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duties for his life, would follow his assent to the PETITION OF Right. The Commons, however, proceeded to prepare a "remonstrance," to explain why the duties had not been granted to him before, and why it was necessary still to postpone the grant. They desired a previous admission from the king that the duties were not leviable by virtue of his prerogative, but of the voluntary grant of Parliament; and they attributed the delay which had occurred to the illegal conduct of King James in raising the duties above the legal rates, and to Charles's collection of the same illegal rates. They declared that the collection of the duties by Charles, without the authority of Parliament, was a fundamental breach of the liberties of the kingdom, and contrary to his answer to the Petition of Right; and they besought him to forbe ir further receiving them, and not to take it in ill part from those of his subjects who should refuse to make payment without warrant of law.
The king, being informed of these proceedings, and alarmed for his tonnage and poundage, hurried to the House of Lords on the day fixed for the prorogation, several hours earlier than he was expected, and prevented the presentation of the remonstrance by proroguing the Parliament. In his speech he said: “It may seem strange that I come so suddenly to end this session, therefore I will tell you the cause, though I owe the account of my actions to God alone. A while ago the House of Commons gave me a remonstrance-how acceptable every man may judge. Now, I am well informed that a second remonstrance is preparing for me, to take away the profit of my tonnage and poundage, by alleging that I have given away my right thereto by my answer to your petition. This is so prejudicial to me that I am forced to end this session some few hours before I meant, being not willing to receive any more remonstrances, to which I must give a harsh answer. To prevent false constructions of what I have granted in your petition, I declare that I have granted no new, but only confirmed the ancient liberties of ny subjects. . But as for tonnage and poundage, it is a thing I cannot want, and was never intended by you to ask, nor meant by me, I am sure, to grant."
The speech was ordered by the king to be entered on the Commons' journals. The Bill of Subsidy was presented by the speaker, with the remark "that it was the greatest gift that ever was given in so short a time.” The royal assent was given to that and some other bills, and the Parliament was prorogued on the 20th of October
Before Parliament again assembled one great cause of discord was removed. The Duke of Buckingham was assassinated at Portsmouth by one Felton, an officer, who, previously to the assassination, sewed a paper within his hat, avowing that it was the Parliamentary remonstrance against the duke that had induced him to take him off as an enemy to the country. Buckingham was at the time engaged at Portsmouth in preparing a new expedition for the relief of the Protestants of Rochelle. In consequence of his death the expedition was committed to the conduct of the Earl of Lindsay. But it ended as unfortunately as the former expedition conducted by Buckingham. It was forced to surrender to the Catholic troops of Louis XIII., who entered the town on the 18th of October, and compelled the Protestants to submission.
Parliament was again prorogued from the 20th of October to the 20th of January, on which day it assembled, and the Commons immediately reconstituted committees for privileges, religion, courts of justice, grievances, and trade. A case of extraordinary meanness on the part of the crown was communicated to the House of Commons by Sir John Elliot--that the Petition of Right had been printed by the Government for circulation amongst the people with the first and repudiated answer appended to it, instead of the substituted legal answer.
Mr. Selden reminded the house how the Petition of Right had been violated since their last meeting—that the goods of Mr. Rolles, a member of the house, had been seized by the crown for the duties of tonnage, and that the Court of Exchequer had made an order commanding the sheriff not to execute a writ of replevin, issued with the view of trying the legality of the seizure, and restoring the goods in the mean time. He also referred with indignation to the case of Mr. Prynne, who had been deprived of his ears by sentence of the Star Chamber.
