XXXI.-The House of Commons:--No. 2. (Continued from No. XXX,)
The Scottish Solomon, as we have seen, was able in some sort to keep up to the end of his reign the same almost absolute authority over the which had been exercised by Elizabeth; indeed he asserted the subjection of that assembly to the crown in louder and more comprehensive words than had ever been employed by his more politic predecessor, and he probably thought that in so doing he strengthened the royal prerogative as much as he elevated and extended it. But the bow, in being so far bent, was only the nearer breaking. James was not an Elizabeth: still less was the age of James that of Elizabeth. It may be more than doubted if all the talent--and policy of that great princess, aided by old authority and the prestige of her glorious name, could have much .longer kept back the tide of democratic power and pretension that had been rising ever since the Reformation. The violent methods which James took to repress it only exhausted the strength of the crown, and at the same time infuriated the gathering force which he vainly attempted to subdue. We know how it came down like a great flood upon his predecessor; overwhelming and sweeping away him and his throne together, and whatever else would have opposed its
|victorious course. Charles I. began by treating his parliament much in the style his father had been accustomed to do. In the beginning of , he committed members of the , Sir John Eliot and Sir Dudley Digges, to the Tower, for certain expressions they were said to have used at a late conference with the Lords. But the matter was immediately taken up with spirit by the Commons, who-resolved that they would not proceed in any other business till they were righted in their liberties; and the result was that the imprisoned members were set at large after a few days' detention; on which the House at once and unanimously resolved that neither of them had exceeded his commission in anything which he had spoken at the conference. An ominous commencement of the new contest between prerogative and the popular power! Nor did Charles gain more in the long-run by his next attempt, however successful it seemed to be for the moment. Immediately after the dissolution of the parliament, in , a number of the most conspicuous of the opposition members, Eliot, Holles, Selden, and others, were committed to prison; when they were brought up by writ of habeas corpus before the Court of King's Bench, and demanded to be discharged or admitted to bail, Charles withdrew them from the protection of the judges, and consigned them all to the Lieutenant of the Tower, prohibiting him from allowing them to appear in court; and criminal informations were afterwards filed against of them, Eliot, Denzil Holles, and Benjamin Valentine, upon which judgment was given that all should be imprisoned during the royal pleasure, and that Eliot should be fined in , Holles in a , and Valentine in . Long, another of the members who had been taken up, was prosecuted in the Star Chamber, and fined . Eliot, the chief of this band of martyrs, died in the Tower, after an imprisonment of years; and in the hush of the reign of terror all resistance to the royal will might seem to be at an end. But the spirit of freedom was neither dead nor asleep, though the doors of Chapel were kept locked, and its voice was no longer heard from that constitutional arena; after a space of years it was found necessary to summon another parliament; and as soon as the new assembled, in , it took up the subject of the treatment of Eliot and his associates. This was dismissed before it had sat a month; and the very day after of its members, Sir Henry Bellasye and Sir John Hotham, were committed to the Fleet, and a , Mr. Crewe, to the Tower. But it was followed by another, which met the same year, and which, continuing to sit for more than a dozen years, did, or undid, the work of almost a dozen centuries, not separating till it had struck down both the crown and the head that wore it, and sent all the coronets and mitres in the land tumbling after them, making itself King, Lords, and Commons all in , or something mightier than all united had ever been before. But even before the Long Parliament assumed the attitude of sovereignty, it passed a series of resolutions, on the and , declaring the issuing of the warrants on which Holles and the others had been compelled to appear before the Privy Council--the committing of those members to prison--the searching and sealing of their chambers, studies, and papers-and the exhibiting of the informations against them, to be breaches of privilege; and it committed the person who had searched|
| Eliot's trunks and papers to the Tower. Nay, in the less violent times that succeeded the Restoration, and after nearly years had passed, the , on the , resolved that the judgment given in the King's Bench against Eliot, Holles, and Valentine, was |
and on the following the Lords assented to this resolution.
