« PreviousContinue »
denied by the royalist party. This complete discovery made the evil recoil upon the main conspi. rator, who perceived that his refusal now to disband the Irish army would probably be fraught with terrible consequences; and, therefore, reluctantly consented * But he then intimated that he had made an arrangement chiefly with the Spanish Court for transporting the troops to the Continent. This, however, neither satisfied the parliament nor the nation. It was easy to perceive, that, under such a pretext, that army might be kept on foot till both the Scottish and English armies were disbanded, and then introduced into the bowels of the kingdom. In the army-plot, the evidence of which came more clearly out daily, they had a sufficient warning of the king's insincerity and desperate counsels, and even the actual transportation of that army did not secure them from danger ; foreign states, and particularly Spain, had already been applied to for military, as well as pecuniary, aid, and it was naturally to be expected that these very troops, after being improved in discipline, and corrupted in principle, should be poured into England upon the first favourable op
portunity. King's in. Charles did not with this abandon his dark
projects. He had been tampering with some of the Scottish commissioners, and corresponda ing with an unprincipled, violent faction in ScotJand, with whose assistance he expected to re
* Rush. vol. iv. p. 360. Nalson, vol. č. p. 233, 465, 466. Clar. vol. i. p. 280.
cover the ground he had lost. With the view of strengthening that faction, and maturing his schemes, as well as of avoiding the direct refusal of bills, which he deemed hurtful to his prerogative, till the disbanding of the Scottish army, and the assistance of a faction, should enable him to act with greater decision, he proposed a journey to Scotland. The commons, who apprehended mischief from that quarter, as well as from his présence with the armies, (part of the Scottish commissioners had early taken the alarm, and a strange letter from the Earl of Montrose, whose ambitious designs were now generally suspected, had been discovered,) prayed his majesty to post, pone his journey till the armies were disbanded, and they succeeded in gaining time; but they had agreed to his beginning it on the 10th of August; and when they then prayed him to delay it for a fortnight longer, as his presence was necessary for affairs of state and passing bills, he positively refused; yet, to remove discontent, he passed a bill against knighthood money, and another for liberty to make gunpowder and saltpetre. Sir Arthur Haslerig had brought in a bill to settle the militia by sea and land in such individuals as should be agreed upon by the legislature; and, though it was only once read, and dropt for the present, Charles had every reason to believe that it would be afterwards persisted in. As, however, so extraordinary a bill could only be justified on the ground of want of confidence in the king, he politicly anticipated the measure by granting a commission to the Earl of Essex, who had become very popular, constituting him, during his majesty's absence, general of
the forces in the south of the Trent, with power to
raise troops in case of necessity*. Disbanding The grand point of debate now regarded the of the armies. * disbanding of the armies, the question being which
should be disbanded first; but it was at last prudently resolved that both should be disbanded together. This was accordingly begun on the 6th of August, and “ the Scots, with store of English money, and the best entertainment, left their warm and plentiful quarters.” An act of pacification was, likewise passed f. The disbanding of the Irish army was begun in June.
As the king was peremptorily resolved to commence his journey by the 10th, the commons sat all Sunday to finish important business; but as this was a deviation from their principles and practice, they apologized for it to the people as an act of necessity, and declared that it should not be drawn into a precedent. They pressed much for a regency in the king's absence, but it was refused. They likewise appointed a committee to accompany his majesty, with a view of attending to the English interest in the settlement of Scottish affairs, though, in reality, that it might watch his motions. The committee were, the Earl of Bed. ford, Lord Howard, Sir Phil. Stapleton, Sir William Armyne, Mr. Fiennes, and Mr. Hampden.
All the vigilance of parliament proved necessary, and so perverse was the royal policy, that an attempt to debauch the troops was made even at disbanding the armies t. * Clar. vol. i. p. 279.
+ Whitelocke, p. 17. Rush. vol. iv, p. 362, et seg. Nalson, vol. ii. p. 466. Clar. vol. i. p. 279. #Rush. vol, iv. p. 275. Clar. vol. i. p. 290. Diurnal Occur.
After the king's absence, some matters of consequence fell under the cognizance of parliament; but nothing important was done ; except that the army plots, for there appear to have been two plots, were farther successfully investigatect, that some orders were issued about the public worship; and that the commons, by their orders, &c. of the 8th September, frustrated a private agreement be. tween the king and the Spanish ambassador to engage a great part of the Irish army for Spain. The commons, having appointed a committee to watch over the public interest during the recess, adjourn-Recess. ed, as well as the lords, on the 9th September, till the 20th of October *.
+ Cob. Parl. Hist. vol. ii. p. 904. et seq.
Secret Policy of the King-Affairs of Scotland, and Con
duct of Montrose~The King's Journey to ScotlandThe Incident, and settlement of Affairs there~The Irish Rebellion and Massacre_The Re-meeting of the English Parliament-General apprehensions of Plots, fc.-Return of Charles to London ; his reception there—The Remonstrance-Impeachment of the Bishops, and Proceedings in regard to Episcopacy-Accusation of the Five Members—Tumults-Proceedings in regard to Ireland-King leaves London ; arrives at York-Preparations for Civil War.
Secret poli- We have repeatedly remarked, that it was ever a faCharles. tal error of Charles and his advisers to impute the
opposition which his measures encountered to a few leading men, who merely acted as organs for the expression of the general sentiments; and that, as a consequence of this erroneous opinion, he al. ways flattered himself with the hope of removing the opposition, could he destroy or gain the individuals to whom he attributed the lamented controlment of his prerogative. If he thus allowed him.