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between the king and parliament excepted, they have little relation to the line of general history. I shall, therefore, pass them over slightly, offering only the most important to your notice. One could wish that the greater part of them were erased from the English annals.

The new parliament, no way mollified by the dismission of the duke of York, discovered all the violence that had been feared by the court. The commons revived the prosecution of the earl of Danby: they reminded the lords of his impeachment; and they demanded justice, in the name of the people of England. Charles, determined to save his minister, had already had the precaution to grant him a pardon. That he now avowed in the house of peers: declaring that he could not think Danby in any respect criminal, as he had acted in every thing by his orders. The lower house, paying no regard to this confession, immediately voted, that no pardon of the crown could be pleaded in bar of an impeachment by the commons of England23. The lords seemed at first to adhere to the pardon, but yielded at last to the violence of the commons; and Danby, after absconding for a time, surrendered to the black rod, and was committed to the Tower.

Charles, in order to soothe the commons, made a shew of changing his measures. Several popular leaders of both houses were admitted into the privy council: particularly sir Henry Capel, lord Russel, the earl of Shaftesbury, and the viscounts Halifax and Fauconberg, who had distinguished themselves by their opposition to the court. The earl of Essex a popular nobleman, was advanced to the head of the treasury, in the room of the earl of Danby; and the earl of

23. The prerogative of mercy, had been hitherto understood to be altoge ther unlimited in the crown; so that this pretension of the commons was perfectly new. It was not, however, unsuitable to the genius of a monarchy strictly limited; where the king's ministers are supposed to be accountable to the national assembly, even for such abuses of power as they may commit by orders from their master.

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Sunderland, a man every way qualified for such an office, was made secretary of state.

By thus placing the most violent patriots, either real or pretended, in his service, the king hoped to regain the affections of his parliament. But he was miserably disappointed. The commons received his declaration of a new council with the greatest indifference and coolness, believing the whole to be a trick in order to obtain money, or an artifice to induce the country party to drop their pursuit of grievances, by disarming with offices the violence of their leaders. They therefore continued their deliberations, with unabating zeal; and resolved, without one dissenting voice," that the "duke of York's being a papist, and the hopes of his com"ing, as such, to the crown, has given the greatest counte"nance and encouragement to the plots against the king and "the protestant religion24,"

This being considered as an introductory step to the eventual exclusion of the duke from the throne, Charles, in order to prevent such a bold measure, laid before the parliament certain limitations, which, without altering the succession to the crown, he thought sufficient to secure the civil and religious liberties of the subject. The limitations proposed were very important; they deprived a popish successor of the right of bestowing ecclesiastical promotions, and of either ap pointing or displacing privy counsellors or judges, without the consent of parliament. The same precaution was extended to the military part of the government; to the lordlieutenants and deputy-lieutenants of counties, and to all officers of the navy25.

These ample concessions, which in a manner annihilated the power of the crown, were rejected with contempt by the commons. They brought in a bill for the total exclusion of the duke of York, and they continued their prosecu. tion against Danby. They resolved, that the pardon which

24. Journals, April 27, 1679.

25. Ibid. May 10.


he claimed was illegal and void; and, after some conferences with the lords on the subject, a day was fixed for his trial. Preparations were also made for the trial of the popish lords in the Tower.

In the meantime a furious dispute arose between the two houses, occasioned by a resolution of the commons, "that "the lords spiritual ought not to have any vote in any pro"ceedings against the lords in the tower26. " This resolution involved a question of no small importance, and was of peculiar consequence in the present case. Though the bishops were anciently prohibited by the canon law, and afterward by established custom, from assisting at capital trials, they generally sat and voted in motions preparatory to such trials. The validity of Danby's pardon was first to be debated; and, although but a preliminary, was the hinge on which the whole must turn. The commons, therefore, insisted upon excluding the bishops, whom they knew to be devoted to the court: the lords were unwilling to make any alteration in the forms of their judicature: both houses adhered to their respective pretensions; and Charles took advantage of their quarrels, first to prorogue, and then to dissolve the parliament; setting aside, by that measure, the trial of his minister, and, for a time, the bill of exclusion against his brother27.

