George Nugent Grenville Nugent.

Some memorials of John Hampden : his party and his times online

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' appartenenti al governo ; il che non tanto faceva per potere occultamente
' favorire, con i consigli, e con T opera, 1' impresa commune; quanto che,
' stimando la troppo temeraria, e troppo pericolosa, dubitava di travaglioso
' incontro, ed' infelice fin.' Davila, Guerre Civ., lib. L

From this retirement when Coliguy came forth, it was, like Hampden, to
further measures for religious liberty. Indeed there is a very marked
coincidence between some of the principal circumstances which Davila
enumerates as the causes of the civil war in France, and those that after-
wards led to the scenes in England in which Hampden bore so large a part.
The court of France, like that of England, was ill enough advised iu its
persecution of sectarians to confound the love of liberty with an imputed
aversion to the doctrines of the established Church, and in its proclama-
tions, most unwisely used the terms ' Huguenot' and ' Royalist,' to express
the two great conflicting parties in the state. In the French struggle, as
in the Episcopal war of Scotland, it was the bishops who began the contest ;
and the Huguenots asked assistance, on the stipulations of a treaty, from
Elizabeth, as the Scots were afterwards fain to do from France. 'Ma,'
says Davila of the Huguenot preachers, and the words might be well
applied to the preachers of the Covenant, 'i predicauti, che in tutte le
' deliberation i ottenevano grandissima autorita, ed erano a guisa d' oracoli
' venerati, allcgavano non doversi tener conto di queste cose terrene, ove si
' tratta della dottrina celeste, e della propagatione della parola di Dio, e
' pero convenirsi vilipendere ogn' altra consideratione, pur che fosse
' protetta la religione, e confermata la liberta della Fede.' Davila, lib. iii.


husband's affectionate regrets.* She left him three sons,
John, Richard, and William ; and six daughters. t)f these,
Elizabeth, the eldest, was married soon after to Richard
Knightley, of Fawsley Court, in Northampton shire, the son
of an eager and distinguished fellow-labourer with Hampden
in the cause of liberty. The second, Anne, was married
to Sir Robert Pye, of Farringdon, in Berkshire. Besides these
alliances, thus formed, Hampden had other connexions of
kindred with persons prominent in the country party.
Edmund Waller was, by his mother's side, Hampden' s first
cousin, and Oliver Cromwell was related to him in the same
degree. Thus connected "with families of influence in his
own and neighbouring counties, he diligently improved his
other resources. His mind richly stored with all the materials
which are lent in aid by the examples of other times, his
genius never more active than when taking counsel with : . . .
itself in retirement, and his spirit never more resolved than
when fitting on the armour which his wisdom had prepared,
he awaited the time at which the public indignation, already , A
aroused, might gain a strength and constancy befitting the
struggle whose approaches he foresaw.

Meanwhile Charles's policy, as weak and inglorious abroad
as at home it was violent and rapacious, neglected all the
opportunities which offered themselves, unsought, for forming
alliances the most important to England. Peace being con-








In her pilgrimage,

The stale and comfort of her neighbours,
The love and glory of a well-ordered family,
The delight and happines of tender parents-
But a crown of Blessings to a hushruid.
In a wife, to all an eteruall paterae of goodnes
And cause of love, while she was.
In her dissolution

A losse invaluable to each,
Yet herselfe blest, and they fully recompenced
In her translation, from a Tabernacle of Claye
And Fellowship with Mortalls, to a celestial! Mansion

And communion with a Deity.

20 DAY OF AUGUST 1634.





eluded with the two crowns of France and Spain, on terms
by which England was foiled in both the great objects which
had led her into the war, the favourable occasion was lost,
which the successes of Gustavus Adolphus and the consequent
embarrassments of the Austrian empire had afforded, for
assisting the Protestant cause in Germany, and for securing
the restoration of Charles Lewis, the young Elector ; an
object which Charles "had always described as being clear to
his heart. The English Court, though triumphant over the
laws and liberties of the country, had little influence or
reputation with foreign states. Our commerce was clogged
with tributes on the high seas, and monopolies at home;
and the British channel was vexed with the depredations of the
corsairs oFTunis and Algiers. A dispute also had arisen with
the Dutch, concerning the right of fishery, in which the talents
of Selden and Grotius were opposed to each other upon the
question of the dominion or freedom of the seas. J3ut the
reasonings of the British jurist remained unsupported by any
show of power on the part of his country; and thus the
' Mare Clausum ' was open to the unmolested trade of every
state but that one which claimed the undivided empire of the
maritime world.

