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all over England. Altar-rails and screens were destroyed, painted windows were broken, figures of stone and marble ground to powder, and pictures cut into shreds. These vandalisms shocked both reverential sentiment and the police feeling for good order, and they widened the alienation of parliamentary parties. Before the end of the autumn, Hyde and Falkland had become king's friends. Hyde, more familiarly known by his later style of Lord Clarendon, stands among the leading figures of the time, with a strong and direct judgment, much independence of character, and ideas of policy that were coherent and his own. His intellectual horizons were wide, he had good knowledge of the motives of men, and understood the handling of large affairs. Even where he does not carry us with him, there is nobody of the time whose opinion is much better worth knowing. We may even give him the equivocal credit that is due to the Clarendonian type of conservative in all times and places, that if only things could have been different, he would not have been in the wrong. His ideal in church and state, viewed in the light of the event, did not ultimately miscarry. The settlement of 1688 would have suited him well enough, and in his best days he had much of the temper of Somers. But he and Falkland had either too little nerve, or too refining a conscience, or too unstable a grasp, for the navigation of the racing floods around them. They were doubtless unwilling converts to the court party, but when a convert has taken his plunge he must endure all the unsuspected foolishness and all the unteachable zealotry of his new comrades—an experience that has perhaps in all ages given many a mournful hour to generous natures. It was now that a majority with a policy found itself confronted by an opposition fluctuating in numbers, but still making itself felt, in the fashion Chap, vi ATTACK ON THE BISHOPS 85
that has since become the familiar essence of parliamentary life all the world over. As we shall see, a second and deeper line of party demarcation was soon to follow. Meanwhile the division between parties in the Commons was speedily attended by disagreement between Commons and Lords, and this widened as the rush of events became more pressing. Among the Lords, too, Charles now found friends. It was his own fault if he did not discover, in the differences among his enemies upon the church, a chance of recovering his own shattered authority in the state. To profit by these differences was his persistent game for seven years to come. Seldom has any game in political manoeuvre been more unskilfully played. The parliament had adjourned early in September, the king still absent in Scotland. The superintendence of affairs was carried on by a committee, a sort of provisional government of which Pym was the mainspring. Hampden had gone to Edinburgh as a parliamentary commissioner to watch the king. The two Houses reassembled a few days before the end of October amid intense disquiet. The growing tension made the popular leaders at once more energetic and more deliberate. Shortly before the adjournment the prayer-book had been attacked, and Cromwell supported the attack. Bishops still furnished the occasion, if they were not the cause, of political action. Root-and-Branch was dropped, and a bill was renewed for excluding the clergy from temporal authority and depriving the bishops of their seats among the Lords. Then followed a bill for suspending the bishops from parliamentary powers in the meantime. Cromwell by the side of Pym spoke keenly for it, on the ground that the bishops by their six-and-twenty votes should not be suffered to obstruct the legislative purposes of a majority of the two Houses. Charles, writing from Scotland (October), had announced a momentous resolution. "I command you," he said to his Secretary of State, "to assure all my servants that I am constant to the discipline and doctrine of the Church of England established by Queen Elizabeth and my father, and that I resolve by the grace of God to die in the maintenance of it." The pledge was more tragic than perhaps he knew, but when the time came he redeemed it to the letter. As a sign that he was in earnest, he proceeded to fill up five bishoprics that happened to be vacant, and in four of them he planted divines who had in convocation been parties to the unlawful canons on which the Commons were at the moment founding an impeachment of treason. This was either one of his many random imprudences, or else a calculated challenge. Cromwell blazed out instantly against a step that proclaimed the king's intention of upholding episcopacy in all its pretensions. Suddenly an earthquake shook the ground on which they stood, and threw the combatants into unexpected postures.
The event that now happened inflamed the public mind in England with such horror as had in Europe followed the Sicilian Vespers, or the massacre of St. Bartholomew, or the slaughter of the Protestants in the passes of the Valtelline by the Spanish faction only twenty-one years before. In November the news reached London that the Irish had broken out in bloody rebellion. The story of this dreadful rising has been the subject of vehement dispute among historians ever since, and even in our own day has been discussed with unhistoric heat. Yet the broad facts are sufficiently clear to any one capable of weighing the testimony of the time without prejudice of race or faith; and they stand out in cardinal importance in respect both to leading
THE IRISH REBELLION 87
episodes in the career of Cromwell, and to the general politics of the Revolution. The causes of rebellion in Ireland lay deep. Confiscations and exterminations had followed in deadly succession, and ever since the merciless suppression of the rising of the Ulster chieftains in the reign of Elizabeth, the elements of another violent outbreak had been sullenly and surely gathering. Enormous confiscations had been followed by the plantation of Scotch and English colonists, and the clearance of the old owners and their people. The colonist thought no more of rights and customs in the aboriginal population, than if they had been the Matabele or Zulu of a later time. Besides the great sweeping forfeitures, rapacious adventurers set busily to work with eagle eyes to find out flaws in men's title to individual estates, and either the adventurer himself acquired the estate, or forced the possessor to take a new grant at an extortionate rent. People were turned off their land without compensation and without means of subsistence. Active men left with nothing to do, and nothing of their own to live upon, wandered about the country, apt upon the least occasion of insurrection or disturbance to be heads and leaders of outlaws and rebels. Strafford (16321640), in spite of his success upon the surface, had aggravated the evil at its source. He had brought the finances into good order, introduced discipline into the army, driven pirates out of the channel, imported flax-seed from Holland and linen-weavers from France. But nobody blessed or thanked him, everybody dreaded the weight of his hand, and in such circumstances dread is but another word for hate. The genius of fear had perfected the work of fear; but the whole structure of imperial power rested on shaking bog. The great inquisition into titles had alarmed and exasperated the old English. The northern presbyterians resented his proceedings for religious uniformity. The catholics were at heart in little better humour; for though Strafford was too deep a statesman to attack them in full front, he undoubtedly intended in the fulness of time to force them as well as the presbyterians into the same uniformity as his master had designed for Scotland. He would, however, have moved slowly, and in the meantime he both practised connivance with the catholic evasion of the law, and encouraged hopes of complete toleration. So did the king. But after Strafford had gone to his doom in England, puritan influences grew more powerful, and the catholics perceived that all the royal promises of complete toleration, like those for setting a limit to the time for inquisition into titles of land, were so many lies. No Irish conspirator could have laid the train for rebellion more effectively. If any one cares to find some more reasonable explanation of Irish turbulence than the simple theory that this unfortunate people, in the modern phrase, have a double dose of original sin, he should read the story how the O'Byrnes were by chicane, perjury, imprisonment, martial law, application of burning gridirons, branding-irons, and strappado, cheated out of their lands. While these grievances were rankling all over Ireland, and the undying animosities of the dispossessed chieftains of Ulster were ready to break into flame, priests and friars from Spain had swarmed into the land and kindled fresh excitement. No papist conspiracy was needed to account for what soon happened. When one deep spring of discontent mounts to a head and overflows, every other source becomes a tributary. Maddened as they were by wholesale rapine, driven forth from land and homes, outraged in every sentiment belonging to their old rude organisation, it is no wonder if the native Irish and their leaders of ancient and familiar name found an added impulse in passion for their religious faith.