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dangerous consequence, and intrenched upon the fundamental CHARLES privileges and being of the parliament." But which way can this charge be made out? The bishops, as has already been proved, are one of the three estates, and by consequence, essential to the legislature. Since therefore they had been so outrageously insulted, since the violence was not removed, nor any protection afforded upon their complaint to both houses; what could they do less, than appear with their protest for securing their right? If the temporal lords or commons had been under the same menacing and danger, and had moved for redress to no purpose; they would, we may reasonably believe, have made the same remonstrance. And since the lords spiritual are equally a third estate with the other two, why should they not have the same liberty to guard their privilege? Besides, the bishops declared the nullity of what passed during their absence, no longer than the force was upon them, no longer than their coming to parliament continued impracticable and therefore their remonstrating against the legality of what passed in their absence, was by no means claiming a negative vote like the king. It is farther objected, that the Lord Clabishops desiring the king to command the clerk of the house Hist. of the to enter their protestation upon record, was derogatory to the Rebellion. rights of parliament. But to warrant their proceeding in this p. 354. manner, the bishops have a clear precedent in the reign of king Richard II.
The case was this: Courtney, archbishop of Canterbury, foresaw some peers were likely to be tried for their lives in parliament; and knew the bishops were barred by the canons from concerning themselves in cases of blood; upon this prospect he presented a protestation in his own name, and the rest of the lords spiritual, for asserting their peerage, and saving their rights and interest in parliament: and at the delivering this instrument, he desired the king it might be entered upon the parliament rolls, which was done accordingly. Secondly, it was objected farther, that the nulling of all laws made at that time, when Ireland was in danger, was a sort of conspiring with the rebels to destroy that kingdom. To this it may be answered, that if the bishops had a right to protest in this manner, the inconveniences consequent upon their using it, can amount to no crime: for what fault can it be for a man to make use of the privilege the law allows
See the first
vol. of this History.
LAUD, him? Besides, when the passage was open and undisturbed Abp. Cant. to the parliament house, as it was when the petition was read; for then the bishop of Winchester and some other prelates appeared there: when things were thus somewhat quieted, the bishops recalled their protestations, and desired both houses to accept their revocation.
part. 3. p. 467.
But the commons resolved to seize the opportunity, and make use of the pretended advantage. Thus, within half an hour after the instrument was put into their hands, they sent up to the lords, and, without farther debate, impeached the twelve bishops who signed the protestation of high treason. This charge being carried to the upper house by Mr. Glyn, the black rod was immediately ordered to go in search of the bishops, and bring them forthwith before the lords in parliament. They were brought to the bar that evening accordingly. Upon which an order passed in these words: "That the lord The bishops archbishop of York, his grace the lord bishop of Durham, the impeached, lord bishop of Norwich, the lord bishop of St. Asaph, &c., the Tower. being charged of high treason by the house of commons, shall forthwith stand committed to the prison of the Tower, until the pleasure of this house be farther known." But, by an order of the same day, the bishops of Durham and Coventry and Lichfield, in regard of their age and ill health, had the favour of being remitted to the custody of the gentlemanusher. The bishops committed had some time given to put in their answer; and, at their request, the lords ordered Mr. Lane, the prince's attorney; sir Thomas Gardiner, knight, recorder of London; John Hearne, Chaloner Chuite, John Fountain, Matthew Hales, and Arthur Trevor, to be of counsel for them. The lord Clarendon, notwithstanding his surprise at the rigour of this usage,—notwithstanding he objects nothing against the legality of this protestation,notwithstanding he believes "a violence offered to the freedom of any one member is a violation to all the rest," and makes all their acts as "void and null as if they were locked in and kept without meat till they altered their judgments,"notwithstanding this fair length of concession, he censures the protestation as "proceeding from a transport of passion in archbishop Williams;" and that the other eleven were ill advised in going into these measures, and suffering themselves to be "precipitated to so hasty a resolution." But, with due
regard to this noble historian, the bishops' conduct seems CHARLES fairly defensible. Had they done less, they had fallen short of that fortitude which might justly be expected from them : for, since their going to the house was utterly impracticable,since their complaint to the lords and commons had been disregarded,-which way could they maintain their station, and secure their peerage, but by entering their protestation? To hope for either favour or justice at this juncture was too sanguine an expectation; they had reason to conclude the "rootand-branch work" would certainly go forward; and, therefore, to have been silent under such outrage would have been unseasonable caution, and looked like cowardice. When the prospect is thus menacing, and a man is almost certain to be undone, the most creditable expedient is to spend himself in a blaze, and flash to the last grain of powder. To go out in smoke and smoulder is but a mean way of coming to nothing: to creep and crawl to a misfortune, is to suffer like an insect. A man ought to fall with dignity and honour, and keep his mind erect, though his fortune happens to be crushed'. This was the bishops' case and meaning: they were willing to save their privilege and support their character; and, for making so handsome a retreat, they seem to have obliged their memory, and ought to stand commended upon record. About a fortnight after their commitment, they were severally brought to the bar of the lords' house, and put in their answers to the impeachment in the following form:
bishop of such a place, saving to myself all advantages of exception to the insufficiency of the said impeachment, for myself say, that I am not guilty of the treason charged by the said impeachment, in manner and form as the same is therein charged."
