George Nugent Grenville Nugent.

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

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language some record of it may here find no unfitting place.
' The loss I have sustained/ he wrote to a friend, ' in parting
' from my beloved wife, is indeed irreparable. But I know
t and feel I am not inconsolable. For every kind expression
* which has been addressed to me (and indeed they have come
' in abundant showers upon me), every expression which shows



1 me how much and how truly she was valued by all who knew
' her, is a balm of comfort poured upon the deep wound I
( have received. Often and solemnly have she and I promised
' each other, that whichever of us should be the survivor
' would, for duty's sake to the memory of the departed, strive
' to the utmost, by every means which Providence supplies
1 (and Providence never intended that the best and most
' dearly cherished affections should be in proportion to their
' intenseness a curse on the survivor), to meet the blow- with
' resignation and courage. I renewed the promise to her
' on her death-bed, and, with God's help, I will fulfil it
* thoroughly. I have already drunk the cup, drained it,
' and have not turned my face from it. I saw her die. My
' face was close to hers, my head on the same pillow with
' hers, during all the process of her departure ; and I saw
' her depart in perfect consciousness of all that could
' sweeten it to her, and without one pang, one struggle,
' without almost a change, save the change to tranquil sleep.
' I followed her to her grave ; I returned from her grave to
' the home which she had made for more than thirty years
' a paradise to me ; and my feelings now assure me I did
' right. I knew all her intentions and wishes, and am
' making it a delightful occupation to carry those inten-
' tions and wishes into effect. A very strong one was that I
' should return as soon as possible, and eagerly, to the duties
' of public life, and I shall do this/

He kept his word in the latter respect, and, for as much of
his life as now remained, public affairs never ceased to interest
and occupy him. In particular he made several strenuous
efforts to give effect to his views on Capital Punishment,
and for much important help rendered in the same direction
by Sir Fitzroy Kelly in the House of Commons, and in
the press by Mr. Jerrold and other public writers, he felt
always peculiarly grateful. But though perhaps no subject
during his later years lay nearer to him than this, and he


laboured to promote it in every possible way, he left the
question much as he found it; abstract reasoning still as
decisively carrying it on his side, as practical necessity will
continue to carry it on the other. In real truth, the expe- ^
diency of capital punishment turns altogether upon the
efficiency or inefficiency of secondary punishment, and till the
latter is in a more satisfactory state, it will be impossible to
deal satisfactorily with the former. Another subject that ;
largely occupied Lord Nugent in these years, was the Con-
dition of the Agricultural Labourer; and he originated a dis-
cussion in Jane 184-9 by which many valuable truths were
elicited on those all-important questions of the necessity of
giving freer circulation to labour, and of more effectually
contributing to its independence, by abolishing the existing
law of settlement and removal, and altering the mode of
levying rates, which have since received wise attention from
Mr. Baines. In all other liberal directions, too, his exertions
were not wanting ; and from the position he now took on most
questions of progress and reform, several steps in advance of
the great mass of the party with whom he had acted in early
life, he might seem more directly to challenge the praise
which in that earlier time he had drawn from Sydney Smith,
in reviewing one of his pamphlets in the Edinburgh. ' When
' soldiers exercise, there stands a goodly portly person out of
' the ranks, upon whom all eyes are directed, and whose signs
' and motions in the performance of the manual exercise all
' the soldiers follow. The Germans, we believe, call him a
' flugelman. "VYe propose Lord Nugent as a political flugelman.
' He is always consistent, plain, and honest; steadily and
' straightly pursuing his object without hope or fear, under
1 the influence of good feelings and high principles. The
' House of Commons does not contain within its walls a more
' honest upright man/

To the last moment of Lord Nugent' s life this was true.
Time and change had impaired nothing of his ardour for


'the good old cause/ The Hungarian war excited his
warmest zeal, and for not a little of what was done in behalf of
such of that gallant people as found refuge in London after the
termination of the struggle, they had to thank his unwearying
personal exertions. In this he but repeated his generous
services of former years to the refugees from Spain, Portugal,
and Greece, many of whom derived almost solely from his
limited means the reliefs and consolations of their exile. In
truth, a kinder heart, a more genial disposition, a more manly
and honorable spirit, never existed than Lord Nugent' s ; and
no man ever excited more affectionate private regards.

