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After a strict examination into the particulars of the case, finding the master to be a plain honest man, who had been embarked in no illegal traffic, he asked him if he would be the bearer of a letter to Paris. The man assenting, he desired him to prepare for the journey without delay, and wait on him again the following morning. On the next morning he gave the master a letter to Cardinal Mazarine, with directions not to wait longer than three days for an answer. This answer he informed him was to be nothing less than the full value of what he might have made of his ship and cargo; desiring him to tell the Cardinal that if it was not paid in three days, he had strict orders from him to return home. The honest quaker appears to have followed the injunctions of the Protector to the very letter, and meeting with the usual shuffling evasions, so common among diplomatists, took his leave on the third day, and returned without accomplishing the object of his mission. “Well, friend,” demanded the Protector, on seeing him, “have you obtained your money?” Being answered in the negative, he told the quaker to leave his address with his secretary, promising to let him hear from him shortly. Without involving himself in the delays, trickeries, and evasions of diplomatic negotiations—without the empty parade of protocols and conferences, which too often waste time, without leading to any satisfactory results— without even deigning to repeat his demand, or explain the ground of his proceeding, this distinguished statesman issued orders to seize every French ship which his cruisers fell in with, and bring them into port. In pursuance of these orders, several captures were made, and their cargoes ordered by the Protector to be immediately sold. Out of the produce of these sales he paid the quaker the full value of his ship and cargo; and sending for the French ambassador, then resident in London, he acquainted him with the steps he had taken, and the reason of his doing so, informing him at the same time that there was a balance out of the produce of the sales, which should be paid to him if he pleased, for the purpose of returning it to the French owners. Such vigorous and decisive conduct was attended with the happiest results. The government of France, well knowing that the spirit which dictated such a proceeding was fully equal to following it up with resolution, in place of making it a ground for hostilities, took it as a lesson to be more cautious for the future, and were scrupulously guarded against giving further offence to any British subject during the remainder of Cromwell's life,
VII. THE COURT AND THE CITY IN THE REIGN OF CHARLES I.
MR. Edward HYDE, afterwards so celebrated as Lord Clarendon, and as a staunch royalist, began his public career as a reformer of abuses and a patriot.
In 1640, when Charles I. was forced by the insurrec. tion of his Scottish subjects to call together the English parliament, Mr. Pym, who was afterwards a leader in the revolution which hurled Charles from the throne, made a formal recapitulation of all the grievances of the people. On the conclusion of this speech, Hyde rose, and told the House of Commons that Pym “had omitted one grievance more heavy than many of the others, which was the Earl Marshal's court; a court newly erected by the government, without colour or shadow of law, which took upon itself to fine and imprison the King's subjects, and to give great damages for matters which the law gave no damages for.”
Hyde then (to continue in his own words) “repeated a pleasant story of an honest citizen, who, being rudely treated for more than his fare came to, by a waterman, who, pressing him, still showed his crest, or badge upon his coat, the citizen bade him begone with his goose ; whereas it was, in truth, a swan, the crest of an earl, whose servant the waterman was: whereupon the citizen was called into the Marshal's court, and after a long and chargeable attendance, was, for the opprobrious dishonouring the earl's crest, by calling the swan a goose, fined and imprisoned till he had paid considerable damages to the lord, or at least to the waterman; which really undid the citizen.”
For the better understanding of this shameful story, it should be mentioned that it was customary in those times for the great nobility to enrol, through a love of pomp, many more servants than they could conveniently support, and to allow the surplus number to get their living as they could, only calling them together on grand ceremonial occasions, to sport their liveries and swell their train. From this practice, which was by no means confined to England, there arose another abuse. As the men badged with the crests of dukes and lords, claimed to be partakers in the privileges and licence of the great houses, numbers of men, like watermen, whose calling lay in public, got themselves set down in some nobleman's list, in order to be partakers in the privileges, and to be defended in their disputes by a whole corps. The inefficient police had rarely the courage to seize a ruffian who wore a peer's badge on his sleeve; and any plebeian insulting that badge, or the wearer of it, was held to have insulted the peer himself. In several of the despotic governments on the Continent, even at this day, it is considered a most serious crime to strike or collar any one wearing the royal livery, though it be but a drunken groom or stable-boy, and though he may first have given the blow or provoked it by insupportable insolence. The philosophy of this is, that it is not the person of the groom or stable-boy, but the coat of livery, that is sacred.
Hyde continued his illustrations of the oppression exercised over the burgesses by the nobility and the Marshal's court.
“He told them another story as ridiculous, of a gentleman who, owing his tailor a long time a good sum of money for clothes, and his tailor coming one day to his chamber, with more than ordinary importunity for his debt, and not receiving any good answer, threatened to arrest him; upon which the gentleman, enraged, gave him very ill words, called him base fellow, and laid his hands upon him to thrust him out of the chamber: in this struggle, and under this provocation, oppression, and reproach, the poor tailor chanced to say, that he was as good a man as the other ; for which words he was called into the Marshal's court; and, for his peace, was content to be satisfied his debt out of his own ill manners; being compelled to release all his other demands in lieu of damages. The case was known to many and detested by all.”— Clarendon's Life, written by himself, vol. iii. The letter, from which the following is an extract, is dated in the year 1635, in the reign of Charles I. It does not appear that my Lord Archbishop's son ever underwent any form of trial. The murdered man was only a carter—and what was a carter A.D. 1635 ! “Some three murthers we have had this month here in London: one by duel, Mr. Henry Perkins slain by one Leake, a gentleman, in St. George's Fields; Sir Paul Neale, the Archbishop of Yorke's son, slew a carter with his sword, but he was infinitely provoked; the carter whipt him once or twice cross the face with his whip; this happened six weeks since; valiant Paul gave him then the wound of which he died now the latter end of Christmas. The old Archbishop kept in all this Christmas, and was much afflicted with this accident; but