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CONTENTS

CHAP. LVIII.

8

THE

HISTORY OF GREAT BRITAIN.

CHAPTER LVI.

Commencement of the Civil War.... State of Parties.... Battle of Edgehill....

Negotiation at Oxford.... Victories of the Royalists in the West.... Battle of
Stratton.... of Lansdown....of Roundway Dowu.... Death of Hambden
.... Bristol taken.... Siege of Gloucester.... Battle of Newbury.... Actions
in the North of England.... Solemn League and Covenant.... Arming of the
Scots.... State of Ireland.

COMMENCEMENT OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1642 W H EN two names, so sacred in the English consti

tution as those of King and PARLIAMENT, were placed in opposition; no wonder the people were divided in their choice, and were agitated with the most violent animosities and factions.

The nobility, and more considerable gentry, dreading a total confusion of rank from the fury of the populace, inlisted themselves in defence of the monarch, from whom they received, and to whom they communicated, their lustre. Animated with the spirit of loyalty, derived from their ancestors, they adhered to the ancient principles of the constitution, and valued themselves on exerting the maxims, as well as inheriting the possessions, of the old English families. And while they passed their time mostly at their country-seats, they were surprised to hear of opinions prevailing, with which they had ever been unacquainted, and which implied nut a limitation, but an abolition almost total, of monarchical authority.

The city of London, on the other hand, and most of the great corporations, took part with the parliament, and adopted with zeal those democratical principles on which the pretensions of that assembly were founded. The government of cities, which even under absolute monarchies

YOL. VIII.

is commonly republican, inclined them to this party: the small hereditary influence, which can be retained over the industrious inhabitants of towns; the natural independence of citizens; and the force of popular currents over those more numerous associations of mankind; all these causes gave, there, authority to the new principles propagated throughout the nation. Many families too, which had lately been enriched by commerce, saw with indignation, that, notwithstanding their opulence, they could not raise themselves to a level with the ancient gentry; they therefore adhered to a power, by whose success they hoped to acquire rank and consideration.' And the new splendour and glory of the Dutch commonwealth, where liberty so happily supported industry, made the commercial part of the nation desire to see a like form of government established in England.

The genius of the two religions, so closely at this time interwoven with politics, corresponded exactly to these divisions. The presbyterian religion was new, republican, and suited to the genius of the populace: the other had an air of greater show and ornament, was established on ancient authority, and bore an affinity to the kingly and aristocratical parts of the constitution. The devotees of presbytery became of course zealous partisans of the parliament: the friends of the episcopal church valued them. selves on defending the rights of monarchy.

Some men also there were of liberal education, who, being either careless or igporant of those disputes bandied about by the clergy on both sides, aspired to nothing but an easy enjoyment of life, amidst the jovial entertainment and social intercourse of their companions. All these flocked to the king's standard, where they breathed a freer air, and were exempted from that rigid preciseness and melancholy austerity, which reigned among the parliamentary party. · Never was a quarrel more unequal than seemed at first that between the contending parties : almost every advantage lay against the royal cause. The king's revenue bad been seized, from the beginning, by the parliament, who

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