Every proof, however, of its helplessness abroad was used
by the English Government as a pretext for some new enter-
prize at home against law and public right. The want of
money to support the Dutch controversy by force was urged
as the motive of a fresh attempt to levy it without authority
of Parliament.* The sale of knighthoods and of other public
honours (' the envy and reproach of which/ according to Lord
Clarendon, ' came to the King, the profit to other men/) had
already reached its utmost limits ; and the duties imposed
upon merchandise, in many cases amounted to prohibition ;
but, in many more, were evaded without difficulty or disguise.
At length, by the advice of the Attorney-General Noy,t and of

* Clarendon Hist. Reb. May Parl. Hist.

f Lloyd, in his State Worthies, gives a character of Noy which is very
remarkable for this singular contradiction ; the first sentence praises him
for honesty, and the next but one describes him, in very caustic terms,
as having changed the principles of his public conduct for advancement
at court. ' William Noy was a man passing humourous, but very honest
'clownish, but knowing; a most indefatigable plodder and searcher of
ancient records ; verifying his anagram I moyl in law. He was for
' many years the stoutest champion for the subjects' liberty, until King

To 1635.] HIS PAttTY AND HIS TIMES. 91

Chief Justice Finch, (' the one/ says Lord Clarendon, ' knowing
1 nothing of, nor caring for, the Court, the other knowing, or
' caring for, nothing else/) a writ was issued, October 20,
1634, addressed to the sheriffs of the city of London, requiring
a supply of ships duly manned and otherwise equipped, under
pretence of providing for the safety of the kingdom, and for
guarding the dominion of the seas.

This was the impost of the ship-money ; ' A_word/ says
Lord Clarendon, ' of a lasting sound in the memory of this
' kingdom / a project which, in its progress, made the di-
visions between the King and Parliament irreparable, and, in
its consequences, led to the misery of eleven years of almost
uninterrupted civil war.* To the project of the ship-money
may be justly traced, as to the proximate and special cause,
the dispute which, directing the whole enmity of the Court
against the most able and resolute and popular person in the
country, inflamed a spirit fierce and powerful enough in the end,
for the entire overthrow of this ancient and mighty monarchy.

There are certain passages at which the mind naturally
pauses, as at landmarks and resting places, in its progress
through the history of mankind, which seem as though they
had been designed to establish some great axiom in morals and
in government. These are strongly marked in the English
history. The attempts of King John to load the country with
new feudal exactions, to invade the rights of property in
general, and to surrender the independence of the Crown to the
papal see, united, for the first time, in one bond of interest,
nobility, clergy, and commonalty; and produced the Great
Charter. Thus, also, the abuses, corruptions, and extortions
ot* the" popes, Julius II. and Leo X., forced forward our sepa-
ration from the Church of Home. Thus, also, in more modern
times, it was the senseless bigotry of James II. which, (not
content with re-establishing popery, but aiming at absolute
tyranny also,) by the very act of attempting at one encounter
the overthrow of religion and freedom, confirmed both, and
caused it to be first declared by Act of Parliament, that the

'Charles entertained him to be his attorney. No sooner did the King
' show him tn'e~1mV''6r^atlvaricement, but" quitting his former inclinations,
'he wheeled about to the prerogative, and made amends with his future
' service for ail his former disobligements.'

* From the first Episcopal War in Scotland, in 1640, to the ' crowning
victory ' of Oliver at Worcester.


sovereign power is held on conditions which may be regulated
and enforced by the estates of the realm.

All these revolutions have been successful and permanent,
, because produced, not by a mere appeal to abstract principles
or speculations, but by the pressure of practical and weighty
grievances. ]\ r or can we fail to recognise, in the event upon
which we are now entering, one of the four great passages in
our history, out of which has gradually arisen and been com-
pacted a system of liberty which we may hope will endure,
without further struggle, through every succeeding age. The
first ship-money writ may be considered as the foundation,
though laid by no friendly hand, on which was afterwards
to be reared the stoutest buttress of our English constitu-
tion, the entire and undisputed control of Parliament over
the supplies. .&



FROM 1635 TO 1640.