Though this parliament, my dear Philip, is reprehensible on account of its violence and its credulity; and although some of its members seem to have been actuated by a spirit of party and a strong antipathy against the royal family, while others were influenced by the money of France or the intrigues of the prince of Orange, the greater number were animated by a real spirit of patriotism, by an honest zeal for their civil and religious liberties. Of this the Exclusion bill

26. Journals, May 17.

27. Danby and the popish lords, Stafford excepted, whose fate I shall have occasion to relate, after lying in the Tower till 1684, were admitted to bail on petition.


and the Habeas Corpus act are sufficient proofs. The latter, which particularly distinguishes the English constitution, can never be too much applauded.

The personal liberty of individuals is a property of hu man nature, which nothing but the certainty of a crime committed ought ever to abridge or restrain. The English nation had, accordingly, very early and repeatedly, as we have seen, secured by public acts this valuable part of their rights as men; yet something was still wanting to render personal freedom complete, and prevent evasion or delay from ministers and judges. The act of Habeas Corpus past last session, answered all these purposes, and does equal honour to the patriotism and penetration of those who framed it and carried it into a law. This act prohibits the sending of any English subject to a prison beyond sea; and it provides, that no judge shall refuse to any prisoner a writ, by which the gaol is directed to produce in court the body of such prisoners and to certify the cause of his detainer and com mitment.

The general rage against popery, and the success of the country party in the English parliament, raised the spirit of the Scottish covenanters, and gave new life to their hopes. Their conventicles, to which they went armed, became more frequent and numerous; and though they never acted offensively, they frequently repelled the troops sent to disperse them. But even this small degree of moderation could not long be preserved by a set of wild enthusiasts, who thought every thing lawful for the support of their godly cause; who were driven to madness by the oppressions of a tyrannical government, and flattered, by their friends in England, with the prospect of relief from their troubles. A barbarous violence increased the load of their calamities.

Sharpe, archbishop of St. Andrews, was deservedly obnoxious to the covenanters. Having been deputed by the Scottish clergy at the restoration, to manage their interests with the king, he had betrayed them. He soon after openly


abandoned the presbyterian party; and when episcopacy was established in Scotland, his apostacy was rewarded with the dignity of primate. To him was chiefly entrusted the conduct of ecclesiastical affairs; and, in order to recommend himself to the court, he persecuted the covenanters, or nonconformists, with unrelenting rigour. It was impossible for human beings to suffer so many injuries, without being stimulated against their author by the keenest emotions of indignation and revenge. A band of desperate fanatics, farther influenced by the hope of doing an acceptable service to Heaven, way-laid the archbishop in the neighbourhood of St. Andrews; and, after firing into his coach, dispatched him with many wounds 28.

This atrocious action, furnished the ministry with a pretext for a more severe persecution of the covenanters, on whom, without distinction, they threw the guilt of the murder of Sharpe. The troops quartered in the western coun ties received orders to disperse, by force, all conventicles, wherever they should be found. This severity obliged the covenanters to assemble in large bodies; and their success in repelling the king's forces emboldened them to set forth a declaration against episcopacy, and publicly to burn the acts of parliament which had established that mode of ecclesiastical government in Scotland. They took possession of Glasgow, and established a kind of preaching camp in the neighbourhood; whence they issued proclamations, declaring that they fought against their king's supremacy in religious matters, against popery, prelacy, and a popish successor29.

Charles, alarmed at this insurrection, dispatched the duke of Monmouth, with a body of English cavalry, to join the royal army in Scotland, and subdue the fanatics. Monmouth came up with the covenanters at Bothwel-bridge, between Glasgow and Hamilton, where a rout rather than

28. Burnet, vol. ii. Wodrow, vol. ii.

29. Id. Ibid.

a battle

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