Id. p. 497.
After this answer, the bishops petitioned the house of lords for trial or bail. Upon which the lords assigned them the 25th of January for their trial, but remanded them in the mean time to their former confinement, where they continued till the beginning of May the next year, at which time, without making any application to the commons, the lords admitted The bishops them to bail. In short, they lived where they pleased, without bailed, but
This VOL. VIII.
is a first-rate specimen of Collier's terse and pointed style.
brought to any trial.
LAUD, ever being called upon for their trial, which is another clear Abp. Cant. evidence they had done nothing unwarrantable by law: for, had they been any ways obnoxious, their enemies would not have failed in the prosecution. And here, Wren, bishop of Ely, had harder fortune than the rest: for, some few months after his enlargement, he was seized by a party of soldiers, at his house at Dunham near Ely, and carried back to the Tower, where he continued till the end of the year 1659, without any charge brought against him.
Anglic. Nalson, Collect.
And now the ferment began to boil over, the mask was laid aside, and the faction appeared more in their colours. For instance, petitions from the counties of Sussex and Essex, of Oxford, Lincoln, and Northampton, were delivered to the house of commons, praying that the popish lords and bishops' votes might be taken away. This bill, already mentioned, against the bishops, passed the houses in the beginning of February. And here it was thought the king would have made a stand, and refused his assent. His majesty's first answer was, that the passing this bill was a matter of great concernment, and therefore he would take time for consideration. His delay, though a farther answer was promised, was looked on as a denial; and the prevailing members, being conscious their reformation in Church and State would be clogged unless the bishops were excluded, sent the same day to the king, then at Windsor, to press for his consent. Their reasons were, "that the subjects suffered by the bishops exercising temporal jurisdiction and making a party in the lords' house; that general satisfaction and a happy conjunction of both houses would be consequent upon the bishops being excluded; and, lastly, that the signing this bill would be a comfortable pledge of his majesty's gracious assent to the future remedies of those evils which were to be presented to him.”
This message from the parliament was seconded by those of greatest trust about the king, who, notwithstanding they wished well to his majesty's affairs, seem to have been unacquainted with the constitution, and not to have looked through the designs on foot. These courtiers suggested, that the passing this bill was the only way to preserve the Church; that the combination against the bishops, in this particular, was irresistible; that, provided the houses were satisfied in this point, they would acquiesce; but that the crossing this humour would
drive them to extremities, make them attempt the extirpation CHARLES of episcopacy, and demolish the whole fabric of the Church. They represented farther, that the passing this bill might prevail with the parliament to lay down their importunity for another of much worse consequence to the crown; and that was a bill for modelling and disposing the militia at the direction of the two houses. These arguments, though urged by those the king thought friends to the Church of England, would never, it is probable, have prevailed with his majesty, had not the queen solicited to the same purpose. This princess was made to believe her preservation depended upon the king's consent to the bill; that, in case his majesty refused it, her journey into Holland would be stopped, and her person possibly endangered either by the mutineers at London or the insurrection of the country in her passage to Dover; whereas the using her interest with the king would lay a popular obligation upon the kingdom, and make her acceptable to the parliament. These discourses proving persuasive with the queen, she made use of her ascendant, and wrested the king's resolution from him; so that, in short, he signed the bill at Canterbury, The king whither he accompanied the queen in her voyage to Holland. vailed with To give the reader the act: the preamble begins thus :
"Whereas bishops, and other persons in holy orders, ought not to be entangled with secular jurisdiction (the office of the ministry being of such great importance, that it will take up the whole man). And for that it is found, by long experience, that their intermeddling with secular jurisdictions hath occasioned great mischiefs and scandal, both to Church and State: his majesty, out of his religious care of the Church, and souls of his people, is graciously pleased that it be enacted, and by authority of this present parliament be it enacted, that no archbishop or bishop, or other person that now is, or hereafter shall be in holy orders, shall at any time after the fifteenth day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and forty-one, have any seat or place, suffrage or voice, or use or execute any power or authority in the parliaments of this realm; nor shall be of the privy-council of his majesty, his heirs or successors, or justice of the peace of oyer and terminer, or goal-delivery, or execute any temporal authority by virtue of any commission, but shall be wholly disabled;
at last pre