Men at the helm : biographical sketches of great English statesmen


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Men at the helm : biographical sketches of great English statesmen
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The Baldwin Library
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In Cheapside the populace took his horses from the carriage and
drew it up King Street with exultant huzzas,-p. 193.


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"England's illustrious sons of long, long ages."-WoRnswoRTH.


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THE object I have had in view in the compilation of
this volume is easily explained.
That it contains little with which the well educated
reader is not already familiar I readily admit, but its
contents are. drawn from sources not usually acces-
sible to youthful students. It is intended, therefore, to
furnish them with a more comprehensive summary of
the careers and policy of our most distinguished states-
men than common school histories afford, and to supply
a companion, as it were, and a sequel to those elemen-
tary works. At the same time I venture to hope that
it may amuse a leisure hour, and prove of some interest
and value as a book of reference, for more advanced
I trust I may claim the merit of having drawn
my statements from the best and most recent authori-
ties, and of having avoided to a considerable extent all
political-frejudice or party feeling. I confess I do not
love to dwell at any length upon the faults and errors
of men who have served their country with zeal and
ability, if*not always with judgment or wisdom. I
have but little sympathy with those critical observers
who are always busy in counting the spots upon the
sun; and in compiling these "plain, unvarnished"
memoirs I hope I have been equally ready to do justice


to Whig and Tory, and to recognize in each what was
honest, virtuous, and patriotic.
Theze memoirs are chronologically arranged, and
glance at most of the principal events in the political
history of England, from the accession of Charles I. to
the fall of the Coalition Ministry in 1854. Each is
complete in itself; but I have endeavoured, when
sketching the lives of contemporaries, to avoid all
tedious repetitions. As convenient for reference, a list
has been added of the different administrations which
have enjoyed power, from the accession of Queep Anne
to the present time.
I. am not aware that the lives of our statesmen have
ever before been brought together in a volume of
moderate compass, notwithstanding the interest which
necessarily attaches to history at once so romantic and
matter-of-fact. We have good reason, however, to be
proud of those men who stood at the helm while the
ship of the State was toiling through laborious seas, and
buffeted by perilous storms. In fair weather we are
too apt to forget how much we owe to their constancy,
courage, and skill-to the brains which guided, and the
hearts which never despaired of, the fortunes of the
commonwealth. May Englishmen ever treasure as a
precious heritage the fame of a Hampden, a Walpole,
and a Chatham-a Pitt, a Canning, and a Peel!
W. H. D. A.
NORWOOD, May, 1862





JoHN. HAPIDI ... 34










-* An Idex will be found at t- e end of t

** An Index will be found at the end of the Volume.

FROM 1702 TO 1862.

A.D. 1702.-Earl Godolphin, Earl of Nottingham, Duke of Marl.
A.D. 1711.-Harley, Earl of Oxford, Henry St. John.
A.D. 1714.-Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke, Dukes of
Shrewsbury, Somerset, and Argyle.
A.D. 1714.-Craggs, Aislabie, Earl of Carlisle, Lord Stanhope.
A.D. 1721.-Sir Robert Walpole.
AD. 1742.-Carberet, Pulteney, and others.
A.D. 1743.-Henry Pelham, Duke of Newcastle, Sir Thomas
Robinson, William Pitt.
AD. 1754.-Duke of Newcastle, Grenville, Henry Fox, William
Pitt, Murray, Legge.
A.D. 1757.-William Pitt, Legge, Dake of Devonshire, Earl
A.D. 1758.-Duke of Newcastle, William Pitt, Henry Fox, George
A.D. 1761.-Earl of Bute, and subordinates.
A.D. 1763.-George Grenville, and subordinates.
A.D. 1765.-Marquis of Rockingham, Duke of Newcastle, Gene-
ral Conway.
A.D. 1766.-Pitt (Earl of Chatham), Lord Camden, Lord Shel-
burne, General Conway, Duke of Grafton, Charles
A.D. 1770.-Lord North, Henry Dundas, and others.
AD. 1781.-Marquis of Rockingham, Lord Shelburne, Fox, Lord
Thurlow, Lord John Cavendish.
A.D. 1782.-Lord Shelburne, William Pitt, Lord Thurlow.
A.]. 1783.-Lord North, Charles James Fox, and Duke of Port-
A.D: 1784.-William Pitt, Lord Thurlow, Earl Camden, Dundas,
Lord Mulgrave, Lord Castlereagh. '
A.D. 1801.-Henry Addington, Harrowby, and others.
A.D. 1803.-William Pitt, Dundas (Lord Melville), Canning,
Castlereagh, Harrowby, Thurlow, Erskine.
A.D. 1806.-Lord Grenville, Charles James Fox, Lord Howick,
Earl Temple, Lord Henry Petty.
A.D. 1809.-Mr. Perceval, Lord Castlereagh, Canning, Dute of
I Portland, Lord Hawkesbury.
A.D. 1812.-Lord Liverpool, Castlereagh, Peel, Palmerston,
Eldon, Lord Sidmouth.


A.D. 1826.-Lord Liverpool, Canning, Peel, Eldon, Huskisson.
A.D. 1827.-Canning, Husldsson, Duke of Clarence, Lord Lynd-
hurst, Lord Dudley.
A.D. 1827.-Lord Goderich, Huskisson, etc.
A.D. 1828.-Duke of Wellington, Peel, Goulburn, Lord Lyndhurst,
Huskisson, Palmerston, Grant, and,Lord Ellen-
A.D. 1830.-Earl Grey, Marquis of Lansdowne, Lord Palmerston,
Lord John Russell, Lord Brougham, Sir James
Graham, Lord Melbourne, and Hon. E. Stanley
(now Earl of Derby).
A.D. 1832.-Tht Earl Grey ministry resign, but return to office on
the Duke of Wellington failing to form a govern-
A.D. 1834.-Lord Melbourne, Lord Althorpe, Lord John Russell,
Lord Palmerston, and others.
A.D. 1834.-Duke of Wellington, Sir Robert Peel, Sir James
Graham, Lord Stanley, Goulburn, Lord Lynd-
hurst, Earl of Aberdeen.
A.D. 1835.-Lord Melbourne, Lord John Russell, Lord Pslmer-
ston, Lord Truro, Sir George Grey, Sir Charles
Wood, Spring Rice, and others.
A.D. 1841.-Sir Robert Peel, Duke of Wellington, Lord Wharn.
cliffe, Earl of Aberdeen, Lord Lyndhurst, Sir
James Graham, Lord Stanley, Goulburn, Ellen-
A.D. 1846.-Lord John Russell, Marquis of Lansdowne, Lord
Palmerston, Earl Grey, Earl of Clarendon, Lord
Campbell, Sir G. Grey, Sir C. Wood.
A.D. 1852.-Earl of Derby, D'Israeli, Walpole, Lord St. Leonards,
Malmesbury, -Pakington, Herries.
A.D. 1852.-Earl of Aberdeen, Lord John Russell, Lord Palmer-
ston, Sir James Graham, Gladstone, Lansdowne,
Duke of Newcastle, Lord Cranworth, and Sidney
A.D. 1855.-Lord Palmerston, Lord John Russell, and as above.
A.D. 1858.-Earl of Derby, D'Israeli, Lord Chelmsford, Earl of
Hardwicke, Walpole, Malmesbury, Sir E. B. Lytton,
Lord Stanley, Sir J. Pakington.
A.D. 1859.-Lord Palmerston again takes office. His government
at present (A.D. 1862) includes Earl Russell, Glad-
stone, Lord Westbury, Duke of Somerset, Duke of
Newcastle, Sir C. Wood, Sir G. C. Lewis, Sir
George Grey, Duke of Argyle, Milner Gibson, and
Earl Granville.



