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Though Hampden had as yet taken little part in the debates of the House, he had been A member of many very important committees, and had read and written much concerning the law of Parliament. A manuscript volume of Parliamentary Cases, which is still in existence, contains many extracts from his notes. He now retired to the duties and pleasures of a rural life. During the eleven years which followed the dissolution of the Parliament of 1628, he resided at his seat in one of the most beautiful parts of the county of Buckingham. The house, which has, since his time, been greatly altered, and which is now, we believe, almost entirely neglected, was then an old English mansion, built in the days of the Plantagenets and the Tudors. It stood on the brow of a hill which overlooks a narrow valley. The extensive woods which surround it were pierced by long avenues. One of those avenues the grandfather of the great statesman cut for the approach of Elizabeth; and the opening, which is still visible for many miles, retains the name of the Queen's Gap. In this delightful retreat Hampden passed several years, performing with great activity all the duties of a landed gentleman and a magistrate, and amusing himself with books and with fieldsports.
He was not in his retirement unmindful of his prosecuted friends. In particular, he kept up a close correspondence with Sir John Eliot, who was confined in the Tower. Lord Nugent has published several of the letters. We may perhaps be fanciful; but it seems to us that every one of them is an admirable illustration of some part of the character of Hampden which Clarendon has drawn.
will, in the intermissions of action, add study to practice, and adorn that lively spirit with flowers of contemplation, he will raise our expectations of another Sir Edward Vere, that had this character-all summer in the field, ali winter in his study-in whose fall fame makes this kingdom a great loser; and, having taken this resolution from counsel with the highest wisdom, as I doubt not you have, I hope and pray that the same Power will crown it with a blessing answerable to our wish. The way you take with my other friend shows you to be none of the Bishop of Exeter's converts;* of whose mind neither am I superstitiously. But had my opinion been asked, I should, as vulgar conceits use to do, have showed my power rather to raise objections than to answer them. A temper† between France and Oxford might have taken away his scruples, with more advantage to his years. For although he be one of those that, if his age were looked for in no other book but that of the mind, would be found no ward if you should die to-morrow; yet it is a great hazard, methinks, to see so sweet a disposition guarded with no more, amongst a people whereof many make it their religion to be superstitious in impiety, and their behaviour to be affected in ill manners. But God, who only knoweth the periods of life and opportunities to come, hath designed him, I hope, for his own service be time, and stirred up your providence to husband him so early for great affairs. Then shall he be sure to find Him in France that Abraham did in Sechem and Joseph in Egypt, under whose wing alone is perfect safety."
Sir John Eliot employed himself, during his imprisonment, in writing a treatise on govern Part of the correspondence relates to the ment, which he transmitted to his friend two sons of Sir John Eliot. These young Hampden's criticisms are strikingly charac men were wild and unsteady; and their father, teristic. They are written with ali that "flow who was now separated from them, was na- ing courtesy" which is ascribe to him by turally anxious about their conduct. He at Clarendon. The objections are insinuated Length resolved to send one of them to France, with so much delicacy, that they could scarceand the other to serve a campaign in the Lowly gall the most irritable author. We see, too, Countries. The letter which we subjoin shows how highly Hampden valued in the writings that Hampden, though rigorous towards him- of others that conciseness which was one of self, was not uncharitable towards others, and the most striking peculiarities of his own elothat his puritanism was perfectly compatible quence. Sir Job Eliot's style was, it seems, with the sentiments and the tastes of an accom- too diffuse, and it is impossible not to admire plished gentleman. It also illustrates admi- the skill win which this is suggested. “The rably what has been said of him by Clarendon: piece," says Hampden, "is as complete an "He was of that rare affability and temper in image of the pattern as can be drawn by lines debate, and of that seeming humility and sub-a lively character of a large mind-the submission of judgment, as if he brought no opi- jec', method, and expression, excellent and nion of his own with him, but a desire of hemogenial, and to say truth, sweetheart, information and instruction. Yet he had somewhat exceeding my commendations. My subtle a way of interrogating, and, under vords cannot render them to the life. Yet cover of doubts, insinuating his objections |o show my ingenuity rather than wit—would that he infused his own opinions into those from whom he pretended to learn and receive them."
