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must submit to. And I assure you whatsoever he was among you, he is
here a kind of decrepit young gentleman and terribly crest-fallen."

The letter concludes thus: -

"For I assure you they use all the civility imaginable to you, and as
we sat there drinking a cup of sack with the General, Colonel
Legge[141:1] chancing to be present, there were twenty good things
said on all hands tending to the good fame, reputation, and advantage
of the Town, an occasion that I was heartily glad of."

Corporations may not have souls to save and bodies to kill, but
evidently they have vanities to tickle.

In November 1669 the House is still busy over the accounts. Sir George
Carteret was Treasurer of the Navy. Marvell refers to him in _The Last
Instructions to a Painter_ as: -

"Carteret the rich did the accountants guide
And in ill English all the world defied."

The following letter of Marvell's gives an excellent account of House of
Commons business, both how it is conducted, and how often it gets
accidentally interrupted by other business unexpectedly cropping up: -

"_November 20, 1669._

"GENTLEMEN, MY VERY WORTHY FRIENDS, - Returning after our adjournment
to sit upon Wednesday, the House having heard what Sir G. Cartaret
could say for himselfe, and he then commended to withdraw, after a
considerable debate, put it to the question, whether he were guilty
of misdemeanour upon the Commissioners first observation, the words
of which were, That all monyes received by him out of His Majesty's
Exchequer are by the privy seales assigned for particular services,
but no such thing observed or specified in his payments, whereby he
hath assumed to himselfe a liberty to make use of the King's
treasure for other uses then is directed. The House dividing upon
the question, the ayes went out, and wondered why they were kept out
so extraordinary a time. The ayes proved 138 and the noes 129; and
the reason of the long stay then appeared; the tellers for the ayes
chanced to be very ill reckoners, so that they were forced to tell
severall times over in the House, and when at last the tellers for
the ayes would have agreed the noes to be 142, the noes would needs
say that they were 143, whereupon those for the ayes would tell once
more and then found the noes to be indeed but 129; and the ayes then
coming in proved to be 138; whereas if the noes had been content
with the first error of the tellers, Sir George had been quit upon
that observation. This I have told you so minutely because it is the
second fatall and ominous accident that hath fain out in the
divisions about Sir G. Cartaret. Thursday was ordered for the second
observation, the words of which are, Two hundred and thirty thousand
seven hundred thirty and one thousand pounds thirteen shillings and
ninepence, claimed as payd, and deposited for security of interest,
and yet no distinct specification of time appeares either on his
receits or payments, whereby no judgment can be made how interest
accrues; so that we cannot yet allow the same. But this day was
diverted and wholy taken up by a speciall report orderd by the
Committee for the Bill of Conventicles, that the House be informed
of severall Conventicles in Westminster which might be of dangerous
consequences. From hence arose much discourse; also of a report that
Ludlow was in England, that Commonwealths-men flock about the town,
and there were meetings said to be, where they talkt of New Modells
of Government; so that the House ordered a Committee to receive
informations both concerning Conventicles and these other dangerous
meetings; and then entered a resolution upon their books without
putting it to the question, That this House will adhere to His
Majesty, and the Government of Church and State as now established,
against all its enemyes. Friday having bin appointed, as I told you
in my former letter, for the House to sit in a grand Committee upon
the motion for the King's supply, was spent wholy in debate, whether
they should do so or no, and concluded at last in a consent, that
the sitting in a grand Committee upon the motion for the King's
supply should be put of till Friday next, and so it was ordered. The
reason of which kind of proceeding, lest you should thinke to arise
from an indisposition of the House, I shall tell you as they appeare
to me, to have been the expectation of what Bill will come from the
Lords in stead of that of ours which they threw out, and a desire to
redresse and see thoroughly into the miscarriages of mony before any
more should be granted. To-day the House hath bin upon the second
observation, and after a debate till foure a'clock, have voted him
guilty also of misdemeanor in that particular. The Commissioners are
ordered to attend the House again on Munday, which is done
constantly for the illustration of any matter in their report,
wherein the House is not cleare. And to say the truth, the House
receives great satisfaction from them, and shows them extraordinary
respect. These are the things of principall notice since my last."

Carteret eventually was censured and suspended and dismissed.

