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1620

JAMES'S THIRD PARLIAMENT.

25

tions of less importance followed. The King's old favourite Haddington, the Ramsay who had stood manfully by him at the time of the Gowry conspiracy, became Earl of Holderness in the English peerage. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Fulk Greville, obtained a seat in the House of Lords by the title of Lord Brooke.

The position which the new House of Commons would take up on the question of the monopolies was likely to depend upon the policy which James was able to announce with respect to the troubles of the Continent. On account of the pressure of business, caused by the reception of Cadenet's

1621.

embassy, the opening of the session had been postJan. 30. poned from January 16 to the 30th. On that day, Opening of Parliament. after listening to a sermon from Andrewes, bristling with Greek and Hebrew, James passed, seemingly in high spirits, to the House of Lords.

The King's

The Commons were summoned to the bar, and the King began his speech with an exposition of those constitutional theories which, however they may grate upon our speech. ears at the present day, would not, at that time, have been formally repelled by any of his hearers. A Parliament, he said, was an assembly forming part of a monarchy, and acting under a monarch. Without a monarch there might, indeed, be Councils, but not a Parliament. It was summoned by the King to give him advice, and it was able to give that advice, because it represented the wishes and the wants of the various classes of his subjects. The King was thus enabled to make good laws for the benefit of the whole commonwealth. The House of Commons, in particular, had special functions to perform. It was by its means that cases of maladministration or default of justice could reach the ears of the King; and it was the peculiar duty of that House to supply the King's necessities, as it was his duty to afford them justice and mercy in return,

James then turned to a subject upon which the House took a far deeper interest than on any question of constitutional politics. Religion, he said, was to be maintained in the first place by persuasion, and it was only when that failed that recourse was to be had to compulsion. It had been rumoured

that the marriage treaty with Spain would be followed by a grant of toleration to the Catholics. He would, however, have his hearers to understand, that he would do nothing dishonourable or contrary to the interests of religion.

After this brief and enigmatical declaration, James quickly passed to what was, to him, the far more important subject of his own wants. For ten years, he said, he had not received a penny from Parliament. The time when they might reasonably have objected to grant a supply was now past. His treasure was no longer squandered. During the last two years a strict economy had been practised. Large sums had been saved by the reform of the household. With the help of the young Lord Admiral, who was standing by his side, he had effected a considerable saving by the reforms of the navy. If they would give him money now, he would answer for it that it should no longer fall into a bottomless purse.

The next cause for which he had summoned them was the miserable state of Christendom. He had done all that was in his power to put an end to the war in Bohemia. In the hope of saving the Palatinate, he had spent thousands of pounds upon embassies. of Denmark. contributions.

He had borrowed money from the King He had authorised the collection of voluntary "And I am now," he said, "to take care of a worse danger against the next summer. I will leave no travail untried to obtain a happy peace. But I have thought it good to be armed against a worse turn, it being best to treat of peace with a sword in my hand. Now I shall labour to preserve the rest; wherein I declare that, if by fair means I cannot get it, my crown, my blood, and all shall be spent, with my son's blood also, but I will get it for him. And this is the cause of all, that the cause of religion is involved in it; for they will alter religion where they conquer, and so perhaps my grandchild also may suffer, who hath committed no fault at all.” Let them, therefore, make haste to grant a supply. This Parliament had been of great expectation. At his first Parliament he had been ignorant of the customs of the land. At his second Parliament a strange kind of beast called undertakers had come between him and his subjects. The present Parlia

1621

JAMES'S FOREIGN POLICY.

27

ment had been called of his own free motion. It would be his greatest happiness if it could be shown that he had acquired the love and reverence of his people. "Then," he ended by saying, "I shall be even honoured of my neighbour princes, and peradventure my government made an example for posterity to follow." 1

By a critical audience this speech would have been coolly received. James had spoken first about himself, and last about the Palatinate. But the House of Commons was Temper of the House of not disposed to be critical. Its members had come Commons. up to Westminster eager to co-operate with the King. The old constitutional disputes and the old constitutional suspicions were forgotten. No one thought for a moment of reviving the quarrel about the Impositions. This time, at least, James would not have to complain of factious opposition. If he would only be a king in reality as well as in name—if he would reform abuses at home, and defend Protestantism abroad, the representatives of the nation were prepared to follow him with almost unquestioning fidelity.

