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minently to his fellow-citizens, as the speaker of the bold and remarkable reply which Rushworth has preserved for us-"That he could be content to lend as well as others, but feared to draw upon himself that curse in Magna Charta, which should be read twice a-year against those who infringe it." Then followed rigorous imprisonment,the exactions of loans and benevolences without pretence of law,-the taking of tonnage and poundage without consent of Parliament,-the unparalleled severity of the Star Chamber and High Commission,the billeting of soldiers on the houses of private persons hostile to the Court, the execution of martial-law with provoking outrage,-and the reckless and cruel administration of ecclesiastical affairs! All these monstrous invasions, however, were stopped for the time by the Parliament, which the King, to his fear and horror, was again compelled to summon. In this, the great Third Parliament, Hampden became better known; for the sufferings he had borne in the popular cause had procured him the entire confidence of the popular party. He took his share in the famous Petition of Right, which has immortalized its framers. The eventful history of that Parliament is but too well known,-its wonderful "temper and decorum," the flagrant breach of its wise provisions-and, in the end, its violent dissolution, which caused Sir Symonds d'Ewes to mark the day whereon it occurred (the 2nd of March 1629) as the most gloomy, sad, and dismal day for England, that had happened for five hundred years.
In the stormy and tempestuous scene of that day, Hampden was not an actor. He avoided therefore the vengeance of the Court, which fell so heavily, and with such deadly and deliberate aim, on the head of his friend Sir John Eliot, the first great martyr to the cause of Freedom. In reading of the horrible persecution undergone by this illustrious man, we are reconciled to our hopes of things by recollecting that it served the cause that was dearest to him, and that, throughout the struggle, the remembrance of his harsh and cruel murder never died. We have another cause, too, for thinking thus, in the delightful view it has handed down to us of the character of Hampden, of his generous and gentle feeling. We find in him, at this trying period, nothing wanting of the qualities that command respect and love for their amiable and exalted nature. He appears to us the guardian of the two young Eliots, turning his great mind anxiously to their improvement-leaving nothing undone for their welfare; and disclosing throughout his correspondence with their father, a fine fancy, a heart of honour full, as of gentleness-of true wisdom and scholarship, of kindness and intrepidity. Here are the fine points of Hampden's character, here are the qualities that made him a patriot-his love for all men and for all good and graceful things. In looking at his life, these letters are of the last importance; the feelings they disclose enable us to judge his latter years by a true test, and to discover the secret of his bold endeavours then-the end to which he looked in all his patriotic toils and enjoyments-in unbounded love and gentleness to mankind. Why, then, did Lord Nugent apologise for introducing these letters?—what does he mean by "hoping to stand excused for making so copious extracts of letters on matters which throw so little light on general history"? Does he think that general history, in its largest view, does not embrace the minutest particulars of such a
character as Hampden? Nothing can be more mistaken. The greatest interests are made up even of the least, and the high-sounding words, "general history," melt at last into individual concerns. We know nothing more unphilosophical in the philosophic historian Hume, than where he speaks of the delightful anecdote of Alfred and the cakes, as "containing nothing memorable in itself."
Before we pass hastily, as we must force ourselves to do, to the latter events of Hampden's life-having endeavoured to illustrate his earlier years, and the feelings which actuated him then-we may be excused for dwelling for a moment on a subject which occupies several pages of Lord Nugent's book,-we mean the refutation of certain misrepresentations of Sir John Eliot's character, attributed to Mr. D'Israeli's "Commentaries on the Life and Reign of Charles the First." We think the Noble Author of the "Memorials" has made out his case, and with great diligence and impartiality; but he has overlooked one or two points of justice to the author of the "Commentaries." Lord Nugent, for instance, ought not to have challenged that gentleman's authority (however false, as we believe it to be,) for saying that Sir John stabbed Mr. Moyle " in the hour of reconciliation, with wine before them," when Echard must have been on one of the shelves of his Lordship's library, where, with little trouble, he would have found the passage which describes Eliot as having had a difference with Mr. Moyle, then "going to his house under the show of a friendly visit," and "treacherously stabbing Mr. Moyle while he was turning on one side to take a glass of wine to drink to him." In justice to Mr. D'Israeli, we must also remark, that a little labour on the part of Lord Nugent would have discovered the letters, on the authority of which the Author of the "Commentaries" infers that means had either been resorted to to screen Eliot's property, or that he was a man of ruined fortunes. We remember, indeed, being puzzled a little with the erroneous reference which Mr. D'Israeli has certainly given, but afterwards discovered that letter in the second volume of Doctor Birch's manuscript letters relating to those times, which are deposited in the British Museum, and with which laborious collection, as with the "Cabala" (the source of the other letter), every historian of the period ought to be familiar. We are more anxious to bear testimony to Mr. D'Israeli's correctness in these matters,, because we think his book to be, on the whole, very valuable, lively, and ingenious, though undertaken for an object which, unfortunately, makes one look on it with suspicion. Its author's fault, indeed, lies in his being too ingenious, and not in some points sufficiently ingenuous. He seems to take a pride in trying to disturb the heirs of fame in the enjoyment of their tranquil inheritance, that we may be induced to look with more favourable eye on his aristocratic favourites. Still his book is amusing, sometimes out of its very errors: for instance, we may point attention to the passage (which, by the way, Lord Nugent, as he was engaged on the task, ought not to have left to us to correct) where he accuses Eliot of having, out of his ungovernable passions, run away with the daughter of Sir Daniel Norton; which he implies from the fact of the Parliament having remitted the sum of 20007. part of four, in which he had been fined by the Court of Wards. Now, it was not Sir John Eliot who was fined by the Court of Wards, but his eldest son, whose wild habits and irregularities of conduct are alluded to in
the "Memorials," as having proved a source of some pain to Hampden. This will be found, on reference to the second entry in the Earl of Leicester's Journal. But we must hasten from this subject to the further great and remarkable features which present themselves in the character and conduct of Hampden.
