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In the third parliament the Commons offered five subsidies, on condition that the king would subscribe to the Petition of Right, a measure almost equal to Magna Charta in political importance, and one of the great bulwarks of English liberty. Charles agreed, but after the prorogation of parliament he broke his promise. A stormy scene took place when the Houses re-assembled. A week afterwards, parliament was dissolved, and for eleven years Charles reigned as an absolute monarch, raising money as best he could by illegal measures.
A crisis was at last brought on by the king imposing the tax of ship-money on inland districts, a proceeding unheard of before. On Jõhn Hampden, a gentleman of Buckinghamshire; refusing to pay this tax, the case was tried in a court of law, when Hampden was defeated by a majority of seven to five, but the decision “proved of more advantage to the gentleman condemned than to the king's service,” as it turned the eyes of all England to the king's illegal methods of government.
In religious as well as in civil matters, Charles was bent on having his own way: under Laud's influence, the courts of Star-Chamber and of High Commission were in full force, all who would not subscribe to his religious views being fined and tortured, some even to death. In Scotland also Charles attempted to complete the task which his father had begun, that of establishing episcopacy; but in this he was bitterly opposed by all classes of the people, who, in 1638, united together and drew up the National Covenant, by which they bound themselves to defend their civil and religious rights. An army was formed under Leslie ; and Charles, bent on subduing the movement, called, in 1640, another parliament, in order to obtain supplies. Instead of voting any, however, the Commons at once took notice of the illegal acts of king and council ; and Charles, enraged, dissolved it after a sitting of three weeks.
The Long Parliament, one of the most important parliaments in English history, was called in November of the same year, and immediately began to inquire into abuses. Laud and the Earl of Strafford were impeached, and the courts of Star-Chamber and High Commission abolished. A bill was also passed that parliament should not be dis
solved unless by its own consent; and the Commons demanded that the bishops should be removed from the House of Lords, and that all military power should be placed in their hands. Charles agreed to the first, but not to the second demand ; and, after much discussion, it was evident that no alternative remained but an appeal to arms.
A disastrous civil war now commenced, the first battle of which was fought at Edgehill in 1642. The Parliament held all the fortified places; they had an army of 15,000 men; the favour of the navy, which prevented any foreign power from rendering assistance to the king; and, besides, they had the means of raising money. On the other hand, the king was supported by the nobility, landed gentry, episcopalians, and Roman Catholics. After the battle of Edgehill, negotiations for peace were entered into by parliament; but they came to nothing: and, in the three years that followed, no less than eleven battles were fought, that of Naseby, in 1645, being the most decisive blow to the royal cause.
After this defeat, Charles fled to Oxford, and spent the winter there ; but, seeing that nearly all his strongholds had been obliged to capitulate, and that Oxford itself was in danger, he resolved to throw himself on the protection of the Scots. They, however, gave him up to the parliament, who conducted him to Holdenby ; but a jealousy springing up between the parliament and the army, the king was removed to Newmarket, where another unsuccessful attempt was made to come to terms. Charles was then taken to Hampton Court, whence he escaped to the Isle of Wight, and putting himself under the protection of the governor, was placed in Carisbrook Castle.
The army and the parliament having again quarrelled, Cromwell and the other commanders were denounced as traitors, and Colonel Pride was despatched to clear the house of all who were hostile to the views of the army. Only fifty members remained, who were styled the Rump. parliament, and by them Charles was arraigned as a traitor He conducted himself with great dignity during his trial, which lasted for seven days. Being found guilty and sentenced to death, he was beheaded in front of Whitehall, on January 30th, 1649.
EXERCISE.-3. PARSING, ETC. 1. Write out the proper nouns on page 16, and the collective nouns in the last paragraph.
2. Parse the first paragraph, and explain the cases of :-kinsman, James I., honour', scholar. 3. What are the numeral adjectives in the last three paragraphs ?
4. Analyse the following sentences :-James died of a tertian ague on March 27th, 1625, and was succeeded by his son, Charles I. ; a stormy scene took place when the houses reassembled.
5. Explain the italics in the words tutor, conspirator, scholar, traitor, governor
THE DISCONTENTED PENDULUM.
di-al [L. dies, a day), the face of a watch or clock. pen-du-lum [L. pendo, to hang], a weight that swings from a fixed centre, and regulates the motion of the works of a clock. grav-i-ty (L. gravis, heavy], a sober and serious expression of countenance, also weight, heaviness. sat-is-fac-tion (L. satis, enough; facio, to make], gratification, contentment, repose of mind. An old clock that had stood for fifty years in a farmer's kitchen, without giving its owner any cause of complaint, early one summer's morning before the family was stirring, suddenly stopped.
