Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

38 LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. before passing the,bill, the house, for the sake of securing an im- portant principle; insisted that the unauthorized collection of this revenue should cease. This the king refused ; and his custom- house officers proceeded with their collections. Theofficers were summoned to the bar of the house.; but the king sent a message to the commons, implying that he was responsible for the actscom- plained of. The house were still bent on proceeding; but the speaker, having received orders from the king, refused to put the question. A short protestation was framed and passed by accla- mation, while the speaker was forcibly detained in the chair; and the house was then adjourned by the king's authority. Imme- diately afterwards, the parliament was dissolved. And soon a proclamation was published, in which the king very clearly avow- ed his intention to have no more to do with parliaments for the present. For the twelve succeeding years, Charles reigned, very much as he had always been trying to reign, the absolute monarch. Un- der this new constitution, as it might be called, the Council was the legislative, and the Star Chamber and High Commission were the most important branches ofthe judiciary. The king's procla- mations and orders in council were the law of the land. By this authority, not only the ancient taxes of tonnage and poundage, againstwhich parliament had protested, were continued, but new imposts were collected. Under the name of ship-money, direct taxes were levied for the support of the navy. Numerousandodi- ous monopolies were erected ; and othermeasures for providing a revenue were resorted to. For every disobedience to the law en- acted at the council- table,'the offender was liable to be tried before the same persons assembled in the star chamber, and to be pun- ished with fine, imprisonment, pillory, or mutilation, at the discre- tion of the court. The fines imposed by this court seem to have been no inconsiderable part of the ways and means. The high commission was an ecclesiastical court erected on thebasis of the king's supremacy, which, contrary to acts of parliament and ju- dicial sentences, had usurped the power of fining, imprisoning, and inflicting corporal punishment for ecclesiastical offenses. It was during this twelve years' despotism that those Puritans fled from England, who settled the New England colonies. Four thousand persons became voluntary exiles, rather than submit to the system which then prevailed in the church and state. Some indication of the character and standing of these exiles is afforded by the t 'ti! i fact that their removal is supposed to have drawn from the kingdommoney to the amount of four or five hundred .thousand. pounds. All this apparatus of despotismwas under the control of Laud;