (Amsterdam: successors of G. Thorp, 1629).
[* ]Brodie, Vol. II, p. 313 [based on “Proceedings in the Star-Chamber against Dr. Alexander Leighton, for a Libel, 1630,” in State Trials, Vol. III, col. 385].
[† ]This assertion by the way is proved by Mr. Brodie to be false. [Vol. II, pp. 313-14.]
[‡ ]Hume [Vol. VI, p. 295].
[[*] ]William Prynne, Histrio-Mastix (London: Sparke, 1633); the sentence is given in “Proceedings against Wm. Prynn, Esq. in the Star-Chamber, . . . 1632-33,” in State Trials, Vol. III, col. 576.
[[†] ]John Bastwick, Flagellum pontificis ([Holland:] n.p., 1633).
[[‡] ]Prynne, Newes from Ipswich (Ipswich [Edinburgh: Anderson], 1636); Bastwick, Πράξεις τὸν ἐπισκόπων, sive Apologeticus ([London:] n.p., 1636), and The Letany of John Bastwick ([London:] n.p., 1637).
[[§] ]For the sentences, see “Proceedings in the Star-Chamber against Dr. John Bastwick, Mr. Henry Burton, and William Prynne, Esq. for Several Libels, 1637,” in State Trials, Vol. III, cols. 725 and 755.
[[¶] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 307; Henry Burton, For God and King: The Summe of Two Sermons ([London:] n.p., 1636).
[* ]Brodie, Vol. II, p. 319 [based on “Proceedings in the Star-Chamber against David Fowlis, . . . 1633,” in State Trials, Vol. III, cols. 585-92].
[* ][See Brodie, Vol. II, p. 367; and “Proceedings in the Star-Chamber against Dr. John Williams, Bishop of Lincoln, . . . 1637,” in State Trials, Vol. III, cols. 769-804.] A curious rule of evidence was laid down on this occasion. Whatever might be brought in evidence against the accused, he was not allowed to rebut it by counter-evidence, because this would be to impeach the credit of the king’s witnesses, who, deposing pro domino rege, must be reputed holy, and incapable of falsehood. This rule was afterwards found very convenient by Charles II, and his judges. [See Catharine Macaulay, The History of England, from the Accession of James I to That of the Brunswick Line, 8 vols. (London: Nourse, 1763-83), Vol. II, p. 236n.]
[[*] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 320.
[[†] ]Ibid., p. 319.
[[‡] ]Ibid., p. 309.
[[*] ]See Charles I, 1633, c. 9, “The Kings Generall Revocatione,” in The Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, 1124-1707, ed. T. Thomson and C. Innes, 12 vols. (Edinburgh: “By Command,” 1814-75), Vol. V, p. 23. The revocation, of Oct., 1625, was confirmed in 1633.
[[†] ]See Charles I (1628-29), “Submissions and Surrenders of Teinds, &c. with His Majestie’s Decreets Following Thereupon,” and Charles I (1630), “Ratification of the King’s Decreets upon the Submissions,” ibid., pp. 189-207, and 209-26.
[[‡] ]See Charles I (1633), “Domini electi ad articulos,” ibid., pp. 9-10.
[[§] ]See Charles I (1639), “Domini electi ad articulos,” ibid., pp. 253-4.
[[¶] ]See James I, 1621, c. 1, ibid., Vol. IV, pp. 596-7.
[[∥] ]See Charles I, 1633, c. 3, ibid., Vol. V, pp. 20-1.
[[*] ]See “Trial of John Lord Balmerino, in Scotland, for a Libel, 1634,” in State Trials, Vol. III, cols. 604-8, 593, 712; the friend was John Dunmore (or Dunmure).
[[†] ]The Booke of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments (Edinburgh: printed by Young, 1637), and Canons and Constitutions Ecclesiastical Gathered and Put in Form for the Government of the Church of Scotland (Aberdeen: printed by Raban, 1636).
[[‡] ]David Lindsay, Bishop of Edinburgh.
[[§] ]See Rushworth, Historical Collections, Vol. II, pp. 830-3.
[[¶] ]See Charles I, 1640, c. 18, in Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, Vol. V, pp. 270-6; the Covenant, or Confession of Faith (drawn up and signed in 1638) is on pp. 272-6.
[[*] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 330.