But the last and boldest attempt to exercise the prerogative, thus at length quietly inurned, had been made on the memorable , when Charles I. came down in person to seize the members-Holles, Hazlerig, Pym, Hampden, and Strode-who, along with Lord Kimbolton, had been the day before impeached of high treason by the Attorney-General, in name of the King, at the bar of the . When the Lords declined to order the accused persons to be taken into custody, his Majesty sent a sergeant-at-arms to the Commons, who, having, after he had laid aside the mace he carried, been called in to the bar, required the members of the Speaker, that he might arrest them of high treason. This was on Monday, the . The Speaker, by command of the House, addressing the members after the other, enjoined them to be careful to give their attendance from day to day till the House should take further order; and it was at the same time ordered that on the morrow morning at o'clock the House should resolve itself into a grand committee, to take the King's message into consideration. Before the House broke up, also, it was directed that Sir William Killigrew and the other persons who were stated to have sealed up the studies and doors of the members should be apprehended by the sergeant-at-arms, and detained in his custody till the House should further determine. It had been ordered before the King's messenger appeared that the sergeant-at-arms should be authorised to break open the doors, trunks, &c., which the House was informed these persons were sealing up.
On the next day, Tuesday, the members had come into the House after dinner, and had just taken their places, when
Curiously corroborative and illustrative of this account is what is related by Lilly, the astrologer:--
Sir Philip Warwick affirms that the King's intention of coming to the House was betrayed by
Pym, therefore, was no doubt the
who, according to Rushworth, had
and upon whose information the were required by the House to depart forthwith,
To this command all yielded ready obedience, except only Mr. Strode, who
[n.84.1] In a few minutes more the King was actually in the House.
Clarendon's account is, that,
This nephew was Charles, the Elector Palatine, the elder brother of Prince Rupert and Prince Maurice; but it is remarkable, that, if he actually accompanied his uncle into the House, the circumstance should not be mentioned by Rushworth, who, sitting at the table in the execution of his office of assistant clerk, had the best opportunity of seeing all that passed, and has evidently been anxious to make his relation as complete as possible. He goes on to inform us that, after Charles
--he addressed a short speech to the House, in which he told them that he was sorry for this occasion of coming to them, but that in case of treason no person had privilege, and he was therefore come to know if any of the persons accused were here, for have them he must, wheresoever he might find them.
And after a few more such ineffectual sentences he came down. But it appears to have been before he commenced this formal oration that, while he was still looking about the House, he asked the Speaker, who was standing on the floor beside the chair, whether any of the members were in the House, whether he saw any of them, and where they were; to which series of questions the Speaker, Lenthall, falling on his knee, answered, that he had neither eyes to see, nor tongue to speak, in that place, but as the House was pleased to direct him, whose servant he was there; and humbly begged his Majesty's pardon that he could give no other answer.
A curious anecdote is added, in which the writer himself figures:--that same evening his Majesty sent the usher of the House of Peers down to the for Rushworth, whom he had observed taking down his speech in characters, or short-hand, at the clerk's table; and when the faithful chronicler of these transactions was brought to him he commanded him to give him a copy of the speech. Rushworth humbly represented the danger he might incur by reporting to his Majesty anything that had been spoken in the House; but Charles smartly replied,
continues the account,
We cannot further pursue in detail the history of this perhaps the most momentous event of which Chapel ever was the scene. It is said that when Charles returned to with the news of the failure of his attempt the Queen fell into a rage and called him poltroon. On the next day, Wednesday, the , the Commons resolved, that, whereas his Majesty did the day before come to the House,
the same was
and that the House could sit no longer without a full vindication thereof, and a sufficient guard wherein they might confide. This same morning Charles had
| gone to the City, and, presenting himself in the , where the Common Council were assembled to meet him, declared that he was come to demand the accused members, who, he believed, were |
But, although he added sundry gracious assurances, and was sumptuously entertained at dinner by of the sheriffs, whom, being of the , Clarendon tells us, the that was thought the least inclined to his service, he thought to flatter by inviting himself to his house on this occasion, he could obtain no intelligence as to the persons of whom he was in quest. The members had indeed be taken themselves to what Clarendon calls
and it was very well known where they were-
in the close neighbourhood of Merchant Tailors' Hall, where a Committee of the sat for several days taking evidence on the subject of his Majesty's coming to the House; but they were as safe there from Charles and his officers as if all London had been an army of protection around them. When the House, which had adjourned on the , met again on Tuesday, the , the accused members were brought by water from their lodgings in the City about o'clock in the afternoon, guarded by the sheriffs and trainbands of London and to the number of in armed boats, while many thousands of spectators accompanied the procession along the banks of the river, making the air ring with their exulting clamours; and a body of horsemen from Buckinghamshire received them at their landing. Some of the people, Clarendon records, as they passed by , asked, with much contempt, what was become of the King and his cavaliers, and whither he was gone? Charles had the day before, about o'clock in the afternoon, left that palace with his wife and children, and fled to Hampton Court--from which after a few weeks he withdrew to York, there to commence his preparations for coercing the parliament by force of arms. In the following summer the civil war broke out, that, with some intermissions, kept England flowing with blood for years; nor did the unhappy monarch ever see either London or again till he was brought back a captive to St. James's, on the , to be put to death in front of the Banqueting House at days after.
