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ticular seem many—all, I confess, excellent. The fountain was full, the channel narrow; that may be the cause; or that the author resembled Virgil, who made more verses by many than he intended to write. To extract a just number, had I seen all his, I could easily have bid him make fewer; but if he had bade me tell which he could have spared, I had been posed.” This is evidently the writing, not only of a man of good sense and good taste, but of a man of literary habits. Of the studies of Hampden little is known. But as it was at one time in contemplation to give him the charge of the education of the Prince of Wales, it cannot be doubted that his acquirements were considerable. Davila, it is said, was one of his favourite writers. The moderation of Davila's opinions, and the perspicuity and manliness of his style, could not but recommend him to so judicious a reader. It is not improbable that the parallel between France and England, the Huguenots and the Puritans, had struck the mind of Hampden, and that he already felt within himself powers not unequal to the lofty part of Coligni. While he was engaged in these pursuits, a heavy domestic calamity fell on him. His wife, who had borne him nine children, died in the summer of 1634. She lies in the parish church of Hampden, close to the manor-house. The tender and energetic language of her epitaph still attests the bitterness of her husband's sorrow, and the consolation which he found in a hope full of immortality. In the mean time, the aspect of public affairs grew darker and darker. The health of Eliot had sunk under an unlawful imprisonment of several years. The brave sufferer refused to fo. liberty, though liberty would to him ave been life, by recognising the authority which had confined him. In consequence of the representations of his physicians, the severity of restraint was somewhat relaxed. But it was in vain. He languished and expired a martyr to that good cause, for which his friend Hampden was destined to meet a more brilliant but not a more honourable death. All the promises of the king were violated without scruple or shame. The Petition of Right, to which he had, in consideration of moneys duly numbered, given a solemn assent, was set at naught. Taxes were raised by the royal authority. Patents of monopoly were granted. The old usages of feudal times were made pretexts for harassing the people with exactions unknown during many years. The Puritans were persecuted with cruelty worthy of the Holy Office. They were forced to fly from the country. They were imprisoned. They were whipped. Their ears were cut off. Their noses were slit. Their cheeks were branded with red-hot iron. But the cruelty of the oppressor could not tire out the fortitude of the victims. The mutilated defenders of liberty again defied the vengeance of the StarChamber, came back with undiminished resolution to the place of their glorious infamy, and manfully presented the stumps of their ears to be grubbed out by the hangman's knife. The nardy sect grew up and flourished, in spite of (s
everything that seemed likely to stunt it, struck its roots deep into a barren soil, and spread its branches wide to an inclement sky. The multitude thronged round Prynne in the pillory with more respect than they paid to Mainwaring in the pulpit, and treasured up the rags which the blood of Burton had soaked, with a veneration such as rochets and surplices had ceased to inspire. For the misgovernment of this disastrous period, Charles himself is principally responsible. After the death of Buckingham, he seemed to have been his own prime minister. He had, however, two counsellors who seconded him, or went beyond him, in intolerance and lawless violence; the one a superstitious driveller, as honest as a vile temper would suffer him to be; the other a man of great valour and capacity, but licentious, faithless, corrupt, and cruel. Never were faces more strikingly characteristic of the individuals to whom they belonged, than those of Laud and Strafford, as they still remain portrayed by the most skilful hand of that age. The mean forehead, the pinched features, the peering eyes of the prelate suit admirably with his disposition. They mark him out as a lower kind of Saint Dominic, differing from the fierce and gloomy enthusiast who founded the Inquisition, as we might imagine the familiar imp of a spiteful witch to differ from an archangel of darkness. When we read his judgments, when we read the report which he drew up, setting forth that he had sent some separatists to