Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 28.djvu/378

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Hyde
Hyde
372

ing of the Remonstrance, and composed an answer to it, which the king, at Lord Digby's instigation, adopted and published as his own (His Majesty's Declaration, January 1642; Husbands, Collection, 1643, p. 24; Rebellion, iv. 167; Life, ii. l). In January 1642, when Falkland and Colepeper entered the king's service, Charles offered to make Hyde solicitor-general in place of Oliver St. John; but Hyde believed that he could be more useful in a private capacity, and refused the offer. He undertook, however, to confer with Colepeper and Falkland on the management of the king's business in the House of Commons, and to keep him constantly informed of their debates. Charles promised 'that he would do nothing that concerned his service in the House of Commons without their joint advice' (Rebellion, iv. 126; Life, ii. 4). A few days later occurred the attempt to arrest the five members a plan suggested by Digby, and not communicated to Hyde and his friends. They were 'so much displeased and dejected' that only 'the abstracted considerations of duty and conscience' kept them still in the king's service (Rebellion, iv. 158). The resort of Colepeper and Falkland to his lodgings exposed Hyde to suspicion, and he could not communicate with the king except in secret. On 27 Feb., however, being charged with an address from parliament, he obtained an interview with Charles at Greenwich, and was commissioned to write answers to all the messages and declarations of parliament. The king adopted Hyde's suggested reply to the address he had just presented, and promised to transcribe Hyde's answers himself, in order to keep their authorship a secret (Life, ii. 5, 16, 28; Husbands, p. 83). Hyde remained at Westminster till about 20 May 1642, and then, pretending ill-health and the need of country air, left London, and rejoined the king at York about the beginning of June (Life, ii. 14, 15; cf. Gardiner, x. 169).

Hyde recommended Charles to refuse further concessions, and to adhere to strictly legal and constitutional methods. Writing to Charles in March 1642, Hyde urged him to abandon all intention of appealing to force, and to sit as quietly at York as if he were still at Whitehall, relying on the 'affections of those persons who have been the severest assertors of the public liberties, and so, besides their duty and loyalty to your person, are in love with your inclinations to peace and justice, and value their own interests upon the preservation of your rights' (Clarendon State Papers, ii. 139). In Hyde's view, the king was `to shelter himself wholly under the law, to grant anything that by the law he was compelled to grant, and to deny what by the law was in his own power, and which he found inconvenient to consent to: and to oppose and punish any extravagant attempt by the force and power of the law, presuming that the king and the law together would have been strong enough for any encounter' (Rebellion,iv.217,278, vi. 12). This constant appeal to the ' known laws of the land ' against the arbitrary votes of a parliamentary majority is the keynote of all Hyde's manifestos. Courtiers complained that their 'spirit of accommodation wounded the regality,' and Hobbes scoffs at their author as in love with mixed monarchy ' (Memoirs of Sir P. Warwick, p.196; Behemoth, ed. 1682, p. 192). But if Hyde's policy was too purely negative to heal the breach between the king and his subjects, it yet succeeded in gaining him the support of half the nation (Gardiner, x. 169).

From the first, however, Hyde had to struggle against the influence of less constitutional councillors such as the Queen and Lord Digby. The king's plan of going to Ireland, his attempt on Hull, and his dismissal of the Earls of Essex and Holland, were all measures adopted against Hyde's advice or without his knowledge (Life, ii. 17; Rebellion, v. 33, 78, 88). But though Charles might share his confidence with, others, he recognised Hyde's pre-eminent fitness to act as his spokesman. When persuaded to send a message of peace to the parliament, the king would have none but Hyde to draw it, and confessed `that he was better pleased with the message itself than the thought of sending it' (Rebellion, vi. 8n.) Between May 1642 and March 1645 Hyde penned nearly all the ' declarations ' published by the king. The answer to the ' XIX Propositions ' and the apology for the king's attack on Brentford are the only exceptions of importance (Life, ii. 61; Rebellion, vi. 126). He tells us that he also employed his pen in composing a number of lighter pieces, speeches, letters, and parodies directed against the parliament and its leaders (Life, ii. 69). The only one of these at present identified is `Two Speeches made in the House of Peers on Monday, 19 Dec., one for and one against Accommodation, the one by the Earl of Pembroke, the other by the Lord Brooke, 1642' (Somers Tracts, ed. Scott, vi. 576).

When the war began, Hyde applied himself to the task of raising money. It was partly through his agency that the king obtained a loan of 10,000l. from Oxford. He was specially selected to raise a loan from the catholics, and negotiated the sale of a peerage to Sir Richard Newport (Rebellion, vi. 57, 65, 66). He was present at Edgehill, though he took no actual part in the battle