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would prove unacceptable: and he chose to acquire rather reluctant respect by his honesty, than less creditable favour by his servility. He had the honourable courage to remonstrate with Laud himself, upon the apparent insolence and harshness of his carriage, which deeply aggravated the other causes of his unpopularity; and it is scarcely less honourable to the Primate, that he thenceforward received his sincere reprover with increased kindness and familiarity.
Naturally proud, passionate, and disputatious, so well had Hyde subdued the infirmities of his temper by his sense and by the example of good company, that he became distinguished for his courtesy and his affability. Conscientiously zealous for both the doctrine and the worship of the Established Church, personally attached to his Sovereign, tenacious of his friendships, and of unblemished integrity-Such was his high and hopeful character, at the commencement of the civil wars.
In 1640, he was elected representative for Wotton Basset.* In parliament, his abilities were soon discovered by the leading men of the House. Throughout the whole session, indeed, he showed himself an active patriot, solely intent upon the welfare of the nation particularly in his first speech, he denounced the absurd and odious jurisdiction of the Marshal's Court, which had recently in a vexatious manner begun to take cognisance of disrespectful words against the higher orders, in the most severe and unqualified
* He was chosen at the same time for Shaftesbury, but he made his election for the former borough.
It was with deep regret, that he perceived the intention of the court to break with this parliament; and he had almost procured a resolution favourable to the question of supplies, when the peremptory demand, made by Sir Harry Vane in the name of the King, of Twelve Subsidies threw every thing into eonfusion. He fruitlessly endeavoured, afterward, to prevail upon Laud to dissuade the dissolution.
In the Long Parliament assembled toward the close of the same year, in which he served for Salt-ash, he laid aside his gown in order to devote himself to public business: and by opposing alternately the encroachments of the Sovereign and the people, he soon obtained consideration with all moderate men; in spite of the suspicion, with which he was eyed by the demagogues of the day on account of his friendship with the Primate, and his known attachment to limited monarchy and protestant episcopacy. The constitution (he himself says) he believed to be so equally poised, that if the least branch of the prerogative was torn off, the subject suffered by it; and he was as much troubled, when the crown exceeded it's limits.' With respect to religion, he believed the Church of England to be the best framed for the encouragement of learning and piety, and the preservation of peace, of any church in the world; and the secularising of any of it's revenues to be sacrilege.'
His political talents began now to be much noticed. He was appointed Chairman of several Committees, and acquired great credit not only by procuring the annihilation of the Marshal's Court, but also as manager of a conference with the House of Lords, upon the tyrannical jurisdiction of a tribunal called The Court of York;' in which he did not
permit his regard for Strafford to prevent him from exposing in glowing colours the enormous oppressions practised in the northern counties, as well as by a learned speech against the Judges, who had given their opinions in support of the legality of levying Ship-Money.
The parliament had, at this time, invested themselves with exorbitant authority. Aware that their Monarch's concessions had been wrung from him by necessity, and fearing that he would take the first opportunity of reclaiming what he had relinquished with so much reluctance, they decreed themselves to be indissoluble except by their own consent; and the government was thus, by a total change of principle, become exclusively oligarchical. This induced Hyde, with Lord Falkland and other temperate men, to take the alarm. The former, more particularly, distinguished himself upon every occasion, as the champion of the Established Church; * and a short bill having been introduced for the purpose of taking away the Bishops' votes in parliament, and omitting their names in all commissions of the peace and other temporal appointments, he was extremely earnest for throwing it out; contending that, from the very origin of parliaments, Bishops had always been a part of them, and that without such participation there would be
It was invariably his opinion, that the religious feud sprang out of the civil disturbances.' At the commencement of the Long Parliament, not an idea was entertained of touching the Church. Hostility to it was not avowed in either of the Houses, even after the commencement of the war. Nay, at the Treaty of Uxbridge, he represents the English Commissioners as zealous in the business of religion, principally with a view of gratifying their Scottish allies.
no representatives of the clergy, which would be a great injustice.'
Lord Falkland, who always sat next to him (a circumstance so much observed, that if they entered not together, every one left a place for him that was absent) upon this occasion, opposed his friend; to the great delight of several, who thence flattered themselves, that they might gradually work the former into a farther resistance to the measures of the court: but they found themselves mistaken.
As Chairman likewise, at a subsequent period, of the Committee appointed to consider of a still more hostile measure, the abolition of episcopacy, he continued to interpose so many delays and difficulties, that the House at length grew weary, and for a time abandoned the project. He did not always, however, thwart it's violence with equal impunity. Having formally protested, contrary to the usage of that Assembly, against a remonstrance of theirs, which appeared to him unnecessary, he was for some days committed to the Tower. Upon this occasion, he received the personal thanks of the King in a private manner; and from him, through Lord Digby, Charles was furnished with a full answer to the proceeding of the Commons, which by his irregular protest he had vainly attempted to oppose. This was published under the title of The King's Answer with the Advice of his Council.'
Lord Falkland was now, to his surprise, nominated to the principal secretaryship of state; an office, which on his friend Hyde's representation he was induced to accept, under the apprehension of otherwise countenancing the opinion, that the court was too 2 D
profligate, or it's condition too desperate, to deserve the support of the virtuous and the wise. The Chancellorship of the Exchequer was given to Sir John Colepepper; and though Hyde declined the office of Solicitor General, upon the plea that the displacing of St. John, while it exasperated the Commons, would only throw suspicion over his own exertions, he was associated with his two friends in the entire management of the royal interests, the King pledging himself not to take any step relative to parliament, without their advice and approbation.
Faithless however even to his friends, he had hardly made the promise before he broke it, by issuing orders on the suggestion of Lord Digby, and through the impulse of the rash and violent Henrietta, to impeach Lord Kimbolton and five commoners of hightreason. This was followed by an ineffectual demand of their persons, and a still more absurd attempt the day following to seize them, by going himself to the House in person. According to his own expression, he found the birds flown:' and he retired from his abortive attempt, amidst indignant cries of "Privilege! Privilege!"
Grieved and dispirited by such irretrievable errors, Hyde assures us that both Falkland and himself continued their exertions in the royal cause solely from a sense of duty, and with a full persuasion that the result would be their common ruin.' His private interviews with his Sovereign however, for as yet he held no public office under him, and his nightly consultations with his two ministerial friends, could not long be concealed. It began to be suspected, that he was the principal author of the de