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nimity of Judges.

of some refusals, though he had cause to be sensible of it, yet he was far from being transported with passion, but thought good to resort to the advice of you his Judges who are sworn to give him faithful and true counsel in that which pertaineth to the law; and this his Majesty, as well for the direction of his own course as for the satisfaction of his subjects, required you to deliver your opinion herein, to which you returned an answer under your hands." He then ordered the opinion to be read by the clerk, with the names of all the twelve as they were in order subscribed; which being done before a crowded audience, he continued, "My Lords, this being the uniform resolution of all the Judges of England, with one voice and act under their hands; I say, this being so resolved, as they do here express upon every man's particular studying the case, and upon a general conference among themselves, it is of very great authority, for the very lives and lands of the King's subjects are to be determined by these reverend Judges; much more a charge of this nature, which, God knows, cannot be burdensome to any, but is of singular use and consequence, and for the safety of the whole kingdom. The command from his Majesty is, that I should publish this your opinion in this place, and give order that it should be entered in this Court, in the High Court of Chancery, and in the Courts of King's Bench, Common Pleas, and Exchequer, for this is a thing not fit to be kept in a corner. And his further command is, that you the Judges do declare and publish this general resolution of all the Judges of England through all parts of the kingdom, that all men may take notice thereof, and that those his subjects which have been in an error may inform themselves and be reformed. You have great cause to declare it with joy, and you can hardly do it with honour enough to the King, that in so high a point of his sovereignty he hath been pleased to descend and to communicate with you his Judges;-which showeth that justice and sovereignty in his Majesty do kiss each other."

The reverend sages of the law all remained mute while this trick was played off upon them, those who were eagerly looking for promotion approving of it in their hearts, and the

dissentients not being able to deny their handwriting, or publicly to enter into any explanation of their conduct.




One man in England remained unconcerned and undis- Heroic mayed by this supposed unanimous opinion of the twelve conduct of Judges, and that was JOHN HAMPDEN! He refused to pay the twenty shillings assessed upon him in respect of his estate in Buckinghamshire, and being sued for the amount, he, in due form, denied his liability. The case, on account of its importance, was adjourned into the Exchequer Chamber, before all the Judges, and was there argued many days. Lord Chancellor Ellesmere, on a similar occasion, was present in the Exchequer Chamber, and pronounced judgment*; but Lord Keeper Coventry does not seem to have publicly interfered with the decision of this case, though he was, no doubt, very active in privately reminding the Judges of the opinion they had given. To the immortal honour of Crooke and Hutton, notwithstanding the manner in which they had been entrapped, and notwithstanding all the attempts now made to work upon their fears and hopes, they delivered a clear and decided opinion upon the merits,-that the tax was unauthorised by the common law, and was forbidden by statute. Three other Judges, Davenport, Brampston, and Denham, without denying the King's right, voted for the defendant on certain points of form. But there being a majority, with Decision Lord Chief Justice Finch at their head, who held that the power to impose this tax belonged to the Crown at common money. law, and that, even if there were statutes to abolish it, these statutes were not binding on the King,-judgment was given quod defendens oneretur, and process of execution issued to levy the twenty shillings.

in favour

of ship


Coventry and Strafford were short-sighted enough to re- June 12. joice in the victory they had won, thinking arbitrary government was firmly established. "Since it is lawful," said they, "for the King to impose a tax towards the equipment of the navy, it must be equally so for the levy of an army; and the same reason which authorises him to levy an army to resist, will authorise him to carry that army abroad, that he may pre

Case of Postnati, ante, p. 224.


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vent invasion. Moreover, what is law in England is law also in Scotland and Ireland. This decision of the Judges will, therefore, make the King absolute at home and formidable Reflections abroad." But "it is notoriously known that the pressure of Lord Clarendon, was borne with more cheerfulness before the judgment for the King than ever it was after; men before pleasing themselves with doing somewhat for the King's service, as a testimony of their affection, which they were not bound to do; many really believing the necessity, and therefore thinking the burden reasonable; others, observing that the advantage to the King was of importance, when the damage to them was not considerable; and all assuring themselves that, when they should be weary or unwilling to continue the payment, they might resort to the law for relief, and find it. But when they heard this demanded in a court of law as a right, and found it, by sworn Judges of the law, adjudged so, upon such grounds and reasons as every stander-by was able to swear was not law, and so had lost the pleasure and delight of being kind and dutiful to the King; and instead of giving were required to pay, and by a logic that left no man any thing which he might call his own, they no more looked upon it as the case of one man, but the case of the kingdom, nor as an imposition laid on them by the King, but by the Judges, which they thought themselves bound in conscience to the public justice not to submit to. When they saw in-a court of law reasons of state urged as elements of law; Judges as sharp-sighted as Secretaries of State, and in the mysteries of state; judgment of law grounded upon matter of fact of which there was neither inquiry no proof; and no reason given for the twenty shillings in question but what included the estates of all the standers-by,-they had no reason to hope that doctrine, or the promoters of it, would be contained within any bounds; and it is no wonder that they, who had so little reason to be pleased with their own condition, were no less solicitous for, or apprehensive of, the inconveniences that might attend any alteration." †