prison, and imploring the royal aid against others, we feel a movement of indignation. We turn to his Diary, and we are at once as cool as contempt can make us. There we read how his picture sell down, and how fearful he was lest the fall should be an omen; how he dreamed that the Duke of Buckingham came to bed to him ; that King James walked past him; that he saw Thomas Flaxage in green garments, and the Bishop of Worcester with his shoulders wrapped in linen. In the early part of 1627, the sleep of this great ornament of the church seems to have been much disturbed. On the 5th of January, he saw a merry old man with a wrinkled countenance, named Grove, lying on the ground. On the fourteenth of the same memorable month, he saw the Bishop of Lincoln jump on a horse and ride away. A day or two after this, he dreamed that he gave the king drink in a silver cup, and that the king refused it, and called for a glass. Then he dreamed that he had turned Papist—of all his dreams the only one, we suspect, which came through the gate of horn. But of these visions, our favourite is that which, as he has recorded, he enjoyed on the night of Friday the 9th of February, 1627. “I dreamed,” says he, “that I had the scurvy; and that forthwith all my teeth became loose. There was one in especial in my lower jaw, which I could scarcely keep in with my finger till I had called for help.” Here was a man to have the superintendence of the opinions of a great nation 1 But Wentworth—who ever names him without thinking of those harsh dark features, ennobled by their expressions into more than the majesty of an antique Jupiter; of that brow,
that eye, that cheek, that lip, wherein, as in a chronicle, are written the events of many stormy and disastrous years; high enterprise accomplished, frightful dangers braved, power unsparingly exercised, suffering unshrinkingly borne; of that fixed look, so full of severity, of mournful anxiety; of deep thought, of dauntless resolution, which seems at once to forebode and defy a terrible fate, as it lowers on us from the living canvass of Wandyke Even at this day the haughty earl overawes posterity as he overawed his contemporaries, and excites the same interest when arraigned before the tribunal of history, which he excited at the bar of the House of Lords. In spite of ourselves, we sometimes feel towards his memory a certain relenting. similar to that relenting which his defence, as Sir John Denham tells us, produced in Westminster Hall. This great, brave, bad man entered the House of Commons at the same time with Hampden, and took the same side with Hampden. Both were among the richest and most powerful commoners in the kingdom. Both were equally distinguished by force of character and by personal courage. Hampden had more judgment and sagacity than Wentworth. But no orator of that time equalled Wentworth in force and brilliancy of expression. In 1626, both these eminent men were committed to prison by the king; Wentworth, who was among the leaders of the Opposition, on account of his parliamentary conduct; Hampden, who had not as yet taken a prominent part in debate, for refusing to pay taxes illegally imposed. Here their paths separated. After the death of Buckingham, the king attempted to seduce some of the chiefs of the opposition from their party; and Wentworth was among those who yielded to the seduction. He abandoned his associates, and hated them ever after with the deadly hatred of a renegade. High titles and #. employments were heaped upon him. e became Earl of Strafford, Lord-Lieutenant of Ircland, President of the Council of the North; and he employed all his power for the .." of crushing those liberties of which e had been the most distinguished champion. His counsels respecting public affairs were fierce and arbitrary. His correspondence with Laud abundantly proves that government without Parliaments, government by the sword, was his favourite scheme. He was unwilling even that the course of justice between man and man should be unrestrained by the royal prerogative. He grudged to the Courts of King's Bench and Common Pleas even that measure of liberty, which the most absolute of the Bourbons have allowed to the Parliaments of France. In Ireland, where he stood in the place of the king, his practice was in strict accordance with his theory. He set up the authority of the executive government over that of the courts of law. He permitted no person to leave the island without his license. He established vast monopolies for his own private benefit.
He imposed taxes arbitrarily. He levied them
by military force.