In retirement he had been anxiously watching the progress of the King's mad projects, and fitting himself for the crisis to which he felt they must lead. Davila's History of the Civil Wars of France was become his manual, (his vade mecum, as Sir Philip Warwick calls it,) as if in the study of that sad history of strife and bloodshed. he already saw the parallel his unhappy country was shortly to afford. The bitterness of spirit with which he thought of these things, must have been greatly increased by the death of his wife, which happened at this time. Henceforward we begin to perceive the change gradually taking place in his public bearing, and the causes of that change. He saw that men of standing in the country should hold back no longer; that, in the absence of parliaments, the nation wanted leaders, and he resolved to put himself forward to lead them on to resistance. "From this moment," to use the words of an illustrious writer* of our own time, whose great work on the Commonwealth is written in the true spirit of philosophic inquiry, " Hampden dismissed the thought of a solitary and retired existence, and became a citizen after the purest model." Then came the assessment of ship-money, a word, as Clarendon says, " of lasting sound in the memory of this kingdom;" and then the gallant refusal of many to pay it, among whom were Hampden, and Lord Say and Sele. Lord Nugent states that "no sooner was the name of Hampden seen among the defaulters, than, as if by common desire that the conflict should be decided in the person of a single champion, the eyes of the Court and people were alike turned on him." We believe this view to be incorrect, and would rather trust the testimony of Clarendon and the contemporary historians. They tell us that "he was rather of reputation in his own country, than of public discourse and fame in the kingdom before the business of ship-money," and therefore it is not likely that the eyes of the nation would be at once directed to a man as yet but partially known. We rather suppose that he obtained the trial in preference to the others, through the faith the Court entertained in his moderate demeanour, in his " affability and temper,"-aided at the same time by that "great address and insinuation to bring anything to pass which he desired," which he possessed to a degree far beyond any other man of that time. Our opinion is strengthened by the noble passage in Clarendon describing the effect of the great stand Hampden was now enabled to make, for himself, his country, and us, his posterity, against arbitrary taxation. "Then he grew the argument of all tongues, every man enquiring who, and what he was, that durst at his own charge support the liberty and property of the kingdom, and rescue his country (as he thought) from being made a prey to the Court."
The history of that immortal trial, in which, for many days, though in the midst of public danger and disquiet, the fundamental laws of the country were battled without reproach or passion, is too well known to be dwelt on here. Nor need we do more than allude to the
* Mr. Godwin.
oppressions which followed on the unjust sentence then awarded, and which the people bore with so much submission, that Hampden, stung with the thought that his country was doomed and resigned to loss of liberty, resolved with other patriots to seek a land where they might perfect their schemes of civil freedom, out of the reach of a tyranny their fellow-citizens would not assist them to overthrow. The hand of fate must have been indeed on Charles when he arrested their departure. From the hour that saw him leap again upon his native shore from the vessel in which he had embarked, Hampden was animated by a resolution which yielded to no further obstacle in his struggle with oppression.
