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Archbishops, &c.: it was this bill that acquired the name of · Root and Branch Bill."
Lord Clarendon says “ that, though Nathaniel “ Fiennes, young Sir Harry Vane, and shortly after Mr. “ Hampden (who had not before owned it), were be“ lieved to be for "Root and Branch,'” it was not approved by Mr. Pym, Mr. Hollis, or any of the northern men.
On the 12th of June the Lords voted the late canons made at the Synod in 1640 illegal: they voted the same verbatim as had passed a few months before in the House of Commons, which afforded a considerable proof that there was no undue disposition to protect the Bishops in the exercise of illegal or excessive power. This did not, however, moderate the severity with which the Commons now determined to prosecute their intentions respecting Church government.
On the 15th Mr. Hyde reported the resolution of the Committee “ to utterly abolish Deans, Deans and “ Chapters, Archdeacons,” &c. ;4 and on the 21st the House was resolved into a Committee for the consideration of their abolition.
A warm discussion arose as to whether Mr. Hyde or Mr. Crewe should be in the Chair-some of the enemies
| The words of the preamble are—“ Whereas the government of the “ Church of England by archbishops, bishops, their chancellors and com“missaries, deans and archdeacons, and other ecclesiastical officers, hath “ been found by long experience to be a great impediment to the perfect “ reformation and growth of religion, and very prejudicial to the civil state " and government of this kingdom.”-Parl. Hist., vol. ii. p. 822.
. Hist. of the Rebellion, vol. i. p. 410. $ 16th of December, 1640.
• Parl. Hist., vol. ii. p. 838.
of the bill wishing for Mr. Crewe, and others thinking that Mr. Hyde being in the Chair would better obstruct the bill in that place, and which he somewhat triumphantly adds “ they found to be true.” The Committee, in its eagerness to bring matters to a more hasty conclusion, determined that the Chairman should report each day to the House the several votes taken in Committee, in order that the House should decide upon those votes before it rose. The Speaker generally left the Chair about nine o'clock, and resumed it at four. The House was therefore very thinly attended when the votes were discussed ; those only who most eagerly prosecuted the bill remained, and those who opposed it grew weary of “ so tiresome an attendance, and left the House at “ dinner-time;" which drew from Lord Falkland the remark, “ that those who hated the Bishops hated “ them worse than the Devil, and that they who loved " them did not love them so well as their dinner.”
Lord Clarendon describes this proceeding, of voting each day on the votes taken in Committee, as being without precedent, and very detrimental to the grave transaction of the business : it was, in fact, legislating piecemeal; and votes so inconsistent with each other were found to have been taken, that, after twenty days sitting and some dexterous management on the part of the Chairman in obstructing the progress of the bill, it was discovered they must again review all they had done.
The King was resolved to set off for Scotland ; the bill was obliged to be discontinued for a time, and Sir
· Hist. of the Rebellion, vol. i. p. 483.
• Ibid., vol. i. p. 448.
Arthur Hazelrig declared he would never hereafter put an enemy into the Chair.
There is no account of the part taken by Lord Falkland during the discussion of the · Root and Branch Bill;' but as Lord Clarendon alludes to Lord Falkland's change of opinion on the vexed question of episcopacy taking place six months after the debate in which they disagreed, he certainly could not have joined with him in the opposition and obstruction so effectually offered to this more sweeping measure.
On the 23rd of the following October a bill was again brought into the House of Commons? for depriving the “ Bishops of their Votes in Parliament, and disabling all “ in Holy Orders from the exercise of all temporal Ju“risdiction and Authority.”
The bill was carried, but received greater opposition than formerly. It differed little from that which had before received Lord Falkland's support, but he now concurred with Mr. Hyde in opposing it. Mr. Hampden remarked upon his change of opinion; Lord Falkland retorted by observing “ that he had formerly been “ persuaded by that worthy gentleman to believe many " things which he had since found to be untrue, and " therefore he had changed his opinion in many parti“ culars as well as to things and persons." Lord Falkland stated his opinion in the month of March, that the question respecting the Bishops' votes in the House of Lords should rest with that House to decide, and
| Parl. Hist., vol. ii. p. 916. : Clarendon's Hist. of the Rebellion,' vol. ii. p. 76, note. * See Lord Falkland's Speech above, p. 65 :-"We might presume that, if
their decision on that point had been adverse to that of the Commons. When Lord Falkland gave his support to that bill, he was assured by Mr. Hampden that, if it passed, nothing further would be attempted against the Church, and in Mr. Hampden Lord Falkland had the highest confidence. Mr. Hampden might have been perfectly sincere at the time he gave that assurance, and probably no further alteration to the Church was then contemplated by him; but, on the day when the Lords conceded to the Commons so much that was important in their bill, refusing only that which more immediately affected the constitution of their own House, another bill was brought in for the utter abolition of all Church government as then instituted. ..
In confirmation of the sincerity of Mr. Hampden's original professions to Lord Falkland it must be remarked that even Lord Clarendon admits he did not seem inclined at first to the introduction of The Root and Branch Bill, though he afterwards became favourable to this radical alteration.
The change to which Lord Falkland alluded in things and persons had indeed, in the course of a few months, been such as to surprise and gratify many of the most zealous reformers of abuses, to startle and humiliate the proud defenders of arbitrary measures. Men who had groaned under the same grievances, and joined in the same struggle to free themselves from the burthen that had oppressed them, now began to use
" they (the Lords) could make that appear that they (the bishops) were " a third estate, that the House of Peers, amongst whom they sat and had “ yet their votes, would reject it."
their newly gained freedom for objects as dissimilar as their efforts to obtain it had been united.
The merit of consistency might well be disputed in its award, between those who adhered to a party whose views had gradually changed and enlarged under the influence of success, and those who adhered more strictly to the original purposes which had first drawn them together. Mr. Hampden flowed on with the stream which had swept away so much impurity, Lord Falkland withdrew from the force of the current, and in a few months they found themselves standing on opposite banks, henceforth to view the same scene from different points. Each may have mingled with that stream the tears that sprang from honest regrets at the fallen fortunes of a degraded monarchy and the dangerous licence of an unrestrained parliament, but their march in life was separated; they had started in public life with feelings, principles, and resentments in common; their deaths were nearly contemporaneous, but they died bearing arms in opposite ranks, and an element of peace was gone from the counsels of each party. The bill, to which Lord Falkland now offered his decided opposition, was brought in, contrary to the rule of the House “ that a rejected bill could not be brought forward “ again during the same session." The objection was raised and discussed, but precedent had avowedly ceased to guide or restrain the course adopted by the parliamentary leaders. No sooner had this bill passed
Clarendon’s ‘ Hist. of the Rebellion,' vol. ii. p. 75, note. ? Mr. Pym confessed the violation of the order, but said “ that our orders were not like the laws of the Medes and Persians, not to be altered."-Hist. of the Rebellion, vol. ii. p. 76.