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trouble ourselves with disputes about a constitution, franchises, property of goods, and the like? What may any man call his own, if not the liberty of his person? I am weary of treading these ways." Sir Thomas Wentworth, after reprobating the folly and the tyranny of the ministers, added, "These have introduced a privy council, ravishing, at once, the spheres of all ancient government, destroying all liberty, imprisoning us without bail or bond. They have taken from us-what shall I say? Indeed, what have they left us? By tearing up the roots of all property, they have taken from us every means of supplying the king, and of ingratiating ourselves, by voluntary proofs of our duty and attachment towards him. To the making whole all these breaches, I shall apply myself; and to all these diseases, shall propound a remedy. By one and the same thing have the king and the people been hurt, and by the same must they be cured. We must vindicate-what? New things? No; our ancient, legal, and vital liberties, by reinforcing the laws enacted by our ancestors; by setting such a stamp upon them, that no licentious spirit shall dare, henceforth, to invade them. And shall we think this a way to break a parliament? No; our desires are moderate and just. I speak both for the interest of the king and people. If we enjoy not these rights, it will be impossible for us to relieve him. Let us, therefore, never doubt of a favourable reception from his goodness." How superior was such native and spontaneous eloquence to the mechanical speech-making of modern times!
It may be perceived, however, that the language of Wentworth, though bold and manly, is of a less republican cast than that of Philips, and more favourable to the king. In fact, in less than a year from the date of these memorable harangues, his opinions underwent a total change, and he became as firm a pillar of the throne, as
he had before been strenuous on the popular side. Whether he suspected his former associates of already aiming at the subversion of the regal government, a measure productive only of anarchy and confusion, or whether he was unable to resist the flattering offers of the court, are points which, at this distance of time, it is not easy to develope. It has always been the maxim of princes, whenever popular leaders encroach too much on royal autho rity, to confer offices on them, in expectation that they will afterwards become more careful not to diminish that power which has become their own. But the views of the king were at that time so repugnant to those of the puritans, that the leaders whom he gained, lost from that moment, all interest with their party, and were even pursued as traitors with implacable hatred and resentment. Thus it was with Wentworth, when Charles created him Baron, then Viscount Wentworth, and finally, Earl of Strafford; appointed him president of the council of York, and deputy of Ireland, and regarded him as his chief minister and counsellor. By his talents and abilities, Strafford merited all the confidence which his master reposed in him. His character was stately and austere, more adapted to procure esteem than love. His fidelity to the king was unshaken, but as he now employed all his counsels in supporting that prerogative which he had formerly so strenuously endeavoured to lessen, his public virtue seems not to have been entirely pure, but to have been susceptible of strong impressions from private interest and personal ambition.
Ireland was the theatre on which he principally displayed the resources of his genius, and rendered the most essential services to his sovereign. His lieutenancy, which continued eight years, was marked by vigilance, activity, and prudence: he paid off a large arrear due before his arrival, and discharged all the salaries, civil and
military, besides advancing considerable sums to the king, without any charge to England. He restored the rights of the church, he established English laws, reformed the army, discharged the debts of the crown, secured the seas, and paid the utmost attention to commerce and trade. But unfortunately, these measures, however salutary and praise-worthy, were not attended with popularity. In a nation so averse to the English government and religion, his very virtues were sufficient to draw on him the public hatred. The manners and character of this great man, though to all full of courtesy, and to his friends affectionate and endearing, were in general, rigid, haughty, and severe. His authority and influence, during the period of his government, were unlimited; but no sooner had adversity seized him, than the concealed aversion of the nation blazed up at once, and the Irish parliament used every expedient to aggravate the charges, which he was soon fated to encounter.
From this unenviable, though honourable post, he was summoned, in 1639, by the king, to assist him in his design of subduing the Scots. In the management of the affairs of Scotland, the conduct of Charles had been marked by weakness and inconsistency: yielding when he ought to have commanded; issuing the most arbitrary edicts, without providing himself with the means of enforcing them, he alternately excited terror and contempt. With all the respect due to his private virtues, with all the compassion which his melancholy fate exacts from those who peruse the disastrous annals of his reign, it is impossible wholly to clear him from those charges of insincerity, and even dissimulation, which were so frequently urged against him. When, at length, the increasing disturbances of the north compelled him to raise an army for the support of his authority, such was his comparative penury, that he was obliged to have recourse to a mode
of supply which must have been extremely grating to a generous mind. He was under the necessity of borrowing large sums from his ministers and courtiers, and so much was he beloved by them, that the loan greatly exceeded his expectation. By these means he was enabled to raise an army of 19,000 foot, and 2000 horse, of which the Earl of Strafford, assuming a military character, was appointed lieutenant-general under the Earl of Northumberland. But some trifling successes of the Scotch covenanters dispirited the royal forces, and compelled the king, against the opinion of Strafford, to consent to a proposal for a treaty and suspension of arms. That high-spirited nobleman, who possessed more vigour of mind than the king or any of his council, advised him to put all to the hazard of a battle, rather than submit to such unworthy terms as were likely to be imposed upon him; "for, should your majesty," he observed, “even be defeated, nothing worse can befal you, than what, from your inactivity, you will certainly feel." These prophetic words seem to have been dictated by the most infallible of all inspirations, that intuitive discernment of a penetrating genius, habituated to the contemplation of human affairs, which enables it to look into futurity. But Charles, in despair of being able to stem the torrent, resolved to yield to it, and for once, refused to follow the more spirited, and perhaps, more prudent advice of his minister.
But it was the fate of Strafford to atone, in his own person, for all the errors and misfortunes of his unhappy sovereign. By a concurrence of accidents, he laboured under the severe hatred of all the three nations which composed the British monarchy. The Scots, whose authority now ran extremely high, considered him as the capital enemy of their country, and one whose counsels and influence they had most reason to apprehend. He had engaged the parliament of Ireland to ad
vance large subsidies, in order to support a war against them; he had levied an army of 9000 men, with which he had menaced all their western coast. He had compelled the Scots, who lived under his government, to renounce the covenant; he had proclaimed the covenanters traitors and rebels, even before the king had issued any declaration against them in England; and he had dissuaded his master against a treaty and suspension of arms, which he looked upon as dangerous and dishonourable. We have already seen, that in Ireland his personal deportment had rendered him exceedingly unpopular, notwithstandthe vigour, the wisdom, and the success of his public measures. In England, the discontent and fury of the puritans was universal and loud against him, though without any particular reason, except his being the minister of state, whom the king most favoured and trusted. His extraction was too honourable, his private fortune too considerable, for them to attribute his devotion to the service of his master, to motives less worthy than those of loyalty and attachment. But envy had attended his sudden and splendid elevation. His former associates, finding that he owed his advancement to the desertion of their cause, represented him as the great apostate of the common wealth, whom it behoved them to sacrifice as a victim to public justice. With malignant and unrelenting perseverance, they attacked, and finally destroyed the seceder from their own violent and pernicious counsels, rather than the minister, whose uncommon vigour and capacity extorted their esteem.
The genius of Strafford appears, at length, to have sunk under this accumulated odium and injustice. He would willingly have returned to Ireland, to shelter his head from the danger which menaced it; but his talents were too necessary for the king's service, in the critical session of parliament which now approached, In vain did he repre