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who had arrogated to himself all the judicial powers, which he had exercised with an iniquity worthy of such a usurpation, and yet had encouraged Laud to follow his example in England; who had himself obtained the patent for tobacco, by which he is said to have amassed a large sum; and who, in short, had, in every instance, substituted his own will for the law of the land, and even the natural obligations of justice. The manners of the man had, in all respects, corresponded with the arbitrariness of his actions. It might be alleged that the external deference which he even applied to the king for liberty to exact in Ireland, was an homage to his office, not to himself; but, as his treatment of parliament, which he threatened into the grant of large subsidies, was inconsistent with the duty of a public character, his conduct, in all respects, was so like that of a bashaw, that, as appears from his own letters, the title had been bestowed upon him by the general voice of that kingdom. In his correspondence, we find him ever lamenting to the king or Laud, that he was grossly maligned, and deprecating the consequences which the complaints of that people,—complaints which he ascribed to an aversion of authority,— might have upon his master; and declaring himself innocent of the crime imputed to him, of amassing a fortune at the public expence *. These letters were intended to meet the murmurs which he could not suppress; but, that the voice of com- * Sec ljis Letters and Disp.
plaint should be as much stifled as possible, he prohibited the unfortunate victims of his tyranny from quitting the island, lest they should have an opportunity of uttering their grievances to the throne. The day of retribution, however, had at last arrived, when the united cry of three kingdoms, with all the personal wrongs of individuals, called for justice. It will, therefore, be necessary to give an account of his commitment, strafforde On tne *'tn or* November, a motion was made committed by pvm for his impeachment; and as it met
on s charge ...
of high trea-with the universal approbation of the house, it is commoni, singular that Clarendon should, without at least 1640Nov' taking his own portion of the blame, have afterwards condemned the measure as the height of injustice, and the commons as extravagantly tyrannical for adopting it; since he himself appears to have joined, instead of attempting to arrest the torrent. Lord Falkland, indeed, stated, that while he agreed with his brethren in the propriety of the measure, he conceived that it would be advisable to pause till they had digested the articles against the accused; but Pym, who had named Straf- forde as the greatest enemy to the liberties of his country and promoter of tyranny, that any age had ever produced, answered, that such a delay might probably blast all their hopes, as such was Straflbrde's influence with the king and queen, and so loudly did his own conscience admonish him of the fate he merited, that for his own safety he would likely advise a dissolution of the parliament, or fall upon some other desperate measure, though it should be pregnant with the ruin of the kingdom. The motion was therefore put to the vote, and carried without a dissenting voice. Pym then, followed by the house, went to the bar of the lords, and, in the name of the commons, accused Thomas, Earl of Strafforde, of high treason. The accused, it is said, having obtained proof of the correspondence held between some of his prime adversaries in both houses and the Scots, had determined to anticipate the blow by impeaching them,—a circumstance which, it is alleged, and possibly with reason, quickened the motions of the popular party against him *; for though it is extremely improbable that, in the present posture of things, his charge against popular characters would have been seriously entertained, the event might have created leisure for the court to concert new measures. When the impeachment was announced to him, he came to the house with his usual proud, stern look; but, to his mortification, he was instantly ordered to withdraw, and then brought to the bar on his knees to hear the charge of the commons. He attempted to speak, but was refused an audience, and committed to the usher of the black rod. These proceedings against a man who had just been regarded with terror in all quarters, drew together a crowd to the door, who, as he passed, all gazed, " no one capping to him, before whom that morning the greatest in England would have
stood discovered, (uncovered,) all crying, what is the matter? A small matter, he said, I warrant you. Yes; replied they, high treason is a small matter*." When he had reached the place where he expected his coach, he was disappointed to learn that it had been taken to a different station, and that he must repass the crowd, which had enjoyed his humiliation: After he did gain his coach, the usher, whose faculties seem to have been overpowered by so unexpected an event, now recollected his duty, and informed the earl, that being his prisoner, his lordship must accompany him, not in his own, but the usher's coach ; and he was forthwith conducted to the Tower. "Intolerable pride and oppression," observes Baillie justly, on this occurrence, " cry to Heaven for vengeancet." i^ud com- Laud, as the prime mover of the religious inno"hM^e o" "vations in Scotland, had been charged by that peoWgh trca- pje as one Qf the grand incendiaries, and he was impeached accordingly: But, in spite of his former power to do mischief, he soon became so contemptible that " all cast him out of their thoughts Windcbank as a pendicle at the lieutenant's ear J." Windebank, understanding that the Commons were prepared to charge him as an enemy to church and state, an open protector of seminary priests and Jesuits, and a promoter of their religion, absconded to the Con
* Baillie, vol. i. p. 217.
t Whitelocke, p. 38. Clar. vol. i. p. 172, el .icq. Cobbet's Pari. Hist. vol. ii. p. 732, et seg. Rush, vol. iv. p. 42. May, p. 88. Baillie's Let. vol. i. p. 217.
J Cobbet's Pari. Hist. vol. ii. p. 680. Whitelocke, p. 39. Clar. vol. i. p. 177. Baillic's Let. vol. i. p. 850.
tinent, and at Paris, where he fixed his residence, forgot his degradation, in merriment, telling all that he ever knew or did, and declaring that he had acted, in all cases, by the express injunctions of the king and queen, and that his majesty had assisted him in his escape. It is also said, that he died a professed papist *. The Lord Keeper Finch imFinch had betrayed his duty as speaker to the Par- mfn^i'it. liament of 1628, and had subsequently been the most zealous in promoting every iniquitous measure: his knowledge of law, which indeed was limited, he had prostituted to the vilest of all purposes—that of unhinging the rights of property, and inventing pretexts for oppression, (he was the individual who had, by threats and promises, first extorted the extrajudicial opinion of the judges in favour of ship-money, and afterwards, in Hampden's case, again threatened them;) and he had even declared from the bench, that a resolution of the council-board should always be a sufficient ground for him to make a decree in chancery: Yet, when now impeached by the Commons, he, with an effrontery absolutely inconceivable, eloquently harangued them upon his innocence. The commencement of his speech was as mean as it was false. "I give you thanks," says he, " for granting me admittance to your presence: I come not to preserve myself and fortunes; but to preserve your good opinion of me; for, I profess, I had rather beg my bread, from door to door, with date
• Clar. Papers, vol. ii. p. 134. Whitelocke, p. 39.