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

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sittings of Parliament at Westminster. The Committee
declined, with thanks, the offer of the City apprentices to
conduct them back to the House, alleging that the guard
of the train bands was sufficient for their protection ; but it
was at last determined that the services of the mariners should
be accepted to convoy them by water. They ordered a ship,
which had arrived from Berwick with arms and ammunition,
to fall down the river, out of the reach of the Tower guns, and

* Rushworth. Clarendon Hist. Reb. Micro Chronicou. Lilly's



moor herself midway, to assist, in the event of any sudden
attack; and, on a report that the King proposed to come
again to the House with a purpose of reconciliation, they
ordered that he and the nobles in his train should be received
with all duty and respect. Till the 10th, daily remonstrances
and petitions were tendered. On the llth, the five members
returnedby water, with the Committee, to attend the first
meeTm^glSftne "House. Lord Kimbolton was with them. The
Thames was covered Avith boats, and the bridge and banks
were lined with spectators. The Sheriffs embarked with a
part of the city guard, attended by armed boats and barges
manned by sailors and carrying ordnance with matches
lighted ; and the rest of the train bands marched by laud to
secure the avenues to the House. The procession was doubt-
less to the full as much for triumph as for security. The
members, who had, a week before, with difficulty escaped a
doubtful, perhaps a bloody, conflict with the followers of the
King, were now borne along upon their return under the
gaudy flashing of arms and standards, to the sounds of martial
music, and of ' guns and sakers/ and to the acclamations of
the people of both cities.

On the following day the famous Buckinghamshire Petition
was presented to the Houses by about four^Jjiousajid free-
holders, who had ridden up from their bounty, each with a
copy of the late protestation worn in his hat, to show their
affection to the cause of the Parliament, and to the person of
Hampden, their representative."* They complained of ' a
'malignant faction, whereby the perfecting of a reformation is
' hindered ; the endeavours of the House of Commons in great
'part successless; our dangers grown upon us by reiterated
'plots; and priests and other delinquents unpunished, to the
' encouragement of others; Ireland lost by protracted counsels ;
1 and, to cut off all hopes of future reformation, the very being
' of Parliaments endangered by a desperate and unexampled
' breach of privileges, which, by our protestation lately taken.
' we are bound with our lives and estates to maintain. And,
* in respect of that latter attempt upon the honourable House
' of Commons, we are now come to offer our service to t hat
' end, and resolved in their just defence to live and die/

They were dismissed, with a vote of thanks, and informed

* Ruslnvonh. Clarendon Hist. Rtb.


that, as the Parliament was sufficiently guarded by the great
care of the City, they might return home, till further occasion ;
of which they should be duly informed.*

Meanwhile, the King had suddenly retired to Hampton f
Court, from that metropolis to which he never more returned \J
but as a prisoner.

The Buckinghamshire men had told the House of Commons
that they had also a petition to the King, and desired the
directions of that House as to the best way of delivering it,
who advised them, that ' if they selected eight or ten of their
' number to wait upon his Majesty Avith it, that course would
' be most acceptable.' t

To "Windsor, therefore, this deputation repaired, where the
King now held his court, having stayed but a few days at his
palace at Hampton. This petition limited itself to the case of
their representative, and of five other impeached persons.
1 That having, by virtue of your Highness' s writ, chosen John
c llampden knight for Our' shire, m whose loyalty "we, "his
' countrymen and neighbours, have ever had good cause to
' confide, of late we, to our no less amazement than grief, find
' him, with other members of parliament, accused of treason ;
' and, having taken into our serious consideration the manner
' of their impeachment, we cannot but, under your Majesty's
' favour, conceive that it doth so oppugn the rights of par-
' liament, (to the maintenance whereof our protestation binds
' us,) that we believe it is the malice which their zeal to your
' Majesty's service and of the State hath contracted in the
' enemies to your Majesty, the Church, and the Common-
' wealth, that hath occasioned this foul accusation, rather than
f any deserts of their's who do likewise, through their sides,
' wound us, your petitioners, and others by whose choice they
1 were presented to the House. We, therefore, most humbly
' pray that Mr. Hampden, and the rest that lie under the
' burthen of that accusation, may enjoy the just privileges of
' Parliament.'