(A.D. 1593-1641.)

If he may-
Find mercy in the law, 'tis his; if none,
Let him not seek it of us."

THE reign of Charles I., so fertile in spirits of heroic
mould and masculine intellect, produced many better
men, but scarcely one abler, than the arbitrary minister
and thorough "-going statesman, the famous Earl of
Strafford. Had his genius been less brilliant, his powers
of administration less remarkable, he might, however,
have been a better councillor -for the king whom he
served, and who betrayed him.
Thomas Wentworth was the eldest son of Sir Wil-
liam Wentworth, of Wentworth-Woodhouse, in the
county of York, and was born in Chancery Lane, Lon-
don, on the 13th of April, 1593. After being educated
at St. John's College, Cambridge, he proceeded, as was
then usual with the sons of gentlemen of family, to the
Continent, accompanied by his tutor, a Mr. John Green-
wood, whose virtues and abilities commanded his respect


even to his later life. He returned to England in 1613,
and married, when scarce twenty-one, the Lady Mar-
garet Clifford, eldest daughter of the Earl of Cumber-
land. In the following year he succeeded, on his
father's death, to the baronetcy and the ancestral
estates, and led, for a considerable period, the life of an
opulent country gentleman. The strong brain and fiery
ambition which his gay and polished exterior concealed
were, however, inert, not extinct, as the fires of Vesu-
-vius are not the less active in its bosom though no lava-
tide rush devouringly down its slopes. He entered
public life in 1621, as one of the members for Yorkshire,
and immediately ranked himself on the side of the
opposition. This was the first Parliament that James I.
had called for six years, and its proceedings might have
taught his son a lesson in reference to the spirit of in-
dependence which was daily acquiring fresh strength
in England. Monopolies were assailed with unabating
vigour; monopolists were punished; officials suspected
of fraud or corruption were summarily dismissed from
their offices; the learned Bacon fell an unjust victim to
this rabies puniendi; and the unfortunate believers in
the infallibility of the Pope of Rome were harassed to
the death. In all this vigorous procedure, Sir Tho-
mas Wentworth was a zealous and enthusiastic co-ope-
In 1622 his first wife died, without issue, and was
buried at York. Three years later, and he was married
to his second wife, Arabella, second daughter of John
Holles, Earl of Clare (24th February, 1625). This
lady is described "not only as having been very beau-
tiful, but as having possessed all those mental qualities
which were likely to endear her to such a man as Straf-


ford. He appears to have loved her sincerely, and at
her death to have deeply lamented her loss. It was of
her, and of the children which she bequeathed him, that
he subsequently spoke in so touching a manner at his
trial. The enemies of Strafford, indeed, raised a scan,
dalous report, which accused him of having been the
occasion of her death. It was asserted, that having
been accused by her of intriguing with another woman,
the proofs of which had accidentally come to her know-
ledge, he struck her a blow on the breast, and that,
being with child at the time, her death was the conse-
quence. The story, there is every reason to believe,
was an utter falsehood."*
The Lady Arabella died in October, 1631, leaving
issue-William, restored in 1665 to the earldom of
Strafford; Anne, who married Edward Watson, Earl of
Rockingham; and Arabella, afterwards the wife of John,
M'Carthy, Viscount Mounteashel.
In the first and second Parliaments of King Charles,
Wentworth still maintained a resolute adherence to the
principles of the opposition, and with his own nervous
and manly eloquence denounced the arbitrary measures
of the court. His trenchant speech and resolute action
so angered Charles and the Duke of Buckingham that,
in conjunction with Eliot and Hampden, he was flung
into prison, nor were they released until the necessity of
summoning another Parliament induced the king to
purchase what popularity he might by a seasonable
show of lenity (A.D. 1626-7).
On the 23rd of August, 1628, the Duke of Buck-
ingham was slain at Portsmouth by John Felton. This
event, singularly enough, was the turning point of
Jesse's "Memoirs of the Court of Charles I."


Wentworth's fortunes. As long as Buckingham lived
no other favourite could hope to sway the weak mind
of Charles, and Wentworth remained a vehement mem-
ber of the opposition, because only in the opposition
was there room for the free display of his bold and
passionate genius. But the stage was now cleared, and
by some mysterious free-masonry it became evident to
Charles, who stood in sad need of an able councillor,
that such a councillor-a man of undaunted 'purpose,
surpassing eloquence, unflinching personal courage-
might be found in Sir Thomas Wentworth. The bar-
gain was soon made. He became Baron Wentworth,
Viscount Wentworth, lord lieutenant of Yorkshire, and
president of the council of the north (A.D. 1629); and
in return he abandoned the principles for which he had
already contended and suffered. The renegade's shame
could not be concealed beneath the peer's purple, and
out of very despair Strafford became the most arbitrary
foe of freedom, the most unscrupulous minion of tyranny.
With political renegades, as with bigots, there is a pecu-
liar pleasure in lighting the fires of persecution, and
none are so bitter towards their victims as they who have
been their friends and betrayers!
With Laud and Strafford for his advisers, it could
not be hoped that Charles would enter upon any liberal
course of policy. In truth, the complaint they made
against him was, that he would not grasp eagerly
enough at the absolutism they proffered him. Of this
famous trio Strafford was the leading spirit, and if
genius and resolution could have crushed out the flicker-
ing embers of freedom, by Strafford the iniquitous work
would have been achieved. His letters to Laud br. atho
the most tyrannical sentiments. It is a two-edged



