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Now, when there is such a downfall of the state, shall we hold our tongues? How shall we answer our duties to God and men ? The 7 Henry IV. (Parl. Rot. No. 31, 32) and the 11 Henry IV. (No. 13) there the Council are complained of, and are removed from the King: they mewed up the King, and dissuaded him from the common good; and why are we now retired from that way we were in? Why may we not name those, that are the cause of all our evils ? In the 4 Henry III., the 27 Edward III., and the 13 Richard II., the parliament moderated the King's prerogative; and nothing grows to abuse, but this House hath power to treat of it. What shall we do? Let us palliate no longer; if we do, God will not prosper us.

I think the Duke of Buckingham is the cause of all our miseries; and till the King be informed thereof, we shall never go out with honour, or sit with honour here. That man is the grievance of all grievances: let us set down the causes of all our disasters, and all will reflect upon him.”

The Duke of Buckingham survived this debate only two months. But his untimely death made no alteration in the conduct of Charles; who being resolved to stake his crown in support of what he called ‘his prerogative,' would endure no one in office except such as were tainted with the same principles : and in Richard Lord Weston, whom he created Earl of Portland and promoted to the office of Lord High Treasurer, Wentworth Earl of Strafford Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and Laud Archbishop of Canterbury, he found the agents he required. For the pare liament meeting again in January 1629, and proceeding with increased earnestness upon their grievances

instead of settling the duties of tonnage and poundage on the King for life, as he had demanded, he by one rash action proclaimed war against the inherent rights of his people. The Commons having prepared a remonstrance against the conduct of some customhouse officers who had seized the merchandise of Mr. Rolles for objecting to pay those duties, warrants were issued by the Privy Council against such of their members as had been most active in drawing it up. Four of them were brought before the Council, and refusing to be answerable for what they said or did in parliament, were committed to the Tower. The customary expedient was then resorted to, of dissolving the parliament; and prosecutions were set on foot against the criminated members in the Court of Star-Chamber. Those of them, who were imprisoned in the Tower, were denied the benefit of the Habeas Corpus; and rejecting the offers of the ministry to release them upon their submission, one of them, Sir John Elliot, died in confinement.

Here let it be observed, that most of our historians, in discussing the tragical events of those unhappy times, have taken up the question respecting the aggressors in this “ civil fury” at a wrong period. The true era of the King's virtual declaration of war against his subjects, which renders their subsequent resistance constitutional, is that of his seizing Mr. Rolles' effects, and imprisoning the members of the House of Commons for having done their duty in parliament. And, surely, no man can hesitate as to the appellation befitting Charles, when he finds it upon record that virtuous representatives of the people, for having bravely refused to betray their trust, (either by abandoning the rights of those whom they had sworn to defend, or by making dastardly concessions to a profligate ministry) were thrown into a dungeon by a prince, who had solemnly pledged himself at his coronation to govern according to the laws and customs of the realm. Sir Edward Coke, after the dissolution of this

par liament, resided in the country; and no other being called during the remainder of his life, died in retirement at Stoke-Pogis in Buckinghamshire in 1634, in his eighty fifth year; repeating, with his last breath, Thy kingdom come, thy will be done. The resentment of the court however was carried to such a pitch against him, that while he lay upon his death-bed, Sir Francis Windebank, one of the Secretaries of State, by an Order of Council searched his house for seditious and dangerous papers; and under colour of that pretext feloniously carried off his . Commentary upon Littleton,' with his Life prefixed, written with his own hand; his . Commentary upon Magna Charta,' &c.; his . Pleas of the Crown, and his Jurisdiction of Courts; his Eleventh and Twelfth Reports, and fifty one other manuscripts :" beside his last will, in which he had for several years been making provision for his younger grand-children. These books and papers were detained, till one of his sons moved the House of Commons, in 1641, for their restoration; which the King granting, such of them as could be found were delivered but his will was never recovered.

Sir Edward Coke, as Dr. Aikin observes, was undoubtedly a great lawyer; but he was merely a lawyer. His mind possessed neither the enlargement of philosophy, nor the comprehension of true science. He


had learning, but for want of taste it degenerated into mere pedantry. His speeches, interlarded with Latin quotations and quaintnesses of expression, are poor specimens of eloquence, though many of them are close and weighty in point of argument. In mere legal learning he has, perllaps, no competitor : but he is essentially defective in the higher merits of order and systematic arrangement, and in that regard to general principles, without which municipal law is a mere collection of arbitrary rules undeserving of the name of science. In these important qualities, for which it must be owned that the writers on English law have seldom been much distinguished, he is excelled by some who preceded, and by many who have followed him. Yet it is by no means difficult to account for the high reputation, which his works have acquired, and which they still retain. The writings of Sir Edward Coke, particularly his most celebrated work, the Commentary on Littleton's Treatise on Tenures,' are an immense repository of legal erudition; and must have been of the greatest use to students and practisers, at a time when abridgements and compilations, those modern helps to professional learning, were almost unknown. Though, from various changes in the system and practice of the English law, his labours have lost much of their comparative value, his prescriptive title to fame is still zealously maintained by a numerous and powerful profession. Those writers (it has been observed) are fortunate, whose reputation is connected with the interest and honour of a perpetual order of men ; and as the scientific study of law forms no part of an English education, the blind praises which are lavished

upon Coke by his professional admirers have seldom provoked the censure or opposition of more impartial critics.

In his person he was well-proportioned, and his features were regular. He was neat, but not nice, in his dress; for it was his maxim, that the cleanness of a man's clothes ought to put him in mind of keeping all clean within. He had singular quickness of parts, deep penetration, a faithful memory, and a solid judgement. • Matter,' he was wont to say, • lay in a small compass;' and accordingly he was concise in his pleadings, though in his set speeches and his writings too diffuse. He valued himself, not unreasonably, that he had become successively Solicitor and Attorney General, Speaker of the House of Commons, Chief Justice of both Benches, High Steward of Cambridge, and a Member of the Privy Council, without either begging or bribing, Deriving from the law his fortune, his credit, and his greatness, he loved it to a degree of intemperance; and committed to writing every thing relating to it with an industry beyond example. And so signally was he honoured by it's professors in return, that when he was prosecuted in the reign of James I., Sir John Walter (though Attorney General to Prince Charles, and therefore almost officially engaged against him) indignantly threw aside the brief, which had been sent to him by the court, with this remarkable sentence; “Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, whenever I open it against Sir Edward Coke."

From making the best of his disgraces, King James used to compare him to a cat, who always falls upon her feet. He was, upon occasion, stre

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