The King's answer was conceived in a mild and prudent
tone. That ' being graciously pleased to let all his subjects
' understand his care not knowingly to violate any of the
' privileges of Parliament, he had signified, through the Lord

* Rusbworth. Commons' Journals,
f Commons' Journals.


( Keeper, that, because of the doubt that hath been raised of
the manner, he would waive his former proceedings, and pro-
ceed in an unquestionable way. That then it will appear
that he had so sufficient grounds, as he might not, in justice
f to the kingdom and honour to himself, have foreborne. And
' yet that he had much rather that the said persons should
' prove innocent than be found- guilty. However, he could not
' conceive that their crimes could in any sort reflect upon
' those, his good subjects, w r ho elected them to serve in
* Parliament/ *

This reply, as well as the form of message which had been
sent to the Lords, engaging, ' as some doubts had arisen con-
' cerning the manner/ to proceed by due course of law, were
probably advised and drawn up by Falkland. Falkland, it will
be remembered, had been deputed by the Commons on that
unsuccessful mission of remonstrance against Herbert's articles
of impeachment, and against the conduct of the serjeant-at-
arms. Loyally and affectionately zealous for the interests of
his master, he had spared no pains to advise an answer very
different in spirit from that which he had, on that occasion, been
.obliged to return.

In three days after, the King sent for Falkland, and gave
him the seals of office of Chief Secretary QJ J Sj&te, Cole-
peper having, the day before, been made lihanceUor of the
Exchequer. t

Falkland did nor, because his advice had been rejected, feel
it the less his duty to give his best services when Charles's
returning prudence inclined him, in danger and alarm, to seek
them. And yet, embroiled as the King's cause had now been
by the petulance of Digby, and the ferocity of Lunsford, he
had not firmness enough to disembarrass himself of their fatal
presence and advice. They pushed their dangerous course to
still further extremities. They appeared openly in arms against
the Parliament ; yet were they not disclaimed or rebuked by
Charles. They put themselves at the head of a small turbulent
body of some two or three hundred men, at Kingston-on-

* Rushworth.

+ Colepeper's appointment was a very strange one. He was made
Chancellor of the Exchequer for life, by patent dated January 6. Another
instance of the unwise and unconstitutional modes in wLich Charles under-
took to baffle the power of the Commons to obtain the removal of public
servants by address. Parl. Hist.


Thames, avowing a wild and impracticable scheme for investing
the metropolis, and cutting off the supplies.* A proclamation
was instantly issued against them by both Houses. The train
bands of the midland counties were ordered to march. Again
the county of Buckingham offered to raise troops to defend
the Parliament ; and again it received the thanks of Parliament
through its representatives ; and a committee oj^jmblic safety
was formed,, of which Jlampden was a member. Prom this
time forward a struggle was inevitable. Bodies of troops
appeared, in clivers parts, for the King. The Marquis of New-
castle, not long after, raised the people of fHe~norEH, and, in
tlie""begiiming of the spring, coined money, under royal
warrant, to pay his levies. f

On the other hand, the Houses, on a report presented by
Sir Harry Vane, passed a vote to put the kingdom in a posture
of defence ; J and Goring, at Portsmouth, and Sir John Ilotham,
at Hull, were directed, by ordinance, to hold those magazines
1 for"""rting and Parliament/ and to surrender their trust to
none but under the same authority.

The votes, too, relating to the civil affairs of the state,
assumed daily a more decisive aspect. Pormer resolutions
became declarations and ordinances ; and the bill for taking
awav the bishops' votes was resumed, and passed into a law,
receiving (at the instance of the queen, says Clarendon) the
royal assent, when it was too late for even that great concession
to be made with grace, or to be received with any more than a
cold and formal acknowledgment.

But the period from which the Parliament dated the com-
mencement of hostilities by the King, was that of the Queen's
departure for Holland. Her pretext was to accompany her
daughter, lately married to the Prince of Orange ; her object
was to procure supplies, and negotiate for the aid of foreign
regiments. And she carried with her a large part of the
Crown jewels to pledge for a loan of money. Here, again,
Digby was the evil genius that worked mischief to the fortunes

* Clarendon states this transaction very untruly, representing it as if
Digby had come alone to Kingston from Hamptou Court iu a coach and
six, whereas the evidence shows, that he and Lunsford were there with
three troops of horse, making proclamation for recruits, and thanking in
the King's name those who joined them.

