Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 10.djvu/86

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Charles
Charles
78

the Earl of Arundel with an armed force to read it. On 28 May he arrived at Berwick, and on 5 June the Scottish army occupied Dunse Law. His own troops were undisciplined, and money began to run short. On 18 June he signed the treaty of Berwick, knowing that if he persisted in war his army would break up for want of pay. A general assembly was to meet to settle ecclesiastical affairs, and a parliament to settle political affairs.

Before long the king and the Scots were as much estranged as ever; differences of opinion arose as to the intention of the treaty. The assembly abolished episcopacy, and when the parliament wished to confirm this resolution, as well as to revolutionise its own internal constitution, Charles fell back on his right to refuse consent to bills. He was now under the influence of Wentworth, whom he created Earl of Strafford, and he resolved to call an English parliament, and to ask for means to enable him to make war effectually upon Scotland. The discovery of an attempt made by the Scottish leaders to open negotiations with the king of France led him to hope that the national English feeling would be touched. In the meanwhile the English privy councillors offered him a loan which would enable him at least to gather an army without parliamentary aid.

On 13 April 1640 the Short parliament, as it has been called, was opened. Under Pym’s leadership it showed itself disposed to ask for redress of grievances as a condition of a grant of supply, and it subsequently refused to give money unless peace were made with the Scots [see Pym, John]. On 5 May Charles dissolved parliament, and, getting money by irregular means, proceeded to push on the war. That Strafford had obtained a grant from the Irish parliament, and had levied an Irish army, terrified and exasperated Englishmen, who believed that this army would be used in England to crush their liberties. The army gathered in England was mutinous and unwarlike. The Scots knew that the opinion in England was in their favour, and they had already entered into communication with the parliamentary leaders. On 20 Aug. they crossed the Tweed, defeated part of the royal army at Newburn on 28th, and soon afterwards occupied Newcastle and Durham. Charles’s money was by this time almost exhausted, and he was obliged to summon the English peers to meet him in a great council at York, as there was no time to get together a full parliament.

The great council met on 24 Sept. It at once insisted on opening negotiations with the Scots, and sent some of its members to London to obtain a loan to support the army during the progress of the treaty. Charles had now agreed to summon another parliament, and the negotiations opened at Ripon were adjourned to London.

On 3 Nov. the Long parliament met, full of a strong belief that both the ecclesiastical and the political system of Charles needed to be entirely changed. They began by inquiring into Strafford's conduct in Ireland, and Charles, listening to Strafford, thought of anticipating the blow by accusing the parliamentary leaders of treasonable relations with the Scots. The secret was betrayed, and Strafford impeached and thrown into the Tower. Laud quickly followed, and other officials only saved themselves by flight. Deprived of his ablest advisers, Charles was left to his own vacillating counsels, except so far as he was from time to time spurred on to action by the unwise impetuosity of his wife. She had already in November applied to Rome for money to bribe the parliamentary leaders. Later on a further application was made for money to enable Charles to recover his authority. Charles was probably informed of these schemes. He saw chaos before him in the impending dissolution of the only system which he understood, and he was at least willing to open his ears to any chance of escape, however hazardous. As he never understood that it was destructive to seek for the support of mutually irreconcilable forces, he began, while playing with the idea of accepting aid from the pope, to play with the idea of accepting aid from the Prince of Orange, to be bought by a marriage between his own eldest daughter Mary and the prince's eldest son.

On 23 Jan. 1641 Charles offered to the parliament his concurrence in removing innovations in the church, but he refused to deprive the bishops of their seats in the House of Lords, or to assent to a triennial bill making the meeting of parliament every three years compulsory. On 15 Feb. he gave his assent to the Triennial Bill, and on the 19th he admitted a number of the opposition lords to the council, hoping thereby to win votes in Strafford's trial. At that trial, which began on 22 March, Charles was present. His best policy was to seek the support of the peers, who were naturally disinclined to enlarge the doctrines of treason, and to win general favour by a scrupulous abandonment of the merest suggestion of an appeal to force. Charles weakly listened to all kinds of schemes, probably without absolutely adopting any, especially to a scheme for obtaining a petition from the army in the north in favour of his policy, and to another scheme for