The letter runs thus: "I am so pere.tly acquainted with your clear insight ir to the dispositions of men, and ability to f.t them with courses suitable, that, had you sestowed sons of mine as you have done your own, my judgment durst hardly have called it into question, especially when, in laying the design, you have prevented the objections to be made against it. For if Mr. Richard Eliot
not a less model have given a full representa tion of that subject-not by diminution but by contraction of parts? I desire to learn. I dare not say.-The variations upon each par
Lord Nugent, we .hink, has misunderstood this pas sage. Hampden seems to allude to Bishop Hall's sixth satire, in which the custom of sending young men abroad is censured, and an academic life recommended. We have a general recollection that there is something to the same effect in Hall's prose works; but we have
not time to search them.
"A raiddle course compromise."
ticular seem many-all, I confess, excellent. | every thing that seemed likely to stunt it, struck The fountain was full, the channel narrow; its roots deep into a barren soil, and spread its that may be the cause; or that the author re- branches wide to an inclement sky. The mul sembled Virgil, who made more verses by titude thronged round Prynne in the pillory many than he intended to write. To extract with more respect than they paid to Mainwar a just number, had I seen all his, I could easily ing in the pulpit, and treasured up the rags have bid him make fewer; but if he had bade which the blood of Burton had soaked, with a me tell which he could have spared, I had been veneration such as rochets and surplices had posed." ceased to inspire.
For the misgovernment of this disastrous period, Charles himself is principally respon After the death of Buckingham, he seemed to have been his own prime minister. He had, however, two counsellors who se conded him, or went beyond him, in intolerance and lawless violence; the one a superstitious driveller, as honest as a vile temper would suffer him to be; the other a man of great va lour and capacity, but licentious, faithless, corrupt, and cruel.
This is evidently the writing, not only of a man of good sense and good taste, but of a man of literary habits. Of the studies of Hampdensible. little is known. But as it was at one time in contemplation to give him the charge of the education of the Prince of Wales, it cannot be doubted that his acquirements were considerable. Davila, it is said, was one of his favourite writers. The moderation of Davila's opinions, and the perspicuity and manliness of his style, could not but recommend him to so judicious a reader. It is not improbable Never were faces more strikingly character. that the parallel between France and England, istic of the individuals to whom they belonged, the Huguenots and the Puritans, had struck than those of Laud and Strafford, as they still the mind of Hampden, and that he already felt remain portrayed by the most skilful hand of within himself powers not unequal to the lofty that age. The mean forehead, the pinched part of Coligni. While he was engaged in features, the peering eyes of the prelate suit these pursuits, a heavy domestic calamity fell admirably with his disposition. They mark on him. His wife, who had borne him nine him out as a lower kind of Saint Dominic, children, died in the summer of 1634. She differing from the fierce and gloomy enthu lies in the parish church of Hampden, close to siast who founded the Inquisition, as we might the manor-house The tender and energetic imagine the familiar imp of a spiteful witch to language of her epitaph still attests the bitter- differ from an archangel of darkness. When ness of her husband's sorrow, and the consola- we read his judgments, when we read the re tion which he found in a hope full of immor-port which he drew up, setting forth that he tality.
In the mean time, the aspect of public affairs grew darker and darker. The health of Eliot had sunk under an unlawful imprisonment of several years. The brave sufferer refused to purchase liberty, though liberty would to him have been life, by recognising the authority which had confined him. In consequence of the representations of his physicians, the severity of restraint was somewhat relaxed. But it was in vain. He languished and expired a martyr to that good cause, for which his friend Hampden was destined to meet a more brilliant but not a more honourable death.