scribed even by the partial Clarendon as powerful acts—acts which marked a nature excessively imperious—acts which caused dislike and terror in sober and dispassionate persons —high acts of oppression. Upon a most frivolous charge, he obtained a capital sentence from a court-martial against a man of high rank who had given him offence. He debauched the daughter-in-law of the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and then commanded that nobleman to settle his estate according to the wishes of the lady. The chancellor refused. The Lord-Lieutenant turned him out of office, and threw him into prison. When the violent acts of the Long Parliament are blamed, let it not be forgotten from what a tyranny they rescued the nation. Among the humbler tools of Charles, were Chief-justice Finch, and Noy, the attorneygeneral. Noy had, like Wentworth, supported the cause of liberty in Parliament, and had, like Wentworth, abandoned that cause for the sake of office. He devised, in conjunction with Finch, a scheme of exaction which made the alienation of the people from the throne complete. A writ was issued by the king, commanding the city of London to equip and man ships of war for his service. Similar writs were sent to the towns along the coast. These measures, though they were direct violations of the Petition of Right, had at least some show of precedent in their favour. But, aster a time, the government took a step for which no precedent could be pleaded, and sent writs of shipmoney to the inland counties. This was a stretch of power on which Elizabeth herself had not ventured, even at a time when all laws might with propriety have been made to bend to that highest law, the safety of the state. The inland counties had not been required to furnish ships, or money in the room of ships, even when the Armada was approaching our shores. It seemed intolerable that a prince, who, by assenting to the Petition of Right, had relinquished the power of levying ship-money even in the outports, should be the first to levy it on parts of the kingdom where it had been unknown, under the most absolute of his predecessors. Clarendon distinctly admits that this tax was intended, not only for the support of the navy, but “for a spring and magazine that should have no bottom, and for an everlasting supply of all occasions.” The nation well understood this; and from one end of England to the other, the public mind was strongly excited. Buckinghamshire was assessed at a ship of four hundred and fifty tons, or a sum of four thousand five hundred pounds. The share of the tax which fell to Hampden was very small; so small, indeed, that the sheriff was blamed for setting so wealthy a man at so low a rate. But though the sum demanded was a trifle, the principle of the demand was despotism. Hampden, after consulting the most eminent constitutional lawyers of the time, refused to pay the few shillings at which he was assessed ; and determined to incur all the certain expense, and the probable danger, of bringing to a solemn hearing this great controversy between says Clarendon, “he was rather of reputation in his own county, than of public discourse or same in the kingdom; but then he grew the argument of all tongues, every man inquiring who and what he was that durst, at his own charge, support the liberty and prosperity of the kingdom.” Towards the close of the year 1636, this great cause came on in the Exchequer Chamber before all the judges of England. The leading counsel against the writ was the celebrated Oliver St. John; a man whose temper was melancholy, whose manners were reserved, and who was as yet little known in Westminster Hall; but whose great talents had not escaped the penetrating eye of Hampden. The attorney-general and solicitor-general appeared for the crown. The arguments of the counsel occupied many days; and the Exchequer Chamber took a considerable time for deliberation. The opinion of the bench was divided. So clearly was the law in favour of Hampden, that though the judges held their situations only during the royal pleasure, the majority against him was the least possible. Four of the twelve pronounced decidedly in his favour; a fifth took a middle course. The remaining seven gave their voices in favour of the writ. The only effect of this decision was to make the public indignation stronger and deeper. “The judgment,” says Clarendon, “proved of more advantage and credit to the gentleman condemned than to the king's service.” The courage which Hampden had shown on this occasion, as the same historian tells us, “raised his reputation to a great height generally throughout the kingdom.” Even courtiers and crown-lawyers spoke respectfully of him. “His carriage,” says Clarendon, “throughout that agitation, was with that rare temper and modesty, that they who watched him narrowly to find some advantage against his person, to make him less resolute in his cause, were compelled to give him a just testimony.” But his demeanour, though it impressed Lord Falkland with the deepest respect, though it drew forth the praises of Solicitor-general Herbert, only kindled into a fiercer flame the ever-burning hatred of Strafford. That minister, in his letters to Laud, murmured against the lenity with which Hampden was treated. “In good faith,” he wrote, “were such men rightly served, they should be whipped into their right wits.” Again he says, “I still wish Mr. Hampden, and others to his likeness, were well whipped into their right senses. And if the rod be so used that it smart not, I am the more sorry.” The person of Hampden was now scarcely safe. His prudence and moderation had hitherto disappointed those who would gladly have had a pretence for sending him to the prison of Eliot. But he knew that the eye of a tyrant was on him. In the year 1637, misgovernment had reached its height. Eight
