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part, of persons who are described by Bishop Burnet as belonging to a gentry the most ignorant in Europe. The far better spirit of the Lords was opposed, during more than seven years, to the first of these bills. Both, however, speedily passed, when the queen threw herself upon a Tory government. Bolingbroke, who took the lead in these proceedings, was well known to be an infidel; but his high Church friends forgot his infidelity in their admiration of his intolerance.
Happily for the country, this fourth reign of Toryism was of short duration. The accession of George the First put an end to it, and to the Occasional Communion and Schism Bills. The next ascendency, indeed, of this party is so late as the times of George the Third, who, amidst the excitements occasioned by the American War and the French Revolution, threw himself into the arms of the ancient enemies of his house, and gave them a sway which they retained with little intermission during more than half a century. Through that period the passion of the English people for liberty widened and deepened beyond all precedent in our history since the age of Charles the First ; but the great office of the successive Tory governments was to curb and suppress it, as a species of monster which menaced the overthrow of everything civil and sacred. To every law of intolerance or coercion those governments clung with the utmost tenacity, as to the beauty and bulwark of the constitution. Disaffection still spread, but the strong hand was the constant remedy. The most sacred provisions of the constitution were put in abeyance, and temporary enactments of the most arbitrary nature were readily passed, to keep that formidable antagonist, a discontented people, in due subjection. Prodigal expenditure brought a monstrous debt, a monstrous debt brought almost ruinous taxation, and to this day Toryism has been strong enough to cause the evils entailed by these measures to fall, not on the great landholders, who imposed them and have profited by them, but upon the laborious and the poor, who have gained nothing from them but suffering.
It thus appears, then, that since the accession of Charles the First, there have been five distinct periods during which the party professing the principles of Toryism has been in possession of the government of these kingdoms, and that during each of those periods Toryism has demonstrated, by its formal and iterated acts, that intolerance and tyranny are of its very nature. It has been tried, once and again, and the result has always been the same. Its policy has never been permitted to display itself without showing that it has respect to a class, at the cost of the community; to a sect, at the cost of the nation. Its temper, when in full possession of power, and liable, as it always is at such times, to the impulses of revenge, has been shown to be lawless, merciless, dreadful! We speak not now of individuals, but of the system, and of that in its general spirit and effect, as exhibited on the broad surface of our history, and in this view, we speak only the truth in uttering these heavy accusations against it. The ascendency of Toryism has ever been the ascendency of tyranny-of tyranny commonly despising the very forms of freedom, and often a stranger to all pity. But we shall see more to this effect as we proceed.
III. Such, then, has been the development of the spirit and tendencies of Toryism in the times of its strength; our next charge against it is that in its times of weakness it has resisted attempts in favor of popular freedom to the utmost, never concurring in such measures until resistance has become vain, or when some sinister purpose of the moment might be served by such a course, so that the great scheme of English liberty, and all its ennobling effects on our character and position as a people, owe their existence entirely, under providence, to that class of men in our history who have professed liberal principles. Our appeal here, as in the former case, is to facts.
On the accession of Charles the First, the strong spirit of liberty which pervaded England found appropriate utterance in the several parliaments convened during the interval from 1625 to 1629. The great achievement of those parliaments was, the Petition of Right—a statute framed to give security and force to some older statutes, having respect to the two great branches of civil liberty—the safety of property, and the liberty of the person. The preamble stated, that of late the subject had been frequently called upon to make contributions to the crown under the name of loans and privy seals, and had been punished for refusal. These exactions it declared to be contrary to the law and franchise of the realm, and it laid down anew the great constitutional maxim—that no Englishman should be liable to tax in any form except as imposed by common consent in parliament. On the liberty of the subject, the Commons of 1629 expressed themselves to the sovereign as follows, in the fifth clause of their petition : 'Divers of your subjects have of ' late been imprisoned without any cause allowed; and when • for their deliverance they were brought before justice, by your
majesty's writs of Habeas Corpus, there to undergo and re'ceive as the court should order, and their keepers commanded • to certify the causes of their detainer, no cause was certified,
but that they were detained by your majesty's special com'mand, signified by the lords of your privy council, and yet 'were returned back to several prisons, without being charged with anything to which they might make answer according to law.' These proceedings they declared to be against the ' tenor of the good laws and statutes of the realm, to that end
provided,' and their prayer is that no man's liberty may be invaded except by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the • law of the land.'
Charles and James had been accustomed to break through all these chartered immunities at pleasure, and their sound Toryism, and that of the men who served them, displayed itself in the effort and artifice with which they opposed themselves to every movement designed to substitute a government by law on such points, in the place of a government by the king's will. The court arguments in those days were precisely those of Tory politicians in our own. It was often vain to resist openly, but to elude by management was rarely deemed impossible. The answer returned by Charles, when professing to pass the Petition of the Commons, was in an evasive form of speech, different from that which the constitution had provided in such cases; and when he had so far subdued his repugnance to the matter of the statute as to express his approval in the usual form, his majesty descended to command that the copies of it printed with the approved answer, should be destroyed, and that copies containing the rejected answer should be issued. Yes, and as though this were not enough, Charles was concerned to assure the parliament that he should not account himself bound by anything he had done, to alter his administration in future from what it had been in the past! In these proceedings we have a fair sample of the manner in which every vestige of English Liberty has been wrung from the tenacious grasp of Toryism. It has never loosened its hold on a single element of arbitrary power until compelled. Even then, it has not failed to heap its anathemas on the head of those who have extorted the concession; and its comfort has been in the hope, that a convenient season for regaining it may possibly come round.