+ Duchess of Newcastle's Memoirs.

+ Commons' Journals, January 25.

Clarendon. Hist. Reb. Heath's Chrou.


of the, King and Queen. It was in a letter of his that the
full discovery of this negotiation was made. "Whether or no
it was his rashness that counselled this correspondence is
doubtful, but it was his incaution that betrayed it.

From Dover, her place of embarkation, Charles repaired to
Greenwich, and, from thence, with the two young princes, and
Lord Hertford their governor, and a train of some forty or
fifty gentlemen, and a troop of horse, he began his journey to
York. Thither he went, to secure the magazine of Hull^and
to"put himself at the head of Newcastle's levies. Tins pro-
vince presented to him great and commanding advantages. It
was powerful for the raising of troops ; it was fertile in the
means for supporting them; its distance from London gave
time for completing his preparations, unmolested ; the local
interests and feelings of its inhabitants were distinct from
those of the Londoners and of the people of the midland

{counties. Besides all this, the influence of the Cavendishes
and Wentworths, backed by that of Lord Derby in Lancashire,
j gave him vast support ; and Hyde himself had obtained a large
share of popularity with the gentry and middle classes by his
successful efforts in the abolition of that odious and oppressive
tyranny the Presidency of the North. This journey, says Sir
Philip Warwick, the King never could have performed, but
that ' the Houses thought it would conduce more to their
' victory to fetch him back in triumph than to stop him in
' the way/ Surely, the Houses had a stronger, and much
more obvious, motive. Conscious that the crisis which must
bring against them a force raised in his name was now near at
hand, conscious that a main part of the strength of their own
cause depended on their being able to maintain in public the
profession they had so often made, that no show of violence

(should be offered against his person, it was matter with them
equally of principle and indubitable policy, that the first
aggressive act should be allowed to proceed from him.

Nor was it long before he gave them the opportunity which
they awaited. His first movement towards ascertaining the
firmness of the Parliament's officers to fulfil their trust, and of
the Parliament itself to maintain its ground, was the summon-
ing of Hull. Besides its containing all the arms, ammunition,
, ari"d artillery of the disbanded army of the north, Hull was of
j great importance to Charles, as affording a place of shelter and
1 support to any force which he might collect ; and it commanded


the entrance of the Humber, where, as it afterwards appeared,
the King's intention was to collect a fleet of war, and receive
the supplies thrown in from Denmark and from Holland. The
young Duke of York and Prince Rupert, who were upon
a visit to Sir John Hotham, were dining with him when he
received intelligence of the King being, with a body of three
hundred horse, in full march upon the city.* Hotham had
barely time to see the drawbridges up before CharleTTippean'd
at Tne Beverley Gate, and demanded admittance for himself
and his followers. With protestations of all humility, Hotham
on his knees offered to receive his Majesty and his household,
but refused to admit a military force to occupy the city with
which he had been entrusted. The King's determination thus
to present himself under the walls, without any previous com-
munication with the Governor, or knowledge of his probable
intentions, was rash and ill-advised. It was, as in the attempt
to arrest the five members, a deliberaleTHsk of ungraceful
discomfiture, si range in a person possessed of so high a sense
of dignity as Charles. Moreover, the failure of this demand,
which he might at least with more propriety have deputed to
another to make in his behalf, threw him. at once on the
necessity of proclaiming Hotham a traitor, and on making,
shortly after, a feeble and ineffectual attempt to enter by force,
with three thousand foot and one thousand horse, which led to
an unsuccessful siege of some days, by sea and land, and cost
many lives. f Thus he gave notice of war, when he had not
a garrisoned town, no regular army in the field, small store of
ammunition, few ships, and little money to supply any of these
wants : while the Parliament had all the public revenue and
magazines of the country in their hands.

