Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

we

“ not, but those that refuse so fair an offer." This speech raised the indignation of both Houses as a decided infringement of their privileges ; Committees were formed in each House to consider the matter, and the following day (December the 15th) the reports from the Select Committees of both Houses were agreed to, and, the reports being taken into consideration, it was resolved nem. con. that the privileges of Parliament were broken, Ist, by his Majesty taking notice of the Bill for pressing being in agitation in both Houses and not agreed to; 2ndly, by his Majesty propounding a limitation and provisional clause to be added to the Bill, before it was presented unto him by the consent of both Houses; 3rdly, by his Majesty expressing his displeasure against some persons for matters moved in the Parliament during the debate and preparation of that bill, which was a breach of the privilege of Parliament.”

On the 16th a declaratory protestation of both Houses concerning the privileges of Parliament was agreed to and entered on the journals, and an “humble “ remonstrance and petition of the Lords and Com“ mons” was addressed to the King on the subject of this recent breach of privilege, to be presented to him by Committees from both Houses. Lord Capell was one of the eighteen peers selected on that occasion ; and on the 17th the King received, in the form of an humble “ remonstrance and petition,” a just reprimand for that incorrigible precipitancy to which he was so often

"Rushworth, vol. iv. p. 457.

2 Ibid., p. 458.

inclined, sometimes from the apprehension of possible consequences by delay, and sometimes from the impatience inseparable from an overweening love of power.

On the 20th of December the King's answer was delivered, in which he disclaimed “any intention of “ violating the privileges of Parliament, and attributed 66 whatever he did therein to the great zeal he had, and " ever should have, to the suppression of the rebellion “ in Ireland.”

This is the last occasion on which Lord Capell appears to have taken part on the side of the Parliament as opposed to that of the King. Whether he was absent from Parliament on the 3rd of January, when articles of high treason were exhibited by the Attorney-General against Lord Kymbolton and the five members, or on the memorable 4th, when the King came in person to demand the surrender of those who were impeached,' does not appear; but Lord Kymbolton was nearly related to Lord Capell, and it is not to be supposed, considering the opinions he had entertained, and the measures he had supported from his first entrance into public life, that such an act could have been viewed by him with indifference, still less with satisfaction. He had sat in Committee, and joined in carrying up to the King, not a month before, a remonstrance on a breach of privilege of far less importance, and it is natural to suppose his private feelings in this instance would have helped to enlist

See above, p. 95. ? He was his first-cousin, son of Lord Manchester, the brother of Lord Capell's mother.

him with those who most eagerly and bitterly resented the King's conduct. That such, however, was not the case the journals afford direct evidence by the protests in which he did not join, as well as by those to which he affixed his name: the same motives that led men like Lord Falkland, Culpepper, and Hyde, just at this period, to give their assistance to the King, may also have influenced Lord Capell to withdraw from those whose zeal for the claims of Parliament had outstripped the principles by which they had been guided in their outset, and the confidence that the choice of the King's new counsellors was calculated to inspire might naturally sanction the friend of constitutional monarchy becoming a loyalist without fear of weakening the cause of constitutional freedom and parliamentary privilege. The unacknowledged motives by which any man is actuated are at best but mere surmise, and as such can claim no other pretension to credit than the probability that arises from their harmony with his general character and the known circumstances in which he is placed. But even when cotemporaries may have come to a right decision on the subject, if they have left no memorial of their opinions there is no point on which posterity is more liable to err than in judging of the motives which in times of political agitation have effected in the wisest and purest men a change of party without even a change of opinion.

Throughout the troubled reign of Charles I. the sentiment of loyalty may be said to have sprung from

Appendix B.

various sources; and though many divergent opinions were forced by the tendency of events into a common course of action, and thus destined to bear a common name, it would be a fruitful cause of error to attempt to trace this apparent unity to a common origin. To the mere courtier who sought but in his attachment to the King the advancement of his own selfish views of vanity or aggrandizement, the name of loyalty can hardly be awarded, while to those who still held sacred the divine right of kings loyalty was rather a worship than an opinion. To the warmest adherents of monarchy the character of Charles was on one side a stumblingblock, whilst on the other the cause of the monarch was held inseparable from the monarchy: there were those who clung to the name of the King from zeal to the constitutional principle “ that he could do no wrong,” whilst others saw only in the King's personal interference that principle endangered which they equally revered : thus, at the outbreak of the civil war, the country became divided between those who upheld constitutional monarchy against the invasions of the Sovereign, and those who supported the King lest the monarchy should be destroyed. But there was yet another source of loyalty, which appealed more directly to the feelings than even to the opinions of the adherents of monarchy. The King was necessary to the form of government to which they adhered, and from which, after the many vital reforms recently effected, they were more than ever to reap the advantages of security of person and property. The existence of a King was an integral part of the system by which they

from becoming the victim of the exalted position to which he was called. A sense of personal danger and personal insult to the King could not fail at once to rouse the generous indignation of those who regarded the elevation of one over all as a benefit to themselves and as a national good.

The heat of party violence, the spirit of partisanship, the intemperance and injustice that is engendered on each side by the fierce conflict of opinions, and the more sanguinary appeal to the sword, imperceptibly obliterate the political views and changes, the motives which determine the colours of the combatants on first entering the lists; and thus, in this unhappy reign, after the war of debate had been exchanged for a declaration of hostilities, there were many in the parliamentary ranks whose distrust of the King had grown into hatred to monarchy, whilst those who had withdrawn from the Parliament from disapproval of its too arbitrary pretensions grew to be the personal friends and devoted followers of the too despotic Charles.

Such was the career of many whose names have added weight to the Royalist cause, and amongst those is henceforth to be found that of Lord Capell. The protests signed by Lord Capell and a small minority of peers, varying in number from sixteen to only four besides himself, are the best evidence of his disapprobation of measures in which the Lords were now led to concur with the Com

In a letter of Lord Capell's, written to Dr. Brownrick, is to be found some allusion to this principle of loyalty. See Appendix C.

? See Appendix B.

« AnteriorContinuar »