Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

36 LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. While the nation was in this state of angry and growing excite- ment, the king as ifa war with the house of Austria, which then governed both Spain and Germany, were not embarrassment enough engaged in a new war withFrance, merely to gratify the caprice and passion of his favorite. One expedition was fitted out under the command of Buckingham, which speedily terminated in disas- ter and shame. Nothing now remained for the baffled monarch, but to try once more the expedient of calling the great council of the kingdom. The third parliament of this reign accordingly met in March, 1628. At the opening of this parliament, the king, instead of making an acknowledgment of his past errors, or any promise of a more liberal and legal administration in future, boldly declared, as if the absolute power at which he was aiming were already con- solidated, that, if they failed in their duty of providing for the ne- cessities ofthe state, " he must, in discharge ofhis conscience, use those other means which God had put into his hands." And the same claims of power were advanced under his direction, in lan- guage still more direct and offensive, by some of his ministers. Thus evident was it that the king, nothing wiser by experience, was still bent on changing the constitution of the kingdom, and re- moving every limitation ofhis power. In these circumstances, the parliament conducted themselves with a deliberate and prudent firmness, which deserves the highest admiration. They began by voting a supply, which Charles himself, moved to tears bya liber- ality almost unexpected, acknowledged to be ample ; but they wisely refused to pass their vote into a law, till the king, after much reluctance, and many a pitiful evasión, had given his unqualified assent to a bill called the " petition of right," which they had framed with reference to the late arbitrarymeasures ofthe court, in the hope of securing in future the ancient privileges of Englishmen. But while Buckingham retained his ascendency, they could feel no security. They went on with the investigationof abuses, and soon presented a remonstrance recapitulating- the public grievances and national disasters of the reign; and ascribing them all to the mis- management of Buckingham. As they were proceeding in an- other remonstrance, the session was suddenly closed by a proro- gation. In one particular, of no great moment in itself, but worthy to be noticed, on account of its significance, the court, immediately after this prorogation, showed its contempt for the voice of parliament, and its persevering anddaring adherence to the principles of des- potism. The lords, on the impeachment of the commons, had condemned Dr. Manwaring, for his sermons above mentioned, to be imprisoned during the pleasure of the house, to be fined a thou-