! ;



sword, not a sceptre, that he would place in the sove-
reign's hands. In his lord-lieutenancy of Ireland,
which he held (A.D. 1633) in conjunction with the
presidency of the north, he ably carried out the doc-
trines which he enunciated. Thorough" was his
maxim, and Thorough his unswerving policy.
"Many enemies of public liberty," says Lord
MacaulAy,* have been distinguished by their private
virtues. But Strafford was the same throughout; as
was the statesman, such was the kinsman, and such the
lover. Hii conduct towards Lord Mountmorris is re-
corded by Clarendon. For a word which can scarcely
be called rash, which could not have been made the
subject of an ordinary civil action, the lord lieutenant
dragged a man of high rank, married to a relative of
that saint [his wife Arabellal about whom he whim-
pered to the peers, before a tribunal of slaves. Sen-
tence of death was passed. Everything but death was
inflicted. Yet the treatment which Lord Ely expe-
rienced was still more scandalous. That nobleman was
thrown into prison, in order to compel him to settle his
estate in a manner agreeable to his daughter-in-law,
whom, as there is every reason to believe, Strafford had
debauched. These stories do not rest on vague report.
The historians most partial to the minister admit their
truth, and censure them in terms which, though too
lenient for the occasion, are still severe. These facts
are alone sufficient to justify the appellation with which
Pym branded him, the Wicked Earl.' "
It was in October, 1632, previous to his appoint-
ment to the lord-deputyship of Ireland, that Straffordt
Macaulay's "Critical and Historical Essays.".
t I make use of the title by which the great statesman is


marrieldhis third wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir God-
frey Rhodes, Knight, of Great Houghton, in Yorkshire.
That even into his social life and family connections he
carried his favourite doctrine of "thorough" may, I
think, be reasonably inferred from a letter which he
addressed to his wife within six weeks of their nuptials.
"November 19, 1632.
Your first lines were welcome unto me, and I will
keep them, in regard I take them to be full, as of kind-
ness so of truth. It is no presumption for you to write
unto me; the fellowship of marriage ought to carry
with it more of love and equality than any other appre-
hension. So I desire it may ever be betwixt us; nor
shall it ever break on my part. Virtue is the highest
value we can set upon ourselves in this world, and the
chief which others are to esteem us by. That pre-
served, we become capable of the noblest impressions
which can be imparted unto us. You succeed in this
family two of the rarest ladies of their time. Equal them
in those excellent dispositions of your mind, and you
become every ways equally worthy of anything that
they had, or that the rest of the world can give. And
be you ever assured to be by me cherished ard assisted
the best I can through the whole course of my life,
wherein I shall be no other to you than I was to them,
to wit,
Your loving husband,
Strafford had now reached the climax of his suc-
best known,.but he did not receive the earldom until January 12,


cess. He was the virtual ruler of England and Ire-
land. His was the brain that conceived,,his the energy
That executed every measure adapted to increase the
power of the crown, and crush the spirit of the people.
SWhen the Scots in 1639 rose against the episcopacy
which Charles sought to impose upon them, it was
Strafford who counselled a warlike policy. When the
ShorA Parliament refuse the supplies necessary for the
S army, it was Strafford who advised the king to its
peremptory dissolution. A severe illness which seized
S him, early in 1640, only seemed to embitter his daring
Sand vengeful spirit, and at his instigation several York-
shire gentlemen who refused to submit to the arbitrary
requisitions of the court were, as he phrased it, laid
up by the heels." He actually seemed to revel in the
storm of obloquy that gathered around him, and confi-
dent in the resources of his genius, inspired by a bound-
less ambition, supported by an indomitable pride, faced
his enemies with scornful exultation.
An army was at length assembled on the borders of
Scotland, and though so weak as to be unable to keep
his seat on horseback, Strifford set out, with the king,
to assume the command. He soon discovered that no
spirit of loyalty animated his soldiers, and that they
regarded the campaign before them with undisguised
repugnance. Already Puritanism had crept into the
ranks, and to the majority of the army episcopacy was
as distasteful as it was to the Scotch Covenanters whom
they were called upon to fight. As they'marched for-
ward they set fire to the parsonages and snug granges of
every clergyman suspected of indulging in Laud's
papistical tendencies, and coolly shot their own officers
if they ventured to interfere. It is no marvel, then,


that when the Scotch army, led by Leslie and Montrose,
came up with them at Newburn-on-the-Tyne, they made
but a spiritless resistance, and took to flight with such
hearty goodwill as never to pause until sheltered by the
walls of York. Thus, at one blow, terminated what
the English Puritans derisively called the Bishops'
War." In vain had Strafford, whose personal courage
was undaunted, endeavoured to check his troopers in
their headlong flight. In vain did he now attempt by
bribes, promises, intimidations, remonstrances, to inspire
them with other feelings. His advances to the
officers," says M. Guizot,* were constrained, and ill-
concealed his contempt and anger; his rigour irritated
the soldiers without intimidating them. Petitions from
several counties soon arrived, entreating the king to
conclude a peace. Lords Wharton and Howard ven-
tured to present one themselves; Strafford caused them
to be arrested, convoked a court-martial, and demanded
that they should be shot at the head of the army, as
abettors of revolt. The court remained silent; at
length Hamilton spoke : 'My lord,' said he to Strafford,
'when this sentence of yours is pronounced, are you
sure of the soldiers ?' Strafford, as if struck by a sud-
den revelation, turned away his head shudderingly, and
made no reply. Yet his indomitable pride still upheld
his hopes: 'Let the king but speak the word,' he wrote
to Laud, 'and I will make the Scots go hence faster
than they came; I would answer for it, on my life;
but the instructions must come from another than me.'
In fact, Charles already avoided him, afraid of the
energy of his counsels." Strafford's master should either
have been a bolder or a weaker prince; one who would
Histoire de la REvolution," p. 83.


