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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 usler'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.” Laud com. Laud, as the prime mover of the relig mitted on a vations in Scotland, had been charged by that peohigh trea- ple as one of the grand incendiaries, and he was
impeached accordingly : But, in spite of his former power to do mischief, he soon becaine so con
temptible that “all cast him out of their thoughts Windebank as a pendicle at the lieutenant's eart.” 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.
+ Whitelocke, p. 38. Clar. vol. i. p. 172, el seq. Cobbet's Parl. Hist. vol. ii. p. 732, et seg. Rush, vol. iv. p. 42. May, p. 88. Baillie's Let. vol. i. p. 217.
* Cobbet's Parl. Hist. vol. ii. p. 680. Whitelocke, p. 39. Clar. vol. i. p. 177. Baillie's Let. vol. i. p. 250.
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- His light. 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 ef. frontery 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 ra. ther beg my bread, from door to door, with date
Clar. Papers, vol. ii. p. 134. Whitelocke, p. 39.
obolum Belisario, with your favour, than be ever so high with your displeasure.” He concluded thus : “ If I may not live to serve you, I desire I may die in your good opinion and favour *.” This was the language of the man who had attempted to cut up Parliaments by the roots; and in all things substitute the will of the prince for law : Yet we are told by Whitelocke that “ many were exceedingly taken by his eloquence and carriage, and that it was a sad sight to see a person of greatness, parts, and favour, appear in such a posture, before such an assembly, to plead for his life and fortunes." The articles against him were to this effect : That he had traitorously endeavoured to subvert the fundamental laws and the established constitution of England, and to introduce an arbitrary and tyrannical government: That, in the accomplishment of his traitorous purposes, he had, as speaker of the House of Commons, in the third and fourth of his Majesty's reign, prevented the read. ing of a remonstrance relative to the safety of the king and state, and the preservation of religion, declaring that, if any offered to speak, he would immediately leave the house, which he accordingly did,
-a proceeding that tended to subvert the ancient and undoubted right of parliaments : That, as one of his Majesty's council, he had endeavoured to enlarge the forests, particularly in Essex, beyond due bounds : That, when Chief Justice in 1635, he drew the questions propounded to the judges regarding ship-money, and had, by undue means, obtained their signatures to an opinion previously prepared by him : That he had given his opinion against Mr. Hampden in the exchequer-chamber, and had threatened the other judges to prevail on them to concur with him : That he published, in his circuit, that the king's right to ship-money was so inherent in the Crown, that no act of the Legislature could take it away, and had threatened all who resisted the assessment: That, in his character of Chief Justice of the common pleas, he had transacted the greater part of the business in his own chamber, and had, in his judicial capacity, committed various acts of gross corruption, of which a list was given ; and that he had tried to incense the king against parliaments, and advised the declaration which was published after the dissolution of the last.–Well aware that every one of these articles could be distinctly proved against him, Finch prudently fled; and the Commons, who deemed one or two sacrifices to justice sufficient, and properly selected the most dangerous characters, as well as the most wicked, are, with the appearance of truth, accused of having con. nived at his escape *. The Commons still, however, gave in their charge to the Lords, and the duty of presenting it was devolved upon Lord Falkland, who is reputed by Clarendon to have been one of the brightest characters in history, and who died fighting under the royal banners. He observed that the charge required no assistance from the bringer, « leaving,” says he, “ not so much as a colour for any defence, and including all possible evidence and all possible aggravation, that addition alone excepted, which he alone could have made, and has made, I mean his confession included in his flight. There are many mighty crimes--crimes of supererogation, so that high treason is but a part of his charge, pursuing him fervently in every several condition ; being a si. lent speaker, an unjust judge, and an unconscionable keeper. His life appears a perpetual warfare, by mines and batteries, against our fundamental laws, which, by his own confession, several conquests had left untouched,-against the excellent constitution of this kingdom, which hath made it appear to strangers rather an idea than a real commonwealth, and produced the honour and happiness of this, as the wonder of every other nation. He practised the annihilating of ancient and notorious perambulations of the whole kingdom--the meers and boundaries between the liberties of the subject and sovereign power. He endeavoured to have all tenures durante bene placito, to bring all law from his Majesty's courts into his Majesty's breast *.” This extract is illustrative of the tem. per of the Commons, and throws light upon the character of Falkland, who died fighting for the
* Cobbet's Parl. Hist. vol. ii. p. 685, et seq. Rush. vol. iv. p. 129, et seq. Whitelocke, p. 89.
* Clar. vol. i. p. 117. This author admits, that if an attempt to undermine the established laws were treason, Finch was notoriously guilty.