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I.

vice.

a precedent of pardoning in cases of impeachment, CHAPTER (for this, no doubt, was his motive,) cannot satisfactorily excuse.

In an early period of the King's difficulties, Sir Temple's adWilliam Temple, whose life and character is a refutation of the vulgar notion that philosophy and practical good sense in business are incompatible attainments, recommended to him the plan of governing by a council, which was to consist in great part of the most popular noblemen and gentlemen in the kingdom. Such persons being the natural, as well as the safest, mediators between princes and discontented subjects, this seems to have been the best possible expedient. Hume says it was found too feeble a remedy ; but he does not take notice that it was never in fact tried, inasmuch as, not only the King's confidence was withheld from the most considerable members of the council, but even the most important determinations were taken without consulting the council itself. Nor can there be a doubt but the King's views, in adopting Temple's advice, were totally different from those of the adviser, whose only errour in this transaction seems to have consisted in recommending a plan, wherein confidence and fair dealing were of necessity to be principal ingredients, to a prince whom

I.

CHAPTER he well knew to be incapable of either. Accord

ingly, having appointed the council in April, with a promise of being governed in important matters by their advice, he in July dissolved one Parliament without their concurrence, and in October, forbade them even to give their opinions upon the propriety of a resolution which he had taken of proroguing another. From that time he probably considered the council to be, as it was, virtually dissolved ; and it was not long before means presented themselves to him, better adapted, in his estimation, even to his immediate objects, and certainly more suitable to his general designs. The union between the court and the church party, which had been so closely cemented by their successful resistance to the Exclusion Bill, and its authors, had at length acquired such a degree of strength and consistency, that the King ventured first to appoint Oxford, instead of London, for the meeting of Par

liament ; and then, having secured to himself a good Dissolution pension from France, to dissolve the Parliament the Second's there met, with a full resolution never to call

another; to which resolution, indeed, Lewis had bound him, as one of the conditions on which he was to receive his stipend.* No measure was ever

* Dalrymple's Memoirs.

of Charles

last Parliament.

I.

attended with more complete success.

The most CHAPTER flattering addressés poured in from all parts of the kingdom ; divine right, and indiscriminate obedience, were every where the favourite doctrines; and men seemed to vie with each other who should have the honour of the greatest share in the glorious work of slavery, by securing to the King, for the present, and, after him, to the Duke, absolute and uncontroulable power. They, who, either because Charles had been called a forgiving prince by his flatterers, (upon what ground I could never discover,) or from some supposed connection between indolence and good nature, had deceived themselves into a hope, that his tyranny would be of the milder sort, found themselves much disappointed in their expectations.

The whole history of the remaining part of his His power reign exhibits an uninterrupted series of attacks upon the liberty, property, and lives of his subjects. The character of the government appeared first, and with the most marked and prominent features, in Scotland. The condemnation of Argyle and Weir, In Scotland. the one for having subjoined an explanation when he took the test oath, the other for having kept company with a rebel, whom it was not proved he knew to be such, and who had never been proclaimed, 'resemble more the acts of Tiberius and

and tyranny.

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Chapter Domitian, than those of even the most arbitrary

modern governments. It is true, the sentences were not executed ; Weir was reprieved ; and whether or not Argyle, if he had not deemed it more prudent to escape by flight, would have experienced the same clemency, cannot now be ascertained. The terrour of these examples would have been, in the judgment of most men, abundantly sufficient to teach the people of Scotland their duty, and to satisfy them that their lives, as well as every thing else they had been used to call their own, were now completely in the power of their masters. But the government did not stop here, and having outlawed thousands, upon the same pretence upon which Weir had been condemned, inflicted capital punishment upon such criminals of both sexes as refused to answer, or answered otherwise than was prescribed to them, to the most ensnaring questions.

In England, the City of London seemed to hold out for a certain time, like a strong fortress in a conquered country ; and, by means of this citadel, Shaftesbury and others were saved from the vengeance of the court. But this resistance, however honourable to the corporation who made it, could not be of long duration. The weapons of law and justice were found feeble, when opposed to the

In England.

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power of a monarch, who was at the head of à CHAPTER numerous and bigoted party of the nation, and who, which was most material of all, had enabled himself to govern without a Parliament. Civil resistance in this country, even to the most illegal attacks of royal tyranny, has never, I believe, been successful, unless when supported by Parliament, or at least by a great party in one or other of the two Houses. The Court, having wrested from the Livery of London, partly by corruption, and partly by violence, the free election of their mayor and sheriffs, did not wait the accomplishment of their plan for the destruction of the whole corporation, which, from their first success, they justly deemed certain ; but immediately proceeded to put in exécution their system of oppression. Pilkington, Exorbitant Colt, and Oates were fined a hundred thousand pounds each for having spoken disrespectfully of the Duke of York; Barnardiston ten thousand, for having in a private letter expressed sentiments deemed improper; and Sidney, Russel, and Armstrong, found that the just and mild principles which characterise the criminal law of England could no longer protect their lives, when the sacrifice was called for by the policy or vengeance of the King. To give an account of all the oppression of

fines.

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