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in Scot

Notwithstanding the general discontent, there is great LXII. reason to believe that the scheme to establish absolute government on the ruins of free institutions would have suc- A. D. 1638. ceeded in England, as it did about this time in France, had Troubles it not been for the troubles which now broke out in Scotland. land. Charles's violent attempt to introduce episcopacy into that country, though he had so far succeeded as to have the Archbishop of St. Andrew's for his Chancellor, and several other Prelates invested in the high offices of state, -produced the most sudden, peaceful, and complete revolution recorded in history. In the course of a few weeks, without a drop of blood being spilt, the King was virtually dethroned, and a new government was established, under the title of "The Tables," with the almost unanimous consent of "The the nobles, the gentry, and the commonalty, having a well- Tables." disciplined army at its command, and recognised by all the civil functionaries in the kingdom. "The solemn League and Covenant" immediately followed.


bishop of

The first effect produced in England by this movement The King's was a ludicrous trial, at which the Lord Keeper presided "Fool" prosecuted with apparent gravity. When the news arrived at White- for defamahall, Archy, the King's Fool, who, by his office, had the tion by the privilege of jesting, even on his Master, happened unluckily to try his wit upon Laud, and called out to him, "Who's fool now, my Lord?" For this offence the Primate insisted that he should be prosecuted, on the maxim "non licet ludere cum sacris;" and, after a solemn hearing before the Council, Archy was sentenced" to have his fool's coat pulled over his head, and to be dismissed the King's service."*



But more serious consequences were at hand. The King, Charles notwithstanding the moderate councils which were given to prepares to him by the Lord Keeper, and even by Laud himself, was Scotland. resolved to make no concessions to the Scottish rebels, and to suppress the insurrection by military force. He directed May, 1639. summonses under the Great Seal to issue to all the nobility

to meet him at York with trains suitable to their rank and

Rush. ii. 470.



pacy in

possessions, and he marched to the north at the head of a feudal army, like another Edward I., to conquer Scotland. He is But in England the national prejudice against the Scotch obliged to yield to The King's was overpowered by sympathy in their cause. abolition of forces dwindled away as they approached the border, and were not in a condition to engage their opponents, under the veteran Leslie. At Berwick Charles found it indispensably necessary to negotiate, and after agreeing to abolish episcopacy (under a secret protest that he would restore it on the first favourable opportunity), he was obliged, for want of money, to disband his troops, and he ingloriously returned to London.

that country.

Sept. 1639. Threatened invasion

land to



Fresh writs, to raise ship money to the amount of 200,000l., were issued, and all sorts of expedients were resorted to for from Scot- the purpose of filling the Exchequer, but in vain. The Covenanters, becoming more insolent, talked of invading England, so that Presbytery, the only true form of church government, might be established all over the island, and there were no means of raising an army to resist them. A new tax might be imposed by proclamation, but, in the present temper of the people, there was no chance of its being paid.

A parlia

ment summoned.

Dec. 5.


Under these circumstances, Coventry, and the whole Council, including even Archbishop Laud, and Juxon, the Lord Treasurer, recommended that a parliament should be called a calamity, they privately said, from which England had now been happily exempt for eleven years, and with which they had well hoped that the country would never more be visited. The King for some time resisted, looking for assistance from Strafford and the Irish; but, finding his ministers steady in their unanimous advice, he put to them this pertinent question: "If the new parliament should prove as untoward as some have lately been, will you then assist me in such extraordinary ways as in that extremity may be thought fit?" They all replied in the affirmative; and the Lord Keeper was ordered to prepare a proclamation, and writs of summons for a parliament, to meet in the month of April following, the interval being allowed for the meeting of a parliament in Ireland, which, it was hoped, the

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