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directly on December 23 by his answer to the petition accompanying the Grand Remonstrance (No. 36, p. 155). The general outcome of the discussion was that the House of Commons wanted their will to prevail in all that was to be done, whilst the King was ready to hear what they had to
say and to assent to just as much as he pleased.
If only an appeal to force would be averted, the majority of the Commons had the game in their own hands. They had but to refuse to continue the grant of Tonnage and Poundage to reduce Charles to bankruptcy. It was the consciousness that this was the case which filled the air with rumours of Royalist plots during the last fortnight of December, and which brought a mob of apprentices to support the Commons in Palace Yard, and a crowd of officers who had served in the now disbanded army of the North to support the King at Whitehall.
Such a tension of feeling could not last long, and the King was the first to move. On January 3, 1642, his Attorney General impeached five leading members of the House of Commons, and one member of the House of Lords (No. 37, p. 158). On January 4, the King came in person to the House of Commons to seize the five members. The five took refuge in the city, which rose in their defence, and Charles, finding the forces of the city arrayed against him, left Westminster on January 1o. On January 17, the Commons set forth a declaration telling the story from their point of view, and defending their own constitutional position (No. 38, p. 159).
Though the King absented himself from Westminster, negotiations between him and the Parliament still continued. On February 13 he gave his consent to the last two Acts which became law in his reign. The first was the Clerical Disabilities Act (No. 37, p. 163), by which the clergy were disabled from exercising temporal jurisdiction and the Bishops were deprived of their votes in the House of Lords, the other the Impressment Act (No. 40, p. 164), authorising the impressment of soldiers for the service of Ireland. The fact that an army was being brought into existence for Ireland .constituted a danger for whichever of the two parties failed to hold military command, and this last Act was soon followed by a claim put forward by Parliament to appoint the Lords Lieutenants of the Counties, who were at the head of the militia or civilian army which was, in time of peace, the only force at the disposal of the King. As Charles, naturally enough, refused to give such power into the hands of those whom he regarded as his enemies, the Houses, on March 5, passed a Militia Ordinance to the effect which they desired (No. 41, p. 166).
An Ordinance was nothing more than a Bill which had been accepted by the two Houses but had not received the Royal assent, and for some months the Houses had claimed the right of acting on such Ordinances as if they had the force of law.
For the next few months a long and wordy controversy on the legality of this step arose, of which the King's Proclamation of May 27 (No. 43, p. 169), and the Declaration of the Houses of June 6 (No. 45, p. 175), may be accepted as specimens, whilst the Declaration of the Houses on Church Reform of April 8 (No. 42, p. 168) may be regarded as an attempt to minimise the difference between the two parties in ecclesiastical matters.
The Nineteen Propositions (No. 44, p. 170) have a wider scope. They set forth as a whole the constitutional changes demanded by the prevailing party at Westminster. They would simply have established government by persons appointed by Parliament in lieu of government by the King, and they may therefore be taken as definitely marking the acceptance by the majority of the House of Commons of the idea that the King's sovereignty must not merely be weakened but practically set aside (see pp. xxxv, xxxvi). Against this proposed system were enlisted not only the feelings of Charles, but also those of every man who disliked the ecclesiastical or civil policy of the Houses. In other words, a question arose whether the unlimited
power of the Houses would not be as despotically vexatious as had been the unlimited power of the King, and the solution of diminishing the sphere of government by enlarging the sphere of individual right did not as yet occur to either party.
Civil War was the natural result of such a condition of things. On June 12, Charles issued Commissions of Array (No. 46, p. 178), to summon the militia of the counties to his side, and on July 12, the Houses resolved, in addition to their claim to command the militia, to raise an army, and placed it under the command of the Earl of Essex (No. 47, p. 181). On August 22, the King raised his standard at Nottingham, and the Civil War began which was to decide, at least for a time, in whose hands was sovereignty in England.
III. From the outbreak of the Civil War to the execution
of the King.
