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king set commissaries of horse to search into men's estates, and to peruse accompts, that they might know what to levy, and that the money was raised by force; that having said this, he turned to the Lord Cottington, who was present, and remarked, that this was a point worthy of his consideration ; farther, that he had imposed a tax in the county of York for the maintenance of the trained bands. The twenty-eighth article regarded his conduct in the late war *.
His answer to the charge, prepared by counsel, was specious, but scarcely bore examination t; and no sooner had the Irish parliament felt themselves freed from the terror of his government, than they had drawn up a remonstrance against him. This was read at the beginning of the trial, and so transported Strafforde with passion, that he declared there was a conspiracy to take away his life; but the commons having resented the speech, he made an apology: Maynard remarked that the remonstrance was not read as a charge, but merely as evidence to contradict what he had said in his preamblet.
Very arbitrary acts during his presidentship of York were proved against him; but he denied that he had been instrumental in procuring the commission chiefly objected to, alleging that he had gone to Ireland about the time the commission was sent down, and that he had never sat as president
* See the Charge at length, in Rush. vol. viii. which is filled with this remarkable trial; and which, with Baillie's Journal, in vol. i. of the letters, forms the most complete report.
+ Ib. Rush. vol. viii. p. 127. Baillie, vol. i. p. 201.
after the new instructions were framed. That he had never presided in the council after the instructions were sent down is true; but then he had retained the office, and discharged the duty by means of a deputy, so that in effect the whole power was centered in himself; and he, in acting by deputy, necessarily incurred the responsibility. With re. gard, again, to his instrumentality in obtaining such instructions, it was not directly proved; but as it was distinctly established that he had, on one occasion, thrown himself upon his knees to the king, and prayed of his majesty that he might be permitted to retire from the office, if his authority were restrained by the legal course of a prohibi. tion from Westminster-hall; and as the article against prohibitions, an article which disfranchized the whole northern counties of the privileges of English subjects, formed the grand exception to the instructions, it follows that he must be consi. dered more than the adviser of them. In short, those instructions merely warranted, in the royal name, what he had arrogated and prayed for as a power to be considered inherent in his office, before they were issued. It was also proved that he had threatened to lay any by the heels who sued out a prohibition; and, had his dispatches been open to the inspection of the prosecutors, there would not have been left the colour of an excuse; for he had even used all his influence to accomplish the ruin of a judge, Vernon, for merely acting in the conscientious discharge of his duty against the other's usurped power. He also argued with peculiar effrontery, that it was laudable to desire power, that a man might be in a sphere to do the more good*.
We have already given a particular account of the council of York, and we shall not farther resume the subject here, than to remark, that the first great invasion of liberty had occurred towards the close of the late reign ; and that, by the last commission granted by the present king, the whole northern counties were completely disfranchised of their rights. The vindication of the late and present monarch, but particularly of Charles and his advisers, especially Strafforde, by Mr. Hume, is perhaps the most singular ever used. « The court being at first instituted,” says he, “ by a stretch of royal prerogative, it had been usual for the princes to vary the instructions; and the largest authority committed, was altogether as legal as the most moderate and most limited.” According to this logic, should a prince erect a court illegally, for the trial of causes below twenty shillings, it could not be any breach of duty in a public minister to advise, and obtain, powers for engrossing every species of cause whatever, involving the persons and lives as well as real and personal property of the people, and dispensing with the whole established laws. Besides, it ought to be remembered, that an abuse is not sanctioned by its antiquity; and that small matters are frequently overlooked, because no one
volving the percenery species of
well as real aná
* Charge I. see also vol. ii. of Rush. already referred to, and Baillie. Straf. Let. and Disp. vol. i. p. 129, 130.
thinks them worth his interference : But, if the inveteracy of a trifling abuse, which has only been submitted to because it was deemed unworthy of notice, were to form a justification for at once overturning the whole established laws, it would be preposterous to talk of any thing like law or a constitution in a state. The origin of that court, which Mr. Huine appears to have little studied, has been explained ; and the reader need not be reminded, that the judicial powers attempted to be assumed under the Tudors, had been restrained: That the courts of Westminster were open to that part of the kingdom against any abuse of power or undue arrogation of authority by that tribunal.
The second article charged, that he had said “ some were all for law, and nothing but law would please them ; but that they should find that the king's little finger of prerogative should be heavier than the loins of the law”-was proved by no less than five witnesses. Strafforde alleged, that he merely said, that they would find the little finger of the law heavier than the loins of the prerogative; and that he had used the expression relative to knight-money, conceiving that the composition was lower than the legal rate. To prove this, he brought forward two witnesses : The first, a Dr. Duncombe, deposed, that he heard a report of the speech afterwards, at a dinner, from one who call. ed himself Sir Edward Stanhope, and that it agreed with Strafforde's own edition: The other was Sir R. Pennyman, who was not sworn, but declared that he was present, and that the account by the
accused was correct. With regard to Duncombe, his deposition was not even in the shape of evidence; and as to Pennyman, of whom Baillie informs us that « both here, and many times else, he deponed point blank all Strafforde required,”there were circumstances attending his statement which satisfied all present that he did not speak truth. Maynard, as manager, desired that it might be asked of him when the words first came to his remembrance, (no question was put to a witness directly, except by the Lord High Steward,) and he answered, that he had always remembered them, but that they had been particularly brought to his recollection since they were charged against Strafforde. Maynard presently catches him; that he must be responsible to the house, for not only not having made this statement to the commons when the charge was voted, but for himself having voted to an article which he knew to be unfounded. Upon this there was a general hiss, and Pennyman fell a-weeping; while the prisoner declared, that he would rather commit himself entirely to the mercy of God, than that any witness for him should incur danger or disgrace. It is needless to observe that the proof was sufficient in law, and that the testimony of these five witnesses finds corroboration in the language used by him in his dispatches, as well as in the very powers usurped by him over the northern counties *.
* Rush. vol. viii. The five witnesses were, William Long, Sir Thomas Layton, Mar. Pottes, Sir David Fowlis, and Sir William In- . gram. See Baillie's Journal of the Trial, p. 264.