by the sentence of the Star-Chamber, and sent to rot in remote dungeons. The estate and the person of every man who had opposed the court were at its mercy. Hampden determined to leave England. Beyond the Atlantic Ocean, a few of the persecuted Puritans had formed, in the wilderness of Connecticut, a settlement which has since become a prosperous commonwealth; and which, in spite of the lapse of time, and of the change of government, still retains something of the character given to it by its first founders. Lord Say and Lord Brooke were the original projectors of this scheme of emigration. Hampden had been early consulted respecting it. He was now, it appears, desirous to withdraw himself beyond the reach of oppressors, who, as he probably suspected, and as we know, were bent on punishing his manful resistance to their tyranny. He was accompanied by his kinsman Oliver Cromwell, over whom he possessed great influence, and in whom he alone had discovered, under an exterior appearance of coarseness and extravagance, those great and commanding talents which were afterwards the admiration and the dread of Europe. The cousins took their passage in a vessel which lay in the Thames, bound for North America. They were actually on board, when an order of Council appeared, by which the ship was prohibited from sailing. Seven other ships, filled with emigrants, were stopped at the same time. Hampden and Cromwell remained; and with them remained the Evil Genius of the house of Stuart. The tide of public affairs was even now on the turn. The king had resolved to change the ecclesiastical constitution of Scotland, and to introduce into the public worship of that kingdom ceremonies which the great body of the Scots regarded as popish. This absurd attempt produced, first discontents, then riots, and at length open rebellion. A provisional government was established at Edinburgh, and its authority was obeyed throughout the kingdom. This government raised an army, appointed a general, and called a General Assembly of the Kirk. The famous instrument called the Covenant was put forth at this time, and was eagerly subscribed by the people. The beginnings of this formidable insurrection were strangely neglected by the king and his advisers. But towards the close of the year 1638, the danger became pressing. An army was raised; and early in the following spring Charles marched northward, at the head of a force sufficient, as it seemed, to reduce the Covenanters to submission. But Charles acted, at this conjuncture, as he acted at every important conjuncture throughout his life. After oppressing, threatening, and blustering, he hesitated and failed. He was bold
in the wrong place, and timid in the wrong place.
years had passed without a Parliament. The He would have shown his wisdom by being s's
decision of the Exchequer Chamber had placed
afraid before the liturgy was read in St. Gile
at the disposal of the crown the whole pro- church. He put off his fear till he had reached
perty of the English people. About the time at which that decision was pronounced, Pynne, Bastwick, and Burton were mutilated
the Scottish border with his troops. aster a feeble campaign, he concluded a treaty with the insurgents, and withdrew his army.
Then, But the terms of the pacification were not observed. Each party charged the other with foul play. The Scots refused to disarm. The king found great difficulty in reassembling his forces. His late expedition had drained his treasury. The revenues of the next year had been anticipated. At another time, he might have attempted to make up the deficiency by illegal expedients: but such a course would clearly have been dangerous when part of the island was in rebellion. It was necessary to call a Parliament. After eleven years of suffering, the voice of the nation was to be heard once more. In April, 1640, the Parliament met; and the king had another chance of conciliating his people. The new House of Commons was, beyond all comparison, the least refractory House of Commons that had been known for many years. Indeed, we have never been able to understand how, after so long a period of misgovernment, the representatives of the nation should have shown so moderate and so loyal a disposition. Clarendon speaks with admiration of their dutiful temper. “The House generally,” says he, “was exceedingly disposed to please the king and to do him service.” “It could never be hoped,” he observes elsewhere, “that more sober or dispassionate men would ever meet together in that place, or fewer who brought ill purposes with them.” In this Parliament Hampden took his seat as member for Buckinghamshire; and thenceforward till the day of his death gave himself up, with scarcely any intermission, to public affairs. He took lodgings in Gray's Inn Lane, near