In the tumultuous times that followed this inauspicious visit of Charles I., the Commons were repeatedly obliged to submit to the repetition, with improvements, of his violent and armed assault. In the army forced them to expel, or suspend, as it was phrased, obnoxious individuals of their number-Denzil Holles and the other leaders of the Presbyterian party-by merely approaching the capital and threatening the employment of force. As Holles himself has said, in his passionate and prolix relation:--
Then about a month after, on Monday,
| the , came the actual attack upon the House by the apprentices from the city of London, in the interest of the Presbyterians, who, after having forced the trembling legislature to pass an act about the militia such as they desired, becoming mixed, as the evening grew late, with soldiers and other idlers, |
The next day the Speaker, Lenthall, and; most of the Independent members fled to the army; with which they remained till Fairfax a few days after brought them all back with him, and, marching direct to the House, replaced Lenthall in the Speaker's chair, quietly turning out Mr. Henry Pelham, whom the- Presbyterians during their brief ascendency had chosen in his room. But the sharpest purification of all was that famous administered on the and , in the following year, , by Colonel Pride, who, the House having been surrounded by a regiment of horse and another of foot, took his place in the lobby, with a list of the members in his hand, and Lord Grey by his side to point out their persons; when nearly a of the Presbyterian members were taken into custody as they passed out, of whom about a were sent to prison and the rest turned adrift, with orders from their armed masters never again to show their faces in Chapel. Then, last of all, after the once mighty Long Parliament had been reduced to a
of about individuals, came Cromwell himself, and fairly kicked it out of existence in the most singular style. The Lord General had been engaged in deliberating on the measures to be taken for settling the Commonwealth with the principal officers of the army and other friends at on the morning of Wednesday, the , when Colonel Ingoldsby arrived in haste with the information that the Commons were on the point of passing the act for their dissolution, which had been for some time under discussion, in such a form as, besides unduly prolonging their own authority, would throw open the doors of the next Parliament to the interests which the military power had been employing all its late efforts to depress and destroy. Cromwell instantly put himself at the head of a party of soldiers, and marched down to Palace-yard. Leaving the soldiers in the lobby, he entered the House, and sat for some time without interrupting the debate. At length, when the Speaker was about to put the question, he whispered to Harrison,
and, taking off his hat, rose and proceeded to address the House. According to account, his demeanour was for a while calm and his language moderate; but he gradually waxed warm and violent.