The sudden incursion of religion during a financial debate is highly
characteristic of the House of Commons.

Whilst Queen Elizabeth and her advisers did succeed in making some sort
of a settlement of religion having regard to the questions of her time,
the Restoration bishops, an inferior set of men, wholly failed. The
repressive legislation that followed upon the Act of Uniformity,
succeeded in establishing and endowing (with voluntary contributions)
what is sometimes called, absurdly enough, Political Dissent. On
points, not of doctrine, but of ceremony, and of church government, one
half of the religiously-minded community were by oaths and declarations,
and by employing the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper as "a picklock to a
place," drawn out of the service of the State. Excluded from Parliament
and from all corporate bodies, from grammar-schools and universities,
English Dissent learned to live its own life, remote from the army, the
navy, and the civil service, quite outside of what perhaps may be fairly
called the main currents of the national life. Nonconformists venerated
their own divines, were reared in their own academies and colleges, read
their own books, went, when the modified law permitted it, to their own
conventicles in back streets, and made it their boast that they had
never entered their parish churches, for the upkeep of which they were
compelled to subscribe - save for the purpose of being married. The
nation suffered by reason of this complete severance. Trade excepted,
there was no community of interest between Church and Dissent. Sobriety,
gravity, a decent way of life, the sense of religious obligation (even
when united with the habit of _extempore_ prayer, and a hereditary
disrespect for bishops' aprons), are national assets, as the expression
now goes, which cannot be disregarded with impunity.

The Conventicle Act Marvell refers to was a stringent measure, imposing
pecuniary fines upon any persons of sixteen years of age or upwards who
"under pretence of religion" should be present at any meeting of more
than five persons, or more than those of the household, "in other manner
than allowed by the Liturgy and practice of the Church of England."
Heavier fines were imposed upon the preachers. The poet Waller, who was
"nursed in Parliaments," having been first returned from Amersham in
1621, made a very sensible remark on the second reading: "Let them alone
and they will preach against each other; by this Bill they will
incorporate as being all under one calamity."[145:1] But by 144 to 78
the Bill was read, though it did not become law until the following
session. An indignant Member of Parliament once told Cromwell that he
would take the "sense" of the House against some proposal. "Very well,"
said Cromwell, "you shall take the 'sense' of the House, and I will take
the 'nonsense,' and we will see who tells the most votes."

In February 1670 the king opened a new session, and in March Marvell
wrote a private letter to a relative at Bordeaux, in which he "lends his
mind out," after a fashion forbidden him in his correspondence with his
constituents: -

