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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

Was nominated sheriff of Buckinghamshire


Buckingham

attributed the rejection of his proposals in Parliament to personal enmity; and this he thought he could certainly overcome. Williams, who in the time of James I had been entirely in the confidence of the King, was after a time dismissed, not without harshness, and was replaced by Thomas Coventry. The post of Lord Keeper was again filled by a lawyer who troubled himself less about political affairs. Parliament was not prorogued, as the rest of the members of the Privy Council wished: the King agreed with Buckingham that it must be dissolved. The Duke hoped that new elections, held under his influence, would give better results. He did not doubt that another Parliament might be hurried away to make extensive grants under the pressure of the great interest opposed to Spain. But in order to effect this object it appeared to him necessary to exclude from the Lower House its most active members, who were his personal antagonists. He adopted the odious means of advancing them to offices which could not be held compatible with a seat in Parliament. In this way Edward Coke, who revived and found arguments for the constitutional claims of Parliament, was nominated sheriff of Buckinghamshire, and Thomas Wentworth High Sheriff of Yorkshire. Francis Seymour, Robert Phillips, and some others, had a similar fate.[455] When the lists were submitted as usual the King unexpectedly announced these nominations. Some peers, whose views inspired no confidence, were not summoned to attend the sittings
of the Upper House.

Perhaps too much weight has been attributed to the circumstance--but yet it proves the discontent which was widely spreading--that at the coronation of the King, which took place during these days, the traditional question addressed from four sides of the tribune to the surrounding multitude, asking whether they approved, was not answered from one side at least with the joyful readiness usually displayed.[456]

On February 6, 1626, the new Parliament was opened at Westminster. It made no great objection to the exclusion of some of the former members, as the means by which this had been effected could not be regarded as exactly illegal. Among the members assembled an ambition was rather felt to prove that their opinions and resolutions were not dependent on the influence of some few men. For all Buckingham's efforts to prevent it, on this occasion also those opinions were in the ascendant which he wished to oppose. In the place of the members excluded others arose, and at times they were the very men from whom he feared nothing. A great impression was made when a personal friend of Buckingham, his vice-admiral in Devonshire, John Eliot, came forward as his decided political opponent. He first brought under discussion the mismanagement of the money granted, which was laid to the charge of the First Minister. With this was connected a transaction of great importance which affected the general relation between the Parliament and the Crown.

In the year 1624 a council of war, consisting of seven members, had been nominated to manage the money then granted. They were now summoned to account for it. Although this measure appeared an innovation, yet the government could do nothing against it--it had even consented to it: but Parliament at the same time submitted to the members the invidious question, whether their advice for the attainment of the ends in view had always been followed. King James had said on a former occasion, that if Parliament granted him subsidies, he had to account to it for their disposal as little as to a merchant from whom he received money; for he loved to lay as much emphasis upon his prerogative as possible. How entirely opposed to the prerogative were the claims which Parliament now advanced! It is clear that if the members of the council should make the communications they were asked for, all freedom of action on the part of the minister and of the King himself would be called in question.


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