All the promises of the king were violated without scruple or shame. The Petition of Right, to which he had, in consideration of moneys duly numbered, given a solemn assent, was set at naught. Taxes were raised by the royal authority. Patents of monopoly were granted. The old usages of feudal times were made pretexts for harassing the people with exactions unknown during many years. The Puritans were persecuted with cruelty worthy of the Holy Office. They were forced to fly from the country. They were imprisoned. They were whipped. Their ears were cut off. Their noses were slit. Their cheeks were branded with red-hot iron. But the cruelty of the oppressor could not tire out the fortitude f the victims. The mutilated defenders of uberty again defied the vengeance of the StarChamber, came back with undiminished resolution to the place of their glorious infamy, and manfully presented the stumps of their ears to be grubbed out by the hangman's knife. The nardy sect grew up and flourished, in spite of
had sent some separatists to prison, and im ploring the royal aid against others, we feel a movement of indignation. We turn to his Diary, and we are at once as cool as contempt can make us. There we read how his picture fell down, and how fearful he was lest the fall should be an omen; how he dreamed that the Duke of Buckingham came to bed to him; that King James walked past him; that he saw Thomas Flaxage in green garments, and the Bishop of Worcester with his shoulders wrapped in linen. In the early part of 1627, the sleep of this great ornament of the church seems to have been much disturbed. On the 5th of January, he saw a merry old man with a wrinkled countenance, named Grove, lying on the ground. On the fourteenth of the same memorable month, he saw the Bishop of Lin coln jump on a horse and ride away. A day or two after this, he dreamed that he gave the king drink in a silver cup, and that the king refused it, and called for a glass. Then he dreamed that he had turned Papist-of all his dreams the only one, we suspect, which came through the gate of horn. But of these visions, our favourite is that which, as he has record ed, he enjoyed on the night of Friday the 9th of February, 1627. "I dreamed," says he, "that I had the scurvy; and that forthwith all my teeth became loose. There was one in especial in my lower jaw, which I could scarcely keep in with my finger till I had called for help." Here was a man to have the superintendence of the opinions of a great nation!
But Wentworth-who ever names him with out thinking of those harsh dark features, ennobled by their expressions into more than the
majesty of an antique Jupiter; of that brow, scribed even by the partial Clarendon as pow that eye, that cheek, that lip, wherein, as in a erful acts-acts which marked a nature exces chronicle, are written the events of many sively imperious-acts which caused dislike stormy and disastrous years; high enterprise and terror in sober and dispassionate persons accomplished, frightful dangers braved, power-high acts of oppression. Upon a most friunsparingly exercised, suffering unshrink- volous charge, he obtained a capital sentence ingly borne; of that fixed look, so full of se- from a court-martial against a man of high verity, of mournful anxiety; of deep thought, rank who had given him offence. He debauchof dauntless resolution, which seems at once ed the daughter-in-law of the Lord Chanto forebode and defy a terrible fate, as it cellor of Ireland, and then commanded that lowers on us from the living canvass of Van- nobleman to settle his estate according to the dyke? Even at this day the haughty earl wishes of the lady. The chancellor refused. overawes posterity as he overawed his con- The Lord-Lieutenant turned him out of oflice, temporaries, and excites the same interest and threw him into prison. When the violent when arraigned before the tribunal of history, acts of the Long Parliament are blained, let it which he excited at the bar of the House of not be forgotten from what a tyranny they Lords. In spite of ourselves, we sometimes rescued the nation. feel towards his memory a certain relenting, similar to that relenting which his defence, as Sir John Denham tells us, produced in Westminster Hall.
Among the humbler tools of Charles, were Chief-justice Finch, and Noy, the attorneygeneral. Noy had, like Wentworth, supported the cause of liberty in Parliament, and had, like Wentworth, abandoned that cause for the sake of office. He devised, in conjunction with Finch, a scheme of exaction which made the alienation of the people from the throne complete. A writ was issued by the king, com
This great, brave, bad man entered the House of Commons at the same time with Hampden, and took the same side with Hampden. Both were among the richest and most powerful commoners in the kingdom. Both were equally distinguished by force of charac-manding the city of London to equip and man ter and by personal courage. Hampden had more judgment and sagacity than Wentworth. But no orator of that time equalled Wentworth in force and brilliancy of expression. In 1626, both these eminent men were committed to prison by the king; Wentworth, who was among the leaders of the Opposition, on account of his parliamentary conduct; Hampden, who had not as yet taken a prominent part in debate, for refusing to pay taxes illegally imposed.