Then he seems to have sat down or paused; on which
This appears to be a more probable account than that given by Whitelock, who says that Cromwell, having reached the House,
&c. Other relations of this extraordinary scene concur with that of Ludlow in making the bold senate-crusher to have entered the House alone, and to have both sat for some time and delivered his speech before he called in the soldiers. Harrison, in his speech on the , describes the musqueteers as having come in
When they entered, Sir Harry Vane said aloud from his place, but probably without rising,
Cromwell doubtless thought the moment singularly chosen for such wise saws, and that neither common honesty nor common-place had anything to do with the business in hand; but he satisfied himself with answering his old friend and brother saint in the style familiar to both of them, crying out with a loud voice,
Then turning and pointing to member who has had the luck to escape having his name recorded, he called out,
next darting his eyes upon poor Sir Peter Wentworth and Henry Martin, he denounced them as a pair of libertines by a very plain epithet; others he called corrupt and unjust men, and scandals to the profession of the gospel; and, telling the whole pack of them that it was not fit they should sit as a parliament any longer, desired them to go away. He began his application of actual force with the mace that lay on the table. before the Speaker :--
he added, calling to of the soldiers,
Then, when he had
[n.89.1] Cromwell then spoke again, and, addressing himself to the general body of the members, of whom there were present between and a , exclaimed,
Here Alderman Allen would have persuaded him to proceed no further, telling him that, if he would only order the soldiers to retire and the mace to be brought back, everything would go on as before; which may let us see the sort of notion the aldermen of that age had of the portentous phenomenon they had got among them. Cromwell, cutting short his smooth-tongued adviser,
Whitelock intimates that several members rose to address the House; but Cromwell, he adds,
Ludlow's more detailed relation informs us that Cromwell, in the end,
Whitelock expressly mentions that he stayed to see all the members out, and was himself the last that left the House. It is said that the next day a paper was
| posted by somebody on the locked door, with the words, |
[n.90.1] Meanwhile the strange event had not passed without its regular official record: Scobell, the clerk, plying his task unmoved amid the hubbub, like the clock on the tower of a public building continuing to note the passing time and striking the hour while the surrounding walls are enveloped in flames, had quietly written down in the Journal before Cromwell took possession of it:--
This entry, however, was ordered to be expunged by the restored Rump, on the ; on which occasion Scobell, being brought to the bar,
says the Journal,
The Rump, of course, maintained that it was not dissolved at all-that, although thus shattered to pieces and scattered to the winds, it was still a proper legal parliament; and in fact, years afterwards, on the , when Cromwell no longer lived, they assembled again to the number of about , with old Lenthall at their head, and resumed their function of legislation. But, after sitting about months, they were, on the , again suppressed by Lambert and his military associates; and, although they were once more restored to the possession of the House on the , they were compelled by Monk, on the thereafter, to admit among them the Presbyterian members that had been excluded in ; and on the , this fag end of the celebrated Long Parliament was at length fairly and for ever annihilated by its own act. The Long Parliament had existed in form or another from the , and its history is that of the great struggle between the crown and the , between prerogative and popular rights, which has been styled the Grand Rebellion, from its commencement almost to its close.
Charles II. was recalled by acclamation, and seated on the
|him; the effects of which were severely felt during his reign and that of his successor, till a new revolution, at the end of years, placed the crown once more in the hands of the people, and enabled them, grown wiser than on the former occasion, to bestow it with such conditions and restrictions as were deemed sufficient to secure to the that place in the constitution which for at least years before, or ever since the time of James I., it had decidedly manifested its determination to attain, and without the concession of which it was evident there could now be neither liberty nor peace in the country. It may appear as if the efforts of the during the years of the Long Parliament in the assertion of its own privileges and the vindication of the national liberties had all gone for nothing, seeing the ascendency which the crown regained after the Restoration; but a closer view of the matter will convince us that this was far from being the case. The Restoration was a restoration of too much, but by no means of everything, that had existed when the Long Parliament commenced its career. The Grand Rebellion, though it was at last put down, had not been altogether a failure. The ancient royal prerogative had been shaken in some parts by that assault beyond the possibility of repair. In fact, amid all the misgovernment of the reign of Charles II., the rights of the and its true position in the constitution were recognised in a manner in which they never had been in the former days of the monarchy. Attempts were made to manage the parliament, and also to govern without it; but, when it was suffered to meet, its debates were nearly as free as they are at present, and took as wide a range as they have ever done since. The Commons for session after session during this reign discussed the question of excluding the heir presumptive to the throne, the King's own brother, and even passed a bill for that purpose. Would any approach to such an interference as that have been endured either by Elizabeth or James I.? Of a truth the day was now gone by when it could be pretended that the House had nothing to do with matters either of Church or State, or with any questions save such as the crown chose to permit it to discuss. And this change, this gain, had been brought about by the Long Parliament and the Grand Rebellion.|
