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spiritual authority to the Pope, or from those who, like some of the Puritans, ascribed it only to Heaven.' To dissent from her establishment was to dissent from an institution founded with an express view to the maintenance and extension of the royal prerogative.
This great Queen and her successors, by considering conformity and loyalty as identical, at length made them so. With respect to the Catholics, indeed, the rigour of persecution abated after her death." James soon found that they were unable to injure him, and that the animosity which the Puritan party felt towards them drove them of necessity to také refuge under his throne. During the subsequent conflict, their fault was any thing but disloyalty. On the other hand, James hated the Puritans with more than the hatred of Elizabeth. Her aversion to them was political ; his was personal. The sect had plagued him in Scotland, where he was weak; and he was determined to be even with them in England, where he was powerful. Persecution gradually changed a sect into a faction. That there was any thing in the religious opinions of the Puritans which rendered them hostile to monarchy has never been proved to our satisfaction. After our civil contests, it became the fashion to say that Presbyterianism was connected with Republicanism; just as it has been the fashion to say, since the time of the French Revolution, that Infidelity is connected with Republicanism. It is perfectly true that a church, constituted on the Calvinistic model, will not strengthen the hands of the sovereign so much as a hierarchy which consists of several ranks, differing in dignity and emolument, and of which all the members are constantly looking to the government for promotion. But experience has clearly shown that a Calvinistic church, like every other church, is disaffected when it is persecuted, quiet when it is tolerated, and actively loyal when it is favoured and cherished. Scotland has had a Presbyterian establishment during a century and a half. Yet her General Assembly has not, during that period, given half so much trouble to the government as the Convocation of ihe Church of England gave during the thirty years which followed the Revolution. That James and Charles should have been mistaken in this point is not surprising. But we are astonished, we must confess, that men of our own time, men who have before them the proof of what toleration can effect, men who may see with their own eyes that the Presbyterians are no such monsters when government is wise enough to let them alone, should defend the persecutions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as indispensable to the safety of the church and the throne.
How persecution protects churches and thrones was soon made manifest. A systematic political opposition, vehement, daring, and inflexible, sprang from a schism about trifles, altogether unconnected with the real interests of religion or of the state. Before the close of the reign of Elizabeth this opposition began to show itself. It broke forth on the question of the monopolies. Even the imperial Lioness was compelled to abandon her prey, and slowly and fiercely to recede before the assailants. The spirit of liberty grew with the growing wealth and intelligence of the people. The feeble struggles and insults of James irritated instead of suppressing it ; and the events which immediately followed the accession of his son portended a contest of no common severity, between a king resolved to be absolute, and a people resolved to be free.
The famous proceedings of the third parliament of Charles, and the tyrannical measures which followed its dissolution, are extremely well described by Mr Hallam. No writer, we think, has shown, in so clear and satisfactory a manner, that the government then entertained a fixed purpose of destroying the old parliamentary constitution of England, or at least of reducing it to a mere shadow. We hasten, however, to a part of his work which, though it abounds in valuable information and in remarks well deserving to be atten
tively considered, and though it is, like the rest, evidently written in a spirit of perfect impartiality, appears to us, in many points, objectionable.
We pass to the year 1640. The fate of the short Parliament held in that year clearly indicated the views of the King. That a Parliament so moderate in feeling should have met after so many years of oppression is truly wonderful. Hyde extols its loyal and conciliatory spirit. Its conduct, we are told, made the excellent Falkland in love with the very name of Parlia. ment. We think, indeed, with Oliver St John, that its moderation was carried too far, and that the times required sharper and more decided councils. It was fortunate, however, that the King had another opportunity of showing that hatred of the liberties of his subjects which was the ruling principle of all his conduct. The sole crime of the Commons was that, meeting after a long intermission of parliaments, and after a long series of cruelties and illegal imposts, they seemed inclined to examine grievances before they would vote supplies. For this insolence they were dissolved almost as soon as they met.
Defeat, universal agitation, financial embarrassments, disorganization in every part of the government, compelled Charles again to convene the Houses before the close of the same year. Their meeting was one of the great eras in the history of the civilised world. Whatever of political freedom exists either in Europe or in America, has sprung, directly or indirectly, from those institutions which they secured and reformed. We never turn to the annals of those times without feeling increased admiration of the patriotism, the energy, the decision, the consummate wisdom, which marked the measures of that great Parliament, from the day on which it met to the commencement of civil hostilities.
The impeachment of Strafford was the first, and perhaps the greatest blow. The whole conduct of that celebratei man proved that he had formed a deliberate scheme to subvert the fundamental laws of England. Those parts of his correspondence which have been brought to light since his death place the matter beyond a doubt. One of his admirers has, indeed, offered to show “that the passages which Mr Hallam has invidiously extracted from the correspondence between Laud and Strafford, as proving their design to introduce a thorough tyranny, refer not to any such design, but to a thorough reform in the affairs of state, and the thorough maintenance of just authority.” We will recommend two or three of these passages to the especial notice of our readers.