Ship-Money The Levy extended to Inland Places Motives lately imputed to
Hampden for his Opposition to it. The Grounds of that Imputation examined
Hampden, and Thirty other Freeholders of the Parish of Great Kimble, in
Buckinghamshire, refuse Payment Sir Peter Temple, the High Sheriff,
summoned to answer for Arrears Disconsolate Letter from him to his
Mother Proceedings against Hampden Judges declare for the Crown
General Discontent of the Country Emigration of Puritans Prohibited
Hampden and others detained Independents and Presbyterians begin to
separate Insurrection in Scotland, and First Episcopal War Treaty of
Berwick Short Parliament summoned Hampden quits, for the last time,
his Retirement in Buckinghamshire.

lo sooner was the ship-money project made known than it
met with a firm and open opposition. Although it had very
probably been calculated by the authors of that measure that
a certain feeling of national vanity on the part of the country
generally, and even of remote interest on the part of the mer-
chants, whose cargoes were in constant danger of capture at
sea, might command a ready consent to the declared purpose
of the contribution, still it encountered, even at the outset,
much murmuring, and some active resistance. For, after the
common council of London had in vain pleaded by address
their ancient privileges, payment was refused (on the Act De
Tallagio Non Concedendd, and other public statutes,) by
Kichard Chambers, a merchant who had before been honour-
ably distinguished for his courage and his sufferings. At first
the requisition, although extended beyond the city of London,
wns limited to the maritime towns, and thus attempted to be
justified upon the alleged precedent of that made by Queen
Elizabeth at the period of the Spanish Armada, when her
appeal to her people had been promptly and liberally answered.


At that time every seaport had supplied armed vessels,, one or
more, each ; and the citizens of London had furnished thirty,
although only fifteen were required of them ; and between
forty and fifty had been fitted out by the voluntary subscrip-
tions of the nobility and gentry throughout the kingdom.

A fleet, however, of sixty ships of war being at length
collected, upon the strength of contributions paid in princi-
pally by the small towns along the coast, for the purpose of
securing the trade in the narrow seas, Charles was advised to
disregard the tokens of increasing discontent, and to urge still
further this ill-omened design. It was now determined to
extend the tax to inland places, which, notwithstanding the
appearance of an option to contribute, either in money or in
ships properly manned and victualled for six months, would,
from their situation, be under the necessity of making their
contribution in money, applicable by the King to general
objects of revenue. In the following year, therefore (1636),
the charge was laid, by order of Council, generally on all
counties, cities, and corporate towns ; and all sheriffs were
required, in case of refusal or delay, to proceed by distress.
To clothe this process with a better appearance of formality,
the judges were directed by the Lord Keeper Coventry, in the
Star Chamber, at the close of Midsummer Term,* to promote
it throughout their circuits, by laying it down as law in their
charges, and by every other means of persuasion. t But,
though some of that body acted with great zeal and alacrity in
this particular, their success was small. Letters of instruction
were addressed from the Council Board to the several sheriffs,
exhorting them to proceed with the greatest precision and
dispatch, and with the strictest regard to equality in the levy.
With this intent, schedules were sent to each sheriff, contain-
ing the list of all counties, cities, and corporate towns, together
with the proportions in which each was rated, to the end that
each district and community might be made aware that the
contribution was enforced impartially. These schedules pre-
sent a view of the comparative wealth and importance of these
places, which is remarkable for the contrast it affords with
their condition in the present times. It will appear that the
towns of Lancaster, Liverpool, and Preston, which (taken with
Manchester) now contain more than half the commercial and

* Rushwortb. f Stafford's Letters.