Shve carried out all his able and iniquitous schemes, or
would have feared to have compromised himself by
participating in any of them.
It was now evident that money must be raised for
the necessities of the state, but both Strafford and
Charles shrank from facing a Parliament. The expe-
dient, therefore, was tried of convening at York the old
feudal assembly known -as a Council of Peers, but it
notably failed. Twelve oftheproudest and most power-
ful of the nobles demanded that a Parliament should be
legally summoned, and the demand was repeated by the
citizens of London, in terms which neither the king nor
his minister could affect to disregard.
Strafford was at this time in Ireland, administering
the affairs of his lieutenancy, but was straightway re-
called to London by the timid Charles. He arrived in
town late on Monday, the 9th of November, six days
after the'meeting of the Parliament-that great national
council so famous in the annals of English liberty as
the "Long Parliament." Already, the leaders of the
popular party in the House of Commons had determined
on his downfall. When the "wicked earl" had first
met Pym, his former confederate, after his shameless
defection from the great cause, he observed, You see
* I have left you." So I perceive," was the stout Puri-
tan's reply; "but we shall never leave you as long as
you have a head on your shoulders." These were no
idle words, and the menace was now to be fulfilled to
the very letter.
It was on the 1lth of November, 1640, that the
great blow was struck, with one stroke," says Milton,
winning again our lost liberties and charters, which
our forefathers, after so many battles, could scarce


maintain." Anxious crowds had that morning assem-
bled in the vicinity of St. Stephen's Hall, and through-
out all London shot the electric feeling which tells that
some mighty deed is about to be accomplished.
"The members are now all within the House, and
upon the crowd outside a deep silence has fallen, such
as anticipates great events. Hour passes after hour, yet
the door of the Commons is still locked, and within
may be heard, by such as stand in the adjoining lobby,
not the confused and wrangling noise of a various de-
bate, but the single continuous sound of one ominous
voice, interrupted at intervals, not by a broken cheer,
but by a tremendous shout of universal sympathy.
Suddenly a stir is seen outside, the crowd grows light
with uncovered heads, and the carriage of the great
Lord-lieutenant of Ireland dashes up to the House of
Ten minutes more have passed, the door of the
Commons' House is abruptly thrown wide open, and
forth issues Pym, followed by upwards of three hundred
representatives of the English people, in that day the
first men of the world in birth, in wealth, in talents.
Their great leader crosses to the House of Lords,
and the bar is in an instant filled with that immortal
What, meanwhile, was the suspense lately en-
dured by the meaner masses outside to the agitation
which now heaved them to and fro like the sullen waves
of an advancing storm. But the interval is happily
shorter. It is closed by the appearance of Maxwell,
the usher of the House of Lords, at whose side stag-
gers Strafford himself, a prisoner! Statesmanship had
achieved its master-stroke. The power of the greatest


Sand proudest minister that ever ruled a nation-of the
only minister of genius that Charles I. possessed-lay
grovelling in the dust beneath the feet of the meanest
person in that assembled populace."'
In a contemporary account a letter from the old
covenanter, Dr. Robert Baillie, then in London, to a
certain Scotch presbytery, some interesting details are
recorded. The lieutenant of Ireland," writes rough
old Baillie, "came but on Monday to town, late; on
Tuesday rested, and on Wednesday came to Parliament,
but ere night he.was caged. Intolerable pride and op-
Spressian call to Heaven for vengeance! The Lower
-oouse closed their doors, the Speaker kept the keys till
. is accusation was concluded. Thereafter Mr. Pym
went up with a number at his back to the higher
House, and, in a pretty short speech, did, in the name
of the Commons of all England, accuse Thomas Lord
Strafford of high treason, and required his person to be
arrested till probation might be made; so Mr. Pym and
his pack were removed. The lords began to consult
upon that strange and unpremeditated motion. The
word goes in haste to the lord-lieutenant, where he was
with the king. With speed he comes to the House of .
Peers and calls rudely at the doors, James Maxwell,
keeper of the black rod, opens. His lordship, with a
proud glooming countenance, makes towards his place
at the board head, but at once many bid him void the
house. So he is forced, in confusion, to go to the door
till he is called. After consultation he stands but is
told to kneel, and on his knees to hear the sentence.
Being on his knees he is delivered to the black rod, to
be prisoner till he is cleared of the crimes he is charged
Forster's Arrest of the Five Members."


with. He offered to speak, but was commanded to be
gone without a word. In the outer room James Max-
well required of him, as prisoner, to deliver him his
sword. When he had got it, with a loud voice he told
his man to carry the lord-lieutenant's sword. This
done he makes through a number of people towards his
coach, all gazing, no man capping to him, before whom
that morning the greatest in England would have stood
uncovered, all crying, What is the matter?' He said,
'A small matter, I warrant you.' They replied, Yes,
indeed, high treason is a small matter!'
Coming to the place where he expected his coach
it was not there, so he behoved to return the same way
through a crowd of gazing people. When at last he
had found his coach and was entering it, James Max-
well told him, My lord, you are my prisoner, and
must go in my coach!' So he behoved to do so. For
some days too many went to see him; but since the
Parliament has commanded his keepers to be straiter.
Pursuivants are despatched to Ireland to open all the
ports, and to proclaim that all who had grievances
might come over."
Pym's speech to the Commons, summing up all the
misdeeds of the wicked earl, was a masterpiece of invec-
tive, though somewhat injured in tone by its allusions
to Strafford's private failings. He eulogized in eloquent
terms the statesman's genius, courage, and conduct,
but pointed out that those qualities rendered him only
the more dangerous as an enemy to the liberties of his
country. He recapitulated all the arbitrary measures
of which he had been the adviser, and the severities
which had distinguished his administration of the pre-
sidency of the north and his sway in Ireland. Lord