Feb. 2.

versation with

How little James was in accord with the prevailing feeling is evident from the conversation which he held with Gondomar three days after the meeting of Parliament. He James's con- began by talking about the speech with which he Gondomar. had opened the session, softening down the words he had used in speaking of religious matters. He was ready, he said, to live and die in friendship with the King of Spain. As for the Puritans, they were the common enemies of both. After some further talk about his son-in-law, he described his own reception by the clergy in Westminster Abbey. The whole of the service, he said, had been chanted in Latin. So far, at least, he had conformed to the usage of the Catholic Church. Upon this hint, Gondomar spoke out. He hoped, he said, to see him restored to the Church, and to the obedience of the Pope. "If," replied James, "these things could be treated without passion, it is certain that we could come to an agreement." A few minutes more brought him to acknowledge his

Proceedings and Debates, i. 2.

readiness to recognise the Pope as the head of the Church in matters spiritual, and to allow appeals to lie to him from the English bishops, provided that he would refrain from meddling with temporal jurisdiction in his kingdoms, and would renounce his claim to depose kings at pleasure. If in his writings he had spoken of the Pope as Antichrist, it was because of his usurped power over kings, not because he called himself head of the Church. Gondomar, upon this, asked James to give him his hand in token that he meant what he was saying. The King at once held out his hand, and told the ambassador to write an account of the conversation to his master.

No one knew better than the Spanish ambassador that all this meant nothing. If he had just landed in England, he wrote, he might perhaps have considered the information of importance. All he could say now was that nothing was impossible to God. As to the Palatinate, James still expected Spain to assist him in his mediatory efforts. His son-in-law, he thought, should solemnly renounce all pretensions to Bohemia. Upon that Philip might withdraw his troops from the Palatinate, and see that the Catholic powers in Germany abstained from pushing their successes further.1

If James could have supported his argument by any evidence that force was at his disposal, it is possible that his representations might not have been without effect. Whether he could do this or not, however, depended on the understanding to which he was able to come with the Commons.

Feb. 5.

debate.

On February 5, the House of Commons met for business. The first debate was somewhat desultory. The strong Protestant feeling of the members found a mouthpiece in The first Sir James Perrot, the son of the Lord Deputy of Ireland who had been harshly treated by Elizabeth, and who was, unless rumour spoke falsely, an illegitimate son of Henry VIII. Perrot now moved that the House should receive the communion at St. Margaret's, for the detection of recusants.2

8 18'

1 Gondomar to Philip III., Feb. Simancas MSS. 2602, fol. II.

2 Under the date of February 5, Mrs. Green has calendared the celebrated speech of Sir E. Cecil on the importance of granting an immediate

1621

FEELING OF THE COMMONS.

29

Perrot's motion was the signal for the pouring out of a flood of abuse against the Catholics. Sir Robert Phelips, the son of the Speaker of the first Parliament of the reign-a busy, active man, whose undoubted powers were not always under the control of prudence—on this day commenced his brilliant career as a Parliamentary orator. The Catholics, he said, had lit bonfires in their halls at the news of the defeat in Bohemia. They were gathering in great numbers to London, and were perhaps even now meditating a repetition of the Gunpowder Plot.

Another subject next engaged the attention of the House. Since the last Parliament, members had been imprisoned for words spoken in their places. It was suggested that the King might now be asked for an acknowledgment of their right to liberty of speech. Calvert, on the other hand, whose conciliatory temper would, in happier times, have gained him the respect of the House, then rose and pressed for an immediate supply. It was finally resolved that the various questions which had been raised should be referred to a committee of the whole House.

The first difficulty of the Commons arose from an unexpected quarter. They had entrusted the sermon at St. Margaret's to Usher, whose abilities had recently procured for him, young as he was, the bishopric of Meath. The appointment was regarded by the Chapter of

Usher's

sermon.

supply to the Palatinate. It may, however, be asked why no trace of it occurs in the full reports which we have, from various hands, of that day's debate. The fact is, the speech was a forgery. On Dec. 3, 1622, Carleton (S. P. Holland) expresses his suspicions to Chamberlain, and on the 21st Chamberlain replies Upon inquiry, I am fully of your opinion touching Sir Edward Cecil's speech, that he was not guilty of it; but that one Turner about him was the true father."-Chamberlain to Carleton, Dec. 21, 1622, S. P. Dom. cxxxiv. 80. There appears to have been some doubt on the matter at the time. On May 15, 1621, Meade speaks of it as "made (as they say) in the beginning of this session."- Harl. MSS. 389, fol. 67b. Whoever was the author, the speech does him great credit. There is a fine ring in its language from beginning to end. Nothing, in the course of writing this work, has been more painful than the act of drawing my pen, in obedience to the laws of historical veracity, through the extracts which I had credulously inserted in the text.

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