Indeed, as we have said, the Revolution of added little if anything to what are commonly called the privileges of the . These, in so far as they have been recognised and acted upon in later times, are almost wholly founded upon precedents older than the Revolution, and mostly upon such as must be considered the legacy of the Long Parliament, or as having incontrovertibly been established through the attitude assumed and the powers exercised by that assembly, although its proceedings are never quoted nor its name breathed by the authorities on the subject. For how else could they have been acquired? To what other period in the history of the Constitution can they be traced? In the obscurity that rests upon the imperfectly recorded transactions of the earliest times of the monarchy, it is indeed possible for ingenious theorymongers to rear out of the mist and ruins any visionary scheme of the Constitution which may best please their fancy; but at any rate this much is demonstrable and certain, that from the middle of the century the , whatever tone might be assumed or principles avowed by individual members, was never once able to make its pretended rights good against the
|crown,--nay more, that as a body it never once persisted in the attempt to do so till the year , when it did indeed carry its resistance to the royal domination as far as was possible, but was nevertheless in the end completely foiled and defeated. The facts that establish this position are not a few insulated or selected instances, but the entire stream of our parliamentary history during the period in question. If therefore the had ever, as is pretended, been able to set the crown at defiance in earlier times, it had lost that power for many years before the Long Parliament met; and, if we find the power ever after in existence and constant exercise, it must have been the Long Parliament that at least recovered it from abeyance and secured it from being ever again lost or called in question, The Revolution of itself, indeed, was the legacy of the Grand Rebellion, or rather that, and not the Restoration, was the true completion of the long contest of which what is called the Rebellion was the stage. But for the war, not of mere words but of arms, waged by the parliament against the prerogative in the middle of the century, we should not have had the easy, bloodless settlement of the constitution at its close. And the Revolution of , if it did not enlarge what are properly called the privileges of the , no doubt greatly augmented the real power and importance of that branch of the legislature, were it only by the blow which it struck at the great rival power of the prerogative. If Charles II. no longer ventured to throw the members into prison when they uttered anything that displeased him, as had been done by his father and his grandfather, yet he exercised the right of interfering with the deliberations of the House by dissolutions and prorogations to an extent incompatible with the exercise of any effective control over public affairs by the representatives of the people. The great fundamental principle of the responsibility of the ministers of the crown to parliament had as yet been but ineffectually asserted. In the establishment of this principle, more than in anything else, consisted the popular victory that was gained at the Revolution. And the principle was established mainly by the shock, or rather complete explosion, that was then given to the old notion of divine right in the crown--a notion which what was done at the Restoration -and- years before had rather helped to extend and strengthen. The Revolution, if it was nothing more, was at least emphatically a protest against that absurd and pernicious pretension.|
From this date the popular branch of the legislature has continued on the whole to acquire more and more the ascendency in the Constitution, and the war of politics has been chiefly carried on in the . The great days of that House, however, as an arena of debate, scarcely began till towards the close of the long administration of Sir Iobert Walpole, or about the year . At least we have no full or tolerably satisfactory record of the debates before that date. The fierce contests between Walpole and his opponents, Windham, Pulteney, and others, had indeed for some years before this time attracted much attention to the proceedings of the House, and they had been regularly reported every month both in the Gentleman's and the London Magazine, the former of which publications commenced in , the latter in ; but no attempt can be said to have been made to convey more than the substance of the speeches till that department of the Gentleman's Magazine was confided to