Falkland insinuated that at least some time should be
allowed to the Commons to examine the evidence laid
before them. "The least delay," exclaimed Pym,
"may lose everything. If the earl talk but once with
the king, Parliament will be dissolved." And so the
impeachment of Strafford was voted.
The earl's trial took place in Westminster Hall on
the 22nd of March, 1641. A throne for the king, and
a chair for the Prince of Wales, were placed at the
upper end of the hall; and on each side were constructed
temporary withdrawing-rooms; hung with tapestry. In
one of these sat the king, the queen, and several court
ladies, who throughout the trial were occupied in taking
notes; and in the other were stationed several French
nobles, at that time visiting the English court.
On seats beneath the throne, covered with green
cloth, were seated the peers in their robes, contrasted
by the scarlet gowns of the judges, who sat in their im-
F mediate neighbourhood. Lower down the hall the rows
of seats were occupied by the Commons; and the
whole spectacle daily presented, as Covenanter Baillie
says, "the most glorious assembly the isle could afford."
Across the centre of the hall ran a stout barrier covered
with green cloth, which separated from his judges the
unfortunate earl, his four secretaries, his guards, and
Sir William Balfour, the Lieutenant of the Tower, who
stood in close attendance upon him. Galleries on each
side of the hall were thronged with curious and excited
Every day while his trial lasted Strafford was brought
from the Tower by water, escorted by six barges, in
which were one hundred soldiers. An equal number of
the London train-bands received him on his disem-


barkation at Westminster, attended him to the hall,
and remained on guard. When the august assembly
was all prepared, and the prince in his robes seated
beside the throne, the chamberlain and black rod ushered
in the earl, who was always attired in a simple black
velvet suit. On entering he made a low obeisance, ad-
vancing a few steps he made a second, when he came to
his desk a third. Then at the bar, in front of his desk,
he kneeled; and rising quickly saluted both sides of
the house, and then sat down. To his obeisances but a
few of the lords made any return.
Strafford's demeanour throughout this memorable
trial was worthy of the man-nay, was worthy of a
better man. Never," says Whitelock, one of his as-
tutest opponents, never any man acted such a part,
on such a theatre, with more wisdom, constancy, and
eloquence, with greater reason, judgment, and temper,
and with a better grace in all his words and actions,
than did this great and excellent person; and he moved
the hearts of all his auditors, some few excepted, to
remorse and pity." With great skill he met the almost
irresistible "logic of facts" brought to bear against
him, and grappled with the arguments of his adver-
saries like a well-trained athlete. From Scotland, and
Ireland, and England, came his accusers; he confronted
them with unshrinking courage. Despite the vigour
with which Pym and his coadjutors pressed home every
charge, Strafford explained so much, qualified so much,
so artfully coloured each questionable transaction, that
public opinion began to turn in his favour. It was
evident he had been guilty of cruelty, illegality, liber.
tinage, violence; but neither of these, nor all of these
together, amounted to high treason. Pym, Hampden,


I and their friends began to feel that their own lives, no
less than the freedom of the English people, trembled
in the balance. At this crisis an entry was discovered
in the notebook of Sir Harry Vane, the secretary of
state, which turned the scale in their favour. At a
council held on the 5th of May, in the preceding year,
Strafford had incautiously hinted to the king, "You
have an army in Ireland, that you might employ to
reduce this kingdom to obedience." These words were
the fate of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford.
The Commons still continued their impeachment
before the House of Peers; but, afraid lest their enemy
should- escape them, introduced a Bill of Attainder
against him in their own House, and carried it by a
majority of four to one. To levy war against the king
is high treason, ran their argument. To bring an army
into England to reduce it to obedience is levying war
against the king, for our law will not suppose that the
king, "who can do no wrong," would wish to direct
the force of arms against his own subjects. Strafford,
therefore, was doubly a traitor; a traitor to his country
and the throne.
Meanwhile Strafford rested secure in the belief that
Charles would interpose to save him. In this belief he
was encouraged by a private letter which the king
addressed to him, and whose emphatic language the
reader will not fail to note:-

"The misfortune that is fallen upon you,-4by the
strange mistaking and conjunction of these times, is
such that I must lay by the thought of employing you
hereafter in my affairs; yet I cannot satisfy in honour


or conscience without assuring you now, in the midst of
all our troubles, that, upon the word of a king, you
shall not suffer in life, honour, or fortune. This is but
justice, and therefore a very mean reward from a master
to so faithful and able a servant, as you have shown
yourself to be; yet it is as much, I conceive, as the pre-
sent times will permit, though none shall hinder me
from being
"Your constant and faithful friend,

He continued, therefore, his defence, despite his
bodily ailments, with unabating spirit, and replied to
his accusers in terms of the most pathetic eloquence.
"My lords," said he, in conclusion, "I have now
troubled your lordships a great deal longer than I
should have done, were it not for the interest of these
pledges that a saint in heaven has left me. I should be
loth, my lords,-what I forfeit for myself is nothing,-
but, I confess, that my indiscretion should forfeit for
them, it wounds me very deeply. You will be pleased
to pardon my infirmity. Something I should have
said,"-he paused and wept-" but I see I shall not be
able, and therefore I will leave it. And now, my
lords, for myself I thank God I have been, by his good
blessing towards me, taught that the afflictions of this
present life are not to be compared with that eternal
weight of glory that shall be revealed to us hereafter.
And so, my lords, even so, with all humility and all
tranquillity of mind, I do submit myself clearly and
See the Strafford Letters. Consult also Whitelcck's Memo-
-inls and Rushworth's Collections,-the latter for a very full ac-
count of the trial.


freely to your judgments, and whether that righteous
judgment shall be to life or to death, Te .Deum lauda-
mmis, Te Deum confitemur !"
The Bill of Attainder passed the House of Lords by
a majority of twenty-six voices. In vain Charles him-
self had interfered; had summoned both Houses to his
presence, and besought them to spare the earl, and pro-
mising that, in consideration of the misdemeanours he
had undoubtedly committed, he should be dismissed
from all his offices, and never again employed in the
service of the Crown. The earl's opponents were too
conscious of their own danger to yield to any such
Still the earl remained confident in the king's will
and ability to save him. Sweetheart," he wrote to
his wife, "albeit all be done against me that art and
malice can devise, with all the rigour possible, yet I am
in great inward quietness, and in a strong belief God
will deliver me out of all these troubles. Your
carriage, upon this occasion, I should advise to be calm,
not seeming to be neglective of my trouble, and yet as
there may appear no dejection in you. Continue in the
family as formerly, and make much of your children.
Tell Will, Nan, and Arabella I will write to them by
the next. In the meantime I shall pray for them to
God that He may bless them, and for their sakes deliver
me out of the furious malice of my enemies, which yet,
I trust, through the goodness of God, shall do me no
hurt; God have us all in his blessed keeping."
But in the constancy of princes let no man put any
trust. Charles suffered an agony of conscience, knowing
that Strafford had done nothing in which he had not ac-
quiesced, and that therefore he was bound to save the