Here then we come to the latter exertions of his life, with a knowledge of causes which makes us better able to appreciate their object and tendency. He who was formerly yielding and gentle, was now stern and resolute; he who had kept within the letter of precedents while yet serving the cause in his private capacity, now found "the eyes of all men fixed upon him as their Patria Pater, and the pilot that must steer the vessel through the tempests and rocks which threatened it." What wonder then that, with such responsibility, his views became larger and more extended? What wonder if, from a meek bearing, as Lord Clarendon tells us, " his nature and carriage seemed much fiercer than before"? Thrust from the legitimate ground of warfare on which he would willingly have taken the issue, he arose, from his resources of mind and heart, and shifting from the narrower grounds of precedent and privilege, fell back on the great rights of mankind, out of which, and for which, all laws arise. It is useless to deny that Hampden had then become (as Clarendon terms him) a "root and branch man." All his subsequent acts prove it: he had taken higher ground; his intellect had become more excited; his spirit more elevated; and every action and feeling showed that he would no longer be contented with lopping off the branches, but was resolved to lay the axe to the root, of the tree of corruption. Why does Lord Nugent shrink from contemplating his character in this view? It would have helped him to conclusions more just, and to reflections more beneficial, than those which disfigure the latter portion of the first volume of his "Memorials," where he speaks of " the memory of Hampden not being stained by any appearance of his having been concerned in Strafford's attainder." If his name does not appear in the proceedings, neither does that of Oliver Cromwell: but what will the noble author of the "Memorials" infer from that? That he opposed the attainder? No: we are told by Lord Nugent that, "being only doubtful as a matter of precedent, but clear to him in respect of the guilt of the accused person," and knowing that, if it did not pass, "all law but that of the sceptre and the sword was at an end," he did what? he stood by with all his lofty thoughts of the thousands of families whose quarrel he had embraced, and left the burden of the deed necessary for their happiness, to his great fellow-labourer Pym, that he might himself escape the odium of having departed from a strict letter of precedent, and might appear graceful to an aristocratic posterity, and a future race of Quarterly Reviewers. How monstrous all this appears! and yet Lord Nugent, who is a man of strong natural understanding, is led into this species of reasoning by induced feelings of habit and edu
cation-thinks that he is adorning, while inflicting himself a stain on the memory of Hampden, and talks of the injustice which has been done to the great patriot on this point by Clarendon and others. Why if it be indeed true that he retired from the division on the attainder before the question was put, no doubt he had admirable reasons for doing so, and rested meanwhile on the surety of its passing, for even Lord Nugent does not pretend to say that he had not its success much at heart. Why then blame Clarendon? For it seems to us that what Clarendon says of Hampden's character so far bears out Lord Nugent, and that they both conspire in this instance to reflect no additional honour on the patriot. "He begot many opinions and motions," says that historian," the education whereof he committed to other men; so far disguising his own designs, that he seemed seldom to wish more than was concluded; and in many gross conclusions, which would hereafter contribute to designs not yet set on foot, when he found them sufficiently backed by majority of voices, he would withdraw himself before the question, that he might seem not to consent to so much visible unreasonableness."
But it is useless to pursue this question farther. No impartial student of history can say that John Hampden ever shrank from the responsibility which his great duties imposed on him, or from the great men with whom he acted in that immortal Parliament of 1640, which vindicated so nobly the rights of Englishmen and of mankind. Indeed we have every right to infer that no one of that age looked at the great question of resistance to tyranny on larger or more extended grounds, or in a more philosophic spirit. It was he who first dared to anticipate a broader field of warfare than the floor of the House of Commons, and to prepare himself for a more real struggle. Constantly in communion with his friend Oliver Cromwell, he it was who advised with him great projects of freedom, and whose penetrating spirit first pointed to that remarkable person, as likely to become," in case of a breach with the King, the greatest man in England." And what exertions were his, immediately preceding the civil war, on the great questions of the time! The Episcopacy Bill, the Grand Remonstrance, and the Militia,-with what earnestness he supported and promoted all, and with what perfect success he employed that striking tact of eloquence which Clarendon describes so well, in the passage where he speaks of him as a "very weighty speaker, who, after he had heard a full debate, and observed how the House was like to be inclined, took up the argument, and shortly, and clearly, and craftily, so stated it, that he commonly conducted it to the conclusion he desired." Nor should we omit to mention, in corroboration of the resolute and determined spirit with which he was at this time actuated, the remarkable words he uttered regarding the information conveyed by the Countess of Carlisle to the five members, of the monstrous invasion of privilege Charles intended in the seizure of their persons in the House. That information, said Hampden, "saved bloodshed in the House," words of strange and mingled meaning which are not recorded in the "Memorials," but which are a testimony to the "fierce" earnestness with which he now dwelt on the oppressor's wrongs, and the determination to avenge them. Indeed he saw no resource after that terrible step on the