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have administered an oath, appear not to have examined any witness, and to have had no evidence before them except the letter of the mayor of Lyme, which, in the eye of the law, was no evidence at all. Extreme danger, it is true, justifies extreme remedies. But the act of attainder was a remedy which could not operate till all danger was over, and which would become superfluous at the very moment at which it ceased to be null. While Monmouth was in arms it was impossible to execute him. If he should be vanquished and taken, there would be no hazard and no difficulty in trying him. . It was afterwards remembered as a curious circumstance that, among the zealous Tories who went up with the bill from the House of Commons to the bar of the Lords, was Sir John Fenwick, member for Northumberland.* This gentleman, a few years later, had occasion to reconsider the whole subject, and then came to the conclusion that acts of attainder are altogether unjustifiable. The parliament gave other proofs of loyalty in this hour of peril. The Commons authorized the king to raise an extraordinary sum of four hundred thousand pounds for his present necessities, and, that he might have no difficulty in finding the money, proceeded to devise new imposts. The scheme of taxing houses lately built in the capital was revived and strenuously supported by the country gentlemen. It was resolved, not only that such houses should be taxed, but that a bill should be brought in prohibiting the laying of any new foundations within the bills of mortality. The resolution, however, was not carried into effect. Powerful men who had land in the suburbs, and who hoped to see new streets and squares rise on their estates, exerted all their influence against the project. It was found that to adjust the details would be a work of time; and the king's wants were so pressing that he thought it necessary to quicken the movements of the House by a gentle exhortation to speed. The plan of taxing buildings was therefore relinquished; and new duties were imposed for a term of five years on foreign silks, linens, and spirits.f The Tories of the Lower House proceeded to introduce
* Oldmixon is wrong in saying that Fenwick carried up the bill. It was carried up, as appears from the Journals, by Lord Ancram. wo Commons' Journals of June 17, 18, and 19, 1685; Reresby's what they called a bill for the preservation of the king's person and government. They proposed that it should be high treason to say that Monmouth was legitimate, to utter any words tending to bring the person or government of the sovereign into hatred or contempt, or to make any motion in parliament for changing the order of succession. Some of these provisions excited general disgust and alarm. The Whigs, few and weak as they were, attempted to rally, and found themselves reënforced by a considerable number of moderate and sensible Cavaliers. Words, it was said, may easily be misunderstood by an honest man. They may easily be misconstrued by a knave. What was spoken metaphorically may be apprehended literally. What was spoken ludicrously may be apprehended seriously. A particle, a tense, a mood, an emphois, mayo make the whole difference between guilt and innocenice.., The Savior of mankind himself, in whose blameless life malice could find no act to impeach, had been called in question for words spoken. False witnesses had suppressed a syllable which would have made it clear that those words were figurative, and had thus furnished the Sanhedrim with a pretext under which the foulest of all judicial murders had been perpetrated. With such an example on record, who could affirm that, if mere talk were made a substantive treason, the most loyal subject would be safe 2 These arguments produced so great an effect that in the committee, amendments were introduced which greatly mitigated the severity of the bill. But the clause which made it high treason in a member of parliament to propose the exclusion of a prince of the blood from the throne seems to have raised no debate, and was retained. It was indeed altogether unimportant, except as a proof of the ignorance and inexperience of the hot-headed royalists who thronged the House of Commons. Had they learned the first rudiments of legislation, they would have seen . that the enactment to which they attached so much value would be superfluous while the parliament was disposed to maintain the order of succession, and would be repealed as soon as there was a parliament bent on changing the order of succession.*
* Commons' Journals, June 19, 29, 1685; Lord Lonsdale's Memoirs, 8.9; Burnet, i. 639. The bill, as amended by the committee, will be found in Mr. Fox's historical work, Appendix, iii. If Burnet's account be correct, the offences which, by the amended bill, were made punishable only with civil incapacities, were, by the original bill, made capital.
