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now, that, from the necessities of the prince, this parliament could not be ignominiously dissolved like the four preceding; and proportionally strong was their confidence in having at length found a remedy for all their grievances. The influence of the executive in elections was therefore vastly diminished *. The selfishly cautious laid aside their interested prudence with the change of times; and the patriotic struck up upon a bolder key :
There was even another class who, though they had formerly truckled to power, now manfully declaimed against the infringements of public rights. Of the last, the most conspicuous was Mr. Hyde, afterwards the famous Lord Clarendon, who does not scruple to inform us, in his history of his own life, that during the discontinuance of parliaments, he had so gained the patronage of Laud and other ministers, that their countenance procured him high respect from the judges in the courts at Westminster-a circumstance which, having been generally remarked, brought him great professional practice t. This noble historian endeavours, in the course of his work, to depreciate certain lawyers who rose to eminence during the ensuing civil broils, by alleging that they had been previously little heard of in the profession; but the manner in which he accounts for his own success, defeats the effects of his remarks upon others in the same line, and must leave small room for doubt in any unprejudiced mind, that it is more creditable to the memory of those whom he undervalues for their want of success, that they were little known, than to his, that the sworn guardians of the law favoured him as the creature of Laud, for the purpose of ingratiating themselves with that meddling priest and his coadjutors.
* Hardwieke’s State Papers, vol. ï. p. 190. Clarendon's State Papers, vol. ii. p. 131. as to the interference of government. The course of the elections is complained of in the Eikon. Whitelocke, p. 37.
+ Clarendon's Life, vol. i. p. 31. 60-1.
It is needless to dwell upon the awful crisis at which this parliament met. The invasions of li. berty had been as avowed as they were profligate; the very semblance of justice, which is at least an homage to law, as hypocrisy is to virtue, had been despised ; despotism unmasked having raged in all its deformity. The faithful discharge of duty in the senate had not only been attended with the most disgraceful dissolutions, but been visited with terrible penalties in the persons of its members; while the determination had been formed to dispense entirely with the legislature-a determination from which an unforeseen necessity alone had obliged the prince to depart: The pulpit, by the very royal injunctions, the council table, the bench, had all been polluted with the disclosure, and the two last, with the practice also, of principles subversive of every thing valuable in civil institutions : Industry had been so suspended, by destructive monopolies and arbitrary impositions, with other illegal proceedings, that a portion even of the manufacturers of woollen cloth, the staple of England, had emigrated with their capital to the Continent *: While the rights of property had been so violated, that it was well observed in parliament that the people had become tenants at will. Nor was it a small aggravation, that the money despoti. cally wrung from the community, instead of being conveyed into the treasury, went to enrich individual favourites. Illegal, unheard-of cruel imprisonments, and inhuman corporal punishments, as flogging, cropping the ears, slitting the nose, and branding the face, had been brought to the assistance of arbitrary courts against men of rank and learning. The established religion had been nearly subverted for the pageantry of the Romislı superstition, while the impugners of audacious novelties had been exposed to the tyrannical vengeance of arbitrary courts, which set no limits to their punishments. Nay, even those who preferred to seek a habitation in the then dreary and savage climes beyond the Atlantic, to living under a state of civil and religious slavery at home, were interdicted from this last resort, while measures were prepared to bring the American settlements under the same yoke with the mother country. The clergy had, under the royal countenance, assumed, in convocation, legislative powers, and even imposed on the general body, taxes which were exigible under severe penalties. They had affected to be independent of the civil power, and even endeavoured to have themselves exempted from ordinary jurisdiction ; while, by their ille
gal courts, they had spread general dismay: Laud had almost assumed the style as well as the powers of the Pope.
Such was the state of affairs in England ; but had all these grievances been insufficient to rouse that people into a proper sense of their condition, and of the incalculable misery which would necessarily flow from the present unconstitutional system, the measures lately pursued against the Scots, and the policy of Strafforde in Ireland, must have satisfied them, that if they did not embrace the present opportunity for redressing their wrongs, all that they valued in their religious or civil institutions, would probably be lost for ever. In Scotland, Charles had openly tried to overturn every thing civil and religious which the people most venerated, and had branded resistance to such unhallowed measures as the most unnatural rebel. lion,-a rebellion which he delegated powers to crush with fire and sword, declaring, in the stub. bornness of pride, that he would rather die than submit to the demands of his subjects,-demands which merely imported a recalment of innovations upon the established worship and laws. Nor had he a colour for the apology usually resorted to, and which he availed himself of on other occasions, that he consulted the general wish against the factious inclinations of the few, who raised a clamour under that pretext, to embroil civil af. fairs; for he did not hesitate privately to express his conviction, that his measures were fraught with the ruin of his people. In Ireland, the admini. stration of Strafforde had kindled an hostility to
the government, and a personal abhorrence of him. self, almost unparalleled in history.
While such was the posture of affairs, one could scarcely have anticipated the following language, even from Mr. Hume : “ The grievances which tended chiefly to inflame the parliament and na. tion, especially the latter, were the surplice, the rails placed about the altar, the bows exacted on approaching it, the liturgy, the breach of the Sabbath, embroidered copes, lawn sleeves, the use of the ring in marriage, and of the cross in baptism. On account of these," continues he, “ were the popular leaders content to throw the government into convulsions; and, to the disgrace of that age and of this island, it must be acknowledged, that the disorders in Scotland entirely, and those in England mostly, proceeded from so mean and contemptible an origin.” How far this view of facts is correct, the reader must by this time be prepared to determine ; but the passage, and it is only a specimen of this author's manner, is surely as remote from philosophical liberality as from truth. Aware that the attempt to justify the monarch for endeavouring to impose popery upon the nation, would never be listened to with patience, the historian generally ridicules the imputed purpose as a senseless clamour, and probably means to convey, in this passage, that the innovations introduced were altogether unimportant. But he forgets that if it were disgraceful in the nation to be so appalled with such mean and contemptible innovations, it betrayed, even ina religious view, a much greater want of good sense in Charles