"DEAR COUSIN, - ... You know that we having voted the King, before
Christmas, four hundred thousand pounds, and no more; and enquiring
severely into ill management, and being ready to adjourn ourselves
till February, his Majesty, fortified by some undertakers of the
meanest of our House, threw up all as nothing, and prorogued us from
the first of December till the fourteenth of February. All that
interval there was great and numerous caballing among the courtiers.
The King also all the while examined at council the reports from the
Commissioners of Accounts, where they were continually
discountenanced, and treated rather as offenders than judges. In
this posture we met, and the King, being exceedingly necessitous for
money, spoke to us _stylo minaci et imperatorio_; and told us the
inconveniences which would fall on the nation by want of a supply,
should not ly at his door; that we must not revive any discord
betwixt the Lords and us; that he himself had examined the accounts,
and found every penny to have been employed in the war; and he
recommended the Scotch union. The Garroway party appeared with the
usual vigour, but the country gentlemen appeared not in their true
number the first day: so, for want of seven voices, the first blow
was against them. When we began to talk of the Lords, the King sent
for us alone, and recommended a rasure of all proceedings. The same
thing you know that we proposed at first. We presently ordered it,
and went to tell him so the same day, and to thank him. At coming
down, (a pretty ridiculous thing!) Sir Thomas Clifford carryed
Speaker and Mace, and all members there, into the King's cellar, to
drink his health. The King sent to the Lords more peremptoryly, and
they, with much grumbling, agreed to the rasure. When the
Commissioners of Accounts came before us, sometimes we heard them
_pro formâ_, but all falls to dirt. The terrible Bill against
Conventicles is sent up to the Lords; and we and the Lords, as to
the Scotch busyness, have desired the King to name English
Commissioners to treat, but nothing they do to be valid, but on a
report to Parliament, and an act to confirm. We are now, as we
think, within a week of rising. They are making mighty alterations
in the Conventicle Bill (which, as we sent up, is the quintessence
of arbitrary malice), and sit whole days, and yet proceed but by
inches, and will, at the end, probably affix a Scotch clause of the
King's power in externals. So the fate of the Bill is uncertain, but
must probably pass, being the price of money. The King told some
eminent citizens, who applyed to him against it, that they must
address themselves to the Houses, that he must not disoblige his
friends; and if it had been in the power of their friends, he had
gone without money. There is a Bill in the Lords to encourage people
to buy all the King's fee-farm rents; so he is resolved once more to
have money enough in his pocket, and live on the common for the
future. The great Bill begun in the Lords, and which makes more ado
than ever any Act in this Parliament did, is for enabling Lord Ros,
long since divorced in the spiritual court, and his children
declared illegitimate by Act of Parliament, to marry again. Anglesey
and Ashly, who study and know their interests as well as any
gentlemen at court, and whose sons have marryed two sisters of Ros,
inheritrixes if he has no issue, yet they also drive on the Bill
with the greatest vigour. The King is for the Bill: the Duke of
York, and all the Papist Lords, and all the Bishops, except Cosins,
Reynolds, and Wilkins, are against it. They sat all Thursday last,
without once rising, till almost ten at night, in most solemn and
memorable debate, whether it should be read the second time, or
thrown out. At last, at the question, there were forty-two persons
and six proxys against it, and forty-one persons and fifteen proxys
for it. If it had not gone for it, the Lord Arlington had a power in
his pocket from the King to have nulled the proxys, if it had been
to the purpose. It was read the second time yesterday, and, on a
long debate whether it should be committed, it went for the Bill by
twelve odds, in persons and proxys. The Duke of York, the bishops,
and the rest of the party, have entered their protests, on the first
day's debate, against it. Is not this fine work? This Bill must come
down to us. It is my opinion that Lauderdale at one ear talks to the
King of Monmouth, and Buckingham at the other of a new Queen. It is
also my opinion that the King was never since his coming in, nay,
all things considered, no King since the Conquest, so absolutely
powerful at home, as he is at the present; nor any Parliament, or
places, so certainly and constantly supplyed with men of the same
temper. In such a conjuncture, dear Will, what probability is there
of my doing any thing to the purpose? The King would needs take the
Duke of Albemarle out of his son's hand to bury him at his own
charges. It is almost three months, and he yet lys in the dark
unburyed, and no talk of him. He left twelve thousand pounds a year,
and near two hundred thousand pounds in money. His wife dyed some
twenty days after him; she layed in state, and was buryed, at her
son's expence, in Queen Elizabeth's Chapel. And now,

"Disce, puer, virtutem ex me verumque laborem,
Fortunam ex aliis.

"_March 21, 1670._"

This remarkable letter lets us into many secrets.

The Conventicle Bill is "the price of money." The king's interest in
the Roos divorce case was believed to be due to his own desire to be
quit of a barren and deserted wife.[148:1] Our most religious king had
nineteen bastards, but no lawful issue. It may seem strange that so high
a churchman as Bishop Cosin should have taken the view he did, but Cosin
had a strong dash of the layman in his constitution, and was always an
advocate of divorce, with permission to re-marry, in cases of adultery.

A further and amending Bill for rebuilding the city was before the
House - one of eighty-four clauses, "the longest Bill, perhaps, that ever
past in Parliament," says Marvell; but the Roos Divorce Bill and the
Conventicle Bill proved so exciting in the House of Lords that they had
little time for anything else. Union with Scotland, much desired by the
king, but regarded with great suspicion by all Parliamentarians, fell
flat, though Commissioners were appointed.

The Conventicle Bill passed the Lords, who tagged on to it a proviso
Marvell refers to in his next letter, which the Lower House somewhat
modified by the omission of certain words. Lord Roos was allowed to
re-marry. The big London Bill got through.