|Samuel Johnson in . Johnson, indeed, appears to have given his readers more of his own eloquence than of what had actually been uttered in parliament; but still what he did was in all probability only to substitute kind of eloquence for another, a better for a worse, or, it might be, sometimes a worse for a better-and therefore on the whole the speeches written by him, though less true to the letter than those given by his predecessors, may be received as a more living, and as such a truer, representation of the real debates than had ever before been produced. He would not take the trouble, or be guilty of the absurdity, of expending his rhetoric upon the version of a debate or a speech which had not really excited attention by that quality, but, we may suppose, would reserve his strength for occasions on which those who had heard, or heard of, the original oration would look for something more brilliant than usual. But the history of the , considered as a theatre of debate, and viewed in connection with the subject of reporting is far too large to be entered upon now. After what we may call the age of Walpole and Pulteney comes that of the William Pitt and his great compeers-then|
|that, the most splendid of all, of Burke, and Fox, and North, and the other great orators whose speeches illustrate the period of the war of Colonial Independence, --then that of the younger Pitt, and Sheridan, and the rest, with Burke for a time still among them, and Fox still longer, which was at its brightest at the time of the breaking out of the French Revolution, and which reaches down almost to our own time. It is of the affectations of the philosophism of the day to speak with a sort of contempt of those bygone eras of our parliamentary history as times of mere talk instead of action, when the blaze of eloquence that was kept up in the was offered to the public admiration as a substitute for the whole business of good government. We look upon such a representation of the matter as blatant stupidity or more despicable cant. We believe that that patriotic spirit which is at once the life and moral sense of a nation will never be kept alive, as it never yet has been among any people, savage or civilized, in the direction of whose public affairs the power of eloquence has not a large share; and we are sure that this influence could not be put down without its place being supplied by others far less generous in character and far more dangerous in their effects.|
We have thus rapidly traced the gradual rise of the from the humble position which it appears to have originally occupied as a mere convention of delegates from the towns and rural districts assembled by the King when he wanted to lay on a new tax, rather to take his instructions as to its amount and the manner in which it was to be levied than either to dispute or deliberate upon the demand,--through the long period during which it carried on a more or less determined struggle with the Crown and the other House for independence, if not co-ordinate authority-down to the era when, having successfully asserted its theoretical equality with each of those other branches of the legislature, it has come not only to be decidedly the controlling body in the state, but almost, we may say, to have absorbed the whole powers of government. It is worthy of remark, nevertheless, that, while the influence of the as a power in the state has been constantly increasing throughout the last century and a half, what are called the privileges of the House and of its members have been rather undergoing curtailment during that space of time. Now that the House has been placed beyond the reach of attack from either the Lords or the Crown, several of the rights which it formerly claimed and was allowed to exercise have been felt to be no longer necessary for the due performance of its functions, and wherever they have pressed inconveniently upon individuals or the public a disposition has been shown to cut them down-so that now, after having adjusted its position in relation to the other powers of the government, it would seem that the people's House had a controversy of the same kind with the people themselves--a controversy, we may add, in which it is as sure to be the party that shall have to yield as in the nature of things it was certain to be successful in its previous struggles. In so far, however, as this last contest has yet gone, the House has never given up an inch of ground without having made considerable resistance. It was not, for instance, till after a war of many years, and a most furious fight at the end, that the great right of reporting the debates in Parliament was gained by the public. It is little more than a century since nothing that was spoken in the House
| was suffered to be printed till after the parliament in which it was spoken had been dissolved; or at least any earlier publication was denounced by the House as a daring act of illegality. On the , the House resolved, |
The monthly magazines, notwithstanding, still continued to report the debates, although for some time they took the precaution of indicating the speakers by fictitious appellations, to which they furnished their readers with a key when the House was no longer extant to call them to account. But it was not till the beginning of the year that the debates began to be given to the public day by day as they occurred; and then the attempt gave rise to a contest between the House and the newspapers which occupied the House to the exclusion of all other business for weeks-when a committee was appointed, whose report, when it was read months after, recommending whether it might not be expedient to order that the offending parties should be taken into the custody of the sergeant-at-arms, Mr. Burke aptly compared to the decision of the assembly of mice, who came to a resolution that the cat, to prevent her doing any more mischief, should be tied up, but unfortunately forgot to say how the operation was to be managed. Another still longer contest maintained by the