[[†] ]See Burnet, Memoires, pp. 53-4.
[* ][Letter to Hamilton of 11 June, 1638, ibid., p. 55.] A more remarkable picture than is exhibited in these letters, of a mind so thoroughly depraved by undue power as to lose all concern for the rest of mankind, is scarcely anywhere to be found. The king deliberately weighs his own grandeur against the prosperity of millions, and coolly gives the preference to the former.
[[‡] ]Hume, Vol. VII, pp. 526, 526, 523.
[[§] ]See Burnet, Memoires, pp. 72-8.
[[¶] ]E.g., ibid., letters of 29 Oct. and 17 Nov., 1638, pp. 88, 99-100.
[[*] ]See “Minutes Done in the Articles,” and Charles I, 1640, c. 19, in Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, Vol. V, pp. 599, and 276-7.
[[†] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 343.
[[‡] ]Ibid., Vol. VII, p. 147.
[[§] ]Charles I, 1640, c. 21, in Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, Vol. V, pp. 278-9.
[[¶] ]Charles I, 1640, c. 12, ibid., p. 268.
[[∥] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 345; for the letter, see Cobbett, Vol. II, col. 534.
[[*] ]Cobbett, Vol. II, cols. 561-71.
[[†] ]For the King’s Declaration, see ibid., cols. 572-9.
[[‡] ]Henry Bellasis, John Crew, and John Hotham.
[[§] ]See John Nalson, An Impartial Collection, 2 vols. (London: Mearne, et al., 1682-83), Vol. I, p. 362; see also a letter from the Council of Ireland to Secretary Windebank of 19 Mar., 1639, in Earl of Strafforde’s Letters, Vol. II, pp. 394-5.
[[¶] ]Hume, Vol. VI, pp. 364, 372, 375.
[[*] ]“Articles of the Commons, Assembled in Parliament, against Thomas Earl of Strafford,” in Cobbett, Vol. II, cols. 737-9.
[[†] ]See “The Accusation and Impeachment of John Lord Finch, 1641,” and “Articles of the Commons Assembled in Parliament, in Maintenance of Their Accusation against William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, . . . 1641,” in State Trials, Vol. IV, cols. 11-14, and 326-30.
[[‡] ]Including, among the judges, Robert Berkeley, John Bramston, Francis Crawley, and Humphrey Davenport; among the ecclesiastics, John Cosin, William Piers, and Matthew Wren; and among “others,” Francis Windebanke.
[[§] ]16 Charles I, c. 14 and c. 20 (1640).
[[¶] ]See the preambles to 16 Charles I, c. 8 (1640), and subsequent grants in that year.
[[∥] ]See, e.g., Cobbett, Vol. II, cols. 673-8.
[[**] ]Hume, Vol. VI, pp. 386-7.
[* ]Even Hume admits, that throughout the whole of the troubles (such was the moderation of the Commons), Juxon, Lord-Treasurer and Bishop of London, notwithstanding those obnoxious offices, was preserved by his “mild and prudent virtues” from molestation. [Ibid., p. 395.]
[[*] ]16 Charles I, c. 1 (1640).
[[†] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 391.
[[‡] ]Ibid., p. 396.
[* ][James Mackintosh,] Vindiciae Gallicae, [2nd ed. (London: Robinson, 1791),] p. 95.
[[§] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 397.
[[¶] ]See “Proceedings against Sir George Ratcliffe, Knt. on an Impeachment for High Treason: 1640,” and “Impeachment of . . . Sir George Ratcliffe, Knt. before the House of Lords in Ireland, 1641,” in State Trials, Vol. IV, cols. 47-52, and 51-8.
[[*] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 399.
[[†] ]Brodie, Vol. III, pp. 47-75.
[[‡] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 399; see letters from Strafford to the Lord Treasurer and Secretary Coke of 31 Jan., 1633, and to King Charles I of 16 July, 1633, in Earl of Strafforde’s Letters, Vol. I, pp. 193-4, 201, and 93.
[[§] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 401.
[[*] ]Ibid., pp. 401-2. See also Strafford’s letters to Mountnorris of 19 Aug., 1632, to Secretary Coke of 7 Apr., 1635, and 14 Dec., 1635, and to Lord Conway of 6 Jan., 1637, in Earl of Strafforde’s Letters, Vol. I, pp. 73-4, 402-3, 497-8; Vol. II, p. 145. The sentence is recorded ibid., Vol. I, pp. 499-501.