Another private letter of Marvell's, of this date, is worth reading: -

"DEAREST WILL, - I wrote to you two letters, and payd for them from
the posthouse here at Westminster; to which I have had no answer.
Perhaps they miscarryed. I sent on an answer to the only letter I
received from Bourdeaux, and having put it into Mr. Nelthorp's hand,
I doubt not but it came to your's. To proceed. The same day (March
26th letter) my letter bore date, there was an extraordinary thing
done. The King, about ten o'clock, took boat, with Lauderdale only,
and two ordinary attendants, and rowed awhile as towards the bridge,
and soon turned back to the Parliament stairs, and so went up into
the House of Lords, and took his seat. Almost all of them were
amazed, but all seemed so; and the Duke of York especially was very
much surprized. Being sat, he told them it was a privilege he
claimed from his ancestors to be present at their deliberations.
That therefore, they should not, for his coming, interrupt their
debates, but proceed, and be covered. They did so. It is true that
this has been done long ago, but it is now so old, that it is new,
and so disused, that at any other but so bewitched a time as this,
it would have been looked on as an high usurpation, and breach of
privilege. He indeed sat still, for the most part, and interposed
very little; sometimes a word or two. But the most discerning
opinion was, that he did herein as he rowed for having had his face
first to the Conventicle Bill, he turned short to the Lord Ross's.
So that, indeed, it is credible, the King, in prospect of diminishing
the Duke of York's influence in the Lord's House, in this, or any
future matter, resolved, and wisely enough at present, to weigh up
and lighten the Duke's efficacy, by coming himself in person. After
three or four days continuance, the Lords were very well used to the
King's presence, and sent the Lord Steward and Lord Chamberlain, to
him, when they might wait, as an House on him, to render their
humble thanks for the honour he did them. The hour was appointed
them, and they thanked him, and he took it well. So this matter, of
such importance on all great occasions, seems riveted to them, and
us, for the future, and to all posterity. Now the Lord Ross's Bill
came in order to another debate, and the King present. Nevertheless
the debate lasted an entire day; and it passed by very few voices.
The King has ever since continued his session among them, and says
it is better than going to a play. In this session the Lords sent
down to us a proviso[149:1] for the King, that would have restored
him to all civil or ecclesiastical prerogatives which his ancestors
had enjoyed at any time since the Conquest. There was never so
compendious a piece of absolute universal tyranny. But the Commons
made them ashamed of it, and retrenched it. The Parliament was never
embarrassed, beyond recovery. We are all venal cowards, except some
few. What plots of State will go on this interval I know not. There
is a new set of justices of peace framing through the whole kingdom.
The governing cabal, since Ross's busyness, are Buckingham,
Lauderdale, Ashly, Orrery, and Trevor. Not but the other cabal too
have seemingly sometimes their turn. Madam,[150:1] our King's
sister, during the King of France's progress in Flanders, is to come
as far as Canterbury. There will doubtless be family counsels then.
Some talk of a French Queen to be then invented for our King. Some
talk of a sister of Denmark; others of a good virtuous Protestant
here at home. The King disavows it; yet he has sayed in publick, he
knew not why a woman may not be divorced for barrenness, as a man
for impotency. The Lord Barclay went on Monday last for Ireland, the
King to Newmarket. God keep, and increase you, in all
things. - Yours, etc.

"_April 14, 1670._"


FOOTNOTES:

[77:1] Clarendon's _Life_, vol. ii. p. 442.

[79:1] The clerks, however, only _counted_ the members who voted, and
kept no record of their _names_. Mr. Gladstone remembered the alteration
being made in 1836, and how unpopular it was. The change was a greater
revolution than the Reform Bill. See _The Unreformed House of Commons_
by Edward Posselt, vol. i. p. 587.

[79:2]

"And a Parliament had lately met
Without a single Bankes." - _Praed_.

[82:1] See Dr. Halley's _Lancashire - its Puritanism and Nonconformity_,
vol. ii. pp. 1-140, a most informing book.

[88:1] Clarendon's _History_, vol. vi. p. 249.

[90:1] An Historical Poem. - Grosart, vol. i. p. 343.

[92:1] Macaulay's _History_, vol. i. p. 154.

[95:1] I am acquainted with the romantic story which would have us
believe that Lady Fauconberg, foretelling the time to come, had caused
some other body than her father's to be buried in the Abbey (see _Notes
and Queries_, 5th October 1878, and Waylen's _House of Cromwell_, p.
341).