House against the public regarded the privilege which was formerly asserted to belong to members not only of freedom from personal arrest but even from being subjected to actions at law in civil cases, nay of being protected from having such actions brought even against their servants and tenants. These extraordinary claims continued to be upheld and occasionally put in force by the House, till they were finally taken away by statute no longer ago than in the year . But of the most singular contests in which the House ever was involved was that-which it had to wage about the middle of the last century in support of the right it assumed to compel such delinquents as it called to its bar, whether in order to receive judgment, or to be discharged out of custody, to fall down upon their knees and to remain in that degrading attitude while the Speaker was addressing them. In , a Mr. Alexander Murray, brother of Lord Elibank, having incurred the hot displeasure of the House, or of the faction that happened to be in the ascendant, by something he had done, or was charged with having done, at a recent election, it was voted that he should be sent close prisoner to Newgate, and, further, that he should be brought to the bar to receive his sentence on his knees. Horace Walpole has told the story with all gusto in his
The prisoner having been removed, a warm debate ensued, the Speaker telling them that if a party might behave thus with impunity there was an end of the dignity and power of the House. member proposed that the refractory delinquent should be kept in Newgate without pen, ink, and paper; another hinted that it might be well to send him to the dungeon called Little Ease in the Tower; a would have had an act of parliament passed for the special punishment of such audacious conduct. At last, after naming a Committee to consider the matter, the House adjourned at near o'clock in the morning. This was on the . Murray lay in Newgate till the , when he was brought up by habeas corpus to the King's Bench; but, of the Judges allowing the validity of a commitment by the , he was remanded to prison. But the instant the parliament was prorogued, on the , a number of his friends accompanied the sheriffs to Newgate, and bringing him away conducted him in triumph to his own house. On the , a few days after the parliament had re-assembled, it was again moved and carried after a long debate that Murray should still be brought to receive his sentence on his knees--Mr. Pelham, the prime minister, observing, that, if the House had not all the authority it wished, it ought at least to exert all it had. But a few days after, when the sergeant-at-arms was called in to make his report, he informed the House that the object of their vengeance had absconded. A reward of was then voted for his apprehension; but he was never taken; the exaction of the ceremony of kneeling by the House was attended with considerable awkwardness from this time forward; and at length on the , a standing order (so called with a double appropriateness) was made, that when any person was brought to the bar as a delinquent he should receive the judgment of the House .
observes Hatsell, with becoming official solemnity,
[n.84.1] In a speech made in Richard Cromwell's parliament on the 7th of February, 1659, Hazlerig said:-- The King demanded five members by his Attorney-General. He then came personally to the House, with five hundred men at his heels, and sat in your chair. It pleased God to hide those members. I shall never forget the kindness of that great lady, the Lady Carlisle, that gave timely notice. Yet some of them were in the House after the notice came. It was questioned if, for the safety of the House, they should be gone; but the debate was shortened, and it was thought fit for them in discretion to withdraw. Mr. Hampden and myself, being then in the House, withdrew. Away we went. The King immediately came in, and was in the House before we got to the water. --Burton's Diary, iii. 93. According to this account Hampden and Hazlerig would appear to have been the only two of the five members actually in the House when the news arrived that his Majesty was coming. But Strode at any rate must also have been present. Clarendon's statement, that all the accused members had withdrawn from the House about half an hour before the King came thither, is clearly incorrect.
[n.89.1] But Hazlerig, in his speech on the 7th of February, 1659, gave a different account :-- Our General told us we should sit no longer to cheat the people. The Speaker, a stout man, was not willing to go. He was so noble, that he frowned, and said he would not go out of the chair till he was plucked out; which was quickly done, without much compliment, by two soldiers, and the mace taken. --Burton, iii. 98. In a speech delivered in the same parliament a few days after, a Mr. Reynolds said :-- Persons came to the door. One came in, and sweetly and kindly took your predecessor by the hand, and led him out of the chair. I say, sweetly and gently. But Ludlow's account is corroborated by Whitelock, who says:--The Speaker not stirring from his seat, Colonel Harrison, who sat near the chair, rose up, and took him by the arm, to remove him from his chair, which when the Speaker saw he left his chair..--Memorials, p. 554.
 They that say, Set not up a King or House of Lords, for God has poured contempt upon them, let me retort upon them, said one of the speakers, Major-General Haines, in the parliament of 1677-8. God has also poured contempt upon a Commonwealth. Was there so much as one drop of blood when it went out? Nay, I am confident it did extinguish with the least noise that ever Commonwealth did.--Burton, iv. 416.
