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tion of more honor and happiness to his majesty than was ever yet enjoyed by one of his royal predecessors.”
Such is the Grand Remonstrance, and it must, by all but Puri. tans, be confessed that it is difficult to determine from what motive it proceeded, or what object it had in view. Historians have in general considered it as possessing no constitutional value; it is not addressed to any great principle then in danger or in doubt, and a document so lengthy and pretending, ends in a lame and impotent conclusion, when it propounds amongst the remedies for bad government-and those the most prominent-increased vigilance towards Papists, and a more extended union of Protestants against them. Viewing it as a remonstrance of the House of Commons against the tyranny or illegal government of the king, it loses its effect by the confession that the grievances complained of had been fully redressed, and that the king's power of evil was taken away, and it is not to be compared, in that respect, with the bold remonstrances of the Commons to James—or even to those in the early part of this reign, when Charles was in the plenitude of his prerogative-defy. ing the power, and daring the punishments the kings were then able and willing to inflict. If we view it as a measure rendered necessary to insure faithfulness of the king (for which there is no authority in the tenor or terms of the Remonstrance), we object that the king had surrendered by acts of Parliament the prerogatives which he had assumed, and by which he had illegally oppressed his people; and had thus given the highest security known to the constitution, for the abandonment of his assumed prerogatives; and that therefore an appeal to the people in anticipation of his future misconduct, was not only ungracious, but insulting. But the true view of it is that the Remonstrance was intended to aid the design of removing from Parliament the bishops and those lords whom it so strongly denounced as the obstacles to Puritanism. The removal of the bishops, in order to obtain the control spiritual as well as temporal of the kingdom, was the great object of the Puritan party; the intention to remove them is confessed in the remonstrance; but it was almost the only point in which they could not get the concurrence of the king and the Lords. It was accomplished, however, within a few months after the Remonstrance; and if we consider
the power of ambitious and self-righteous fanaticism when striving for ascendency, and how strongly it governed the actions of the Puritans in Parliament, it will perhaps be felt that this, and this only, in the then subdued condition of the king, fired the energies of these fanatics to the frenzy which the debate produced; and that this is amply adequate to explain the resolution of Cromwell as the same motives animated the so-called Pilgrim Fathers) to sell all he possessed and leave the country, if the Remonstrance had not been carried.
We now pass to another phase in Charles's eventful life, when, driven by exasperation to relinquish all his compliant submission to the Commons, and losing sight of his pledged regard to their privi. leges, he entered into a personal contest with them. The attempted seizure of the five members, one of the most ominous passages English history, is referred to. Since the Grand Remonstrance, several subjects of dispute and irritation (sedulously stirred up and fomented by the Puritans, who were determined that their majority of eleven should be made the most of,) had arisen between the king and the Parliament. One arose out of a demand by the Commons, that the king should remove the lieutenant of the Tower from his office, and place another, nominated by the Commons, in his rooma demand which the Peers considered to be an interference with the royal prerogative, and in which, therefore, they refused to concur. Then followed an unpleasant inquiry in the House of Commons, in which the queen was involved. The Commons, too, charged twelve bishops with high treason, for attempting to subvert the laws and being of Parliament. Riots and tumults, stirred up by the Puritan leaders, took place daily in the neighborhood of the houses of Parlia. ment; and the bishops, being particularly obnoxious to the crowd, and not daring to encounter them, they absented themselves from Parliament. Twelve bishops protested in the House of Lords that they had been menaced, affronted, and assaulted, on their way to the house, and put in danger of their lives; and they went the length of protesting, in writing, against all proceedings in the house during what they termed their forced and violent absence. The Lords communicated the bishops' protest to the Commons, who immediately accused the latter of high treason for interrupting the business of Parliament ; (!)
and the Lords were so compliant as to order the bishops to be taken into custody. The king, also, declined to accede to an address from the Commons for a guard; treating their fears for their safety as groundless; assuring them of his protection, and promising condign punishment to any one who should offer them any violence; but in reality hurt and annoyed at their interference with his prerogative.
Events like these, occurring in one short month, were calculated to irritate the king's temper and bewilder his judgment; but he would not have fallen into the rash and dangerous project of seizing the five members, if he had consulted the men whom, about this period, he had attracted to his councils. Lord Falkland had become secretary of state in place of Vane; and Sir John Colepepper, knight of the shire of Kent, chancellor of the exchequer; Mr. Hyde, also, had agreed to become a minister, but was without actual office; and to these three the king consented to yield the direction of himself and his affairs. These accessions to the king's ministry were brought about by Lord Digby, who had long served the king as his minister, and whom the king had raised to the House of Lords. It was intended that Lord Digby should have ceased to be the adviser of the king; but between the king and Digby alone the project of the seizure of the five members was agreed and resolved upon, without the least communication with either of the other three.
