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rigour throughout the kingdom, as if an act had passed for that purpose; and divers gentlemen of prime quality were, for refusing to pay the same, committed to prison with great rigour and extraordinary circumstances. And could it be imagined, that those men would meet again in a free parliament, without a sharp and severe expostulation, and inquisition into their own right, and the power that had imposed upon that right? And yet all these provocations, and many other almost of as large an extent, prodaced no other resentment than the petition of right, of no prejudice to the crown, which was likewise purchased at the price of five subsidies more; and in a very short time after that supply was granted, that parliament was likewise, with strange circumstances of passion on all sides, dissolved."-Clarend. Vol. I.
Let us hear this noble lord farther laying open the intolerable oppressions of the court, and the sources of the civil war.
Supplemental acts of state were made to supply defects of law; and so tonnage and poundage, and other duties, were collected by order of council
, which had been positively refused to be settled by act of parliament, and new and greater impositions laid upon trade. For the better support of these extraordinary ways, and to protect the agents and instruments employed in them, and to discountenance and suppress all bold inquiries and opposers, the council-table and star-chamber (two arbitrary and oppressive courts) enlarge their jurisdiction to a vast extent: holding for honourable that which pleased; and for just that which profited: and being the same persons in several rooms, grew both courts of law to determine right, and courts of revenue to bring money into the treasury: the council-table by proclamations en
joining the people what was not enjoined by the law, and prohibiting that which was not prohibited; and the star-chamber censuring the breach and disobedience of these proclamations by very great fines and imprisonment; so that any disrespect to any acts of state, or to the persons of statesmen, was in no time more penal: and those foundations of right by which men valued their security, to the apprehension and understanding of wise men, never more in danger to be destroyed.”—Clarend. Vol. 1. p. 67, 68, 69.
" There was continual occasion to use violence; to seize the effects and to imprison the merchants, in order to oblige them to pay what the house of commons had declared illegal. The officers of the customs were impowered by the council to enter into any ship, vessel or house, and to search any trunk or chest, and break any bulk whatsoever, in default of the payment of customs.
This had never been practised before: and these officers, under colour of searching, used a great many oppressions and rogueries, which made people exclaim the more.-"Rapin, Vol. x. p. 248, 249.
“ He sent letters under his privy seal into the several counties of England, directed to such persons as he thought best able to lend; requiring by way
of loan such sums as each was taxed at." This loan a noble army of patriots bravely refused to pay, and severely suffered for it.
“ Sir Thomas Wentworth, Sir Walter Earle, Sir John Strangeways, Sir Thomas Grantham, Sir Jobo Elliot &c. with many others in the whole 22 knights, and other gentlemen of birth and character, to the number of 78) were imprisoned in the Marshalsea, Fleet, Gate-house, and other prisons, in counties most distant from their seats, for refusing to lend what money the council was pleased to assess them. Sir Peter Hayman, one of the barons of the Cinque Ports, for refusing compliance to the loan, was sent to serve (as a soldier) in the Palatinate. Sir Randal Crew, chief justice, not favouring the loan, was put out of his place.”—Hist. Stu. p. 90, 92.-Whitelock's Mem. p. 8.
“ The reluctancy of private persons made the government more severe in the execution of the project, and that severity made the people more averse."--Echard, p. 430. “ Those of the lower sort who refused to lend were pressed for the army, or had soldiers quartered on them; who by their insolent behaviour disturbed the peace of families, and committed frequent robberies, burglaries, rapines, murders, and other barbarous cruelties; insomuch that the highways were dangerous to travel, and the markets unfrequented: officers of justice in performance of their duties were resisted and endangered : tradesmen, artificers, and farmers were forced to leave their trades, and give up their wonted dwellings, and to employ their time in preserving themselves and families from cruelty." —Neal, Vol. 11. p. 173.- Rapin, Vol. x. p. 149.-To the imposing of loans, was added the billetting of soldiers ; martial law was executed, and the soldiers committed great outrages.”— Whitelock, p. 8.
An order was made in council for the imprisonment of those who refused to pay coat and conduct money; and several aldermen of London were committed to prison, for refusing to give in the names of such persons as were able to lend the king money.”—Tindal's Sum. p. 122. pists were forward in the loan, the puritans were recusants in it."-Whitelock, Mem. p. 8.
“ At this time the Earl of Denbigh, the adıniral, had an hundred sail of ships under his command in our seas, but his excellency having no
“ The pa
commission to fight, suffered divers English vessels to be taken away by our enemies, in his view, without rescue by their countrymen."--Ibid.
“ Besides the loan, there was a benevolence also required; another way of forcing the people to give a free gift. The bishop of Lincoln was prosecuted in the star-chamber for speaking against it".--Hist. Stu. p. 90. “ The king or dered that the counties should advance coat and conduct money, for the maintenance of his troops. He would have borrowed 300,000 pounds of the city of London, but had the mortification to meet with a denial. He was so displeased at it, that he resolved to be revenged in this manner: a grant, made by the king in the beginning of his reign, in consideration of great sums of money, of good quantities of land in Ireland, and of the city of London-derry there, was voided by a suit in the star-chamber. All the lands, after a vast expence in building and planting, were resumed into the king's hands, and a fine of fifty thousand pounds imposed upon the city."-Clarend. Vol. 11. p. 372. “ He fined also the city in 1500 marks for neglecting to make inquisition about the death of one Dr. Lamb, who passed for a conjurer, employed by the Duke of Buckingham, whom the mob had pursued from street to street, and who died a few days after."-Rapin, Vol. x. p. 257. He granted a commission to twenty three lords and others to raise money by impositions in the nature of excise.” -Echard, p. 434 “ When the parliament, anno 1627, met, they debate about grievances, of billetting of soldiers, loans, benevolences, privy seals, imprisonment of refusers, not bailing them upon habeas corpus, and incline to give no supply, till these are redressed."--IV hitelock. Mem. p. 9.
But the tax which of all others was most grievous to the subject, and raised the greatest clamour, was that which was called ship-MONEY. “ The king, by his answer to the Petition of Right, had bound himself not to raise any tax without the consent of both houses. But expedients to evade the most solemn promises are seldom wanting, when men have power in their hands."--Rapin, Vol. x. p. 284.
“ For a spring and magazine” (says Lord Clarendon) " that should have no bottom, and for an everlasting supply of all occasions, a writ was framed in a a form of law, and directed to the sheriff of every county in England, to provide a ship of war for the king's service ; and to send it amply provided and fitted, by such a day, to such a place; and with that writ were sent to every sheriff instructions, that instead of a ship, he should levy upon his county such a sum OF MONEY, and return the same to the treasurer of the navy for his majesty's use; with direction in what manner he should proceed (viz. by distress and imprisonment) against such as refused. And from hence that tax had the denomination of ship money; by which for some years really accrued the yearly sum of 200,0001. to the king's coffers.” Clarend. Vol. 1. p. 68.
“ This tax being imposed by virtue of the prerogative power, several private persons refused to pay the sums they were rated at.-- But the king considering that by the help of this tax he should have a settled revenue, besides that it would be a precedent to make use of his prerogative on other occasions, resolved to support his project at any rate. To that end, he sent to the judges of the realm for their opinion concerning his power to impose this tax. As the judges wholly depended upon the court, after much solicitation by the chief justice Finch, promising preferment to some, and highly threatning others whom he found doubts