[1642–1649.] The effect of the Civil War is to be seen by comparing with the Nineteen Propositions (No. 44, p. 120), the Propositions presented to the King at Oxford on February 1, 1643 (No. 48, p. 182). As far as the constitutional proposals are concerned, the tendency of the later document is to substitute indirect for direct action on the Crown. The following demands made in the Nineteen Propositions entirely disappear from the Oxford Propositions : namely, those for an oath to be taken by all Privy Councillors and Judges to maintain the Petition of Right and certain statutes to be named by Parliament (§ 2), for the dismissal of all Privy Councillors and Ministers of State except such as were approved by Parliament ($ 1); for the permanent rule that no Privy Councillor was to be appointed without the approbation of Parliament, and that no public act in which the Privy Council was to be consulted was to be
recognised as proceeding from the King unless it was signed by the majority of the Council' ($ 2); for the restriction of appointments of the chief officers of State to those whose 'nominations were approved by Parliament ($ 3); for the placing of the education of the King's children (§ 4) and their marriage (§ 5) under the control of Parliament; as well as to the restriction of the right of Peers hereafter created to sit and vote in Parliament to those who were admitted with the consent of both Houses ($ 19). In lieu of all this, in the Oxford Propositions, Parliament defined more clearly the exemptions which it demanded to be added to the general pardon to be issued, especially declaring that Newcastle and Digby were to be excluded (§ 13), and that Bristol and Herbert of Raglan were to be incapacitated from office, whilst they contented themselves with asking for the restoration of such Parliamentary Justices of the Peace as had been put out of office since April 1, 1642, and for the deprivation of office of such as were excepted against by Parliament ($ 9), as well as for the restitution to office of such members of either House as had been deprived since the beginning of the Long Parliament ($ 14).
To some extent, no doubt, these great concessions may be regarded as proceeding from a desire to conciliate Charles, and to make possible the peace which seemed more desirable after a brief experience of war than it had seemed before the commencement of hostilities. That there was no intention of conceding the substance of the dispute, appears from the fact that the claim put forward in the Nineteen Propositions to the command of the militia and forts ($$ 9, 15), is fully maintained in the Oxford Propositions ($ 7). The alterations made on the subject of the judges however require some consideration. In the Nineteen Propositions permanent provision was made for the submission of the nominations of the two Chief Justices and of the Chief Baron to the approbation of Parliament 1 Thus anticipating the well-known clause in the Act of Settlement.
(§ 3), whilst the appointment of puisne judges was left as before in the hands of the King. In the Oxford Propositions the names of twelve persons were recommended for judgeships, and of one person for the Mastership of the Rolls ($ 8), whilst no provision was made for the choice of their successors.
Taking these differences together, we seem to have arrived at a fresh stage in the constitutional ideas of the Long Parliament. In August, 1641, it seemed enough to wrest from the King the special powers acquired by the Crown since the accession of the Tudors, trusting to the power of stopping supplies to give everything else what might be needed. In June, 1642, it seemed necessary that Parliament should directly and permanently grasp the control over the military, administrative, and judicial powers of the Crown. In February, 1643, it appears to have been thought that financial and military control would be sufficient, without assigning to Parliament any permanent direct influence over the judicial and administrative appointments. Is it possible that this change was owing to an increasing perception of the truth that with Charles's successor it might be easier to come to terms, and that the only important difficulty was to tide over the years whilst Charles I, bred up as he had been under the old system, was still upon the throne?
That Charles I should have consented, even to these modified constitutional proposals, was not to be expected ; and it was the less likely that there should be any expression of feeling amongst his supporters in favour of their acceptance, as whilst the constitutional demands of Parliament had become less strict, its ecclesiastical demands had become more strict than in the preceding June. The Nineteen Propositions had asked the King to consent to such a reformation of the Church government and liturgy as Parliament might advise ($8). The Oxford Propositions demanded in addition the immediate abolition of Episcopacy. The removal from the House of all the Episcopalian members, who were now fighting on the King's side, had probably combined