Here their paths separated. After the death of Buckingham, the king attempted to seduce some of the chiefs of the opposition from their party; and Wentworth was among those who yielded to the seduction. He abandoned his associates, and hated them ever after with the deadly hatred of a renegade. High titles and great employments were heaped upon him. He became Earl of Strafford, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, President of the Council of the North; and he employed all his power for the purpose of crushing those liberties of which he had been the most distinguished champion. His counsels respecting public affairs were fierce and arbitrary. His correspondence with Laud abundantly proves that government without Parliaments, government by the sword, was his favourite scheme. He was unwilling even that the course of justice between man and man should be unrestrained by the royal prerogative. He grudged to the Courts of King's Bench and Common Pleas even that measure of liberty, which the most absolute of the Bourbons have allowed to the Parliaments of France.
In Ireland, where he stood in the place of the king, his practice was in strict accordance with his theory. He set up the authority of the executive government over that of the courts of law. He permitted no person to leave the island without his license. He established vast monopolies for his own private benefit. He imposed taxes arbitrarily. He levied them by military force. Some of his acts are de
ships of war for his service. Similar writs were sent to the towns along the coast. These measures, though they were direct violations of the Petition of Right, had at least some show of precedent in their favour. But, after a time, the government took a step for which no precedent could be pleaded, and sent writs of shipmoney to the inland counties. This was a stretch of power on which Elizabeth herself had not ventured, even at a time when all laws might with propriety have been made to bend to that highest law, the safety of the state. The inland counties had not been required to furnish ships, or money in the room of ships, even when the Armada was approaching our shores. It seemed intolerable that a prince, who, by assenting to the Petition of Right, had relinquished the power of levying ship-money even in the outports, should be the first to levy it on parts of the kingdom where it had been unknown, under the most absolute of his predecessors.
Clarendon distinctly admits that this tax was intended, not only for the support of the navy, but "for a spring and magazine that should have no bottom, and for an everlasting supply of all occasions." The nation well understood this; and from one end of England to the other, the public mind was strongly excited.
Buckinghamshire was assessed at a ship of four hundred and fifty tons, or a sum of four thousand five hundred pounds. The share of the tax which fell to Hampden was very small; so small, indeed, that the sheriff was blamed for setting so wealthy a man at so low a rate. But though the sum demanded was a trifle, the principle of the demand was despotism. Hampden, after consulting the most eminent cons.. tutional lawyers of the time, refused to pay the few shillings at which he was assessed; and determined to incur all the certain expense, and the probable danger, of bringing to a solemn hearing this great controversy between the people and the crown. "Till this time,"
says Clarendon, "he was rather of reputation in his own county, than of public discourse or fame in the kingdom; but then he grew the argument of all tongues, every man inquiring who and what he was that durst, at his own charge, support the liberty and prosperity of the kingdom."
by the sentence of the Star-Chamber, and gent to rot in remote dungeons. The estate and the person of every man who had opposed the court were at its mercy.
Towards the close of the year 1636, this great cause came on in the Exchequer Chamber before all the judges of England. The leading counsel against the writ was the celebrated Oliver St. John; a man whose temper was melancholy, whose manners were reserved, and who was as yet little known in Westminster Hall; but whose great talents had not escaped the penetrating eye of Hamp-it. He was now, it appears, desirous to with den. The attorney-general and solicitor-general appeared for the crown.
The arguments of the counsel occupied many days; and the Exchequer Chamber took a considerable time for deliberation. The opinion of the bench was divided. So clearly was the law in favour of Hampden, that though the judges held their situations only during the royal pleasure, the majority against him was the least possible. Four of the twelve pronounced decidedly in his favour; a fifth took a middle course. The remaining seven gave their voices in favour of the writ.