[* ]Not Strafforde merely, but Charles, were sufficiently disposed, on this occasion, to carry their point by falsehood. “On the 10th of September 1640, Northumberland writes, in cypher, to the Earl of Leicester, that he doubts the king is not very well satisfied with him—because he will not perjure himself for Lord Lieutenant Strafforde.” (Brodie, Vol. III, p. 83.) [Brodie is quoting from Letters and Memorials of State, Vol. II, pp. 664-5.]
[[†] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 399.
[[‡] ]Ibid., pp. 397, 402-3; Brodie, Vol. III, pp. 76ff.
[[*] ]See Hume, Vol. VI, pp. 404-5.
[[†] ]See Matthew Hale, Historia placitorum coronae, ed. Sollom Emlyn, 2 vols. (London: Gyles, et al., 1736), Vol. I, p. 509.
[[‡] ]Hume, Vol. VI, pp. 406-7.
[* ]This mode of procedure (by bill of attainder) which, in the case of Strafforde, is represented as so irregular and iniquitous, is the same which was adopted on the trial of Sir John Fenwick [see 8 William III, c. 4 (1696)], at a period subsequent to the “glorious revolution,” and under the government of William III of “immortal memory.” [For these phrases, see Whig Club, Instituted in May, 1784, by John Bellamy, to Be Composed of Gentlemen, Who Solemnly Pledge Themselves to Support the Constitution of This Country, according to the Principles Established at the Glorious Revolution ([London: n.p., 1786]), which gives the first “Standing Toast”: “The glorious and immortal memory of King William the Third” (p. 15).]
[[§] ]16 Charles I, Private Acts, c. 1 (1640).
[[*] ]Hume, Vol. VI, pp. 410-11.
[[†] ]“The True Copy of the Petition Prepared by the Officers of the Late Army, and Subscribed by His Majesty, with C.R.,” in An Exact Collection of All Remonstrances, Declarations, Votes, Orders, Ordinances, Proclamations, Petitions, Messages, Answers, and Other Remarkable Passages (“Husbands’ Collection”) (London: Husbands, Warren, and Best, 1643), pp. 563-4.
[[‡] ]See Hyde, History, Vol. I, pp. 192-5, for this and the next two references.
[[§] ]See Brodie, Vol. III, pp. 109n-14n, and “Note to Volume III,” pp. 583-607, for the references in this paragraph.
[[¶] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 419.
[* ]The king solemnly called God to witness, that he never knew of such a design as that of bringing up the army. [Brodie, Vol. III, pp. 323-4.] Now, whether he encouraged it or not, he certainly knew of it, since it is admitted that he countersigned the petition. What trust, then, could be reposed in the assertions of a man, who could swear to so gross a falsehood?
[[∥] ]Hume, Vol. VI, pp. 417-18.
[[*] ]See Cobbett, Vol. II, cols. 786-7; the bill was enacted as 16 Charles I, c. 7 (1640).
[[†] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 416.
[[‡] ]See 16 Charles I, c. 10 and c. 11 (1640).
[[*] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 426.
[[†] ]See ibid., pp. 425-9.
[[‡] ]Ibid., p. 428.
[[*] ]Hyde, History, Vol. I, p. 236.
[[†] ]Hume, Vol. VII, p. 44n.
[* ]See the evidence taken before a secret committee of the parliament, and published by Mr. [Malcolm] Laing, in his History of Scotland [2 vols. (London: Cadell and Davies, 1800), Vol. I, pp. 501-7].
[[‡] ]“The Remonstrance of the State of the Kingdom,” in Cobbett, Vol. II, cols. 946-64.
[[§] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 449.
[[*] ]See the Petition accompanying the Remonstrance, in Cobbett, Vol. II, cols. 943-6.
[[†] ]Charles I, 1641, c. 21, in Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, Vol. V, pp. 354-5.
[[‡] ]See clause ii of the Petition accompanying the Remonstrance, in Cobbett, Vol. II, col. 945.
[[§] ]Hume, Vol. VI, pp. 428-9, 462-3.
[[¶] ]For the Commons’ Petition and the King’s Answer, see Cobbett, Vol. II, cols. 1001-2, 1004-5.