The passing of the Petition of Right was followed by the twelve years during which England was governed without a parliament; and those conservators of a government by prerogative, who had sustained the king in resisting that Petition of Right, sustained him of course in his open and protracted violation of all its provisions, and would no doubt have been very happy if they had been allowed to consign allstatutes on those vulgar topics—liberty of the subject, and the security of property, to oblivion. It has always been the favorite notion of Toryism, that the people should be content to possess personal liberty, and to hold their property secure from spoliation, as a matter of favor from their betters, without indulging in foolish talk about such things as matters of law and right.
On the meeting of the Long Parliament, the men who had supproted a government by prerogative through so long a period, became aware that a juncture had arrived when opposition to the popular influence would be vain. One abuse, accordingly, after another was swept away. One provision after another, for the better government of the kingdom was made. But in English history intense feeling in one direction occurs only at intervals, and has never been of long continuance. In this instance the trial of Strafford called forth the first signs of division and reaction; and no sooner was there the slightest prospect that resistance to the movement in favor of popular liberty might be made with success, than it was made. The
Army Plot' in England, the ‘Incident' in Scotland, and the attempt to seize the five members, speedily followed. It was thus manifest that what had been conceded in weakness, would be seized upon again in the first moments of returning strength. Distrust of the king became rooted, incurable. Conditions which his opponents regarded as necessary to their safety, were rejected by him as an insult to his royal dignity. We do not mean to vindicate every article in the proceedings of the Long Parliament, either in the early or later period of its history, but, viewed generally, we regard those proceedings as wise and patriotic, as designed mainly to place the power of the crown within such limits as might render it compatible with the liberty of the subject. Their demand was, that the provisions of the Petition of Right should be indeed law, and that whatever restraint it might be necessary to impose on the civil or ecclesiastical powers of the state, in order to that object, might be imposed. The demand, it must be remembered, was not so much for new laws, as that the old should be made secure, so as to become the rules of government, and not a mere mockery. Spain, in its convention under the name of the Cortes, and France, in its States-General, had their popular assemblies, but in those kingdoms the power of the crown, by a process strictly similar to that which Charles and his more zealous adherents were bent on pursuing, had put a complete end to such assemblies, and in so doing an end to all popular liberty. That the same effect did not follow in this country from the same cause, must be attributed solely to the counteraction supplied by the spirit which animated tħe Long Parliament. To the extraordinary men, imperfect truly, but still great and noble-minded men, who gave their days and nights to the toil of the senate, or unsheathed their swords at Marston Moor and Naseby, we no doubt owe it that the political atmosphere of London has not become as that of Madrid, and that the palace of St. James' has not had its Bastile in common with Versailles. It is true Charles, in the papers which he issued at York, professed to rest on the concessions which he had made to the parliament; and, to gain followers, condescended to express himself a good deal in the language of a sound parliamentarian, much as our modern Tories are pleased to take up the language of reform. But so intent was he, and the most favored of his advisers, on a strong government rather than a legal one, that the more moderate of his partisans saw nearly as much to apprehend from the prospect of his complete ascendency, as from that of his opponents.
It is admitted that the civil war did not end in an immediate and permanent system of liberty. Such a result is rarely to be expected from such a course. Nothing is more natural than that the struggles of faction should follow upon the overthrow of despotism: and this latter state may be denounced as worse than the former. But the end is not yet. New powers have not the advantage of old prescription, and may be comparatively innocent in resorting to strong measures as means of safety. If the exigences of the infant commonwealth and protectorate generated frequent displays of tyranny, the bold expansive spirit natural to such governments gave existence, upon the whole, to an amount of liberty much greater than had existed previously in England, and greater in some respects than has existed since.
Its very tyranny was, for the most part, manifestly for the sake of liberty--for the protection of the weak against the strong; and its effect in turning the thoughts and passions of the people so generally toward such questions, was to render it more than ever improbable that the England of future generations should be otherwise than free. There was confusion, there was arbitrariness, but there was progress,-advancement in knowledge, in manliness of thought, in social justice, and in sympathy with everything affecting the national honor. In regard to religion, after
placing much to the account of fanaticism, we are satisfied that England has never been so pervaded with scriptural piety as during the short period of her commonwealth.
With the restoration came, as we have seen, the second memorable reign of Toryism. It was a season in which the adherents of that system could be intolerant and oppressive, and they were so. Nonconformists prayed for toleration, and pleaded the royal promise, but prayed and pleaded in vain. The defence set up commonly was, that the toleration of the Protestant must bring with it the toleration of the Catholic. The real difficulty arose from the innate intolerance of Toryism in regard to all forms of religion but its own. As the Whigs became more organized and powerful, they made some progress in regard to the management of the revenue, the rights of the Commons as to disputed elections, the forms of impeachment, the liberty of the subject, and similar questions. But vain were their efforts to procure a more lenient treatment of the Protestant nonconformists.