His death, which took place at Lilies, in the afternoon of
Tuesday the 26th November, 1850, was an unexpected shock
to many of his friends, who knew that he had recently and
happily recovered from a severe illness. But an imprudent
exposure to cold brought on a relapse of rheumatic gout, which
ended in low fever and erysipelas. His sufferings were intense
for nearly three weeks, but he bore them with the greatest
fortitude, and at last died calmly, without pain.

IN the revision of this third edition of the Memorials of
Hampden now submitted to the reader, care has been taken to
make only such brief omissions as Lord Nugent contemplated,
and had himself marked, with a view to its appearance in its
present form. Nothing of the strictly biographical portion of the
work has been touched ; but where the historical description
too much encumbered or overlaid it, this has been slightly
compressed, it is believed with advantage to the general effect
of the narrative.

J. F.

November, 1854.


IN the arrangement of these Memorials of the principal passages
in the life of John Hampden many difficulties presented themselves,
to some of which, as being of mere personal consideration to
myself, it is unnecessary to advert. But, besides these, there has
been a continually recurring sense of the scantiness of the materials
which offered themselves for his early and private history. The
undertaking would, I felt, be but idle and presumptuous, unless
justified by a consciousness of being able to contribute some
material addition to what is generally known of his life and

Of his correspondence and conversation less has been preserved
than perhaps of any other so remarkable person, living in times so
near to our own. Of the papers at Hampden House, to which
through the kindness of its present noble proprietor I have had
access, there are none of any interest relating to John Hampden.
The danger which, about the time of the restoration of the crown,
might have accrued to his own family, and probably to many others
also, if the correspondence of a chief leader in the transactions which
immediately preceded the civil war had been preserved, may
abundantly account for the absence of all such matter where we
might otherwise the most naturally expect to find it.

The bare outline of the parliamentary life of John Hampden,
wherever it has hitherto been attempted in a separate form, has
been given with remarkable inaccuracy. Of this a sufficient


instance is that, in the articles respecting him in the Biographia
Britaunica, and in Mr. Chalmers's Biographical Dictionary, and
indeed in all the other notices of his life which I have met with, he
is described as having first entered the House of Commons in the
second parliament of Charles the First : whereas it will be seen
that he took his seat in the foregoing reign, and six years before
the time at which these writers date his first election ; that he had
sat in every parliament which was called during that space ; and
that, although not then filling the station of leader of a party, nor
having risen to eminence as a speaker, he was yet of sufficient
estimation to be three times appointed to conduct the conferences
with the Upper House.

The first, and though scanty, some of the most useful, materials
of which I have availed myself I owe to the friendship and
confidence of the late Mr. Meadley. The course of reading
into which he had fallen while preparing his published Life of
Algernon Sidney had directed his enquiries farther back to the
origin of those great struggles between privilege and prerogative
which render the first half of the seventeenth century, in many
respects, the most important portion of the history of our country.
After the completion of thoW memoirs, he had designed to illustrate,
with the matter he had collected, the history of some one of the
earlier champions of popular rights in England ; and he turned his
attention to that of Hamp/fen.

With an ardent and steady love of liberty Mr. Meadley joined
great industry, perseverance, and accuracy : but, at his death, the
documentary part of his undertaking was left with little more
than its first foundations laid. That part which related to the
execution of the ordinance for raising the militia in Buckingham-
shire, and to the first two campaigns of the civil war in the midland
counties, he had sent to me, that I might verify, or correct, the
local details, and furnish him with any other such matter as is
generally most within the reach of a person residing in the district
itself. I was, besides, aware of some collections of private papers
(a very large one in the possession of my own family), an unre-
stricted access to which seemed to me to be of the first importance
to Mr. Meadley's object.

Of these, Sir Peter Temple's papers concerning the levy of the


ship-money, which are preserved at Stowe, and the extensive
correspondence, likewise in that collection, of Mr. Richard Grenvil
of Wotton Underwood (who, at a later period, was high sheriff of
the county, and a commissioner for raising the militia, and some
time governor of the town of Aylesbury for the parliament), were
evidence proper to be consulted by any person undertaking the
work which Mr. Meadley contemplated.