life of so faithful and able a servant. One of the
bishops, indeed, with mean equivocation, had told him
that, as the man Charles Stuart, he ought to interfere
for the protection of his friend and adviser, but that, as
king, he was bound to do as the interests of his royalty
demanded. But the honest and pious Juxon held
nobler language. If he knew that the earl was free
from crime, it would be better to perish along with him
than to shed one drop of innocent blood." While he was
thus vacillating between his duty and his interests, he
received a letter from Strafford, who had become aware
of the king's position, enjoining him in noble, earnest
terms to abandon him to his enemies, as the only means
by which the peace of the realm could be secured.
" Sir," he wrote, my consent shall more acquit you to
God than all the world can do besides. To a willing
mind there is no injury done; and as, by God's grace, I
forgive all the world, so I can give up the life of this
world with all cheerfulness imaginable, in the just ac-
knowledgment of your exceeding favour; and only beg
that, in your goodness, you would vouchsafe to cast
your gracious regard upon my poor son and his sisters,
less or more, and so otherwise than their unfortunate
father shall appear more or less worthy of his death.
God long preserve your majesty."
It was a noble thing to offer such a self-sacrifice; it
was a mean thing to accept of it. Charles, however, no
longer resisted the pressure of the earl's enemies, and
affixed his signature to the death-warrant, exclaiming,
with bitter truth, My Lord of Strafford's condition is
more enviable than mine !"
When the fatal tidings were conveyed to the doomed
minister, he could scarcely accredit them; but, on the


assurance of Secretary Carleton that the king had indeed
given way to his enemies, he rose from his chair, and
with eyes turned to heaven, with hands folded upon his
heart, exclaimed, Put not your trust in princes, nor in
the sons of men, for in them there is no salvation."
From that moment he made ready to die with a con.
stancy and courage which were as fully recognized by
his opponents as his admirers.
Of the conduct of Charles in this painful crisis it
seems to me there can be but one opinion, and that
opinion has been expressed in vigorous language by
Lord Macaulay. "There can be no doubt," he says,
"that the treatment which Strafford received from his
master was disgraceful. Faithless alike to his people
and his tools, the king did not scruple to play the part
of the cowardly approved, who hangs his accomplice.
It is good that there should be such men as Charles in
every league of villany; it is for such men that the offer
of pardon and reward which appears after a murder is
intended. They are indemnified, remunerated, and de-
spised. The very magistrate who avails himself of
their assistance looks on them as more contemptible than
the criminal whom they betray. Was Strafford inno-
cent ? Was he a meritorious servant of the Crown ? If
so, what shall we think of the Prince who, having
solemnly promised him that not a hair of his head should
be hurt, and possessing an unquestioned constitutional
right to save him, gave him up to the vengeance of his
enemies? There were some points which we know
Charles would not concede, and for which he was will-
ing to risk the chances of civil war. Ought not a king
who will make a stand for anything, to make a stand
for the innocent blood? Was Strafford guilty? Even


on this supposition it is difficult not to feel disdain for
the partner of his guilt, the tempter turned punisher.
If, indeed, from that time forth the conduct of Charles
had been blameless, it might have been said that his
eyes were at last opened to the errors of his former con-
duct, and that in sacrificing to the wishes of his Parlia-
ment a minister whose crime had been a devotion too
zealous to the interests of his prerogative, he gave a
painful and deeply humiliating proof of the sincerity of
repentance. His subsequent dealings with his people,
however, clearly showed that it was not from any re-
spect for the Constitution, or from any sense of the deep
criminality of the plans in which Strafford and himself
had been engaged, that he gave up his minister to the
axe. It became evident that he had abandoned a ser-
vant who, deeply guilty as to all others, was guiltless to
him alone, solely in order to gain time for maturing
other schemes of tyranny and purchasing the aid of other
Wentworths. He who would not avail himself of the
power which the laws gave him to save an adherent to
whom his honour was pledged, soon showed that he did
not scruple to break every law and forfeit every pledge
in order to work the ruin of his opponents." Bitter,
however, was the retribution which fell upon Charles.
Never again throughout his perilous reign was there so
able a Man at the Helm as Wentworth, Earl of Straf-
ford. Often must he have lamented that a genius so
brilliant, an intrepidity so unquailing, had been lost to
him and his cause by his own iniquitous weakness.
The remembrance mingled with the agony of his last
thoughts when he himself stood upon a scaffold, from
which there was no escape. "God forbid," he said,
"that I should be so ill a CIhistian as not to say that


God's judgments are just upon me. Many times He
doth pay justice by an unjust sentence; that is, ordinary.
I will only say this, that an unjust sentence that I
suffered to take effect is punished by an unjust sentence
upon me."
The execution of Strafford was fixed for the 12th of
May. On that sad morning he rose early, attired himself
with care, and refreshed himself moderately. The Lieu.
tenant of the Tower, afraid lest the populace should
overpower his escort and rend his prisoner limb by limb,
besought him to make use of a coach. "No," replied
S the earl, "I dare look death in the face. Have you a
care that I do not escape, and I care not how I die,
whether by the hand of the executioner or the fury of
the people." As he moved along the prison corridor, he
passed the cell in which Archbishop Laud was confined,
and kneeling down received the prelate's blessing. He
was attended to the scaffold, on Tower Hill, by the Arch-
bishop of Armagh, his brother, Sir George Wentworth,
the Earl of Cleveland, and several close friends and in-
timate acquaintances. With unblenching brow and un-
faltering steps he mounted the scaffold, and turning his
back contemptuously upon the shouting mob, addressed
a few last words to the friends around him. "Never,"
he said, "had hewvilfully conspired against the welfare
of the king or the nation." In the tenets of the Church
S of England he was a sincere believer, and he died a true
son of that church. He bore enmity to no man, and
freely forgave those who had persecuted him to the death.
Then, having shaken hands with his friends, he
kneeled down for awhile with his chaplain, and re-
mained in devout prayer. In about half an hour he
arose, and calling his brother to his side, bade him carry


