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Charles I and

and High Commission, with inquisition, torture, and summary procedure of every kind. This unconstitutional machinery for ruling the Stuarts proceeded to develop.

Opposition, however, at once appeared on the part of the nation. “ The slavish Parliament of Henry VIII, which had become the murmuring Opposition of Parliament of Elizabeth, and the mutinous Parliament. Parliament of James I, became, under Charles I, the rebellious Parliament.” 1 At first, feeble and fitful, the opposition gathered force, developing under Charles I into a stern battle between the King and that conservative element of the people who were determined to up- the Petition

of Right. hold the ancient ways. The King was forced by the Petition of Right,2 in 1628, to admit that his arbitrary course was wrong. It was a profession of the lips, not the heart. A grant of subsidies having taken place as a consequence of the redress of grievances, Charles dissolved Parliament, not intending to keep his word, and with the resolve never to summon another Parliament. “ashamed that his cousins of France and Spain should have completed a work which he had scarcely begun.” He commenced in March, 1629, a system of personal rule quite new in England, which continued for eleven years, during which

ne the people were not summoned to Westminster by their delegates. Never before since Earl Simon's time had the voice of the people been silenced for such an interval; only once before had there been

He was

1 Bagehot: English Constitution, p. 281. 2 For the full text, see Appendix B.

an interval of hálf that length. His two main

agents and advisers were Laud, ArchLaud, Straf. ford, and the bishop of Canterbury, and Thomas WentThorough."

worth, Earl of Strafford ; the two engines through which it was sought to bring to pass the King's will, to the supersession of that of the people, were, for spiritual affairs, the Court of High Commission, for secular affairs that of Star Chamber.

In defiance of the general sentiment of England, the reactionary Laud guided the Church, as the nation felt, perilously near to Romanism. Transubstantiation, auricular confession, preferment of celibate priests, restoration of image worship, adoration of the crucifix, minute attention to vestments, genuflections, vigils, pilgrimages, — these, once discarded, were now revived. At the same time there sat at the King's right hand as Queen, the Catholic Henrietta of France, daughter of Henry IV, a princess inheriting her father's courage, enterprise, and wit, but drawing from her mother, Maria de' Medici, an Italian dexterity in intrigue, subservience to priestly advisers, and a complete devotion to the Church of Rome.

In secular matters, at the same time, the monarch's hand was carried ever higher and higher. It was no longer a series of isolated, arbitrary acts that the citizen beheld; but Laud and Strafford, pushing ever more strongly, developed the policy known as “ Thorough,”

a consistent, energetic system of rule going directly against popular liberty, even to the last bulwark, the right of taxation. In all points but one the government of England had become as despotic as that of France and Spain : as yet the King had at his command no standing army. Should this one obstacle

block the path? It was resolved that such an army might be, and to meet the cost, recourse

Ship-money. was to be had to ship-money. In former times, to meet foreign dangers, the Kings had exacted of the Cinque Ports and the maritime counties the maintaining of ships of war. Acting on these precedents, Charles now sought to levy a general tax, nominally ship-money, but the yield of which might be applied to any use. With this word, so memorable in the history of English-speaking men, let us turn aside for a while from the tale of the mad race of the Stuarts toward absolutism. Anglo-Saxon freedom was on the point of perishing. Precisely now, in the nick of time, became operative in its behalf a force from America, - a force at first scarcely traceable, but destined in time to grow momentous.




HORACE WALPOLE, an important figure in England in the eighteenth century, when the news of Burgoyne's surrender at Saratoga reached England, wrote to the Countess of Ossory, December 11, 1777: “Well, Madame, as I told Lord Ossory the other day, I am satisfied. Old England is safe, that is America, — whither the true English retired under Charles I.”i What reason is there in such a statement as this ? Horace Walpole asserts that America was more English than England herself, the true English having retired to America under Charles I.

Just at the hour when the Tudors were giving place to the Stuarts, two events took place within

about six years of each other, at the time

regarded as having the slightest possible ginia Compa- significance, of which however the conse

quences have been of transcendent importance in the history of the world. These events were the granting of charters to two commercial companies, the one designing to engage in mercantile operations in the East Indies; the other, looking for its field of operations to the coast of America. The

Charters of the East India and Vir


1 Walpole's Letters.

Settlement of

first of these charters, granted December 31, 1600, was the foundation of the vast Asiatic empire of England; the second, granted April 10, 1606, the foundation of America. With those charters began the diffusion of the English language, institutions, and influence beyond the narrow bounds of the little island of Britain to the four quarters of the earth.

In 1607, a colony with no higher purpose than the establishment of a trading enterprise that might be lucrative, fixed itself at Jamestown in Virginia. In the heterogeneous company were few or none actuated by any high principle. A considerable part of those who came in the first years came not of their own free-will, but were deported from England as idlers or, indeed, convicts, of whom the mother-country might conveniently in this way rid herself.

rid herself. In the case of the better class of settlers, who came of their own free-will, the motive for emigration was certainly not discontent with the political or religious conditions at home. They desired simply to make money, and saw in the fur trade, the mines, the agriculture, which they hoped to be able to develop in the new world, a better opportunity for gain than was offered to them elsewhere. With no grievance as to either Church or State, conforming without a murmur to what both demanded, they gave their energies to carrying out schemes of material profit.

Far more interesting in connection with the history of Anglo-Saxon freedom, was the body of settlers, who, under the new charter, presently

Of Plymouth. came to occupy the country farther to the north.

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