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• what mischief must needs follow so great an injustice; that ' things carried so far on in a wrong way, must needs either enslave 'themselves and their posterity for ever, or require a vindication . so sharp and smarting, as that the nation would groan under it. Another sort of men, and especially lords and gentlemen, by whom the pressures of the government were not much felt, who enjoyed their own plentiful fortunes, with little or insen'sible detriment, looking no farther than their present safety
and property, and the yet undisturbed peace of the nation, whilst other kingdoms were embroiled in calamities, and Germany sadly wasted by a sharp war, did nothing but applaud the happiness of England, and called them ungrateful ' and factious spirits who complained of the breach of laws and
liberties. The kingdom, they said, abounded with wealth, ' plenty, and all kind of elegancies, more than ever. That it was for the honor of a people that the monarch should live splendidly, and not be curbed at all in his prerogative, which • would bring him into the greater esteem with other princes, • and more enable him to prevail in treaties. That what they ' suffered by monopolies was insensible, and not grievous, if
compared with other states. That the Duke of Tuscany sat 'heavier upon his people in that very kind. That the French • king had made himself an absolute lord, and quite depressed
the power of parliaments, which had been there as great as in any kingdom, and yet that France flourished, and the gentry • lived well. That the Austrian princes, especially in Spain, laid heavy burdens on their subjects. The courtiers would ' begin to dispute against parliaments in their ordinary dis
course, and hope the king should never need any more parlia'ments.
Some of the gravest statesmen and privy counsellors would ordinarily laugh at the ancient language of England 'when the word “liberty of the subject was named.'*
So readily, good reader, could the Tories of that age find out excuses for being reconciled to the assimilation of the free government of our noble country to the servile models supplied by France, Tuscany, and Spain! But the meeting of the Long Parliament put an end to this reign of Toryism. Twenty years of comparative adversity now awaited it. At the close of that period it rose again to power. Men said that the exiled Charles Stuart had profited greatly by his signal trials; and it was hoped that the party restored with him had not been without learning something in the school of experience. But the prince of whom so many fine things had been reported, proved to be a hopeless profligate ; and the party from whom so much better
* May's History of the Long Parliament.
things were hoped, became too much intent on avenging the past to think of mending their ways for the future. The grimace of conferences between the bishops and the delegates from different sects, about toleration, and the granting ease, according to the royal promise, 'to tender consciences, ended in the Act of Uniformity, which the magnanimous prelates, and that full image of Torvism, Clarendon, had so devised as to shut up the Furitan clergy to the alternative of subjecting themselves to the miseries of want, by a relinquishment of their livings, or of becoming conformists at the cost of their reputation as honest men. Two thousand of the beneficed clergy made the better choice. Then came, in succession, the Corporation Act, the Conventicle Act, and the Five Mile Act-all framed to restrict the possession of civil offices, in every grade, to Episcopalians, utterly to suppress freedom of worship, and to put an end even to private intercourse between the ejected clergy and the flocks from the oversight of which they had been so cruelly expelled. By these means also it was secured, that no nonconformist minister should obtain subsistence in the capacity of a schoolmaster; and the manner in which all these objects were prosecuted for many a long year, and in the case of hundreds and even thousands of men of whom the world was not worthy, was so harassing and oppressive, as to add, in a multitude of instances, the loss of life itself to the penalties of fine and imprisonment.
This was the second period in which it pleased providence that our nation should be left to the tender mercies of Toryism. Space was thus again afforded to it, that it might do after its own heart, and these are the things which were then done. Men were again permitted to judge of this system, and of the party adhering to it, by their fruit, and were left without excuse if they should ever trust in either again.
Towards the middle of the reign of Charles the Second, the principles of our free constitution began to regain something of their former power, both in the senate and through the nation. The Duke of York, the heir presumptive to the throne, was a Tory, a Catholic, and a bigot. Charles himself had been a party with the duke in a series of secret negotiations with the court of Versailles, the object of which was the destruction of the whole fabric of English liberty, and the setting up of the Catholic religion in the place of the Protestant. The Whigs were not acquainted with these intrigues in their whole extent, but they knew enough to force upon them suspicion and alarm, and to warrant vigorous precaution. Hence the Exclusion Bill, which went to put aside the Duke of York, on the ground of his being a Catholic, and as such incompetent to act as the head of an ecclesiastical establishment strictly Protestant. The power of the principles embodied in the Exclusion Bill was deeply felt for a considerable period in every department of the government, and through the nation. But, after a while, it became manifest that the Whig leaders had pushed their principles too far in advance of the spirit of the times. Reaction began to show itself in some quarters. Those who had not changed, but had been awed into comparative silence by the force of the popular sentiment, now resumed much of their wonted speech and action, and the third reign of Toryism in our history came on-and a reign of terror assuredly it was ! In the language of Lord Russell
, the devil was again 'loose, and the scent of
blood was not distant. The first direct attack made was on the city of London. The citizens had given great offence by their uncourtly proceedings in relation to the Popish Plot and the Exclusion Bill, and by their remonstrances in favor of parliaments and liberty. In common with London, all the cities and boroughs of the kingdom were regarded as so many normal schools of agitation; and as the tide began to turn in favor of Toryism, its evil spirit strengthened with its strength, and it formed the daring purpose of seizing on the charters of the capital and of the corporate towns, and of converting all corporations into so many engines of tyranny, by subjecting them to the control of the court and the government. The pretences of the crown lawyers in support of these proceedings, were only so much aggravation of the outrage—the addition of insult to robbery. Genuine Toryism has no pity. Remonstrance and resistance were vain. The corporations of the kingdom were all worse than demolished, inasmuch as the immunities meant to subserve the interests of freedom, were retained as a machinery to be employed permanently against it. The court, for its own purposes, had already filled the bench with men who had been a disgrace to the bar; and it now gained full power, in the nomination of sheriffs, to choose its own jury in every state trial, as well as its own judge. Some appearance of attention to legal methods of proceeding was still kept up, but the disguise was too thin to deceive any one. The
power which ruled was a merciless despotism, and the garb of legal forms was a gratuitous piece of hypocrisy. Our courts of justice became so many dens of iniquity. Corrupt judges, intent on shedding blood, there practised their collusions, and perpetrated deeds at which humanity turns pale. Shaftesbury evaded the power of that season; but its clutch came fatally upon poor College, and on such noble natures as Russell and Sydney. In each of these cases, the spirit and the forms of justice were set at naught, and the executions which followed were so many veritable murders. But what mattered it ?---revenge is sweet--let then hate so they fear; thus muttered the spirit of that hour as VOL. IX.