When the Parliament met after the adjournment for Christmas, the attorney-general attended at the House of Lords, and, standing at the clerk's table, stated that the king had commanded him to accuse, and that he did accuse, Lord Kimbotton, a member of the House of Peers, Mr. Holles, Mr. Pym, Mr. Hampden, Sir Arthur Haselrigge, and Mr. Strode, members of the House of Commons, of high treason. He delivered articles which he had received from the king, charging them with having endeavored to deprive him of his royal power, and to place in the subjects an arbitrary and tyrannical power; by foul aspersions to alienate the affections of the people from the king, and to make him odious to them; to draw the army to disobedience, and to side with them in their treacherous designs; that they had traitorously invited a foreign power to invade the kingdom; that they had traitorously endeavored to subvert the rights and very being of Parliament; that they
had, by force and terror, endeavored to compel the Parliament to join them in their traitorous designs, and had actually raised and countenanced tumults against the king and Parliament; and that they had traitorously conspired to levy, and actually had levied, war against the king.” The attorney-general demanded a select committee to take the examination of the witnesses to be produced by the king, and that the persons of the accused should be secured. On the same day the king sent the sergeant-at-arms to the House of Commons with a message demanding the five members to be delivered to the sergeant, and being delivered, that he should arrest them of high treason. The Commons immediately ordered Lord Falkland, the chancellor of the exchequer, and two other members, to attend the king, to inform him that the house would take his message into consideration with as much speed as the business would admit, and in the mean time would take care that the gentlemen should be ready to answer any legal charge made against them. The house, also, enjoined the accused members to attend the house daily until further orders. The king, nothing daunted, went on the following day in person to the House of Commons, accompanied by a guard of soldiers, to arrest the accused members. Private information was given of his approach, and the members were removed, the last only quitting the house as the king entered. He passed up to the speaker's chair, which he took, and after looking about the house, and not perceiving Mr. Pym, whose person he knew, he asked the speaker whether any of those persons were in the house, and where they were. The speaker, falling on his knees, replied, " I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place, but as the house is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am here, and humbly beg your majesty's pardon that I cannot give any
other answer than this to what your majesty is pleased to demand of me.” The king, seeing that his attempt had been unsuccessful, addressed the house in a short speech from the speaker's chair, saying that “when he sent the sergeant-at-arms, he expected obedience, and not a message—that though he would be careful of their privileges, they must know that in cases of treason there was no privilege, and that so long as those persons he had accused were in the house, he could not expect that it would be in the right way that he heartily wished it. But since he saw that the birds were flown, he would trouble them no more than to tell them he expected they would send them to him as soon as they returned to the house ; otherwise he must take his own course to find them." He retired amidst shouts of “ Privilegel Privilege !” and the house, in great excitement, adjonrned till the next day.
When the Commons assembled, they passed a declaration that " the king's proceedings were a high breach of the rights and privileges of Parliament, and that they could not, with the safety of their own persons, sit any longer without a full vindication of so high a breach, and a sufficient guard wherein they might confide." They then adjourned to the 11th of January, but they appointed a committee sit in the mean time at Guildhall, with power to consider and resolve upon all things that might concern the good and safety of the city and kingdom. The House of Lords made a similar adjournment. Mr. Pym vindicated himself before the House of Commons from the king's charges, and the answer of the Puritan leader shows that Charles had founded his charges against the five members wholly on account of their Parliamentary con. duet; although small indeed must have been his expectation that the charges could have been sustained in a tribunal which had participated in or sanctioned the acts charged against the accused. But he still continued his efforts, even his personal efforts, to arrest the members. During the short recess of Parliament he went into the city, where the accused members were concealed, and in a speech to the common council assembled at Guildhall, he required their assistance in apprehending the accused. Three days afterwards he issued a proclamation commanding officers and magistrates to apprehend and convey them to the Tower; but on the day before Parliament reassembled, the king quitted London, and retired to his palace at Hampton Court-never again to return to the metropolis of his kingdom until brought there for his trial and execution.
The Parliament met on the 11th of January. The accused members were brought in triumph by water to Westminster, amidst the plaudits of the people, and took their seats in the House of Commons. It was now apparent that all chance of reconciliation was at an end, and both sides prepared for the civil war that was inerit