After Mr. Meadley's death, the friendly feeling of his family,
and of the Reverend Mr. Tate of Yorkshire, his executor, gave
me possession of whatever other matter he had collected, with leave
to use it as I might think proper.

I am also under obligation to the Reverend Dr. D'Oyley, and to
Mr. Ellis, for the assistances they have given me in consulting the
manuscript letters and published tracts in the libraries of Lambeth
Palace and the British Museum; and to Mr. W. Staunton of
Warwickshire, and to Lord Carteret and Lord Eliot, for their
liberal permission to transcribe and make use of such documents as
were interesting to me, among the valuable collection of Civil War
Tracts in the possession of the former, and among the MS. Family
Papers in the hands of the two latter. To my friend Sir Robert
Greenhill Russell, of Chequers Court, I am sure that no expression
of thanks from me is necessary for the use of his curious and
valuable library ; which, however, it gives me pleasure to acknow-
ledge among the many tokens I have received of his kindness and
regard. These materials, with some other collections of tracts,
diurnals, and letters, to which, from time to time, accident, and the
liberality of their proprietors, have given me reference, the journals
of parliament, the sessional papers, and the contemporary histories,
afford the groundwork of these memorials.*

* Among the materials for English history which have hitherto been
but imperfectly examined, and which require the most careful arrange-
ment, are the early Sessional Papers of the House of Commons. If pro-
perly classified, they would form a most valuable body of historical
evidence, containing much interesting correspondence, and other matter,
which has never yet been published ; much, doubtless, that is not known
to be in existence. These papers are now in a state which makes all casual
reference to them very laborious. The journals alone are not in all cases
to be trusted. Of this there is one very remarkable instance, which I do



I have endeavoured, here and there, to illustrate facts well
known in history by private letters and other hitherto unpublished
documents, giving these sometimes as evidence merely of the style,
and sometimes of the characters, of remarkable persons. As such,
they may not be unacceptable.

I have also endeavoured to avoid all such comment as did not
appear to me necessary to the narrative, in order the better to
guard myself against the temptations of a partiality arising out of
that deep veneration for the memory of Hampden which I so truly
feel to have grown upon enquiry.

not remember to have seen observed upon. In the Commons Journals,
April 16, 1641, there is this startling entry :

" 3 tia vice lecta An Act for the Attainder of Tho. Earl of Strafford, of
est Billa High Treason.

And, upon the Question for the Passing,

The House was divided,

Lord Digby "1 m n c ^ v Sir Gilb. Gerard 1 , r

TVT TI .j r Tellers for the Yea ; < m. v> > Noe:

Mr. Lloyd J Sir Tho. Barrmgton J

With the Noe .... 59
With the Yea .... 204
Upon Report whereof, the Bill passed."

This was the famous division of the Straffordians, and took place on the
same day that Lord Digby made his famous speech against the Bill. His
name was also published in the list of the fifty-nine Straffordians.

This is not an error in the printing of the Journals only, but in the
MS., which may be seen in the Journal Office. And it is the more
remarkable, inasmuch as this entry in the Journals was made by Rushworth
himself, who, in his Historical Collection, says, ' Upon the Question for the
' passing thereof the house was divided, 59 for the Noes, 204 for the Yeas,
' the Lord Digby being appointed one of the tellers for the Noes.'




$att tfte JFirst.

TO 1625.

Ancestry and Family of Hampden His Education and early Life Introductory
Matter Posture of Public Aft'airs Advance of general Information and the
spirit of Liberty James the First Disputes with his first Parliament con-
cerning Privileges and Supply Disgusts the Nobility, and persecutes the
Puritans Dissolution Second Parliament Undertakers Dissolution
Third Parliament Hampden takes his Seat His Mother urges him to seek
a Peerage First Parliamentary Party Proceedings against Delinquents
Remonstrances Answers of the King Protestation Dissolution Com-
mitments of Members Villiers, Duke of Buckingham His influence over
the Prince Disasters of his Administration A new Parliament On
better terms with the King Buckingham's influence declines Death of
the King.

