Page:Lectures on Modern History.djvu/245
THE ENGLISH REVOLUTION
Three-quarters of a century of struggling and experiment, from the fall of Bacon to the death of Charles II., had ended in failure, and the government of England had been brought into line with continental monarchy when James ascended the throne.
The House of Commons refused to listen to Seymour's warning speech, and voted, nemine discrepante, a revenue which, by the growth of trade, soon rose to near two millions. It was in the king's power to retain that loyal and submissive parliament as long as he chose, and he was not obliged to meet it annually. He had the control of the constituencies. The press was not free, and the proceedings of the legislature were withdrawn from public knowledge. Judges could be dismissed at will, until the bench was filled with prerogative lawyers. There was an army kept in foreign pay that could be recalled when it was wanted. Passive obedience was taught as a precept by the universities, and as a religious dogma by the Church.
It was no secret that James was resolved to be master, and to abolish the restraints and safeguards of the constitution. Penn, reporting his intentions to William of Orange, declared that he would have all or nothing. He had repeatedly avowed that he meant to do it by a standing army and by claiming the right to dispense with laws. Monmouth's rebellion gave him the standing army. Although it was unsupported either by the exclusionists or the limitationists, and although it was