All who know any thing of those times, know that the conduct of Ilampden in the affair of the ship-money met with the warm approbation of every respectable Royalist in England. It drew forth the ardent eulogies of the champions of the prerogative and even of the Crown lawyers themselves. Clarendon allows Ilampden's demeanour through the whole proceeding to have been such, that even those who watched for an occasion against the defender of the people, were compelled to acknowledge themselves unable to find any fault in him. That he was right in the point of law is now universally admitted. Even had it been otherwise, he had a fair case. Five of the Judges, servile as our Courts then were, pronounced in his favour. The majority against him was the smallest possible. In no country retaining the slightest vestige of constitutional liberty can a modest and decent appeal to the laws be treated as a crime. Strafford, however, recommends that, for taking the sense of a legal tribunal on a legal question, Hampden should be punished, and punished severely, “whipt,” says the insolent apostate," whipt into his senses. Ifthe rod,” he adds," be so used that it smarts not, I am the more sorry.” This is the maintenance of just authority.
In civilised nations, the most arbitrary governments have generally suffered justice to have a free course in private suits. Strafford wished to make every cause in every court subject to the royal prerogative. He complained
that in Ireland he was not permitted to meddle in cases between party and party. "I know very well,” says he, “that the common lawyers will be passionately against it, who are wont to put such a prejudice upon all other professions, as if none were to be trusted, or capable to administer justice, but themselves; yet how well this suits with monarchy, when they monopolise all to be governed by their year-books, you in England have a costly example." We are really curious to know by what arguments it is to be proved, that the power of interfering in the law-suits of individuals is part of the just authority of the executive government.
It is not strange that a man so careless of the common civil rights, which even despots have generally respected, should treat with scorn the limitations which the constitution imposes on the royal prerogative. We might quote pages: but we will content ourselves with a single specimen :-“The debts of the Crown being taken off, you may govern as you please : and most resolute I am that maybe done without borrowing any help forth of the King's lodgings.”
Such was the theory of that thorough reform in the state which Strafford meditated. His whole practice, from the day on which he sold himself to the court, was in strict conformity to his theory. For his accomplices various excuses may be urged, ignorance, imbecility, religious bigotry. But Wentworth had no such plea. His intellect was capacious. His early prepossessions were on the side of popular rights. He knew the whole beauty
and value of the system which he attempted to deface. He was the first of the Rats, the first of those statesmen whose patriotism has been only the coquetry of political prostitution, and whose profligacy has taught governments to adopt the old maxim of the slave-market, that it is cheaper to buy than to breed, to import defenders from an Opposition than to rear them in a Ministry. He was the first Englishman to whom a peerage was a sacrament of infamy, a baptism into the communion of corruption. As he was the earliest of the hateful list, so was he also by far the greatest ; eloquent, sagacious, adventurous, intrepid, ready of invention, immutable of purpose, in every talent which exalts or destroys nations pre-eminent, the lost Archangel, the Satan of the apostasy. The title for which, at the time of his desertion, he exchanged a name honourably distinguished in the cause of the people, reminds us of the appellation which, from the moment of the first treason, fixed itself on the fallen Son of the Morning,
“ Satan ;-so call him now. --His former name
Is heard no more in heaven." The defection of Strafford from the popular party contributed mainly to draw on him the hatred of his contemporaries. It has since made him an object of peculiar interest to those whose lives have been spent, like his, in proving that there is no malice like the malice of a renegade. Nothing can be more natural or becoming than that one turncoat should eulogize another.
Many enemies of public liberty have been distinguished by their private virtues. But Strafford was the same throughout. As was the statesman, such was the kinsman, and such the lover. His conduct towards Lord Mountmorris is recorded by Clarendon. For a word which can scarcely be called rash, which could not have been made the subject of an ordinary civil action, the Lord Lieutenant dragged a man of high rank, married to a relative of that saint about whom he whimpered to the Peers, before a tribunal of slaves. Sentence of death was passed. Every thing but death was inflicted. Yet the treatment which Lord Ely experienced was still more scandalous. That nobleman was thrown into prison, in order to compel him to settle his estate in a manner agreeable to his daughter-in-law, whom, as there is every reason to believe, Strafford had debauched. These stories do not rest on vague report. The historians most partial to the Minister admit their truth, and censure them in terms which, though too lenient for the
occasion, are still severe. These facts are alone sufficient to justify the appellation with which Pym branded him, “the wicked Earl.”
In spite of all Strafford's vices, in spite of all his dangerous projects, he was certainly entitled to the benefit of the law; but of the law in all its rigour ; of the law according to the utmost strictness of the letter, which killeth. He was not to be torn in pieces by a mob, or stabbed in the back by an assassin. He was not to have punishment meted out to him from his own iniquitous measure. But if justice, in the whole range of its wide armoury, contained one weapon which could pierce him, that weapon his pursuers were bound, before God and man, to employ.
"If he may
Let him not seek't of us."
