Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

42 LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. The king's second expedition against the Covenanters of Scot- land was more disastrous than the first. His army, undisciplined and discontented, after one slight skirmish, fledas in a panic from the Tweed to York ; and the Scots took possession ofthe three north- ern counties of England. Among the requestswhich the success- ful invaders sent to the king, addressing him in the most respectful language, and with many protestations of fidelity to his person, was one that he would call an English parliament to settle the peace between the two kingdoms. All the desires and hopes of England were for a parliament. Twelve peers, attending on the king at York, presented their petition that a parliament might be called. Another petition, to the same effect, came from London. After a little more delay, in the vainhope ofsome change by which he might escape from what he so much feared and hated, he yielded to the dire necessity ; and to the universal joy of an op- pressed and indignant nation, a parliament was summoned. This assembly, celebrated in history as the Long Parliament, was opened November 3, 1640 ; and immediately proceeded with ahigh hand to the redress of grievances. Their confidence in the king was lost beyond recovery ; they believed the constitution of the kingdom to have been subverted ; and as they went on in the work ofreformation, they insensibly came to consider themselves as bound not only to correct existing abuses, by strong, and, ifneed be, violent measures, but also to limit the power of the monarch by new restraints, and to guard the liberties of the people against the possibility of future invasion. That the king had justly for- feited the confidence of his people, and that his conduct, for at least twelve years, had betrayed a settled design to change the constitution, admits of no serious question. That there are cases ofusurpation, in which the bonds of allegiance are dissolved, and the people are left to institute, in such manner as convenience dic- tates, new forms of government, is a maxim undisputed in modern politics. Whether the case in which the parliament now found themselves was one of this description ; whether the king's sub- version ofthe old constitution justified them in irregularly framing anew one, is a question which still divides theopinions of the Eng- lish people, and which it is no part ofthe design ofthis narrative to illustrate or decide. At the very beginning ofthe session, the almost unanimous hos- tility of the members, against the administration in all its depart- ments, discovered itself. The topics of complaint, both civil and ecclesiastical, were discussed in long and vehement speeches, many of which were published and eagerly read throughout the nation. The principal advisers ofthe crown, especially Strafford andLaud, were impeached of high treason.