it did those deeds. Parliaments were suspended ; the king and his council ruled everything. Tory sheriffs packed Tory juries at the royal bidding; the judges were no less obedient; and all the chartered securities of freedom were gone! In this grave of the constitution, Toryism found its paradise. In this charnelhouse of freedom, it began to make merry and be glad. Every vile epithet was applied to the men who had recently shown any zeal for liberty. The measures of the government—so paternal and humane—were applauded to the skies, and the camp of the zealots of lawless power was a scene of revelry by day and by night.*
The death of Charles occasioned no break in this reign of Toryism. In his speech from the throne the new king apprised the two houses that he was not indisposed to humor them with some show of liberty, but that his continuing to do so would depend on their being careful to use the concession according his pleasure. The docile commons, consisting almost entirely of Tories, heard this language with an edifying submission; and there is reason to believe would have remained silent to the end of their days, if the king could have been content to make them slaves, without at the same time attempting to make them papists. It surely was no marvel, that Monmouth and Argyle, remembering, as they did, the passion for freedom which seemed to pervade England only a few years before, should have distrusted these appearances, and have persuaded themselves that the one thing needed to rouse our countrymen against this servile yoke, was that some bold effort should be made to open before them the prospect of resisting it with success.
What followed is well known.
Monmouth and Argyle were deficient in some of the qualities necessary to the success of such enterprises as those in which they engaged. The higher classes thought of Russell and Sydney, and were afraid. The capital was closely watched. The corporations through the kingdom consisted of sworn Tories. The helot herds in the provincial districts remained in subservience to their lords; and the insurgents, in consequence, consisted of a remnant of intelligent townsmen, chiefly nonconformists from the west of England. On the suppression of these ill-conducted efforts, Toryism might have conciliated by clemency, but, true to its nature, it chose rather to strike by terror. The proceedings against Mrs. Lisle, Mrs. Gaunt, and the sheriff Cornish, show the contempt of humanity and decency to which corrupt lawyers may descend, when they can persuade themselves that they have, in the language of Toryism, a firm government to fall back upon as their protection. The military and other executions in the west, are the foulest blot in English history. So merciless and brutal were they, that the horror excited by them lasted for generations. The bigotry of the king may have prompted him, in a measure, to these proceedings; but the sheer Toryism of the tools about him, sufficed to make them the willing instruments of his pleasure, and sufficed to dispose an English parliament to silent acquiescence!
* Speaking of a wedding party in the city which occurred just at this time, Evelyn says, “ There was the Lord Mayor, the sheriff, several aldermen, and persons of quality ; above all Sir George Jeffries, newly made lord cbief justice of England, with Mr. Justice Withins, who danced with the bride, and were exceeding merry: These great men spent the rest of the afternoon until eleven at niglit, in drinking healths, taking tobacco, and talking much beneath the gravity of judges that had but a day or two before condemned Mr. Algernon Sydney, on the single testimony of that monster of a man Lord Howard, and some sheets of paper, taken in Mr. Sydney's study, pretended to be written by him, but not fully proved, nor the time when, but appearing to have been written before his majesty's restoration, and then pardoned by the act of oblivion--it was thought to be very hard measure. 1. 566. Throughout the haunts of the party similar scenes prevailed.
As the designs of the king upon the Established Church became manifest, even the Tories deemed it expedient to court the alliance of the Protestant Nonconformists. The result was the ascendency of Whig principles during the period of the revolution. But the Protestant high Church feeling which served to bring a large portion of the Tories into the measures of 1688, was a spurious liberality at best, and was not of long continuance. It was not, however, until towards the close of the reign of Anne, the daughter of James the Second, and grand-daughter of Clarendon, that Toryism again became sufficiently powerful to do after the ways of its own heart. Its care to signalize such happy intervals with appropriate achievement was not wanting at this juncture. Its good deeds on this occasion, and to which, we must add, certain place-loving Whigs lent too much assistance, were the passing of the Occasional Conformity and the Schism Bills. From the time of the restoration, many of the Presbyterian nonconformists had been accustomed to commune at the altars of the Established Church, and were in consequence qualified, even by the provisions of the Test Act, to hold civil offices. The Occasional Communion Bill was framed to exclude these persons from all such trusts. The Schism Bill restricted the work of education to certificated churchmen, who were never to be seen in a conventicle under severe penalties. The clergy alone could appoint these persons to their office, and the object of the bill was plainly to enfeeble and crush the body against which it was directed. These measures readily secured large majorities in the Commons, composed as that house then was, for the most