The only effect of this decision was to make the public indignation stronger and deeper. "The judgment," says Clarendon, "proved of more advantage and credit to the gentleman condemned than to the king's service." The courage which Hampden had shown on this occasion, as the same historian tells us, "raised his reputation to a great height generally throughout the kingdom." Even courtiers and crown-lawyers spoke respectfully of him. "His carriage," says Clarendon, "throughout that agitation, was with that rare temper and modesty, that they who watched him narrowly to find some advantage against his person, to make him less resolute in his cause, were compelled to give him a just testimony." But his demeanour, though it impressed Lord Falkland with the deepest respect, though it drew forth the praises of Solicitor-general Herbert, only kindled into a fiercer flame the ever-burning hatred of Strafford. That minister, in his letters to Laud, murmured against the lenity with which Hampden was treated. "In good faith," he wrote, "were such men rightly served, they should be whipped into their right wits." Again he says, "I still wish Mr. Hampden, and others to his likeness, were well whipped into their right senses. And if the rod be so used that it smart not, I am the more sorry."
The person of Hampden was now scarcely safe. His prudence and moderation had hitherto disappointed those who would gladly have had a pretence for sending him to the prison of Eliot. But he knew that the eye of a tyrant was on him. In the year 1637, misgovernment had reached its height. Eight years had passed without a Parliament. The decision of the Exchequer Chamber had placed at the disposal of the crown the whole pro perty of the English people. About the time at which that decision was pronounced, Pynne, Bastwick, and Burton were mutilated
Hampden determined to leave England Beyond the Atlantic Ocean, a few of the persecuted Puritans had formed, in the wilderness of Connecticut, a settlement which has since become a prosperous commonwealth; and which, in spite of the lapse of time, and of the change of government, still retains something of the character given to it by its first founders. Lord Say and Lord Brooke were the original projectors of this scheme of emigration Hampden had been early consulted respecting draw himself beyond the reach of oppressors, who, as he probably suspected, and as we know, were bent on punishing his manful resistance to their tyranny. He was accompa nied by his kinsman Oliver Cromwell, over whom he possessed great influence, and in whom he alone had discovered, under an exterior appearance of coarseness and extravagance, those great and commanding talents which were afterwards the admiration and the dread of Europe.
The cousins took their passage in a vessel which lay in the Thames, bound for North | America. They were actually on board, when an order of Council appeared, by which the ship was prohibited from sailing. Seven other ships, filled with emigrants, were stopped at the same time.
Hampden and Cromwell remained; and with them remained the Evil Genius of the house of Stuart. The tide of public affairs was even now on the turn. The king had resolved to change the ecclesiastical constitution of Scotland, and to introduce into the public worship of that kingdom ceremonies which the great body of the Scots regarded as popish. This absurd attempt produced, first discontents, then riots, and at length open rebellion. A provisional government was established at Edinburgh, and its authority was obeyed throughout the king dom. This government raised an army, ap pointed a general, and called a General Assembly of the Kirk. The farers Instru ment called the Covenant was put this time, and was eagerly subscribed by the people.
The beginnings of this formidable insurrection were strangely neglected by the king and his advisers. But towards the close of the year 1638, the danger became pressing. An army was raised; and early in the following spring Charles marched northward, at the head of a force sufficient, as it seemed, to reduce the Covenanters to submission.
But Charles acted, at this conjuncture, as he acted at every important conjuncture throughout his life. After oppressing, threatening, and blustering, he hesitated and failed. He was bold in the wrong place, and timid in the wrong place. He would have shown his wisdom by being afraid before the liturgy was read in St. Giles's church. He put off his fear till he had reached the Scottish border with his troops. Then, after a feeble campaign, he concluded a treaty with the insurgents, and withdrew his army.