his love to his wife and sister, and to enjoin upon his
son as his dying commands that he should continue
faithful to the Church of England and to his king;
should nourish no feeling of revenge against his father's
enemies, and seek no higher office or distinction than
equitably to administer the affairs of his own estate.
" Carry my blessing also," he said, "to my daughters
Anne and Arabella. Charge them to serve and fear
God, and He will bless them; not forgetting my little
infant, that knows neither good nor evil, and cannot
speak for itself; God speak for it and bless it. I have
well nigh done. One stroke more will make my wife
husbandless, my dear children fatherless, my poor ser-
vants masterless, and separate me from my dear brothers
and all my friends: but let God be to you and them all
in all."
Strafford now removed his doublet. I thank God,"
he said, I am no more afraid of death; but as cheerfully
put off my doublet at this time as ever I did when I
went to bed." He then put on a white cap, pushing
his hair underneath it with his own hands, and having
summoned the headsman, freely extended to him his for-
giveness. Kneeling down at the block, the Archbishop
being on one side of him and his chaplain on the other,
he placed his hands in the latter's, aM prayed with all
the fervour of a man on the dim threshold of another
world. Having concluded, he laid his head upon the
block, and stretching forth his hands-the appointed
signal,-the executioner at one blow smote his head
from his body, and Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Straf-
ford, was no more!
The executioner held up the bleeding head in the
eyes of the people, and exclaimed, "God save the king!"


33 *

Thus," says Whitelock, fell this noble earl, who
for natural parts and abilities, and for improvement of
knowledge by experience in the greatest affairs; for
wisdom, faithfulness, and gallantry of mind, had left few
behind him that can be ranked as his equals."

: -


leaving him heir to "a very large estate." He
sent as a scholar to the Grammar School of Thame,
Ker he early distinguished himself by his studious
bits and eager love of knowledge. Thence he was
oved at the age of fifteen to Magdalen College, Oz-
,and in its academic shades passed several years
laborious study and lettered seclusion. So highly
his scholarship esteemed, that he was selected to
te thQ elaborate Latin eulogiums with which the
~ivod ersity thought fit to hail the marriage of
I.'s daughter, Elizabeth, to the unfortunate
e of Bohemia.
'nineteen years of age when, in 1613, he
himself as a student of law in the Inner
ple. So early an introduction to the pleasures of
She metropolis was not without its deteriorating effect
upon Hampden's mind; and Clarendon tells us that, at
This period, the future patriot indulged himself in
all the licence in sports, and exercises, and company,
*.Iwhich were used by men of the most jolly conversa-
I tion." But a true and honourable love speedily rescued
Shiner from pleasures that might have degenerated into
E: excesses. An early marriage for him, as for his kins-
" man Cromwell, proved the threshold of a new life-the
, stepping-stone to t great career. The lady he wedded
(in 1619) was a woman of many personal charms, and
fitted by nurture and natural disposition to be the
worthy helpmate of a patriotic man. She was Eliza-
beth, the daughter of Edmund Simeon, of Pyrton, in
Oxfordshire. In the following year he entered public
life as member of parliament for the borough of Gram-
pound in Cornwall, although he did not take his seat
in the House uptil June 1621.


(A.D. 1594-1643.)

Almost every part of this virtuous and blameless life which
is not hidden from us in modest privacy, is a precious and splen-
did portion of our national history."-LonD MACAULAY.

GREATEST and purest of the statesmen of the Common-
wealth, was JOHN HAMPDEN, born in London in the
year 1594, the son of a Buckinghamshire esquire of
moderate estate and ancient lineage.
The Hampdens originally settled in Buckingham-
shire in the days of Edward the Confessor, and
through all the vicissitudes of the arduous struggle
between Saxons and Normans they contrived to retain
their patrimonial inheritance. They swore allegiance
to the Red Rose during the long contest between the
Houses of York and Lancaster, but preserved their
dignity unimpaired; and being highly favoured by the
Tudor sovereigns, maintained a very splendid and satis-
factory state in their Buckinghamshirl home. Griffith
Hampden received there with suitable pomp the pro-
gress-loving Elizabeth. His son, William Hampden, a
member of the queen's Parliament called in 1593,
married Elizabeth Cromwell-a sister of Richard Crom-
well, father of the great Lord Protector-and their
eldest son was John Hampden, the patriot statesman of
the Commonwealth.
The child was but three years old when his father


onour, and rcvrrent devotion to the great laws of duty.
l mother waj anxious that the rich commoner should
be ennobled, but. with James I. titles and dignities were
things for mon.y-barter, and Hampden would not
-toop to puribh.e,- a peerage by a bribe to the king or
s ftavourit,:s. In fact, the philosophic mind of the
Jfture statesnan had already-presaged the approaching
struggle between the despotism of the court and the in-
[ependencte of the people, between an arbitrary king
a free parliament; and it was only on the side of
latter that such- a man as Hampden could array
F .So he looked out afar on the coming storm,
y made ready to meet it, exerting himself to
the privileges of parliamentary representation for
Independent boroughs, which the court party
Were anxious to silence. For one of these boroughs,
Wendover, he took his seat in 1625, in the first Parli-
ment of Charles I.
SUnder the Tudors the prerogatives of the sovereign
had developed to such alarming proportions as com-
plelely to override the laws of the realm and menace
the rights and liberties of the people; and it was felt
Then, as at a later period, thaf, to use the well-known
words of Dunning, "the power of the Crown had in-
ereased, was increasing, and ought to be diminished."
; simple means, both of offence and defence, were pos-
sessed by the representatives of the people; they enjoyed
the command of the national purse," and could check
a monarch in his arbitrary career by withholding or
diminishing the supplies. During the reign of Eliza-
beth, despot as she was and thorough Tudor, Crown
Sand Commons seldom came into direct collision. Her
sagacity taught her when to yield and how to yield-


That it is possible to cultivate the active exercise of
religion without yielding to a churlish asceticism; that
a man may be a Puritan and yet not a bigot; that
true religious feeling is by no means inseparable from
cheerfulness of spirit and courtesy of manner, John
Iampden during all his later life exemplified. Words-
worth has sketched with a skilful hand the charac-
teristics of the Happy Warrior. Hampden might have
furnished him with the companion model of the Happy
Who, if he rise to station of command,
Rises by open means ; and there will stand
On honourable terms, or else retire,
And in himself possess his own desire;
Who comprehends his trust, and to the same
Keeps faithful with a singleness of aim;
And therefore does not stooD, nor lie in wait
For wealth, or honours, or for worldly state;
Whose powers shed round him in the common strife,
Or mild concerns of ordinary life,
A constant influence, a peculiar grace;
But who, if he be called upon to face
Some awful moment to which heaven has join'd
Great issues, good or bad for human kind,
Is happy as a lover, and attired
With sudden brightness, like a man inspired."

