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wont to imagine; there being in societies natural causes producing their necessary effects, as well a3 in the earth or the air. Hence, the troubles of the times are not to be attributed wholly to wilfulness or faction ; neither to the misgovernment of the prince, nor the stubbornness of the people; but to a change in the balance of property, which, since Henry the Seventh's time, has been daily falling into the scale of the Commons, from that of the king and the Lords.” This change of balance, arising from the progress of arts and civilized manners, was further promoted by the union of the crowns, which, by inducing greater peace and security, gave an increased activity to trade and manufactures. The sovereign's revenue, like that of the nobles and originally rich, became more and more inadequate to his expenditure; an effect which was still further augmented by the increased commerce and connections of men, which required a greater number of officers, in the departments of aduninistration. There were, besides, particular causes, which, in the reigns of James and Charles 'contributed to diminish the revenue of the crown. Elizabeth, to avoid the unpopularity of imposing additional burthens upon her subjects, had alienated a portion of the crown lands; and that part of the revenue payable in money, from the increase of the precious metals since the discovery
of America, was debased. The ordinary funds of government were, therefore, inconsiderable; and the executive was obliged to be maintained from extraordinary contributions.
Another important consequence of the progress of arts and refinement was, the gradual substitution of meroenary troops for the feudal militia, which, in the reign of James I, was entirely superseded. This change in the military system had a tendency to increase the power of the sovereign to a dangerous degree, but, at the same tiine, to multiply his necessities; and as all money bills were in the hands of the Commons, whose opulence had generated a spirit of independence and a jealousy of regal encroachment, they refused to grant him supplies, without first insisting on the redress of grievances.
Thus the opulence and independence of the Commons tended to produce a popular government, and the introduction of mercenary aruries to aggrandize the crown. Hence the contest between the king and people; the one to extend his prerogative, the other to augment their privileges.
In most of the other European kingdoms the employment of mercenaries led to despotism ; and James and Charles I, ambitious of being upon a level with their neighbours, and not estimating properly their great difference of situation,
arising chiefly from' the insular situation of their doininions, had embraced the same despotical principles as the other princes of Europe. An army was wanting to support their claims; but, from the insular security of Britain, they had no plausible pretext for keeping on foot such a number of mercenaries; and such claims served the more to stimulate the jealousy of the Commons, who compelled the king to stoop to such concessions, and to suffer such barriers to be erected, as were thought necessary to secure the constitution.
The transactions of the two first parliaments of Charles exhibited nearly the same view of the controversy as those of the preceding reign. On the opening of the third parliament he no longer disguised his despotical principles ; and from his lofty and imperious language, and the abuses discovered in every department of royal authority, the nation was convinced that it was his deliberate purpose to establish an uncontrouled power in the crown. The parliament magnanimously determined therefore, with steady resolution, to defend their privileges and the liberties of the people. Hence originated the famous Petition of Right, which collected the grievances of the nation into one view, and stated distinctly the acknowledged limitations of the prerogative, and the un. disputed rights of the people. The tendency of
this bill was evidently to prevent future disputes upon the points specified.
From the dissolution of this parliament, in 1629, Charles resolved to rule without a parliament. Wentworth was now gained over froun the Commons, and despotism, was systematized., All the instances of abuse and tyranny before complained of were now, during a period of eleven years, acted over and over again. All the powers, of government were vested in the crown; and rights and privileges were absorbed by prerogaz tive. It was during this period, that the illegalimposition of ship-money called forth the noble. Hampden in defence of his country's rights.
But the measures which contributed most to, rouse the indignation, and the invincible opposition of the nation, were the innovations in religion. By the new ecclesiastical canons of Laud, which enjoined a stricter discipline, and a more absolute authority in the higher churchmen, Charles hoped to manage the church and through her the nation : and the court of star-chamber and high-commission were ready to punish both clergy and laity who refused compliance, in the minutest point, with these rules. To prevent all publications, which inveighed against the usurpations of churchmen, or contained any insinuations against the measures of government, the liberty of the press was invaded. In 1637, the.
star-chamber issued a decree, that the printers of the kingdom should be limited to a certain number, and that no book should be printed without'a licence, or imported for sale without the inspection of persons employed for the purpose. This deeree was enforced by inhuman penalties. But barbarous punishments-mutilations disgraceful to à civilized age-were insufficient to smother the indignant clamours of the people. Yet, it is to these religious disputes-to this obstinate fanatical spirit of the sectaries, blending itself with the love of liberty, we are indebted even for the freedom we now enjoy.
It may be proper, here, to give a very brief account of the theological parties and their respective principles, which then divided and agitated the state.
The reformation, by setting free the minds of men from the leaden tyranny of Rome, and by opening the Bible to all, broke the world into sects. But for long after the reformation, the catholics were the common objects of hatred and opposition to all the seetaries. When this extreme terror of popery had somewhat subsided, as was the case during the long reign of Elizabeth, the sectaries, still zealous to reform and purity their religion, directed their opposition against the church of England, which of all churches the most resembled the catholic stock. The church of England