But the terms of the pacification were not observed. Each party charged the other with foul play. The Scots refused to disarm. The king found great difficulty in reassembling his forces. His late expedition had drained his treasury. The revenues of the next year had been anticipated. At another time, he might have attempted to make up the deficiency by illegal expedients: but such a course would clearly have been dangerous when part of the island was in rebellion. It was necessary to call a Parliament. After eleven years of suffering, the voice of the nation was to be heard
In April, 1640, the Parliament met; and the king had another chance of conciliating his people. The new House of Commons was, beyond all comparison, the least refractory House of Commons that had been known for many years. Indeed, we have never been able to understand how, after so long a period of misgovernment, the representatives of the nation should have shown so moderate and so loyal a disposition. Clarendon speaks with admiration of their dutiful temper. "The House generally," says he, "was exceedingly disposed to please the king and to do him service." "It could never be hoped," he observes elsewhere, “that more sober or dispassionate men would ever meet together in that place, or fewer who brought ill purposes with them." In this Parliament Hampden took his seat as member for Buckinghamshire; and thenceforward till the day of his death gave himself up, with scarcely any intermission, to public affairs. He took lodgings in Gray's Inn Lane, near the house occupied by Pym, with whom he lived in habits of the closest intimacy. He was now decidedly the most popular man in England. The Opposition looked to him as their leader. The servants of the king treated him with marked respect. Charles requested the Parliament to vote an immediate supply, and pledged his word that if they would gratify him in this request, he would afterwards give them time to represent their grievances to him. The grievances under which the nation suffered were so serious, and the royal word had been so shamefully violated, that the Commons could hardly be expected to comply with this request. During the first week of the session the minutes of the proceedings against Hampden were laid on the table by Oliver St. John, and the committee reported that the case was matter of grievance. The king sent a message to the Commons, offering, if they would vote him twelve subsidies, to give up the prerogative of ship-money. Many years before he had received five subsidies in consideration of his assent to the Petition of Right. By assenting to that petition, he had given up the right of levying ship-money, if he ever possessed it. How he had observed the promises made to his third Parliament all England knew; and it was not strange that the Commons should be Somewhat unwilling to buy from him over and over again their own ancient and undoubted inheritance.
His message, however, was not unfavourably received. The Commons were ready to give a large supply, but they were not disposed VOL. II.-21
to give it in exchange for a prerogative of which they altogether denied the existence. If they acceded to the proposal of the king, they recog nised the legality of the writs of ship-money.
Hampden, who was a greater master of par liamentary tactics than any man of his time, saw that this was the prevailing feeling, and availed himself of it with great dexterity. He moved that the question should be put, "Whe ther the House would consent to the proposi tion made by the king as contained in the message." Hyde interfered, and proposed that the question should be divided; that the sense of the House should be taken merely on the point, "Supply, or no supply?" and that the manner and the amount should be left for subsequent consideration.
The majority of the House was for granting a supply, but against granting it in the manner proposed by the king. If the House had divided on Hampden's question, the court would have sustained a defeat; if on Hyde's, the court would have gained an apparent victory. Some members called for Hyde's motion, others for Hampden's. In the midst of the uproar the secretary of state, Sir Harry Vane, rose and stated that the supply would not be accepted unless it were voted according to the tenor of the message. Vane was supported by Herbert, the solicitor-general. Hyde's motion was therefore no further pressed, and the debate on the general question was adjourned till the next day.
On the next day the king came down to the House of Lords, and dissolved the Parliament with an angry speech.
His conduct on this occasion has never been defended by any of his apologists. Clarendon condemns it severely. "No man," says he, "could imagine what offence the Commons had given." The offence which they had given is plain. They had, indeed, behaved most temper:.tely and most respectfully. But they had shown a disposition to redress wrongs and to vindicate the laws; and this was enough to make them hateful to a king whom no law could bind, and whose whole government was one system of wrong.
The nation received the intelligence of the dissolution with sorrow and indignation. The only persons to whom this event gave pleasure were those few discerning men who thought that the maladies of the state were beyond the reach of gentle remedies. Oliver St. John's joy was too great for concealment. It lighted up his dark and melancholy features, and made him, for the first time, indiscreetly communica tive. He told Hyde that things must be worse before they could be better; and that the dissolved Parliament would never have done all that was necessary. St. John, we think, was in the right. No good could then have been done by any Parliament which did not adopt as its great principle that no confidence could safely be placed in the king, and that, while he enjoyed more than the shadow of power, the nation would never enjoy more than the sha dow of liberty.
As soon as Charles had dismissed the Par liament, he threw several members of the House of Commons into prison. Ship-money