A brightness, however, was about all his daily life.
In the leafy lanes and ample meadows of Buckingham-
shire, he illustrated to his neighbours the best and
noblest qualities of an English gentleman; he pre-
served, as his opponent Clarendon acknowledges, his
own natural cheerfulness and vivacity, and, above all, a
glowing courtesy to all men;" while in every domestic
relation he was governed by truthful love, scrupulous


anticipating the designs of Parliament with a tact and
dexterity which increased her power while she seemed
to abandon it. But James I. was a sovereign of a dif-
ferent stamp. His opinion of his skill in kingcraft"
was ridiculously exaggerated; his overweening attach-
ment to the doctrine of divine right," was a mono-
mania rather than the result of intelligent conviction.
He was perpetually quarrelling with his Parliament,
and as constantly retreating from the issues he him-
self had raised. Like Mrs. Partington, he trundled his
mop in impotent attempts to check the advance of the
fast-gathering waters which menaced the very founda-
tions of the state.
In his third Parliament (A.D. 1621)-the first in
which Hampden appeared-the growing discontent of
the people found indignant and emphatic voice, and,
as Lord Nugent observes,* a parliamentary opposition
first sprang into existence. Many of the most infamous
tools of the court and oppressors of the nation were
stripped of their illegal plunder; and James, perceiving
that he could not subdue his bold.opponents by argu-
ment, availed himself of the usual resource of kingly
logicians, and imprisoned them.
On the 27th of March, 1625, James I. died, be-
queathing to his successor the terrible legacy of a civil
commotion and a foreign war. Had that successor pos-
sessed the genius of an Elizabeth, it is probable that
the dynasty might have remained intact, and the fields
of Marston Moor and Naseby have never been foughten.
Elizabeth not only conceded, but she knew what to
concede and when to concede; Charles I. resisted, until
Memorials of Hampden," vol. i. See also Macaulay, vol
i of the History; and his Essay on IIampden."


Nation was no longer willing to accept concessions
r to reverence him who made them.
In the very first Parliament summoned by the un-
rtunate Charles the struggle commenced (June 1625).
Te king required supplies to carry on the Spanish
aE; the Commons asked for "redress of grievances."
,a tempest of rage the king dissolved them, and en-
voed to satisfy his needs by issuing money-letters
der the Privy Seal. The resource was soon dis-
ered to be an indifferent one, and in 1626, Charles
umoed another Parliament. Seven of the ablest of
a leaders were prevented from attendance by
us expedient: the king nominated them
for the year. But the vox populi was by no
silenced. In vain the monarch told the Com-
ions that they lived but by his will; that he could
Summon or dismiss them at his pleasure; that neither
with his favourites nor his policy had they any right
to interfere. They persisted in their complaints-they
passed under review all the ill-advised measures of the
court, and finally, rising in courage and resolution, im-
peached the king's arch-councillor, George Villiers,
Duke of Buckingham. Charles imprisoned the leaders
of the impeachment, Sir Dudley Digges and Sir John
Eliot, but was constrained by the remonstrances of the
SCommons to release them, and after an undignified exhi.
Sbition of alternate obstinacy and vacillation, peremp-
Storily dissolved his second Parliament.
He could reign without Houses of Lords and Com-
.mons, it is true, but he could not reign without money,
and recourse, therefore, was had to the old expedient of
the Plantagenets-forced loans under the appellation of
benevolencees" The common people who protested


against these exactions were forcibly impressed into
the then horrible servitude of the army or navy; men
of higher grade were flung into prison. Hampden, at
this great crisis, gave evidence of the firm and resolute
spirit which was, in the fulness of time, to accomplish
so much for England's liberties. He refused to pay
the amount at which his share of the loan" was esti-
mated. "I would be content," he said, "to lend as
well as others, but I fear to draw upon myself that curse
in Magna Charta which should be read twice a year
against those who infringe it." His reference to the
great Charter was probably even more displeasing than
his stout resistance to the forced loan, and he was con-
signed a prisoner to the Gate-house, from whence, as
he remained constant in his refusal, he was removed
to Hurst Castle in Hampshire But the necessities of
the king increased. Levies, imposts, loans, yielded no
satisfactory supplies, and it became expedient to summon
another Parliament. As a preliminary step, and in the
hope of securing some slight popularity, the king re-
leased his prisoners, and Hampden was restored to the
quiet Buckinghamshire home and the sweet social lifo
in which he so much delighted. He was immediately
re-elected for Wendover, and took his seat in Charles's
third Parliament, which met early in 1628.
It was in the first session of this Parliament that
the king was constrained to assent to the memorable
" Petition of Right"-the second Magna Charta of
England-purchased from his reluctant hands by five
ample subsidies. This famous instrument provided
that, henceforth, forced loans or benevolences should
be illegal; that imprisonment, or any other punishment,
could only follow upon the just verdict of a man's


peers; and that the billeting of soldiers on private
families as a penalty for not lending money on the
Ming's writ should be stringently prohibited. These,
it is true, were but the renewals of conditions granted
by King John to the barons at Runnymede; but Charles
felt that the Commons had gained a complete victory
over him, and to prevent further encroachment on his
beloved "prerogative," prorogued Parliament. It met
-again in January, 1629. But in the interval, Bucking-
bam had fallen in his audience-chamber at Portsmouth,
a victim to Felton'd dagger, and Charles faced his sub-
ijet8 without any confidential adviser at his elbow. It
.was soon perceived, however, that he had in no wise
: edified his policy. He had learned nothing-not
even the wisdom of keeping his royal word. "Ton-
nage and poundage" were still exacted without parlia-
mentary sanction, and the Petition of Right was already
as worthless as the parchment whereon its stipulations
were inscribed.
In language animated, but condensed, Lord Mac-
aulay has sketched the events of the ensuing session :-
"The Compons," he says, "met in no complying hu-
mour. They took into their most serious consideration
the measures of the government concerning tonnage and
poundage. They summoned the officers of the custom-
house to their bar. They interrogated the barons ot
the xschequer. They committed one of the sheriffs of
London. Sir John Eliot, a distinguished member of
Ihe Opposition, and an intimate friend of Hampden,
proposed a resolution condemning the unconstitutional
imnpoition. The Speaker said that the king had com-
manded him to put no such question to the vote. This
decision produced the most violent burst of feeling ever