Which of the two parties began the Civil War has always
since been matter of strenuous dispute. It is incapable of
being satisfactorily determined ; nor in truth is it of the least
importance to the justification of either. The one class of
writers insist on the Ordinance for the Militia, which preceded
the Commissions o? Array, as having been a levying of war by
the Parliament. The other, with as much truth, impute to the
King his negotiations with foreign powers for aid, his attempt
upon Hull, his commission to Newcastle, and his declaration

* Heath's Chronicle.
t Viccars Parliamentary Chronicle.


from York, which may be said to have put him in the field
before the Parliament, as having been a beginning of the war
on his part. The preparations on each side went on together,
and the approaches of the war were so gradual, (but after a
certain time so rapid,) that it must remain with historians to
adopt whichever of these acts it may suit their fancies or
passions to assign, as the point from which to date the actual
commencement of hostilities ; a point which, when determined,
decides nothing with respect to the moral argument either way.
In truth, the war had been for some time determined on by
both parties, and (on whichever side the better justification
lies) it is rather matter of wonder that it was deferred so long.
Charles now pursued, with the utmost activity, the course
which he had begun in Yorkshire, availing himself of the
interest and zeal of his friends, not only in the districts well
affected to his cause, but in some, also, where the Parliament
had its main strength. Worsted in his first summons of Hull,
he returned to York ; but, on -his way, a large body of gentry
met him at Beverley, with a tender of their utmost services, and
accompanied him to the metropolis of their province. At York,
' he summoned the country round, and issued his first Commis-
sion oA r i' a y' It was a few days after, thai both Houses
voted" that"' It appears that the King, seduced by wicked
' counsel, intends to make war against the Parliament ; that,
' whensoever the King maketh war upon the Parliament, it is
' a high breach of the trust reposed in him by his people,
' contrary to his oath, and tending to the dissolution of the
' Government ; and that whosoever shall serve or assist him in
' such wars are traitors by the fundamental laws of this King-
' dom.' * Next day, they sent him a petition praying him to
disband his forces. On the 1st of June, (the same day that
the Commission of Array was published by the Commissioners
through Yorkshire,) were voted the nineteen propositions to
the King.f These, it is clear, though put forth in expressions
oftheliumblest duty to the King's person, and breathing the
most urgent desire of peace, were not propounded with any
hope of being able to engage the royal assent, or prevent the
evils they deprecated ; but rather as a manifestation of the
terms on which the two Houses were anxious to rest their
justification in the struggle which was then to begin.

* Commons' Journals, May 20. t Ibid.., June 1.


They urged upon the King, to make the appointment of his
great officers of state, his principal ministers, and the com-
manders of his guards and garrisons, subject to the approbation
of the two Houses ; the taking away of the votes of the
Popish Lords, who, indeed, had long been found, as a party in
the Upper House, supporting all the most unreasonable claims
of prerogative, and, in many cases of privilege, going near to
put the Houses in conflict with each other; the reformation
of Church government ; the settlement of the militia in
Commissioners approved by the Parliament ; the swearing of
the Privy Councillors and Judges to maintain the Petition of
Eight, and all other statutes hereafter to be made ; that all
public officers should hold their places qiiamdiu se bene ge&serint ;
that the King should disband his newly raised levies ; that
Lord Kimbolton and the five members should be cleared by
statute ; and that no peer thereafter to be made should sit
without consent of Parliament. Large, doubtless, and before
unheard-of, claims of power ; and described by the King, in his
answer, ' as a profession of peace which, joined to such pro-
' positions, did appear a mockery and a scorn/ Yet it is hard
to say that to make the choice of the public servants of the
state subject to the consent of Parliament, (which, in truth,
was the point which the King rejected as contrary to the
essentials of the English Constitution,) was, under all the
circumstances of outrage which had occurred, a much more
violent power than that which, according to the Constitution
in happier times, Parliaments possess, as of unquestionable
right and practice, to secure the removal of them by impeach-
ment or address.*

The King now put forth the famous declaration of his
cause; on which the Peers and principal" geriffy~ "win)" had
joined him made an engagement for the defence of the
King, and against obedience to any ordinance concerning
the militia that hath not the royal assent. It was subscribed
by the Lord Keeper, the Duke of Richmond, the Marquis
of Hertford ; the Earls of Lindsey, Cumberland, Huntingdon,
Bath, Southampton, Dorset, Salisbury, ^Northampton, Devon-

* Sir Philip Warwick gives a somewhat unfair appearance to the nine"
teen propositions, by putting them forth in his Memoirs as if they had
preceded the drawing up of the King's first Commission of Array, and his
summoning of Hull ; when, in fact, they followed, and may be truly said
to have been in consequence of, these acts.


shire, Bristol, Westmoreland, Berkshire, Monmouth, Rivers,
Newcastle, Dover, Carnarvon, and Newport; the Lords
Mowbray and Maltravers, Willoughby of Eresby, Rich,
Charles Howard, Newark, Paget, Chandoys, Falconbriclge,
Poulett, Lovelace, Coventry, Dunsmore, Seymour, Gray of
Ruthen, and Falkland ; the Comptroller, Secretary Nicholas,
Sir John Colepeper, the Lord Chief Justice Banks, and a
number of gentry.

