Imágenes de páginas


n run

to policy, when he lent the powerful support of his character and talents to the bill on its first introduction. “ He thought,” says Lord Clarendon, “ the Crown it“self ought to gratify the people in yielding to many " things, and to part with some power rather than run “ the hazards which would attend the refusal; he “ was swayed in this by a belief that the King would “ in the end be prevailed with to yield to what was “pressed.”

Lord Falkland was attached to the Church of England and its doctrines, “ but he did not consider any “ part of its order or government so essentially neces“sary to religion but that it might be parted with and “ altered for a notable public benefit or convenience." With Lord Falkland the question of the taking away of the Bishops' votes presented itself rather as one of expediency than of strict principle. When, therefore, six months later, he withdrew his support from the proposed renewal of the measure, it may be fairly conjectured that, in the altered position of the Crown, he had ceased to deem it expedient to concede; he may justly have feared that the time had come when it would no longer be accepted as a concession to the spirit of reform, but be hailed as such a triumph over the strong opinions of the sovereign, and such a proof of his vacillating character, as would afford the most direct encouragement to the hope of successful innovation in future. These conjectures as to the feelings which regulated his conduct appear most consistent with the opinions expressed in his original speech on episcopacy, and the firm resistance he displayed throughout his short career against all excess of power, whether exercised by the Throne or assumed by the Parliament.

· Life, vol. i. p. 92.

3 Ibid.


Lord Falkland joins in the Proceedings of the House of Commons against

Lord Strafford — Remonstrance of the Commons — Violent Debate thereon — Lord Falkland opposes it — The King returns from Scotland

- Overtures to Lord Falkland and Sir John Culpepper to accept the offices of Secretary of State and Chancellor of the Exchequer — Lord Falkland accepts the offer — He is sworn of the Privy Council, and receives the Seals of Secretary of State - Lord Kimbolton and the Five Members impeached — Lord Falkland carries a Message from the House of Commons to the King – The King comes to the House of Commons to seize the Five Members — He returns to Hampton Court - Conferences of Lord Falkland, Sir John Culpepper, and Mr. Hyde, at Mr. Hyde's house.

In order to follow these measures through their vicissitudes in both Houses, from their first introduction till the passing of the bill which deprived the Bishops of their votes, an interval of time has necessarily been passed over without stopping to mark the other events with which the name of Lord Falkland is connected, or those subjects in Parliament to which he appears to have devoted his time. The journals afford ample proof that from the beginning of November up to the 8th of the following September, when he was named one of the Committee appointed to sit during the recess, he had taken an active part in the various Committees and numerous conferences with the Upper House during that long session. The scanty records that have been

See Appendix H.

handed down to us of the speeches delivered, and the rare occasions on which votes are preserved on the important subjects discussed, leave but few certain marks by which posterity can trace back the political opinions and conduct of members of Parliament. Lord Falkland's name appears in the journals as being on the several Committees appointed to meet the Committees of the House of Lords to confer on points respecting the impeachment of Lord Strafford, and also as acting as reporter to the Commons of those conferences. The notes preserved by Sir Ralph Verney of the proceedings in Parliament afford an additional clue to the opinions of Lord Falkland concerning Lord Strafford.

During the debate, April 15th, in the Committee of the whole House on the bill of attainder, Lord Falkland is quoted as saying, “ How many haires' breadths " makes a tall man, and how many makes a little man, “ noe man can well say, yet wee know a tall man when “wee see him from a low man: soe 'tis in this, —how “ many illegal acts makes a treason is not certainly well “ known, but wee well know it when wee see ...."2

Four days later (the 19th) the following passage concerning Lord Strafford's children is noted down as Lord Falkland's words : “ Being Lord Strafford's “ children proceeded as well from his innocent wife as “ his owne guilty person, 'tis beter they should be


Published by the Camden Society, 1845, from pencil memorandums in the possession of Sir H. Verney, p. 49.

2 MS. torn away. This passage alludes to the doctrine of constructive treason-a subject which was fully discussed in Hardy's trial.—Howell's State Trials, vol. xxiv. See also Luders' Tracts, vol. i. 3 Seeing. VOL. I.

“ spared in their estates for the innocent's sake, than “ punished for the guilty.”

Then follow many notes, which would seem to be heads of arguments respecting the definition of treason, in the midst of which occurs this plain passage : “ In “ equity Lord Strafford deserves to dye.” Of the fiftynine names of those who voted against the bill of attainder, and who were called Straffordians, neither that of Lord Falkland nor of Mr. Hyde appears ;this leaves it doubtful whether their votes were in favour of that bill, or they abstained from voting.

During the recess the Committees of the two Houses were appointed to meet twice a week for the transaction of business. On the 30th of October Parliament met again, when Mr. Pym made a long report of the proceedings of the Committees during the recess. About the middle of November the King returned to England, having conceded to the Scots all they demanded, and

See Appendix I. 2 In Sir R. Verney's notes is the first list given of the whole fifty-nine. In the ‘Life of Richard Baxter,'from his own MS. (or "Reliquiæ Baxterianæ,' page 19), there is the following passage :-“And now began the first “ breach among themselves, for the Lord Falkland, the Lord Digby, and “ divers other able men, were for the sparing of his (Lord Strafford)'s life, “ and gratifying the King, and not putting him on a thing so much dis“ pleasing him.” Lord Falkland was naturally of so humane a disposition, and such a lover of strict justice, that there is nothing improbable in the supposition that he might wish to spare the shedding of blood, or that he might recoil from stretching the power of Parliament beyond its constitutional limits even to reach so dangerous an offender as Lord Strafford; but the reason assigned by Baxter, that it was for “gratifying the King," was so utterly at variance with the principles which actuated Lord Falkland in his early Parliamentary career, that, unsupported by other evidence, and in the face of Sir R. Verney's notes as to his opinions, it must be supposed that Baxter was mistaken at least in the motive he ascribed to him.

3." The King,” says Lord Clarendon, “ made that progress into Scot

« AnteriorContinuar »