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is rarely produced by the ties either of kindred or humanity. So zealously did he prosecute a law-suit, in which their estates had become involved, that during it's long continuance of eight years he made thirty journeys to London on this account, and neglected not to attend the courts every term in which it came to be heard.
In 1615, he was reluctantly nominated by the turbulent Sir John Savile to succeed him, as Custos Rotulorum for the West-Riding of Yorkshire. Not long afterward however, meditating a restoration to this honourable office, Savile influenced the Duke of Buckingham, who then governed the royal councils, to request that Wentworth would return the appointment into the hands of his predecessor : but as that gentleman firmly declined compliance, the favourite in a second letter, with much seeming cordiality, assured him that the measure 'was totally abandoned; the King having only consented to dispense with his service, from the idea that he himself desired an opportunity to resign. This incident is chiefly remarkable, as it laid the foundation of that animosity with Buckingham, which led the way to many questionable circumstances in the conduct of Strafford. The first was not of a disposition to forget even the slightest opposition to his will; and the latter was not a man to be injured with impunity.
His native county he represented in parliament several times. At the period of his first election, having secured his own return, he was so solicitous to secure Calvert (then Secretary of State) for his collegue, in opposition to his old enemy Sir John Savile, that he unhesitatingly advised him to engage
6 his friend the Lord Chancellor’ to take an active part upon the occasion. During the two sessions of this parliament, he conducted himself with great circumspection. He promoted indeed with considerable activity the expulsion of a member, who had ridiculed a bill for repressing the Sabbath-Sports authorised and encouraged by a royal proclamation; urged the House to declare explicitly, that their privileges were their right and inheritance, and the direction of their proceedings subject solely to their own cognisance;' and spoke of their abrupt dissolution in terms of apprehension and regret. But his language toward the court was always respectful, and he employed his eloquence more frequently to moderate, than to excite, the zeal of his associates. The favour, which he found means to acquire with James, was subsequently his frequent boast. In the next parliament, likewise, he appears to have refrained from any peculiar exertions.*
* In this parliament, the Commons accepted the King's offer to entrust the receipt and disbursement of the supplies to a Committee of their own members; a measure which, though it merely invested them with a power of seeing that the money was exclusively applied to the specific purpose for which it was raised, appears to have been regarded by both parties as an act of extraordinary indulgence. Involving however, as it did, an undesigned approximation to the expedient so essential for the prevention of jealousies and quarrels between the Sovereign and his subjects, it is strangely represented by Hume, as an “imprudent concession, of which the consequences might have proved fatal to royal authority:" as if it had been part of the functions of the Committee to determine the objects, as well as the honesty, of the application of the subsidies granted! This power is now much more completely possessed (as Macdiarmid adds) by the House of Commons, who annually receive a detailed account of the national income and expenditure.
As yet, Wentworth looked with apparent calmness on the agitations of political ambition. By one of those pestilential fevers, which from the closeness and filthiness of the streets formerly ravaged London, he had lost his wife, and suffered much in his own constitution. A tertian ague, which succeeded the fever, and which frequently recurred during the interval between the two parliaments, had obliged him to seek for health in the air and exercise of the country. It is pleasing to dwell on this interval of his eventful life, and to observe the philosophical tranquillity which pervades his letters to his friend Secretary Calvert, himself not insensible to rural pleasures : “Matters worthy your trouble (says he) these parts afford none, where our objects and thoughts are limited to looking upon a tulip, hearing a bird sing, a rivulet murmuring, or some such petty but innocent pastime, which for my part I begin to feed myself in ; having, I praise God, recovered more in a day by open country air, than in a fortnight's time in that smothering one of London. By my troth I wish you, divested of the importunity of business, here for half a dozen hours: you should taste, how free and fresh we breathe, and how procul metu fruimur modestis opibus; a wanting sometimes denied to persons of greater eminency in the administration of commonwealths.” In another letter, he observes; “ our harvest is all in, a most fine season to make fish-ponds, our plums all gone and past, peaches, quinces, and grapes almost fully ripe, &c. &c.”
Yet did he not, amidst these amusements, forget or neglect the calls of duty; more particularly in what related to the improvement, and the promotion, of his numerous brothers. One of them (Michael, who was now making a campaign in Germany) he exhorts to go on with the sober stayed courage of an understanding man, rather than with the rash heat of an unadvised youth;' and warns him that he, who ventures himself desperately beyond reason, will even by the wise be deemed unfit for command, since he exercises none over his own unruly and misleading passions.
From pleasures. so serene, and from duties so commendable, Wentworth was called by the incidents of a new reign to transactions of a more doubtful description. In the new parliament called on the accession of Charles I., he steadily and eloquently opposed the arbitrary measures of government.His efforts, highly esteemed by his fellow-patriots, did not pass unnoticed by the court.
Of high connexions, extensive influence, and eminent talents, he derived from his vigour and decisiveness still more forcible claims to attention. His learning, increased and matured by the labour of many years, had been obtained with a method and diligence, which proved that even in leisure and retirement he had not wholly lost sight of more active scenes. From his earliest youth, he had studied the graces of composition: even his ordinary letters were penned with a careful regard to elegance of expression; and he had trained himself to the popular elegance of his age by an assiduous attendance on the most celebrated orators of the pulpit, the bar, and the council. To a man thus formidable by his capacity, his acquirements, and his energy, even the haughty Buckingham did not disdain to make overtures of conciliation; and, for, a time, he seemed to have gained his object, With address, and with dignity, Wentworth replied to the Duke's request for his good offices, that he honoured his person, and was ready to serve him in the quality of an honest man and a gentleman.”
But these friendly appearances were of short duration. The course of public events had caused the unworthy favourite to be denounced, as the author of the national calamities.' To weaken the remonstrances of the Commons, he advised his royal master, in November 1625, by appointing six of their principal leaders* as Sheriffs, to preclude their immediate return to parliament. Wentworth heard, with surprise and indignation, that he was included in the number; nor could he, by any efforts, rid himself of the disqualifying honour. He would not however, by procuring (with some of his fellowsufferers) his re-election, and then insisting upon his right of serving, bar the door of favour against himself for ever. And, in this moderate course, he was not only confirmed by the counsel of Lord Clare (whose beautiful and accomplished daughter, Lady Arabella Hollis, he had recently married) though that nobleman heartily wished success to the enterprise, but also in some degree perhaps justified by the disappointment of those by whom it was undertaken. The invidious and unprincipled artifice, however, while it exposed the weakness of the government, happily failed to produce the expected result. Gross abuses will call forth latent talents, and stimulate dormant exertions. Other champions arose in Wentworth's place; while he, at a distance from the public scene, was calmly and diligently executing the
* Of these, Sir Edward Coke was one; and in this station he was obliged to attend the circuits, where he had once presided,