the house occupied by Pym, with whom he lived in habits of the closest intimacy. He was now decidedly the most popular man in England. The Opposition looked to him as their leader. The servants of the king treated him with marked respect. Charles requested the Parliament to vote an immediate supply, and pledged his word that if they would gratify him in this request, he would afterwards give them time to represent their grievances to him. The grievances under which the nation suffered were so serious, and the royal word had been so shamefully violated, that the Commons could hardly be expected to comply with this request. During the first week of the session the minutes of the proceedings against Hampden were laid on the table by Oliver St. John, and the committee reported that the case was matter of grievance. The king sent a message to the Commons, offering, if they would vote him twelve subsidies, to give up the prerogative of ship-money. Many years before he had received five subsidies in consideration of his assent to the Petition of Right. By assenting to that petition, he had given up the right of levying ship-money, if he ever possessed it. How he had observed the promises made to his third Parliament all England knew ; and it was not strange that the Commons should be somewhat unwilling to buy from him over and over again their own ancient and undoubted inheritance. His message, however, was not unfavourablv received. The Commons were ready to give a large supply, but they were not disposed Wol. II.-21
to give it in exchange for a prerogative of which they altogether denied the existence. If they acceded to the proposal of the king, they recognised the legality of the writs of ship-money. Hampden, who was a greater master of parliamentary tactics than any man of his time, saw that this was the prevailing feeling, and availed himself of it with great dexterity. He moved that the question should be put, “Whether the House would consent to the proposition made by the king as contained in the message.” Hyde interfered, and proposed that the question should be divided; that the sense of the House should be taken merely on the point, “Supply, or no supply?” and that the manner and the amount should be left for subsequent consideration. The majority of the House was for granting a supply, but against granting it in the manner proposed by the king. If the House had divided on Hampden's question, the court would have sustained a defeat; if on Hyde's, the court would have gained an apparent victory. Some members called for Hyde's motion, others for Hampden's. In the midst of the uproar the secretary of state, Sir Harry Vane, rose and stated that the supply would not be accepted unless it were voted according to the tenor of the message. Vane was supported by Herbert, the solicitor-general. Hyde's motion was therefore no further pressed, and the debate on the general question was adjourned till the next day. On the next day the king came down to the House of Lords, and dissolved the Parliament with an angry speech. His conduct on this occasion has never been defended by any of his apologists. Clarendon condemns it severely. “No man,” says he, “could imagine what offence the Commons had given.” The offence which they had given is plain. They had, indeed, behaved most temper; tely and most respectfully. But they had shown a disposition to redress wrongs and to vindicate the laws; and this was enough to make them hateful to a king whom no law could bind, and whose whole government was one system of wrong. The nation received the intelligence of the dissolution with sorrow and indignation. The only persons to whom this event gave pleasure were those few discerning men who thought that the maladies of the state were beyond the reach of gentle remedies. Oliver St. John's joy was too great for concealmers. It lighted up his dark and melancholy features, and made him, for the first time, indiscreetly communicative. Ho told Hyde that things must be worse before they could be better; and that the dissolved Parliament would never have done all that was necessary. St. John, we think, was in the right. No good could then have been done by any Parliament which did not adopt as its great principle that no confidence could safely be placed in the king, and that, while he enjoyed more than the shadow of power, the nation would never enjoy more than the shadow of liberty. As soon as Charles had dismissed the Park. liament, he threw several members of the House of Commons into prison. Ship-money e 3
