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Vane, and shortly after Mr. Hambden (who had not before owned it) were believed to be for root and branch; which grew shortly after a common expression, and discovery of the several tempers : yet Mr. Pym was not of that mind, nor Mr. Hollis, nor any of the northern men, or those lawyers who drove on most furiously with them : all who were pleased with the government itself of the church.
The first design that was entertained against the church ; and which was received in the house of commons with a visible countenance and approbation of many, who were neither of the same principles or purpose ; was a short bill that was brought in, “ to take away the bishops' votes in parliament; “ and to leave them out in all commissions of the “ peace, and with relation to any temporal affairs.” This was contrived, with great deliberation and preparation, to dispose men to consent to it : and to this many of the house of peers were much disposed; and amongst them, none more than the earl of Essex, and all the popular lords; who observed, “ that they seldom carried any thing “ which directly opposed the king's interest, by “ (reason of] the number of the bishops, who, for “ the most part, unanimously concurred against it, “ and opposed many of their other designs : and “ they believed that it could do the church no “ harm, by the bishops having fewer diversions “ from their spiritual charges.”
In the house of commons, they used that, and other arguments, to remove the prejudice from it; and, as there were many who were persuaded, that the passing that bill would be no prejudice ; and were as unwilling, that the bishops should be justices of peace, and in any other secular commissions, as the lords were that they should not sit with them : so they prevailed with others, who heartily desired that there might be no such dimi. nution of their honour and authority, by persuading them, “That there was so great a concurrence “ towards the passing this bill; and so great a “ combination throughout the nation against the “ whole government of the church, and a resolu“ tion to destroy it absolutely : in which the Scots “ were so resolutely engaged, that they discoursed “ in all companies, that it was impossible for a firm “ peace to be preserved between the nations, if “ bishops were not taken away; and that the army “ would never march out of the kingdom, till that “ were brought to pass : but that if this bill were “ once passed, a greater number in both houses “ would be so well satisfied, that the violenter “ party would be never able to prosecute their “ desires.” And this reason did prevail over many men of excellent judgments, and unquestionable affections; who did in truth at that time believe, “ that the passing this act was the only expedient “ to preserve the church :" insomuch, as when it was brought into the house, it found a better reception than was expected; and some men, who, others thought, would have opposed it, spake on its behalf, expressing their desire “ that it might “ pass.”
There was a difference in opinion in this debate, between two persons, who had been never known to differ in the house, and the entire friendship they had for each other was very remarkable ; which administered much pleasure to very many who loved neither of them. When the bill was put to the question, Mr. Hyde (who was from the beginning known to be an enemy to it) spake very earnestly “ for the throwing it out ;" said, “ It was “ changing the whole frame and constitution of “ the kingdom, and of the parliament itself : that, “ from the time that parliaments began, there had “ never been one parliament, when the bishops “ were not part of it: that if they were taken out “ of the house, there would be but two estates left “ out; for that they as the clergy were the third “ estate, and being taken away, there was nobody “ left to represent the clergy : which would intro“ duce another piece of injustice, which no other “ part of the kingdom could complain of, who were “ all represented in parliament, and were therefore “ bound to submit to all that was enacted, because “ it was upon the matter with their own consent : “ whereas, if the bishops were taken from sitting “ in the house of peers, there was nobody who “ could pretend to represent the clergy; and yet “ they must be bound by their determinations."
When he had done, the lord Falkland, who always sat next to him, (which was so much taken notice of, that, if they came not into the house together, as usually they did, every body left the place for him that was absent,) suddenly stood up, and declared himself “ to be of another opinion; “ and that, as he thought the thing itself to be “ absolutely necessary for the benefit of the church, “ which was in so great danger; so he had never " heard, that the constitution of the kingdom " would be violated by the passing that act; and “ that he had heard many of the clergy protest,
“ that they could not acknowledge that they were “ represented by the bishops. However we might
presume, that if they could make that appear, “ that they were a third estate, that the house of “ peers (amongst whom they sat, and had yet their “ votes) would reject it.” And so, with some facetiousness, answering some other particulars, concluded, “ for the passing the act.”
The house was so marvellously delighted, to see the two inseparable friends divided in so important a point, that they could not contain from a kind of rejoicing; and the more, because they saw Mr. Hyde was much surprised with the contradiction ; as in truth he was ; having never discovered the least inclination in the other towards such a compliance: and therefore they entertained an imagination and hope that they might work the lord Falkland to a farther concurrence with them. But they quickly found themselves disappointed ; and that, as there was not the least interruption of close friendship between the other two ; so, when the same argument came again into debate, about six months after, the lord Falkland changed his opinion, and gave them all the opposition he could: nor was he reserved in acknowledging, “ that he “ had been deceived, and by whom ;” and confessed to his friends, with whom he would deal freely, “ that Mr. Hambden had assured him, that “ if that bill might pass, there would be nothing “ more attempted to the prejudice of the church :" which he thought, as the world then went, would be no ill composition.
This bill, for taking away the bishops' votes out of the house of peers, produced another discovery, which cast the conductors farther behind, than they were advanced by their conquest amongst the commons; and disquieted them much more, than the other had exalted them. How currently soever it had passed in the lower house ; when it was brought to the upper, the lords gave it not so gracious a reception as was expected : many of the greatest men of that house grew weary of the empire which the others had exercised over them; and some, who had gone with them, upon their observation that they had worse designs than they owned, fell from them, and took the opportunity to discover themselves, upon the debate of this bill; against which they inveighed with great sharpness; and blamed the house of commons, “ for presum“ ing to meddle with an affair, that so immediately “ concerned them : that if they might send up a “ bill this day, at once to take out one whole bench “ from the house, as this would do the bishops, “ they might to-morrow send another, to take “ away the barons, or some other degree of the “ nobility :" with many more arguments, as the nature of the thing would easily administer ; with such warmth and vigour as they had not before expressed : insomuch as, though the other party, which had not hitherto been withstood, set up their rest upon the carrying it; supplying their other arguments with that, “ How much the house of “commons, which best knew the temper and ex“pectation of the nation, would resent their not “concurring with them in a remedy they judged “ so necessary; and what the consequence might “ be, of such a breach between the two houses, “ they trembled to think ; since the kingdom had VOL. I.