THE family of Hampden is one of the few which may be
traced in an unbroken line from the Saxon times.* It
received from Edward the Confessor the grant of the estate
and residence in Buckinghamshire from which the name is
derived, and which are entered in Doomsday Book as in the
possession of Baldwyn de Hampden. Escaping from the
rapacity of the ]\ T orman princes, and strengthened by rich and
powerful alliances, it was continued in direct male succession,
increasing in influence and wealth. Mr. Noble and Mr. Lvsons


state that a local tradition, supported by some quaint, popular
verses, represents one of the Hampdens as having forfeited to
the Crown the three valuable manors of Tring, Wing, and

* Pedigree in Hampden House.


Ivinghoe, for a blow given to the Black Prince in a dispute at

" Tring, Wing, and Ivinghoe
From the Hampdens did go
For striking the Black Prince a blow."

But Mr. Lysons very properly throws a doubt over the whole
story, believing it to have arisen out of this triplet, expounded
by some one who did not remember how common it is for bad
rhymes to be made without any meaning at all. I can
nowhere find any ground for believing that any one of these
manors belonged to the Hampdens. Their property, how-
ever, was very large. They were not only rich and flourishing
in their own county, but enjoyed considerable possessions in
Essex, Berkshire, and Oxfordshire. In Buckinghamshire,
they were lords of Great and Little Hampden, Stoke-Mande-
ville, Kimble, Prestwood, Dunton, Hoggestoue, and Hartwell,
and had lands in many other parishes. They appear to have
been distinguished in chivalry ; they were often entrusted with
civil authority, and represented their native county in several
parliaments. We find, in the Rolls of Parliament, that some
lands were escheated from the family, on account of their
adherence to the party of Henry VI., and that they were
excepted from the general act of restitution, in the first
Edward IV. Edmund Hampden * was one of the Esquires of
the Body, and Privy Councillor to Henry VII. And, in the
succeeding reign, we find ' Sir John Hampden of the Hill/t
appointed, with others, to attend upon the English Queen at
the interview of the Sovereigns in the Champ du Drap d'Or.
It is to his daughter, Sybel Hampden, who was nurse to the
Prince of Wales, afterwards Edward VI., and ancestress to
Willam Penn, of Pennsylvania, that the monument is raised
in Hampton Church, Middlesex, which records so many
virtues and so much wisdom. During the reign of Elizabeth,
Griffith Hampden, having served as High Sheriff of the county
of. Buckingham, represented it in the Parliament of 1585.
By him the Queen was received with great magnificence at his
mansion at Hampden, which he had in part rebuilt, and much
enlarged. An extensive avenue was cut for her passage
through the woods to the house ; and a part of that opening
is still to be seen on the brow of the Chilterns from many

* Wood, Fasti Oxon. f Du Carel, Aug. Norm. Antiquities.


miles round, retaining the name of 'The Queen's Gap/ in
commemoration of that visit. His eldest son, William, who
succeeded him in 1591, was member, in 1593, for East Looe,
then a considerable borough. He married Elizabeth, second
daughter of Sir Henry Cromwell,* of Hinchinbrooke in Hunt-
ingdonshire, and aunt to the Protector; and died in 1597,
leaving two sons, John and Richard, the latter of whom, in
after times, resided at Emmington, in Oxfordshire.

John Hampden was born in 1591,f and, as the general
concurrence of writers has deternflhe'd, in London. Divers
stories, however, there are, which fix his birthplace elsewhere.
By some he is reported to have been born at a manor-house,
long in the possession of his family, at Hoggestone, in the
hundred of Cottesloe, in Buckinghamshire. But registers, at
that time very imperfectly kept, give no information on this
point, and leave us to determine between the vagueness of
tradition, and the doubtful testimony of modern memoirs,
which do not state their authority, and the first of which
probably was used as authority by all the rest.

Succeeding to his father's estate in his infancy, Hampden
remained for some years under the care of Richard Bouchier,
master of the free-grammar-school at Thame, in Oxfordshire, j
In 1609, he was entered as commoner at Magdalen College,
Oxford, where it may be supposed that his attainments gained
him some reputation ; for he was chosen, with a few others,
among whom was Laud, then master of St. John's, to write
the Oxford gratulations on the marriage of the Elector
Palatine with the Princess Elizabeth. || As a student of the
Inner Temple, to which he was admitted 1613,^f he made
considerable progress in the study of the common law. He

* Pedigree at Hampden House,
t Wood's Ath. Oxon., Bliss. Do. Life. J Anthony Wood.