[[∥] ]See 16 Charles I, c. 28 (1640); for the clause, see Statutes of the Realm, Vol. V, p. 139 (clause iii).
[[*] ]Cobbett, Vol. II, cols. 968-9.
[[†] ]“A Proclamation for Obedience to the Lawes Ordained for Establishing of the True Religion in This Kingdom of England,” in An Exact Collection, pp. 2-3.
[[‡] ]See Cobbett, Vol. II, cols. 982-4.
[[§] ]“The Humble Petition and Protestation of All the Bishops and Prelates Now Called by His Majesties Writs to Attend the Parliament,” ibid., cols. 993-5; see also “Proceedings against the Twelve Bishops; namely, Dr. John Williams Archbishop of York, Dr. Thomas Moreton Bishop of Durham, Dr. Robert Wright Bishop of Coventry and Litchfield, Dr. Joseph Hall Bishop of Norwich, Dr. John Owen Bishop of St. Asaph, Dr. Robert Skinner Bishop of Oxford, Dr. William Piers Bishop of Bath and Wells, Dr. George Coke Bishop of Hereford, Dr. Matthew Wren Bishop of Ely, Dr. Godfrey Goodman Bishop of Glocester, Dr. John Warner Bishop of Peterborough, and Dr. Morgan Owen Bishop of Llandaff, . . . 1641,” in State Trials, Vol. IV, cols. 63-82.]
[[*] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 465.
[[†] ]Ibid. See also “Articles of High Treason, and Other High Misdemeanours, against the Lord Kimbolton, Mr. Denzill Hollis, Sir Arthur Haslerig, Mr. John Pym, Mr. John Hampden, and Mr. William Strode ,” in State Trials, Vol. IV, col. 85.
[[‡] ]Hume, Vol. VI, pp. 466-7.
[[§] ]Bray’s edition of the “Private Correspondence between King Charles I and His Secretary of State, Sir Edward Nicholas,” in Memoirs of Evelyn, Vol. II, did not appear until 1818; see, e.g., letters from Nicholas to the King, with the latter’s marginal notes, of 27 and 29 Sept., 1641, pp. 25, 27-8.
[[*] ]See their statement of 3 Jan., 1641, in An Exact Collection, p. 35.
[[†] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 469. See also “His Majesties Speech in the House of Commons, 4 Jan., 1641,” in An Exact Collection, p. 36.
[[‡] ]Brodie, Vol. III, p. 268.
[[*] ]Ibid., pp. 269-70.
[[†] ]Hyde, History, Vol. I, p. 283, and “Lord Digby,” in Supplement to Vol. III of State Papers, 3 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Printing House, 1767-86), pp. lv-lvi; but Mill takes the quotation from Brodie, Vol. III, pp. 263n-4n.
[* ]“One of the populace,” says Hume, “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 Rehoboam, their rash and ill-counselled sovereign.” [Hume, Vol. VI, p. 471. See I Kings, 12:16, for the Biblical passage. The person who, Hume says, called out was Henry Walker.] This story is in itself insignificant; but it throws light upon the veracity of Clarendon (from whom it is taken [History, Vol. I, p. 283]), as well as upon the accuracy of Hume. The person alluded to did not cry out, but threw a paper into the king’s coach, on which paper the words in question were inscribed. He was committed, and proceeded against at the sessions. [See Brodie, Vol. III, p. 265n.]
[[‡] ]“The Humble Petition of the Major, Aldermen, and Common Councell, of the City of London, and His Majesties Answer,” in An Exact Collection, pp. 45-8.
[[§] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 472.
[[*] ]See, e.g., ibid., pp. 549-51, 551-2, 560-3, 578-80, 582-5.
[[†] ]Ibid., p. 477.
[[*] ]Ibid., pp. 484-6, 474, 481, 419, 478-9; Vol. VII, p. 44.
[[†] ]Hyde, History, Vol. I, pp. 304, 326.
[[‡] ]Hume, Vol. VI, p. 484.
[[§] ]George Digby, The Lord Diby’s Apology, in Nalson, An Impartial Collection, Vol. II, p. 865.
[[¶] ]Hume, Vol. VI, pp. 478-9; see also Cobbett, Vol. II, cols. 1029, 1031.
