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made it so unskilfully, that it was equivalent to a total rout: he was the last of the army that embarked; ; and he returned to England, having lost two-thirds of his land-forces; totally discredited both as an admiral and a general; and bringing no praise with him, but the vulgar one of courage and personal bravery.

The duke of Rohan, who had taken arms as soon as Buckingham appeared upon the coast, discovered the dangerous spirit of the sect, without being able to do any mischief: the inhabitants of Rochelle, who had at last been induced to join the English, hastened the vengeance of their master, exhausted their provisions in supplying their allies, and were threatened with an immediate siege. Such were the fruits of Buckingham's expedition against France.

CHAP. LI.

Third parliament-Petition of right-Prorogation-Death of Buck

ingham--New session of parliament—Tonnage and poundage

Arminianism--Dissolution of the parliament. THERE was reason to apprehend some disorder or insurrection from the discontents which prevailed among the people in England. Their liberties, they believed were ravished from them; illegal taxes extorted; their commerce, which had met with a severe check from the Spanish, was totally annihilated by the French war; those military honours transmitted to them from their ancestors had received a grievous stain by two unsuccessful and ill-conducted expeditions; scarce an illustrious family but mourned, from the last of them, the loss of a son or brother; greater calamities were dreaded from the war with these powerful monarchies, concurring with the internal disorders, under which the nation laboured. And these ills were ascribed, not to the refractory disposition of the two former parliaments, to

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which they were partly owing, but solely to Charles's obstinacy, in adhering to the counsels of Buckingham; a man nowise entitled, by his birth, age, services, or merit, to that unlimited confidence reposed in him. To be sacrificed to the interest, policy, and ambition of the great, is so much the common lot of the people, that they may appear unreasonable who would pretend to complain of it; but to be the victim of the frivolous gallantry of a favourite, and of his boyish caprices, seemed the object of peculiar indignation.

In this situation, it may be imagined, the king liament and the duke dreaded above all things the assembling of a parliament: but so little foresight had they possessed in their enterprising schemes, that they found themselves under an absolute necessity of embracing that expedient. The money levied, or rather extorted, under colour of prerogative, had come in very slowly, and had left such ill-humour in the nation, that it appeared dangerous to renew the experiment. The absolute necessity of supply, it was hoped, would engage the commons to forget all past injuries; and, having experienced the ill effects of former obstinacy, they would probably assemble with a resolution of making some reasonable compliances. The more to soften them, it was concerted, by sir Robert Cotton's advice, that Buckingham should be the first person that

proposed in council the calling of a new parliament. Having laid in this stock of merit, he expected that all his former misdemeanours would be overlooked and forgiven; and that, instead of a tyrant and oppressor, he should be regarded as the first patriot in the nation.

The views of the popular leaders were much more judicious and profound. When the commons assembled (March 17), they appeared to be men of the same independent spirit with their predecessors, and possessed of such riches, that their property was computed

Franklyn, p. 230.

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to surpass three times that of the house of peers ;$ they were deputed by boroughs and counties, inflamed all of them by the late violations of liberty; many of the members themselves had been cast into prison, and had suffered by the measures of the court; yet, notwithstanding these circumstances, which might prompt them to embrace violent resolutions, they entered upon business with perfect temper and decorum. ' They considered, that the king, disgusted at the popular assemblies, and little prepossessed in favour of their privileges, wanted but a fair pretence for breaking with them, and would seize the first opportunity offered by any incident, or any undutiful behaviour of the members. He fairly told them in his first speech, that, " if they should not do their duties, in contributing to the necessities of the state, he must, in discharge of his conscience, use those other means which God had put into his hands, in order to save that which the follies of some particular men may otherwise put in danger. Take not this for a threatening (added the king), for I scorn to threaten any but my equals; but as an admonition from him who, by nature and duty, has most care of your preservation and prosperity.” The lord-keeper,

. by the king's direction, subjoined, “ This way

of

parliamentary supplies, as his majesty told you, he hath chosen, not as the only way, but as the fittest; not because he is destitute of others, but because it is most agreeable to the goodness of his own most gracious disposition, and to the desire and weal of his people. If this be deferred, necessity and the sword of the enemy may make way for the others. Remember his majesty's admonition ; I say, remember it.”. From these avowed

i maxims, the commons foresaw, that, if the least handle were afforded, the king would immediately dissolve them, and would thenceforward deem himself justified

& Sanderson, p. 106. Walker, p. 339.
h Rushworth, vol. 1. p. 477. Franklyn, p. 233.
i Rushworth, vol. 1. p. 479. Franklyn, p. 234.

for violating in a manner still more open, all the ancient forms of the constitution. No remedy could then be looked for, but from insurrections and civil

war,

of which the issue would be extremely uncertain, and which must, in all events, prove calamitous to the nation. To correct the late disorders in the administration, required some new laws which would, no doubt, appear harsh to a prince so enamoured of his prerogative; and it was requisite to temper, by the decency and moderation of their debates, the rigour which must necessarily attend their determinations. Nothing can give us a higher idea of the capacity of those men who now guided the commons, and of the great authority which they had acquired, than the forming and executing of so judicious and so difficult a plan of operations.

The decency, however, which the popular leaders had prescribed to themselves, and recommended to others, hindered them not from making the loudest and most vigorous complaints against the grievances under which the nation had lately laboured. Sir Francis Seymour said, “ This is the great council of the kingdom, and here with certainty, if not here only, his majesty may see as in a true glass, the state of the kingdom. We are called hither by his writs, in order to give him faithful counsel, such as may stand with his honour: and this we must do without flattery. We are also sent hither by the people, in order to deliver their just grievances : and this we must do without fear. Let us not act like Cambyses's judges, who, when their approbation was demanded by the prince to some illegal measure, said, that, Though there was a written law, the Persian kings might follow their own will and pleasure. This was base flattery, fitter for our reproof than our imitation; and as fear, so flattery, taketh away the judgment. For my part, I shall shun both; and speak my mind with as much duty as any man to his majesty, without neglecting the public.

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“ But how can we express our affections, while we retain our fears; or speak of giving till we know whether we have any thing to give? For if his majesty may be persuaded to take what he will, what need we

give ?

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“ That this hath been done, appeareth by the billeting of soldiers, a thing nowise advantageous to the king's service, and a burden to the commonwealth : by the imprisonment of gentlemen for refusing the loan, who, if they had done the contrary for fear, had been as blamable as the projectors of that oppressive measure. To countenance these proceedings, hath it not been preached in the pulpit, or rather prated, that All we have is the king's by divine right? But when preachers forsake their own calling, and turn ignorant statesmen, we see how willing they are to exchange a good conscience for a bishoprick.

"He, I must confess, is no good subject, who would not, willingly and cheerfully, lay down his life, when that sacrifice may promote the interests of his sovereign, and the good of the commonwealth. But he is not a good subject, he is a slave, who will allow his goods to be taken from him against his will, and his liberty against the laws of the kingdom. By opposing these practices, we shall but tread in the steps of our forefathers, who still preferred the public before their private interest, nay, before their very lives. It will in us be a wrong done to ourselves, to our posterities, to our consciences, if we forego this claim and pretension,”k

“ I read of a custom (said sir Robert Philips) among the old Romans, that, once every year, they held a solemn festival, in which their slaves had liberty, without exception, to speak what they pleased, in order to ease their afflicted minds, and, on the conclusion of the festival, the slaves severally returned to their former servitudes.

k Franklyn, p. 243. Rushworth, vol. 1. p. 499.

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