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sence of Buckingham himself. The Bills of Supply were passed and assented to; but in the Commons a bill was introduced for the purpose of granting tonnage and poundage until the next session. This bill was so drawn as to assume the illegality of levying these duties without the assent of the House. Charles refused to accept the grant on these terms, and hastily prorogued the Parliament on the 26th of June. On the 20th of that month Eliot had obtained leave to go down into the country on account of the death of his wife. Mr. Forster's remarks on this prorogation of Parliament are worth quoting:

“So Charles I. closed a session for ever made memorable by the Petition of Right. He told the men by whose courage and constancy it was won, that he meant to resume the privileges it had wrested from him; and he told the Judges, whose servile acquiescence already he had secretly received, that on their construction of it he relied to defeat its provisions. But as in his efforts to avoid its enactment, so in this attempt to escape from its control, his over anxiety betrayed him. That he was ignorant of its full meaning or of its binding force no man could believe; and it may be doubted if one even of his own servants thought it possible that he should be able to continue to govern as if his consent to it had not been given. In truth, the question had ceased to be personal. The preeminent value of the statute was that it had for the future placed the liberties of England upon a basis independent alike of the corruption of her judges and the encroachment of her kings. Those liberties might again be violated; but never again could be pleaded, in palliation or defence, the precedents and usages which the great Petition had deprived of their force and authority. Nor has the debt due to its framers ceased yet to be a warm and living obligation. It survived to conquer the prerogative through all the evil days that were in store for England, and to this hour it remains the defence and bulwark of her people.'— vol. ii. p. 325.

Among the framers of this statute to whom our gratitude is thus due, Sir John Eliot stands the first. His courage and his sagacity never failed throughout the struggle, and he died a martyr to the cause which he had thus manfully upheld,

The King's disposition to favour all those who were most hateful to the Commons was sufficiently shown by the promotion of Laud to the see of London, of Montagu to that of Chichester, and by the collation of Manwaring to the living of Stamford Rivers. Wentworth, who had gone over to the court in the course of the last discussions on the Petition of Right, was elevated to the peerage and became a member of the Council. Now, as our author remarks, Charles had at length secured a capable as well as a daring councillor.' Fifteen hundred copies of the Petition, with the lawful words of assent appended to them, were called in and

destroyed,

destroyed, and a large impression with the first answer was circulated, as if the legal effect of the Royal assent would be cancelled afterwards. Such a step, however it might indicate the King's intention to treat the Act as if it had never passed, appears at this time to us absolutely childish. In addition to all this, tonnage and poundage were levied, as if the bill authorising their collection had passed. On the 23rd of August, 1628, Buckingham had been murdered by Felton at Portsmouth. On the 20th of October Parliament was summoned to meet at Westminster, but was again prorogued till the 20th of January. In the course of the autumn merchants had been imprisoned for nonpayment of duties imposed by the Royal authority alone, and the fall of Rochelle had saddened the hearts of all sincere Protestants. To this last event Eliot alluded with great force in his first speech of this session. Indignation was naturally felt, too, at the circulation of the Petition of Right with the informal answer, and on inquiry this act was traced to the King's direct orders. In addition to all this, the course pursued by Laud in Church matters embittered the feelings of men who leant to the Puritan side, and could not be justified or defended even by moderate churchmen like Eliot; but we have not space to enter on the ecclesiastical controversies of this unhappy period. They cannot, however, be overlooked, and without understanding them it is impossible fully to comprehend the true position of the King or the Commons.

The subject of tonnage and poundage remained yet to be dealt with. Sir John Eliot was Chairman of the Committee for examining into the grievances of the merchants, and on his report one of the Sheriffs of London was committed for contempt. In the mean time the oppressive proceedings in the Exchequer and the Star Chamber, in direct violation of the liberties secured in the Petition of Right, continued without check or control. The answer of the former court to the complaints made seemed to be based upon that very saving of the prerogative which the Lords had striven to insert, and the Commons had indignantly rejected, in the Petition of Right.

The House of Commons called to account the farmers of the revenue and the collecting officers, whilst the King expressly avowed that their acts were done by his command and authority. On the morning of the 25th of February the House was desired to adjourn to the 2nd of March, and it was evidently the intention of Charles to dissolve them. Why should he hesitate to do so? It was clear that he had determined to levy tonnage and poundage by his own prerogative, and where could be the use of listening to whining complaints against Arminianism and to a

list of grievances, which his present conduct showed he had no scruple in inflicting on his subjects even after the Petition of Right? It was evident then that the Parliament would be dispersed, and it was of the utmost consequence that the declaration drawn up by the Committee with reference to tonnage and poundage should be placed on record in the House, and that resolutions should be passed on the subject.

The scene which occurred on the 2nd of March is well described by Mr. Forster :

• As soon as prayers were ended, and the members seated, Eliot rose; when at the same moment the Speaker stood up in his chair, and said he had the King's command for adjournment until the morrow se'nnight, the 10th of March. Eliot, nevertheless, persisting, the cry became general that he should proceed: several interposing to say that it was not a Speaker's office to deliver any such command: that to themselves alone it properly belonged to direct an adjournment; and that, after some things were uttered they thought fit to be spoken of, they would satisfy His Majesty. Again upon this Eliot rose; but then the Speaker, stating that he had the King's express command to quit the House after delivering his message, made a movement to leave the chair; when at once Denzil Holles and Valentine laid hold of his arm on either side, and pressed him down. The action was sudden; Finch, taken by surprise, appears to have doubted for the moment what to do; and in that instant Eliot had begun to speak. This for the time was decisive, the whole House inclining to hear.'- vol. ii. p. 448.