The Lord Keeper Littleton, too, on the requisition of the
King, senf the Jjreat SeaT of JEn^ndtoYork, and, the
next day, followed it lumsein Lord Salisbury's course
cannot easily be accounted for. "Within a'teWcTays after
he had signed the engagement, he left the King, and escaped
back to London.* His motive for thus deserting his pledged
faith does not appear : his baseness only is clear. Lord
Paget, appointed by the Parliament Lord LieutenanT "of
Buckinghamshire, had fled from his county to the King,
about trie lirst week in June. Mr. Tyrill, one of his Deputy-
Lieutenants, in a letter, dated Inner Temple, June 15, to his
son-in-law, Mr. Richard Greuvil, of Wotton, then High
Sheriff, says ' I suppose you heare of y e flight of yo r cosen
' the Lord Lieutenant, whoe is gone for Yorke, w th the Lord
' Bristoll ; y e Lord Fawkland and Sir John Colepeper are
' gone alsoe : and nowe, all theire intelligences beinge gone, it
' is to be thought some suddayne storrne will falle upon y e
' kingdome ; y e citizens bringe in theire inony and plate
' roundly, accordinge to y e expositions. Notwithstanclinge y e
' Lord Lieutenant is gone, y e meeting holds at Aylesbury on
' Friday ; the deputies are armed w th y e power of his LoP, by
' a newe order of Parliament. t' His flight was caused by the
almost unanimous determination of the gentry of that county
not to give up into his hands the powder which the Committee
of public safety had sent down to store at Aylesbury. At the
meeting on that Friday were assembled the whole lieutenancy
of the county, thirty-two in number, with the Lord Wharton,
who was shortly after invested with the office of Lord
Lieutenant, by ordinance. They were appointed to collect
the money of the county, and vest it in the hands of a
treasurer, to levy and train the militia, to form a garrison at

* Warwick's Memoirs. Whitelocke.

t Mr. Richard Grenvil's Papers, at Stowe.


Aylesbury, and manage generally the public affairs of the

The King, meanwhile, had proceeded southward. He fixed
his head-quarters at Nottingham, the largest town near the
borders of that division or England where the Parliament
interest was the strongest, and through which he knew that he
must pass, as through an enemy's country, by force. Here it
was that, on the 22nd of August, with great pomp, he raised
and planted his royal standar37^vnTn^^lre^~peT)pfe~rf -the
country round" to' join it. Many slight encounters had already
taken place, The Parliament had several regiments in North-
amptonshire and Warwickshire, and Prince Kupert had pushed
forward with a strong body of horse to Leicester ; the Earl of
Newcastle was moving with about five thousand men to the
eastward, and the advanced posts had met and skirmished.
But now the war began. t

By such as had looked forward through passing events to
consequences, an appeal to arms must, for a long time, have
been deemed unavoidable. Yet, to most, even of those who
took part in the preparations and watched their progress, the
Great Civil War came at last as matter of surprise. Many,
of both parties, who had fanned the hidden and infant spark
into life, saw with dismay the flames as they burst forth from
either side, soon to meet in one general and mingling blaze.
Thus it must ever be in civil war. By most men, however
long it hns threatened in its approach, it is not seen to
be imminent until it is upon them; nor can it be compre-
hended in all its dreadful particulars until they are to be
dealt with face to face. The images of extreme and unnatural
strife, so often pictured by the poet, brother battling againsl

* For a list of the Deputy-Lieutenants of Buckinghamshire, see
Appendix C. It is curious to those who know that county well, and take
interest in it, to observe from that return how many of the families of the

Online LibraryGeorge Nugent Grenville NugentSome memorials of John Hampden : his party and his times → online text (page 30 of 45)