The bill, as amended, was passed and carried up to the Lords, but did not become law. The king had obtained from the parliament all the pecuniary assistance that he could expect; and he conceived that, while rebellion was actually raging, the loyal nobility and gentry would be of more use in their counties than at Westminster. He therefore hurried their deliberations to a close, and, on the second of July, dismissed them. The Houses were not prorogued, but only adjourned, in order that when they should reassemble, they might take up their business in the exact state in which they had left it.*
While the parliament was devising sharp laws against Monmouth and his partisans, he found at Taunton a reception which mosht well encourage him to hope that his enterprise wółld have a prosperous issue. Taunton, like most other towns in the south of England, was, in that age, more important than at present. Those towns have net indeed declined. On the contrary they are, with very few exceptions, larger and richer, better built and better peopled, than in the seventeenth century. But, though they have positively advanced, they have relatively gone back. They have been far outstripped in wealth and population by the great manufacturing and commercial cities of the north, cities which, in the time of the Stuarts, were but beginning to be known as seats of industry. When Monmouth marched into Taunton it was an eminently prosperous place. Its markets were plentifully supplied. It was a celebrated seat of the woollen manufacture. The people boasted that they lived in a land flowing with milk and honey. Nor was this language held only by partial natives; for every stranger who climbed the graceful tower of St. Mary Magdalene owned that he saw beneath him the most fertile of English valleys. It was a country rich with orchards and green pastures, among which were scattered, in gay abundance, manor houses, cottages, and village spires. The townsmen had long leaned towards Presbyterian divinity and Whig politics. In the great civil war Taunton had, through all vicissitudes, adhered to the parliament, had been twice closely besieged by Goring, and had been twice defended with heroic valor by Robert Blake, afterwards the renowned admiral of the Commonwealth. Whole streets had been burned down by the mortars and grenades of the Cavallers. Food had been so scarce that the resolute governor had announced his intention to put the garrison on rations of horse flesh. But the spirit of the town had never been subdued either by fire or by hunger.” The Restoration had produced no effect on the temper of the Taunton men. They had still continued to celebrate the anniversary of the happy day on which the siege laid to their town by the royal army had been raised; and their stubborn attachment to the old cause had excited so much fear and resentment at Whitehall that, by a royal order, their moat had been filled up, and their wall demolished to the foundation.f The puritanical spirit had been kept up to the height among them by the precepts and example of one of the most celebrated of the dissenting clergy, Joseph Alleine. Alleine was the author of a tract entitled, An Alarm to the Unconverted, which is still popular both in England and in America. From the jail to which he was consigned by the victorious Cavaliers, he addressed to his loving friends at Taunton many epistles breathing the spirit of a truly heroic piety. His frame soon sank under the effects of study, toil, and persecution; but his memory was long cherished with exceeding love and reverence by those whom he had exhorted and catechized.; The children of the men who, forty years before, had manned the ramparts of Taunton against the royalists now welcomed Monmouth with transports of joy and affection. Every door and window was adorned with wreaths of flowers. No man appeared in the streets without wearing in his hat a green bough, the badge of the popular cause. Damsels of the best families in the town wove colors for the insurgents. One flag in particular was embroidered gorgeously with emblems of royal dignity, and was offered to Monmouth by a train of young girls. He received the gift with the winning courtesy which distinguished him. The lady who headed the procession presented him also with a small Bible of great price. He took it with a show of reverence. “I come,” he said, “to defend the truths contained in this book, and to seal them, if it must be so, with my blood.” S
* Lords' and Commons' Journals, July 2, 1685.
* Savage's edition of Toulmin's History of Taunton. t Sprat's True Account: Toulmin's History of Taunton. † Life and Death of Joseph Alleine, 1672; Nonconformists' Memorial. § Harl. MS. 7006; Oldmixon, 702; Eachard, iii. 763. - 39 “
But, while Monmouth enjoyed the applause of the multitude, he could not but perceive, with concern and apprehension, that the higher classes were, with scarcely an exception, hostile to his undertaking, and that no rising had taken place except in the counties where he had himself appeared. He had been assured by agents, who professed to have derived their information from Wildman, that the whole Whig aristocracy was eager to take arms. Nevertheless more than a week had now elapsed since the blue standard had been set up at Lyme. Day laborers, small farmers, shopkeepers, apprentices, dissenting preachers, had flocked to the rebel camp; but not a single peer, baronet, or knight, not a single member of the House of Commons, and scarcely any esquire of sufficient note to have ever been in the commission of the peace, had joined the invaders. Ferguson, who, ever since the death of Charles, had been Monmouth's evil angel, had a suggestion ready. The duke had put himself into a false position by declining the royal title. Had he declared himself sovereign of England, his cause would have worn a show of legality. At present it was impossible to reconcile his Declaration with the principles of the constitution. It was clear that either MQnmouth or his uncle was rightful king. Monmouth did not venture to pronounce himself the rightful king, and yet denied that his uncle was so. Those who fought for James fought for the only person who ventured to claim the throne, and were therefore clearly in their duty, according to the laws of the realm. Those who fought for Monmouth fought for some unknown polity, which was to be set up by a convention not yet in existence. None could wonder that men of high rank and ample fortune stood aloof from an enterprise which threatened with destruction that system in the permanence of which they were deeply interested. If the duke would assert his legitimacy and assume the crown, he would at once remove this objection. The question would cease to be a question between the old constitution and a new constitution. It would be merely a question of hereditary right between two princes.
On such grounds as these Ferguson, almost immediately after the landing, had earnestly pressed the duke to proclaim himself king; and Grey was of the same opinion. Mon mouth had been very willing to take this advice; but Wads and other republicans had been refractory; and their chief, with his usual pliability, had yielded to their argnments. At