The concluding words of his speech were as follows:

· And therefore it is fit for us, as true Englishmen, in discharge of our own duties in this case, to show the affection that we have to the honour and safety of our Sovereign, to show our affection to religion, and to the rights and interests of the subject. It befits us to declare our purpose to maintain them, and our resolution to live and die in their defence. That so, like our fathers, we may preserve ourselves as freemen, and by that freedom keep ability for the supply and support of His Majesty when our services may be needful. To which end this paper which I hold was conceived, and has this scope and meaning.'-vol. i. p. 451.

Eliot then advanced to the table with the declaration of the Committee of Trade, but the Speaker refused to receive it, and the clerk declined to read it. The Speaker was twice called on to put the question, and twice protested that the King had commanded him not to do so. Selden stated that as their Speaker he was bound to put the question which they commanded, and that his refusal to do so was to abdicate his office. Twice again he alleged the King's commands, and attempted to move from the chair, but Valentine, Long, and Holles held him there, and the

last

last swore he should sit there till it pleased them to rise. All who desired the declaration to be read and put to the vote were called on to stand up, when a great majority rose. Eliot threw the declaration on the floor of the House. The Serjeant-at-arms attempted to take the mace from the table, but it was seized and replaced by Sir Miles Hobart, who locked the door and put

the key in his pocket. Eliot, seeing that there was no time to spare, then produced a shorter declaration, in which were expressed in the strongest terms the illegality of levying tonnage and poundage without the warrant of Parliament, and the determination of the House to punish all who counselled such a levy, or aided in carrying it out. This was passed, and then three resolutions proposed by Holles, whilst the Speaker still sat by compulsion in the chair, were carried by acclamation. In the mean time, Black Rod had long been knocking at the door, which the king's officers had been sent for to force : it was opened, and the members rushed out.

Parliament was not formally dissolved till the 10th of March, but a proclamation for this purpose was signed on the 3rd, and on the following day Holles, Selden, Valentine, Coryton, Hobart, Hayman, Long, Strode, and Eliot were served with warrants to attend the Council.

Such was the last scene of Sir John Eliot's parliamentary life.

We do not intend to enter on a discussion how far the course taken by the Opposition in the Commons was justifiable or praiseworthy; but it must never be forgotten, as Mr. Forster says, that the real conspirators were the King and the Speaker, Sir John Finch. A plan was laid which implied on the part of the latter a betrayal of his duty and an abnegation of his functions. He was the organ of the House, and of no one else. If they resolved to sit until they were prorogued by the undoubted prerogative of the Crown, he was bound to obey, and until that time it was his duty to retain his place with the symbol of authority on the table before him.;

In this as in other cases, fraud or violence was met by similar weapons; and but for the work done by these men in Charles's third Parliament, there would have been no House of Commons competent to deal with the future encroachments of Charles or of James II.

'The King,' says Mr. Hallam,“next turned his mind, according to his own and his father's practice, to take vengeance on those who had been most active in their opposition to him.'* Eliot, when heard with others before the Council, declined to answer

* Constitutional History,' vol. i. p. 414.

any

any questions relating to his conduct in Parliament, to which alone he held himself responsible as a member, and the prisoners were immediately committed to the Tower. In addition to the charges now made, the Attorney-General took steps for reviving the old judgments and processes of outlawry against Eliot, Questions were then privately put to the Judges, who seem on this as on other occasions of a similar nature, to have writhed under this sort of inquisitorial process, by which it was sought to commit them before they had the case before them, or had heard the other side.

In the Tower, for at least three months, Eliot was denied the use of books or pen and ink; but the public feeling in favour of the imprisoned members was becoming inconveniently strong. In the beginning of May the information in the Star Chamber had been filed, and on the 22nd of that month Eliot put in his plea and demurrer, and claimed to be heard by counsel.

* Besides certain technical objections, he answered broadly that the King could have no legal knowledge of what might have taken place in Parliament, until such should have been communicated by the House itself; and that it did not appear in the information that the matters charged had been so communicated to the King. That the matters charged were supposed to have been committed in Parliament, and were therefore only examinable in the House of Commons; and that he, Sir John Eliot, the defendant, might not, and ought not, to disclose what was spoken in Parliament, unless by consent of the House.'vol. ii.

P.

479. An order was made in the Star Chamber that after arguments on the pleas and demurrer there, it should be referred to the judges in Westminster Hall to decide whether or not the defendants should be required to make any other answer; but this decision was long delayed. In the mean time Eliot remained in his prison, under conditions somewhat less rigorous than those at first imposed on him; and from the striking passage quoted from a letter to Richard Knightley, it is evident that he remained calm, undaunted, and resigned to all that God might think it fitting he should suffer. His care for his children, and his regard for his friends, are clearly brought out by his biographer, and we feel that in private and domestic life he was amiable and affectionate in the highest degree; but his determination was unshaken, • There appears,' he writes, noe signe of alteration in our state, or an opening yett to libertie, unlesse it be in such waies as I hope we shall not take. But we know ther is that will effect it in due tyme.'—Vol. ii. p. 503.

A petition was presented to the King in favour of the prisoners from the whole county of Cornwall, but its only effect was to

increase

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