Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. 81 exist. The king had forfeited his right to govern. The parlia- ment, having gotten the power into their hands, betrayed a dispo- sition to keep it ; and, there being no law to secure the dissolution of the existing parliament and the election of another, the members, in proportion as their body approximated to the character of a per- petual senate, became, in fact and in public estimation, the usurp- ing sovereigns rather than the representatives and organs of the people. It was not strange, then, that the army should feel them- selves justified in refusing to be disbanded, or to be otherwise disposed of, till justice should be done to them as public creditors, and the peace and liberty of the nation should be secured on some basis satisfactory to their judgment. Having taken such a resolu- tion, they communicated it, by a formal delegation, to parliament. The Presbyterian party, seeing whereunto this might grow, has- tened their treaty with the king, and seemed to be on the point of concluding it, as if they were more willing to make any sacrifice than toconsent to that religious freedom which the army demand-. ed. The treatywas suddenly broken off by an unexpected move- ment. A cornet, acting probably under the direction of the adju- tators, came to Holmby, at the head of fifty horse, and removed the king from the midst of his guards and keepers to the quarters of the army at Newmarket. It does not . appear that the king felt any decided aversion to this removal. He was treated with much more consideration by the officers of the army, than he had been by the parliamentary commissioners; and he had more per- sonal liberty at. Newmarket, than he had known before from the time ofhis surrendering himself to the Scots. The news of this bold measure threw the parliament and the city into great confusion. It was expected that the army would be instantly before the city ; and hasty preparations were made for a defense. Commissioners were sent to the general to forbid the approach of the army. Fairfax replied that theywould make no further advance without giving due notice; and he assured the houses that there was no design to overthrow the Presbyterian government, or to set up the Independent, and that the army claimed nothing more than the privilege of dissenting from the established religion. After some negotiation, the Presbyterians in the parliament and the city began to recover courage ; and the army began to reply in bolder language. The citizens grew violent, and, by tumultuous petitions, endeavored to bring the par- liament to stronger measures. But the speakers of the two houses, and with them a veryconsiderable portion of the members, not a few of whom were zealous Presbyterians, fearing these tumults, withdrew from the city, and claimed the protection of the army that the parliament might be free. The army was immediately VOL. I. l r