Lib. Matric. Oxon. 108.

II These verses, published at Oxford, 1613, in a volume entitled " Lusus
Palatiui,' contain little worth remark, unless it be the last three lines :

' Ut surgat inde prolea,
Cui nulla terra, nulla
Gens, sit parem datura.'

Remarkable when it is remembered that from this marriage Rupert was
burn, who led, at Chalgrove, the troops by whom Hampden was slain ; but
also that from it sprang the succession to which stands limited the
guardianship of the free monarchy of England.
*ff Books of the Inner Temple.


was married in the church of Pyrton, in Oxfordshire,* 1619,
to Elizabeth, only daughter of Edmund Symeon, Esq., lord of
that manor and estate. To this lady he was tenderly attached ;
and in several parts of his correspondence, he pays tribute to
her virtues, talents, and affection. For some years, he seemed
to addict himself mainly to the pursuits and enjoyments of a
country life; and, from great natural cheerfulness, joined
with qualities of mind and address which recommended him
generally to society, he was induced, according to his own
confession,f to enter freely into the amusements and dissipa-
tions of his age. By disposition, however, active, accurate,
and laborious, J even from the earliest days of his manhood he
allowed himself these indulgences as exercises only of recreation
and relief, during the intervals of those literary habits to
which his taste always powerfully inclined him.

At the period of life when the attention of a reflecting
person usually begins to direct itself to the public affairs of
his country, Hampden found those of England in a new and
interesting posture, to which, and to the causes which produced
it, it is fit for a while that our attention should be turned. A
remarkable era had already commenced in her moral and
political history, some particulars of which demand our notice,
as leading to that great crisis in which he and the party with
whom he acted were afterwards seen bearing so distinguished
a part. Some of these causes had been long and steadily,
though not uninterruptedly, in progress, and require, in order
to be understood, to be traced back through more than a
century before their appearance in the shape of open disputes
between royal prerogative and popular privilege. The power
of the crown, raised and strengthened in proportion to the
depression of that of the nobles, had been increased by the
jealousies of the first Tudor sovereign, by the violences of the
three next, and by the glories of the last, to an amount beyond
what the temper of the times was disposed long to endure.
The great civil war of the two Roses, which had begun with
separating the aristocracy into factions, had, in the havoc of
its course, nearly extinguished the oldest and greatest names,
and rendered their houses powerless. A counterpoise to the

* Register of Pyrton, June 24, 1619. He died on the anniversary of
that day. f Clarendon's Hist. Reb.

I Sir Philip Warwick. Perfect Diurnall, July 1, 1643.
Yearly Chron. 1761, 8vo., 127, 189.


accession of influence which thus accrued to the sovereign
was nowhere to be found but in the improving genius of the
people. The rising importance of the commonalty, and their
own consciousness of it, may be traced to a variety of events,
all tending one way, and some of them with great force and
rapidity. Among these undoubtedly were the new impulse
which maritime discovery had begun to give to"~our commerce,
which had been formerly very much limited to the trade with
Italy and the Hanse towns ; the increased demand for manu-
factures which that extended commerce had begun to create ;
and the consequent increase of mercantile wealth, and the
gradual investment of it in the purchase of the sequestered
estates. Add to this that the revival of letters had produced,
in an almost equal degree, a spirit of free inquiry in the minds
of the people. The origin and ends of civil government had
been boldly treated of; particularly, and with the greatest
freedom, by Poynet, Bishop of Winchester, in his ' Politick
Power/ a treatise which alone would have entitled him to a
high station among the early patrons of what are called the
popular doctrines. The reformation of the National Church,
though, in casting off the spiritual bonds of Rome, it pointed
to religious liberty, very little advanced the establishment of it
in England. Still, the principles on which that reformation

Online LibraryGeorge Nugent Grenville NugentSome memorials of John Hampden : his party and his times → online text (page 7 of 45)