To 1640.] HIS PAltTY AND HIS TIMES. 95

manufacturing capital of our country,* were then rated at an
amount below that which was charged on several of the
smallest of those western boroughs, whose names have in later
times been barely known beyond the limits of their county,
but as places furnishing representatives to the British empire.
It seems as if the general influence of these small places, and
perhaps their privileges of election also, had arisen partly from
their proximity to the Royal stannaries ; but partly too, and
principally, from their having been, for ages, the places of
refuge from the elements and from the enemy, for the trade
with Spain and the "West Indies in its passage up channel.
It is probable that the privileges enjoyed by the Cinque
Ports, and by the other boroughs near the French coast, were
granted on account of the importance which those places
derived from their nearness to the possessions anciently held
in fee by the Crown in Normandy and Aquitaine.t

It is a slight and imperfect view of this impost to consider
it only as one levied without and against the consent of Par-
liament, and, therefore, against law. It proclaimed a principle
of confiscation, and established a machinery, for the purpose
of giving effect to it, which was quite incompatible with all
the rights of property. This principle had been hinted at,
and approached by, the. Crown on many former occasions, and
in divers ways, by benevolences, and under other names ; but
never till now had it been introduced into any regular system
of taxation. Yet, odious as the assessment was throughout
the country, and imperfectly collected even from the begin-
ning, it early became a productive means of revenue. In the
first year, upwards of 200,000, clear of all charges of col-
lection, were paid into the treasury on the ship-money

account. J

It was against this project that, in the spring of 1636,
Hampden resolved to make a decisive "starTol'i He accord -

ingly took counsel with Bulstrode AVhitelocke, Oliver St.
John, Holborne, ami others of his immediate friends, mmrni-
ing the means of trying the issue at law. The writ, which

* In 1827 the number of ships unloading at the port of Liverpool
exceeded, by three or four, that of the merchant ships that entered the
Thames during the same year.

t For a copy of one of these schedules, addressed to Sir Peter Temple,
and among his papers at Stowe, and differing a little from that iu Rush-
worth, see Appendix C.

t Whitelocke Rushworth. Whitelocke.


was directed in the autumn of 1635 to Sir Peter Temple of
Stowe, then High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, required that
county to supply a ship of war of 450 tons burthen, and 150
men, fitted out with cordage, munition, and other necessaries,
before the first of the then ensuing March, and from that
time, to provide mariners' wages and provisions for twenty-
six weeks ; or, in lieu thereof, a sum of 4500, to be levied
upon the inhabitants, and returned to the Treasurer of the
Navy for the King's use.* As might have been expected from
a county which, by reason of its central position and the
high public spirit which prevailed amongst its gentry, was
well disposed to be forward in resisting so arbitrary a demand,
the return proved most unsatisfactory to the Court. The
defaulters were numerous ; and some stated boldly, publicly,
and peremptorily, the ground of their refusal. But, no
sooner was the name of Hampden seen among this number,
than, as if by one common desire that the combat should be
decided in the person of a single champion, the eyes of the
court and of the people were alike turned on him. He
stood the high and forward mark against whom the concen-

* To all persons recollecting that, of all places in England, the centre of
Buckinghamshire is the most nearly equi-distant from the four seas which
surround the island, but especially to such persons as are locally acquainted
with the parishes mentioned in the writ, and with the habits of the people,
so little cognizant of maritime affairs, the requisition tells the story of its
own preposterous injustice rather whimsically. It runs thus: 'To the
' sheriff of our county of Bucks, the bailiff and burgesses of the
' borough and parish of Buckingham, the mayor, bailiff, and burgesses of
'Chipping Wiccombe, and the good men in the said boroughs, parishes,
' and their members ; and in the towns of Agmondesham, Wendover, and
' Great Marlow, and in all other boroughs, villages, hamlets, and other
' places in the s u county of Bucks, greeting : Because we are given to
' understand that certain thieves, pirates, and sea robbers, as well Turks as
' others, confederated together, wickedly take away and despoil the ships,
' goods, and merchandizes, &c. . . . We firmly enjoin you, as you love
'us and our honour, as also under the forfeiture of all things you can
' possibly forfeit to us, that you cause to be fitted out one ship of war, of
'the burden of 450 tons, with men, as well skilful officers, as able and
' experienced mariners, a hundred and fourscore at least ; as also with a
' sufficient quantity of cannon, muskets, gunpowder, pikes, and spears, and
' other arms necessary for war, with double tackling, &c. &c. . . . And
' that you cause the same to be brought into the port of Portsmouth before
' the s d 1st day of March, so that they may be there that day at furthest ;
' thence to proceed with our ships, &c. . . . And moreover to assess
' every man in the aforesaid towns, and in the members thereof, &c. . . .
' not having the ship aforesaid, or any part thereof, cr not serving in the
' same, to contribute to the expenses about the provision of the necessary
' premises, &c. . . . every one of them according to their estate, and
' goods, or employment,' &c. &c.