The house entered upon the complaint of Mr. Rolles, of the seizure of his goods for tonnage. Before the debate had proceeded far, a message was received from the king that he would speak with
both houses on the following day (the 23d of January), in the banqueting house at Whitehall; and on their proceeding thither at the time appointed he made a speech explanatory of his former course in reference to the matter, which made it evident that he was now prepared to relinquish his claim of hereditary right to tonnage and poundage, if he could obtain a parliamentary grant; and this speech was followed by a bill, which Mr. Secretary Cook brought in for a grant of tonnage and poundage, and which he endeavored to induce the house to take into consideration. They gave priority to other business. The king pressed for priority of tonnage and poundage, in successive messages, and would have put the Commons completely in the wrong by fair speeches and propositions, if he had at the same time abstained from enforcing the ungranted duties. But whilst addressing the Commons, his officers were at the same time proceeding against some of the members. The house was irritated by an announcement from Mr. Rolles that “ since the last complaint of the breach of the liberties of the house, his house was locked up by one Massey, a pursuivant, and that yesterday he was called forth from the committee in the Exchequer Chamber, and served with a subpæna to appear in the Star Chamber.” Although Mr. Rolles announced at the same time that he had since received a letter from Mr. Attorney that it was a mistake, the house would not receive the explanation, but ordered that the messenger who served the subpoena should be summoned to attend the house, and it appointed a committee to see and examine the information in the Star Chamber, and to ascertain by whom the same was put in. The house took very decided measures in opposition to the king's proceedings to recover tonnage and poundage from the merchants; but their success proving at best but doubtful, they adjourned. They met again on the 25th of February, when another scene of interest and excitement was presented. The house ceeded to consider the articles to be insisted and agreed upon at a sub-committee for religion. The debate was interrupted by a message from the king, which the speaker announced, commanding him to adjourn the house • until Tuesday come seven night following.” It was objected that it was not the office of the speaker to deliver any such command; for the adjournment of the house did
properly belong unto themselves; and, after they had settled some things they thought convenient to be spoken of, they would satisfy the king. Sir John Elliot offered a remonstrance which he had prepared, addressed to the king, beseeching him to forbear any further recovery of tonnage and poundage; but the speaker and the clerk refused to read it to the house; and on the former being asked to put the question to the house, whether the remonstrance should be adopted, the speaker said “ he was commanded otherwise by the king." “ If you will not put the question,” said Mr. Selden, “ which we command you, we must sit still; and so we shall never be able to do anything. We sit here by command from the king under the great seal; and as for you, you are, by his majesty, sitting in his royal chair before both houses, appointed our speaker. And do you refuse to be a speaker ?” The speaker justified his refusal by a command from the king to rise as soon as he had delivered his message.
He rose and left the chair, but was drawn into it again by Holles, Valentine, and others. He was held in the chair amidst the scorn and derision of the members, who, foreseeing that a dissolution would follow this outbreak, passed a protestation hastily prepared by Mr. Rolles, containing the following words:
“Whoever shall counsel or advise the taking and levying of the subsidies of tonnage and poundage, not being granted by Parliament, or shall be an actor or instrument therein, shall be likewise reported an innovator on the government, and a capital enemy to this kingdom and commonwealth.
“If any merchant, or other person whatsoever, shall voluntarily yield or pay the said subsidies of tonnage and poundage, not being granted by Parliament, he shall likewise be reputed a betrayer of the liberty of England, and an enemy to the same.”
When the protestation nad been read and agreed to, the house rose, having protracted their sitting about two hours. In the mean time the king, hearing that their sitting was continued in disregard of his command for adjournment, endeavored to remove them. He first sent a messenger for the sergeant with his mace, that by removing it from the table an end might be put to the sitting. But the sergeant was detained, and the key of the door taken from him and given to a member to keep. The king next sent the usher of the black rod, as for a dissolution; but being informed that neither the usher nor his message would be received, he became enraged, and sent the captain of the pensioners, with his guard, with orders to force open the door. But before that extreme step could be taken, the house had risen and adjourned to the 10th of March.
The king was now roused to violent action: he published a proclamation signifying his intention to dissolve the Parliament on account of the disobedient and seditious carriage of ill-affected persons of the House of Commons; and he entered upon a course of relentless persecution of the unfortunate patriots. Without waiting for the actual dissolution, Sir John Elliot, Selden, Holles, Stodart, Hayman, Coriton, Long, Valentine, and Stroud were summoned before the privy council; and, after baving been questioned as to the parts they had respectively taken in preventing the speaker adjourning the house according to the king's command, they were committed to prison. The king's speech, when dissolving the Parliament, manifested his anger and intemperance. He addressed the lords only, although many of the commons were at the bar. “He never came there,” he said, on so unpleasing an occasion, it being for the dissolution of the Parliament. Many may wonder why I did not rather choose to do this by commission, it being a general maxim of kings to lay harsh commands by their ministers, themselves only executing pleasing things. But I thought it ne. cessary to come here this day to declare to you, my lords, and all the world, that it was only the disobedient carriage of the lower house that hath caused this dissolution at this time; and that you, my lords, are far from the causers of it. Nor do I lay the fault equally upon all the lower house; for as I know there are many dutiful and loyal subjects there, so I know that it was only some vipers amongst them that had cast this mist of difference before their eyes."
This was the third Parliament that the king had dissolved in anger within only four years. We may not hesitate to consider these dissolutions impolitic and abrupt, if Clarendon, the historian and apologist of Charles, has so viewed them. “ The abrupt and unkind breaking off,” says Lord Clarendon, " the two first Parlia