was exacted more rigorously than ever; and the mayor and sheriffs of London were prosecuted before the Star-Chamber for slackness in levying it. Wentworth, it is said, observed, with characteristic insolence and cruelty, that things would never go right till the aldermen were hanged. Large sums were raised by force on those counties in which the troops were quartered. All the wretched shifts of a beggared exchequer were tried. Forced loans were raised. Great quantities of goods were bought on long credit and sold for ready money. A scheme for debasing the currency was under consideration. At length, in August, the king again marched northward. The Scots advanced into England to meet him. It is by no means improbable that this bold step was taken by the advice of Hampden, and of those with whom he acted; and this has been made matter of grave accusation against the English Opposition. To call in the aid of foreigners in a domestic quarrel, it is said, is the worst of treasons; and that the Puritan leaders, by taking this course, showed that they were regardless of the honour and independence of the nation, and anxious only for the success of their own saction. We are utterly unable to see any distinction between the case of the Scotch invasion in 1640 and the case of the Dutch invasion in 1688, or rather we see distinctions which are to the advantage of Hampden and his friends. We believe Charles to have been, beyond all comparison, a worse and more dangerous king than his son. The Dutch were strangers to us; the Scots a kindred people, speaking the same language, subjects of the same crown, not aliens in the eye of the law. If, indeed, it had been possible that a Dutch army or a Scotch army could have enslaved England, those who persuaded Lesley to cross the Tweed, and those who signed the invitation to the Prince of Orange, would have been traitors to their country. But such a result was out of the question. All that either a Scotch or a Dutch invasion could do was to give the public feeling of England an opportunity to show itself. Both expeditions would have ended in complete and ludicrous discomfiture had Charles and James been supported by their soldiers and their people. In neither case, therefore, was the independence of England endangered; in neither case was her honour compromised: in both cases her liberties were preserved. The second campaign of Charles against the Scots was short and ignominious. His soldiers, as soon as they saw the enemy, ran away as English soldiers have never run either before or since. It can scarcely be doubted that their slight was the effect, not of cowardice, but of disaffection. The four northern counties of England were occupied by the Scotch army. The king retired to York. The game of tyranny was now up. Charles had risked and lost his last stake. It is impossible to retrace the mortifications and humiliations which this bad man now had to endure without a feeling of vindictive pleasure. His army was mutinous; his treasury was empty; his people clamoured for a Parliament; adaresses and petitions against the government
were presented. Strafford was for shooting those who presented them by martial law; but the king could not trust the soldiers. A great council of Peers was called at York, but the king could not trust even the Peers. He struggled, he evaded, he hesitated, he tried every shift rather than again face the representatives of his injured people. At length no shift was left. He made a truce with the Scots, and summoned a Parliament. The leaders of the popular party had, after the late dissolution, remained in London for the purpose of organizing a scheme of opposition to the court. They now exerted themselves to the utmost. Hampden, in particular, rode from county to county exhorting the electors to give their votes to men worthy of their confidence. The great majority of the returns was on the side of the Opposition. Hampden was himself chosen member for both Wendover and for Buckinghamshire. He made his election to serve for the county. On the 3d of November, 1640—a day to be long remembered—met that great Parliament, destined to every extreme of fortune—to empire and to servitude, to glory and to contempt;-at one time the sovereign of its sovereign, at another time the servant of its servants, and the tool of its tools. From the first day of its meeting the attendance was great, and the aspect of the members was that of men not disposed to do the work negligently. The dissolution of the late Parliament had convinced most of them that half measures would no longer suffice. Clarendon tells us that “the same men who, six months before, were observed to be of very moderate tempers, and to wish that gentle remedies might be applied, talked now in another dialect both of kings and persons; and said that they must now be of another temper than they were the last Parliament.” The debt of vengeance was swollen by all the usury which had been accumulating during many years; and payment was made to the full. This memorable crisis called forth parliamentary abilities, such as England had never before seen. Among the most distinguished members of the House of Commons were Falkland, Hyde, Digby, Young, Harry Vane, Oliver St. John, Denzil Hollis, Nathaniel Fiennes. But two men exercised a paramount influence over the legislature and the country —Pym and Hampden; and, by the universal consent of friends and enemies, the first place belonged to Hampden. On occasions which required set speeches, Pym generally took the lead. Hampden very seldom rose till late in a debate. His speaking was of that kind which has, in every age, been held in the highest estimation by English Parliaments—ready, weighty, perspicuous, condensed. His perception of the feeling of the House was exquisite, his temper unalterably placid, his manner eminently courteous and gentlemanlike. “Even with those,” says Clarendon, “who were abla to preserve themselves from his infusions, and who discerned these opinions to be fixed in him with which they could not comply, he always left the character of an ingenuous and conscientious per