[* ]Hume has been convicted by Mr. Brodie of the most paltry misrepresentation, concerning the conduct of the parliament towards the queen, (Brodie, Vol. III, p. 310n [Hume, Vol. VI, pp. 477-8,]) suppressing the evidence of her sinister designs, and ascribing to bigotry and malice, measures which were adopted merely for the sake of security.
[[*] ]16 Charles I, c. 27 and c. 28 (1640).
[[†] ]Hume, Vol. VII, p. 523.
[[‡] ]Ibid., p. 525.
[† ][Hyde, History, Vol. I, pp. 335-6.] Not content with denying the insincerity of Charles, Hume [Vol. VII, p. 523] has the effrontery to say, that the imputation was of a later growth than his own age, and that Ludlow is the only parliamentary writer who ever lays it to his charge! [Ludlow, Memoirs, Vol. I, pp. 15-17, 153-6.] Had Hume never read Milton’s Eikonoclastes? [In The Prose Works of John Milton, ed. Charles Symmons, 7 vols. (London: Johnson, et al., 1806), Vol. II, pp. 383-472.] Had he never read any of the manifestoes of the long parliament? [E.g., Cobbett, Vol. II, Cols. 1114-20, 1155-62, 1454-6.]
[[§] ]See Cobbett, Vol. III, cols. 1071-2, 1077-80, 1083-5, 1091, 1106-11.
[[*] ]See, e.g., Hume, Vol. VI, pp. 481, 484, 485.
[[†] ]The text of the declaration is in Hyde, History, Vol. I, pp. 508-13.
[[‡] ]Brodie, Vol. III, pp. 344n-5n, quoting from “Letters of Lord Spencer to His Lady, Dorothy” (21 Sept., and 13 Oct., 1642), in Letters and Memorials of State, ed. Collins, Vol. II, pp. 667-8.
[[§] ]E.g., Hume, Vol. VI, pp. 510-11, Vol. VII, pp. 30-8.
[[*] ]Brodie, Vol. III, p. 316, quoting Hyde, Life, Pt. II, pp. 57-8.
[[†] ]Brodie, Vol. III, p. 515.
[[‡] ]See Cobbett, Vol. III, cols. 355-7.
[[*] ]Hume, Vol. VII, pp. 23-6; Hyde, History, Vol. II, pp. 434-7.
[[†] ]Brodie, Vol. III, p. 552n; Rushworth, Historical Collections, Vol. VI, pp. 3ff.; Hume, Vol. VII, pp. 27-8.
[* ]It has been supposed that the self-denying ordinance was passed for the mere purpose of giving power to Cromwell [Hume, Vol. VII, pp. 28-9]; because that officer had a dispensation granted to him for the period of forty days. Mr. Brodie, however, renders it highly probable, that this was the mere effect of accident. [Vol. III, pp. 560-2.] The question, indeed, is of little consequence.
[[‡] ]See Charles’s letter of 11 June, 1646, in Carte, History, Vol. III, p. 474.
[[*] ]Brodie, Vol. IV, pp. 36-9; Hume, Vol. VII, pp. 66-8.
[[†] ]Hume, Vol. VII, p. 517; for the letter of 31 Jan., 1645, see Carte, History, Vol. III, pp. 445-6.
[[*] ]Cobbett, Vol. III, cols. 619-23.
[[†] ]The other six were John Clotworthy, John Glynne, Edward Harley, William Lewis, Walter Long, and Anthony Nichols; ibid., Vol. III, cols. 664-78.
[[‡] ]William Lenthall and Edward Montagu.
[[§] ]Hyde, History, Vol. III, p. 77.
[[*] ]Hume, Vol. VII, p. 108.
[[†] ]Ibid., pp. 111-15; for the vote, see Cobbett, Vol. III, cols. 831-2.
[[‡] ]Thomas Herbert, Memoirs of the Two Last Years of the Reign of . . . King Charles I (London: Clavell, 1702), pp. 39-40.
[[*] ]See Charles I, 1648, c. 94, in Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, Vol. VI, Pt. ii, pp. 53-6.
[[†] ]Hume, Vol. VII, p. 124.
[[‡] ]Brodie, Vol. IV, p. 144, quoting a letter of 9 Oct., 1648, in Wagstaffe, A Vindication, p. 161.
