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“I am he.” He disdained denying a murder in which he gloried; and averred that he looked upon the duke as an enemy to his country, and as such deserving to suffer. When asked at whose instigation he had performed that horrid deed, he answered, that they needed not trouble themselves in that inquiry; that his conscience was his only prompter; and that no man on earth could dispose him to act against its dictates. He suffered with the same degree of constancy to the last; and there were many who admired not only his fortitude, but the action for which he suffered. w The king had always the highest regard for Buckingham, and was extremely mortified at his death: he began to perceive that the tide of popularity was entirely turned from him, and that the behaviour of the house of commons only served to increase the general discontent. He felt therefore a disgust against parliaments; and he was resolved not to call any more, till he should see greater indications of a compliant disposition in the nation. Having lost his favourite, he became more his own minister, and never afterwards reposed such unlimited confidence in any other. But though the minister of the crown was changed, the measures still continued the same; the same disregard to the petitions of the people, the same desire of extending and supporting the prerogative, the same temerity, and the same weakness of condescension. His first measure, however, now being left without a minister and a parliament, was a prudent one. He made peace with the two crowns against whom he had hitherto waged war, which had been entered upon without necessity, and conducted without glory. Being freed from these embarrassments, he bent his whole attention to the management of the internal policy of the kingdom, and took two men as his associates in this task, who still acted an under-part to himself. These were sir Thomas Wentworth, whom he created earl of Strafford, and Laud, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury. Strafford, by his eminent talents and abilities, merited all the confidence which the king reposed in him. His character was stately and austere; more fitted to procure esteem than love; his fidelity to the king was unshaken; but, in serving the interests of the crown, he did not consider himself as an agent also for the benefit of the people. As he now employed all his counsels to support.the prerogative, which he formerly endeavoured to diminish, his actions were liable to the imputation of self-interest and ambition; but his good character in private life made up for that seeming duplicity of public conduct. Laud was in the church somewhat resembling Strafford in the state, rigid, severe, punctual, and industrious. His zeal was unrelenting in the cause of religion; and the forms, as established in the reign of queen Elizabeth, seemed essentially connected with it. His desire to keep these on their former footing was imprudent and severe; but it must be confessed that the furious opposition he met with was sufficient to excite his resentment. Since the time of Elizabeth, a new religious sect had been gaining ground in England; and its members, from the supposed greater purity of their manners, were called Puritans. Of all other sects, this was the most dangerous to monarchy; and the tenets of it were more calculated to support that imagined equality which obtains in a state of nature. The partisans of this religion, being generally men of warm, obstinate tempers, pushed their sentiments into a total opposition to those of Rome; and, in the countries where their opinions had taken place, not only a religious but a political freedom began to be established. All enthusiasts, indulging themselves in rapturous flights, ecstacies, visions, and inspirations, have a natural aversion to all ceremonies, rites, or forms, which are but external means of supplying that devotion which they want no prompter but their hearts to inspire. The same bold and daring spirit which accompanied them in their addresses to the Divinity, appeared in their political speculations; and the principles of civil liberty, which had hitherto been almost totally unknown in Europe, began to shoot forth in this ungracious soil. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that kings and bishops were eager to suppress the growth of opinions so unfavourable to their authority; and that Laud, who of all men alive was the most attached to ceremony and show, should treat with rigour men who braved him into severity. The truth is, that, in the histories of the times, we find the great cause of the present contest between the king and his people to arise not from civil but religious motives; not from a desire on the one hand of extending power, and on the other of promoting liberty; but merely from the ardour of the king in supporting bishops, surplices, and other ceremonies of the church, and the fury of the puritans in abolishing those distinctions as remnants of popish idolatry. Those distinctions in religion, at this day, are regarded with more unconcern; and, therefore, we are more apt to impute the disorders of those times to civil motives of establishing liberty, which, in reality, made but a very subordinate consideration. The humour of the nation ran, at that time, into that extreme which was opposite to superstition ; and those ancient ceremonies to which men had been accustomed in England, since the commencement of the Reformation, were in general considered as impious and idolaWOL. II. P

trous. It was, therefore, the most impolitic time in the world for Laud to think of introducing new ceremonies and observances, which could not fail of being treated with utter detestation. Nevertheless, he went on boldly with his injunctions for the observance of those rites which in themselves were of no moment, and were as unnecessary to be urged by him, as ridiculous in being opposed by the puritans. Orders were given, and rigorously insisted on, that the communion-table should be removed from the middle of the church, where it had hitherto stood since the Reformation, to the east end; where it should be railed in and denominated the altar. The kneeling at the altar, and the using of copes (embroidered vestments used in popish countries), were introduced, to the great discontent of the people. Some pictures were again admitted into the churches by the king's command. All such clergy as neglected to observe every ceremony, were suspended, and deprived by the high commission court. And to mortify the puritans still more, orders were issued from the council, forbidding any controversy, either from the pulpit or the press, on the points in dispute between them and their opponents, concerning free will and predestination. At the same time that they obtained the king's protection for carrying on these measures, the clergy took care to repay the monarch by magnifying on every occasion the regal authority, and treating all pretensions to independence as a puritanical innovation. The king's divine, hereditary, and indefeasible right was the theme of every sermon; and those who attempted to question such doctrines were considered as making an attack upon religion itself. The king, who had now resolved to call no more parliaments (to which resolution he adhered for the space of eleven years), was very well satisfied with these doctrines, as they were the only means of facilitating his measures of government, and procuring those pecuniary supplies which he had no legal means of obtaining. While Laud, therefore, during this long interval, ruled the church, the king and Strafford undertook to manage the temporal interests of the nation. A proclamation was issued, in which Charles declared, “That whereas, for several ill ends, the calling again of a parliament is divulged; yet the late abuses having for the present unwillingly driven him out of that course, he will account it presumption for any one to prescribe to him any time for calling that assembly.” This was generally construed as a declaration, that, during that reign, no more parliaments would be summoned; and every measure of the king seemed to confirm the suspicion. It was now that the people, without a defender, or hopes of redress, saw themselves at the mercy of a monarch, who, though good and gentle in his own nature, might at any time change in his conduct. They now saw the constitution at one blow wholly overthrown, and one branch of the legislature assuming those rights which had been divided between three. Tonnage and poundage were continued to be levied by royal authority alone; custom-house officers received orders from the council to enter any house whatever in search of suspected goods; compositions were openly made with papists; and their religion was become a regular part of the revenue. The court of Star-chamber exercised its power, independent of any law, upon several bold innovators in liberty, who only gloried in their sufferings, and contributed to render government odious and contemptible. Sir David Foulis was fined by this court five thousand pounds, merely for dissuading a friend from compounding with the commissioners who called

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