 That our account of this remarkable affair may be as complete as possible, we add the very curious relation given in the Diary of the Earl of Liecester, the father of Algernon Sidney, as published in the Sydney Papers, edited by R. W. Blencowe, 8vo. Lond. 1825. It contains several particulars not elsewhere noticed, and was no doubt principally derived from the information of Sidney, who, it will be seen, was present. The parliament sitting as usual, and being in debate upon the bill with the amendments, which it was thought. would have been passed that day, the Lord General Cromwell came into the House, clad in plain black clothes and grey worsted stockings, and sate down, as he used to do, in an ordinary place. After a while he rose up, put off his hat, and spake. At the first, and for a good while, he spake to the commendation of the parliament for their pains and care of the public good; but afterwards he changed his style, told them of their injustice, delays of justice, self-interest, and other faults; then he said, Perhaps you think this is not parliamentary language: I confess it is not; neither are you to expect any such from me. Then he put on his hat, went out of his place, and walked up and down the stage or floor in the middest of the House with his hat on his head, and chid them soundly, looking sometimes, and pointing particularly, upon some persons, as Sir R, Whitelock, one of throne of his ancestors, within a few weeks after the Long Parliament thus ceased to exist, and much of the old oppressive power of prerogative was brought back along with the Commissioners of the Great Seal, Sir Henry Vane, to whom he gave very sharp language, though he named them not, but by his gestures it was well known that he meant them. After this he said to Colonel Harrison (who was a member of the House), Call them in. Then Harrison went out, and presently brought in Lieutenant- Colonel Wortley (who commanded the General's own regiment of foot), with five or six files of musqueteers, about twenty or thirty, with their musquets. Then the General, pointing to the Speaker in his chair, said to Harrison, Fetch him down. Harrison went to the Speaker, and spoke to him to come down, but the Speaker sate still and said nothing. Take him down, said the General. Then Harrison went, and pulled the Speaker by the gown, and he came down. It happened that day that Algernon Sidney sate next to the Speaker on the right hand: the General said to Harrison, Put him out; Harrison spake to Sidney to go out, but he said he would not go out, and sate still. The General said again, Put him out; then Harrison and Wortley put their hands upon Sidney's shoulders, as if they would force him to go out: then he rose, and went towards the door. Then the General went to the table where the mace lay, which used to be carried before the Speaker, and said, Take away those baubles. So the soldiers took away the mace, and all the House went out; and at the going out they say the General said to young Sir Henry Vane, calling him by his name, that he might have prevented this extraordinary course, but he was a juggler, and had not so much as common honesty. All being gone out, the door of the House was locked, and the key, with the mace, was carried away, as I heard, by Colonel Otley. The contradictions as to many little points in these various accounts of Ludlow, Whitelock, and Leicester, strikingly show the confusion and bewilderment into which those present were thrown. In the encounter between Cromwell and Vane, for instance, what was said about common honesty was apparently supposed by some of the hearers to have been spoken by the former, while others thought the words proceeded from the latter.
[n.90.1] Several Proceedings in Parliament, No. 186.
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|CHAPTER XXVI: The Building of St. Paul's|
|XXVII: The College of Physicians|
|CHAPTER XXVIII: The Priory and Church of St. Bartholomew|
|CHAPTER XXIX: The Priory and Church of St. Bartholomew (concluded from No. XXVIII)|
|CHAPTER XXX: The House of Commons. No. 1|
|CHAPTER XXXI: The House of Commons. No. 2|
|CHAPTER XXXII: Milton's London|
|CHAPTER XXXIII: The Charter House|
|CHAPTER XXXIV: St. John's Gate|
|CHAPTER XXXV: The Strand|
|CHAPTER XXXVI: The Strand (concluded from No. XXXV)|
|CHAPTER XXXVII: London Antiquaries|
|CHAPTER XXXVIII: The Tower. No. 1, The Progress of the Edifice|
|CHAPTER XXXIX: The Tower. No. 2, The Palace|
|CHAPTER XL: The Tower. No. 3, The Prison|
|CHAPTER XLI: The Tower. No. 4, The Arsenal and Fortress|
|CHAPTER XLII: The Tower. No. 5, The Armoury|
|CHAPTER XLIII: The old Royal Exchange and its Founder|
|CHAPTER XLIV: The Royal Exchange and the South-Sea House (concluded from No. XLIII)|
|CHAPTER XLV: Smithfield|
|CHAPTER XLVI: Christ's Hospital|
|CHAPTER XLVII: Some Features of London Life of Last Century|
|CHAPTER XLVIII: St. James's Palace|
|CHAPTER XLIX: Spitalfields|
|CHAPTER L: The Custom House|