[* ]He continued, during the whole of this negotiation, to write to Ormonde, desiring him to disregard whatever he might hear of a treaty near to be concluded, and to disobey any commands which Charles might send him, until he should have sent him word that he was free from restraint. See the documents in the Appendix to Carte’s Ormonde. [Vol. II, p. 17, letters of 10 and 28 Oct., 1648.]
[[*] ]Hume, Vol. VII, p. 130.
[[†] ]Ibid., p. 92n.
[[*] ]See Brodie, Vol. IV, pp. 183n-4n; for the single reference, see Hume, Vol. VII, p. 141.
[[†] ]Hume, Vol. VII, pp. 134-5; Walker, History of Independency, Pt. ii, p. 54; Perrinchief, The Royal Martyr, pp. 153-4.
[[‡] ]Hume, Vol. VII, p. 135; Whitelocke, Memorials, p. 360.
[[§] ]Hume, Vol. VII, p. 121.
[[¶] ]Perrinchief, The Royal Martyr, p. 262.
[[∥] ]Hume, Vol. VII, p. 140.
[[*] ]Herbert, Memoirs, pp. 113-14.
[[†] ]Brodie, Vol. IV, p. 200n; Perrinchief, The Royal Martyr, pp. 194-5.
[[‡] ]Hume, Vol. VII, p. 141, citing Perrinchief, The Royal Martyr, pp. 188-9, and David Lloyd, Memoires (London: Speed, 1668), p. 319. The four lords were Bertie Montague, Earl of Lindsey; William Seymour, Marquis of Hertford; James Stuart, Duke of Richmond; and Thomas Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton. Mill, here and in the next sentence, is relying on Brodie, Vol. IV, p. 207n.
[[§] ]Hume, Vol. VII, p. 142; Lloyd, Memoires, pp. 215-16.
[[¶] ]Hume, Vol. VII, pp. 144-5; Perrinchief, The Royal Martyr, pp. 211, 205-6.
[[∥] ]Hume, Vol. VII, p. 143, based on Walker, History of Independency, Pt. ii, p. 110.
[[**] ]Brodie, Vol. IV, p. 206n; Herbert, Memoirs, p. 117.
[[*] ]Hume, Vol. VII, p. 145.
[[†] ]Perrinchief, The Royal Martyr, p. 203; Herbert, Memoirs, pp. 135-6; Brodie, Vol. IV, p. 213n.
[[‡] ]See, e.g., An Act for the More Speedy and Effectual Relief of Creditors (23 June, 1649); An Act for the Taking Away of Common Recoveries, and the Unnecessary Charge of Fines; and to Pass and Charge Lands, Intailed, as Lands in Fee (15 Apr., 1652); and An Act Touching Recording Conveyances and Incumbrances (7 Aug., 1649), in Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. VI, p. 242; Vol. VII, p. 121; and Vol. VI, p. 275. There was interest in, but no act concerning, codification.
[[*] ]An Act for Turning the Books of the Law, and All Proces and Proceedings in Courts of Justice, into English (22 Nov., 1650), in Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660, ed. Charles Harding Firth and Robert Sangster Rait, 3 vols. (London: HMSO, 1911), Vol. II, pp. 455-6.
[[†] ]An Act for Abolishing the House of Peers (19 Mar., 1649), and An Act for Advancing and Regulating of the Trade of the Commonwealth (1 Aug., 1650), ibid., Vol. II, pp. 24, 403-6.
[* ][See, e.g., on Cromwell, Hume, Vol. VII, pp. 221-5, 284-91, and Brodie, Vol. III, pp. 499n-508n; on Harrison, Hume, Vol. VII, pp. 135, 145, and Brodie, Vol. IV, pp. 179n-80n; on Ireton, Hume, Vol. VII, pp. 109-10, and Brodie, Vol. IV, pp. 164n-8n; and on Vane, Hume, Vol. VI, p. 540, Vol. VII, pp. 314, 383, and Brodie, Vol. III, pp. 22n-3n, Vol. IV, p. 460n.] With Hume’s artful calumnies of the Independent leaders, we may contrast the theatrical glare which he has endeavoured to throw over Montrose. [Hume, Vol. VII, pp. 43-50, 179-83, 315, 318-19.]
[[‡] ]George Monk, who was victorious, and John Lambert.
[[*] ]Hume, Vol. VII, pp. 307-11.