trated wrath of all the penalties was to be directed. The
condition of his fortune, and the small amount of the sum in
which he was assessed, sufficiently established his case as the
best for determining the principle of a demand, important to
the court, not only as a fruitful source of revenue, but as
supplying a precedent entirely decisive against the popular
cause. Upon a rate, therefore, of thirty-one shillings and
sixpence, he resolutely proceeded to rest for himself, for his
country, and for posterity, this great and signal act of resist-
ance to arbitrary taxation.

And here it becomes necessary again, in a few words, to
take notice (as a sample of the imperfect evidence on which
historical impressions are sometimes received) of another
passage in Mr. D'Israeli's 'Commentaries on the Life of
' Charles the First/ ' I have been informed/ says that
gentleman (speaking of the ship-money), ' of papers, in the
' possession of a family of the highest respectability, which
' will show that Hampden had long lived in a state of civil
' warfare with his neighbour, the sheriff of the county. They
' mutually harassed each other. It is probable that these
' papers may relate to quarrels about levying the sixpence in
' the pound on Hampden' s estate, for which he was assessed.
' It is from the jealousy of Truth that we are anxious to
' learn whether the sixpence was refused out of pique to his
' old enemy and neighbour, the sheriff, or from the purest,
' unmixed patriotism/* Disputes concerning the private
motives which may influence the public acts of men are
difficult to undertake, and hazardous to decide upon ; and it
is a bold inquest to institute, even ' from the jealousy of
' Truth/ We are invited, however, to try whether Hampden
be justly chargeable with the deep guilt of having been moved
by a base private pique (concerning an assessment of sixpence
in the pound, as Mr. D'Israeli incorrectly states) to a resist-
ance in which, according to the same writer, ' he afterwards
' drew his sword to shed the blood of half the nation ! ' It is
not often that to imputations so insinuated a negative can be
proved ; but in this case it may. Sir Peter Temple was the
sheriff whose official act it was to enforce this ill-founded
demand, and to whom, in this matter, Hampden was opposed,
and on whose writ the issue was tried. His papers and cor-

* Commentaries on the Life and Reign of Charles the First, vol. ii.

p. '_ ( JO, ct </.


98 JOHN HAMPDEN, [ p - vRT IV -

respondenee are at Stowe, and I have carefully examined them.
There is not, in that collection, the shadow of evidence of any
private pique or quarrel; nor does the sheriff, nor do those
before whom the case came to trial, nor does Lord Clarendon,
or any other writer equally unfavourably disposed towards
Hampden, impute or appear to suspect any such motive. If
it be to the papers of any other sheriff than Sir Peter Temple
that Mr. D'Israeli alludes, he has been deceived as to the
person with whom that great question was contested by
Hampden. It may also in this place be observed that, where
the same writer represents Hampden at a subsequent period of
his life as ' to be viewed at the head of his Buckinghamshire
' men, inciting thousands to present petitions/* he says that
for which he adduces no authority. There is no ground for
asserting that Hampden ' incited ' the famous petitions from
Buckinghamshire to the King and to both Houses ; and there
is this reason, at least, for concluding that he was not at the
head of the petitioners, that he was then, and had been ever
since the occurrence which occasioned those petitions, con-
cealed in the city of London, and guarded by the citizens
against the search made for him and for the other four
members by Charles.

On the 25th of January, 1635-6, new sheriffs having been
in the interval appointed, a writ was issued, directed ' To Sir
' Peter Temple, baronet, late High Sheriff, and lleneage
' Proby, Esq., now appointed High Sheriff for the county of

Online LibraryGeorge Nugent Grenville NugentSome memorials of John Hampden : his party and his times → online text (page 16 of 45)