Did then the articles against Strafford strictly amount to high treason? Many people, who know neither what the articles were, nor what high treason is, will answer in the negative, simply because the accused person, speaking for his life, took that ground of defence. The Journals of the Lords show that the Judges were consulted. They answered, with one accord, that the articles on which the Earl was convicted, amounted to high treason, This judicial opinion, even if we suppose it to have been erroneous, goes far to justify the Parliament. The judgment pronounced in the Exchequer Chamber has always been urged by the apologists of Charles in defence of his conduct respecting ship-money. Yet on that occasion there was but a bare majority in favour of the party at whose pleasure all the magistrates composing the tribunal were removable. The decision in the case of Strafford was unanimous; as far as we can judge, it was unbiassed ; and, though there may be room for hesitation, we think on the whole that it was reasonable. "It may be remarked,” says Mr Hallam, "that the fifteenth article of the impeachment, charging Strafford with raising money by his own authority, and quartering troops on the people of Ireland, in order to compel their obedience to his unlawful requisitions, upon which, and upon one other article, not upon the whole matter, the Peers voted him guilty, does, at least, approach very nearly, if we may not say more, to a substantive treason within the statute of Edward the Third, as a levying of war against the King. This most sound and just exposition has provoked a very ridiculous reply. “It should seem to be an Irish construction this," says an assailant of Mr Hallam, “which makes the raising money for the King's service, with his knowledge, and by his approbation, to come under the head of levying war on the King, and therefore to be high treason." Now, people who undertake to write on points of constitutional law should know, what every attorney's clerk and every forward schoolboy on an upper form knows, that, by a fundamental maxim of our polity, the King can do no wrong; that every court is bound to suppose his conduct and his sentiments to be, on every occasion, such as they ought to be; and that no evidence can be received for the purpose of setting aside this loyal and salutary presumption. The Lords, therefore, were bound to take it for granted that the King considered arms which were unlawfully directed against his people as directed against his own throne.
The remarks of Mr Hallam on the bill of attainder, though, as usual, weighty and acute, do not perfectly satisfy us. He defends the principle, but objects to the severity of the punishment. That, on great emergencies, the State may justifiably pass a retrospective act against an offender, we have no doubt whatever. We are acquainted with only one argument on the other side, which has in it enough of reason to bear an answer.
Warning, it is said, is the end of punishment. But a punishment inflicted, not by a general rule, but by an arbitrary discretion, cannot serve the purpose of a warning. It is therefore useless; and useless pain ought not to be inflicted. This sophism has found its way into several books on penal legislation. It admits, however, of a very simple refutation. In the first place, punishments ex post facto are not altogether useless even as warnings. They are warnings to a particular class which stand in great need of warnings, to favourites and ministers. They remind persons of this description that there may be a day of reckoning for those who ruin and enslave their country in all the forms of law. But this is not all. Warning is, in ordinary cases, the principal end of punishment; but it is not the only end. To remove the offender, to preserve society from those dangers which are to be apprehended from his incorrigible depravity, is often one of the ends. In the case of such a knave as Wild, or such a ruffian as Thurtell, it is a very important end. In the case of a powerful and wicked statesman, it is infinitely more important; so important, as alone to justify the utmost severity, even though it were certain that his fate would not deter others from imitating his example. At present, indeed, we should think it extremely pernicious to take such a course, even with a worse minister than Strafford, if a worse could exist ; for, at present, Parliament has only to withhold its support from a Cabinet to produce an immediate change of hands. The case was widely different in the reign of Charles the First. That Prince had governed during eleven years without any Parliament; and, even when Parliament was sitting, had supported Buckingham against its most violent remonstrances.
Mr Hallam is of opinion that a bill of pains and penalties ought to have been passed; but he draws a distinction less just, we think, than his distinctions usually are. His opinion, so far as we can collect it, is this, that there are almost insurmountable objections to retrospective laws for capital punishment, but that, where the punishment stops short of death, the objections are comparatively trifling. Now the practice of taking the severity of the penalty into consideration, when the question is about the mode of procedure and the rules of evidence, is no doubt sufficiently common. We often see a man convicted of a simple larceny on evidence on which he would not be convicted of a burglary. It sometimes happens that a jury, when there is strong suspicion, but not absolute demonstration, that an act, unquestionably amounting to murder, was committed by the prisoner before them, will find him guilty of manslaughter. But this is surely very irrational. The rules of evidence no more depend on the magnitude of the interests at stake than the rules of arithmetic. We might as well say that we have a greater chance of throwing a size when we are playing for a penny than when we are playing for a thousand pounds, as that a form of trial which is sufficient for the purposes of justice, in a matter affecting liberty and property, is insufficient in a matter affecting life. Nay, if a mode of proceeding be too lax for capital cases, it is, à fortiori, too lax for all others; for, in capital cases, the principles of human nature will always afford considerable security. No judge is so cruel as he who indemnifies himself for scrupulosity in cases of blood, by license in affairs of smaller importance. The difference in tale on the one side far more than makes up for the difference in weight on the other.
If there be any universal objection to retrospective punishment, there is no more to be said. But such is not the opinion of Mr Hallam. He approves of the mode of proceeding. He thinks that a punishment, not previously affixed by law to the offences of Strafford, should have been inAicted; that Strafford should have been, by act of Parliament, degraded from his rank, and condemned to perpetual banishment. Our difficulty would have been at the first step, and there only. Indeed, we can scarcely conceive that any case which does not call for capital punishment can call for