[96:1] See _The Unreformed House of Commons_, by Edward Porritt, vol. i.
p. 51. Marvell's old enemy, Parker, Bishop of Oxford, in his _History of
his own Time_, composed after Marvell's death, reviles his dead
antagonist for having taken this payment which, the bishop says, was
made by a custom which "had a long time been antiquated and out of
date." "Gentlemen," says the bishop, "despised so vile a stipend," yet
Marvell required it "for the sake of a bare subsistence, although in
this mean poverty he was nevertheless haughty and insolent." In Parker's
opinion poor men should be humble.

[98:1] _Parliamentary History_, vol. iv., App. No. III.

[104:1] Mr. Gladstone's testimony is that no real improvement was
effected until within the period of his own memory. 'Our services were
probably without a parallel in the world for their debasement.' (See
_Gleanings_, vi. p. 119.)

[106:1] There is a copy in the library of the _Athenæum_, London: "A
Relation of Three Embassies from his sacred Majestie Charles II. to the
Great Duke of Muscovie, the King of Sweden, and the King of Denmark.
Performed by the Right Ho^ble the Earle of Carlisle in the Years 1663
and 1664. Written by an Attendant on the Embassies, and published with
his Lordship's approbation. London. Printed for John Starkie at the
Miter in Fleet Street, near Temple Barr, 1669."

[109:1] "I have mentioned the dignity of his manners.... He was at his
very best on occasion of Durbars, investitures, and the like.... It
irritated him to see men giggling or jeering instead of acting their
parts properly." - _Life of Lord Dufferin_, vol. ii. p. 317.

[116:1] _Hist. MSS. Com., Portland Papers_, vol. iii. p. 296.

[116:2] See above, vol. iii. p. 294.

[118:1] Sir Walter Besant doubted this. See his _London_.

[123:1] Mr. Goldwin Smith says this was the first pitched battle between
Protection and Free Trade in England. - _The United Kingdom_, vol. ii. p.
25.

[126:1] Being curious to discover whether no "property" man raised his
voice against these measures, I turned to that true "home of lost
causes," the Protests of the House of Lords; and there, sure enough, I
found one solitary peer, Henry Carey, Earl of Dover, entering his
dissent to both Bills - to the Judicature Bill because of the unlimited
power given to the judges, to the Rebuilding Bill because of the
exorbitant powers entrusted to the Lord Mayor and Aldermen to give away
or dispose of the property of landlords.

[128:1] Clarendon's _Life_, vol. iii. p. 796.

[129:1] Clarendon's _Life_, vol. iii. p. 798.

[129:2] "Instructions to a Painter for the drawing of the Posture and
Progress of His Majesty's forces at Sea under the command of His
Highness Royal: together with the Battel and Victory obtained over the
Dutch, June 3, 1665." - Waller's _Works_, 1730, p. 161.

[130:1] Sir John Denham's wife was reported to have been poisoned by a
dish of chocolate, at the bidding of the Duchess of York.

[131:1] Clarendon's eldest son.

[139:1] It is disconcerting to find Evelyn recording this, his last
visit to Clarendon, in his Diary under date of the 9th December, by
which time the late Chancellor was in Rouen. One likes notes in a diary
to be made contemporaneously and not "written-up" afterwards. Evelyn
makes the same kind of mistake about Cromwell's funeral, misdating it a
month.

[140:1] The duke died in 1670 and had a magnificent funeral on the 30th
of April. See _Hist. MSS. Com., Duke of Portland's Papers_, vol. iii. p.
314. His laundress-Duchess did not long survive him.

[141:1] Afterwards Lord Dartmouth, a great friend of James the Second,
but one who played a dubious part at the Revolution.

[145:1] The poet Waller was one of the wittiest speakers the House of
Commons has ever known.

[148:1] For a full account of this remarkable case, see Clarendon's
_Life_, iii. 733-9.

[149:1] "Provided, etc., that neither this Act nor anything therein
contained shall extend to invalidate or avoid his Majesty's supremacy in
ecclesiastical affairs [or to destroy any of his Majesty's rights powers
or prerogatives belonging to the Imperial Crown of this realm or at any
time exercised by himself or any of his predecessors Kings or Queens of


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