Upon this, the dial-plate (if we may credit the fable) changed countenance with alarm; the hands made a vain effort to continue their course; the wheels remained motionless with surprise; the weights hung speechless; each member felt disposed to lay the blame on the others. At length the dial instituted a formal inquiry as to the cause of the stagnation, when hands, wheels, weights, with one voice protested their innocence. But now a faint tick was heard below from the pendulum, who thus spoke :
“I confess myself to be the sole cause of the present stoppage; and I am willing, for the general satisfaction,
* JANE TAYLOR, the sister of Isaac Taylor, a well-known modern writer on theological subjects, was born at Lavenham in Suffolk, about 1785, and died in 1821. In conjunction with her sister Ann, the author of the well-known poem “ My Mother,” she wrote several works of great rerit for children, the best known of which are “ Essays in Rhyme,” · Hymns for Infant Minds," and " Original Poems.”
to assign my reasons. The truth is, that I am tired of ticking”. Upon hearing this, the old clock became so enraged that it was on the very point of striking. Lazy wire !” exclaimed the dial-plate, holding up
its hands,—“ Very good!” replied the pendulum, “it is vastly easy for you, Mistress Dial, who have always, as everybody knows, set yourself up above me—it is vastly easy for you,
say, to accuse other people of laziness! You, who have had nothing to do all the days of your life but to stare people in the face, and to amuse yourself by watching all that goes on in the kitchen! Think, I beseech you, how you would like to be shut up for life in this dark closet, and to wag backwards and forwards, year after year, as I do.” “As to that,” said the dial, "is there not a window in your house, on purpose
to look through P"
“For all that,” resumed the pendulum, “it is very dark here; and, although there is a window, I dare not stop, even for an instant, to look out at it. Besides, I am really tired of my way of life; and, if you wish, I'll tell you how I took this disgust at my employment. I happened this morning to be calculating how many times I should have to tick in the course only of the next twentyfour hours; perhaps some of you above there can give me the exact sum."
The minute-hand, being quick at figures, presently replied, “ Eighty-six thousand four hundred times.”
Exactly so," replied the pendulum; " well, I appeal to you all, if the very thought of this was not enough to fatigue one: and when I began to multiply the strokes of one day by those of months and years, really it is no wonder if I felt discouraged at the prospect; so after a great deal of reasoning and hesitation, thinks I to myself I'll stop.”
The dial could scarcely keep its countenance during this harangue; but resuming its gravity, thus replied :
“Dear Mr. Pendulum, I am really astonished that such a useful, industrious person as yourself should have been overcome by this sudden action. It is true you have done a great deal of work in your time; so have we all,
and are likely to do; which, although it may fatigue us to think of, the question is, whether it will fatigue us to do. Would you now do me the favour to give half a dozen strokes, to illustrate my argument?”
The pendulum complied, and ticked six times at its usual pace. “Now," resumed the dial, “ may I be allowed to inquire, if that exertion was at all fatiguing or disagreeable to you ?”
“ Not in the least,” replied the pendulum, “it is not of six strokes that I complain, nor of sixty, but of millions."
Very good,” replied the dial; “but recollect that though you may think of a million strokes in an instant, you are required to execute but one: and that, however often you may hereafter have to swing, a moment will always be given you to swing in."
" "s'hat consideration staggers me, I confess,” said the pendulum.
“ Then I hope,” resumed the dial-plate,“ we shall all immediately return to our duty; for the maids will lie in bed till noon, if we stand idling thus.”
Upon this, the weights, who had never been accused of light conduct, used all their influence in urging him to proceed; when, as with one consent, the wheels began to turn, the hands began to move, the pendulum began to swing, and, to its credit, ticked as loud as ever; while a red beam of the rising sun that streamed through a hole in the kitchen shutter, shining full upon the dialplate, it brightened up as if nothing had been the matter.
When the farmer came down breakfast that morn. ing, upon looking at the clock, he declared that his watch had gained half an hour in the night.
A celebrated modern writer says, " Take care of the minutes, and the hours will take care of themselves.” This is an admirable remark, and might be very seasonably recollected when we begin to be
weary in well. doing,” from the thought of having much to do. The present moment is all we have to do with in any sense; the past is irrecoverable; the future is uncertain ; nor is it fair to burden one moment with the weight of the