BLTC Press Titles

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Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu, James Legge (trans.)

The Diplomatic Background of the War

Charles Seymour

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll

The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas

An history of England

by Oliver Goldsmith









Nec minimum meruere decus, vestigia Grxfca

Ausi deserere, & celebrare domestica facia. Hor.


Printed for Theophilus Barrois , Bookseller t quai des Augustins,n°. 18.


Jniever did monarch come to the throne of England with a greater variety of favourable concurrences than Charles I. He found . n , himself possessed of a peaceful and 1621*

flourishing kingdom, his right undisputed by rival claimants, strengthened by an alliance with one of the most powerful monarchs that ever reigned in France, whose sister he had married; and, to add to all this, loved by his subjects, whom he had won by his virtues and address.

However, this was but a flattering prospect: the spirit of liberty was roused, and it was resolved to

A a

oppose the ancient claims of monarchs, who usurped their power in times of ignorance or danger, altho* they had confirmed it by laws, and continued It by long prescription. Charles had been, from his infancy, taught to consider the royal privileges as sacred pledges, which it was his duty to defend : his father had implanted the doctrines of hereditary and indefeasible right early upon his mind. James only defended these doctrines by words, and it was soon the fate of Charles to assert them by action. It is the duty of every sovereign to consider the genius and disposition of his people, as a father does that of his children, and to adapt his government to each conjuncture. Charles mistook that genius : he wanted to govern a people who had, for some time, learned to be free, by maxims and precedents that had their origin in times of ignorance and slavery.

He therefore began his reign with two of the most difficult projects that could be conceived : the one to succour the protestants in Germany against the emperor and duke of Bavaria ; the other to keep the royal prerogatives entire, without a national standing army. In order to effect these purposes, the house of commons was to be managed; who, as I have already described , from being the oppressed party, were now willing , in turn, to become oppressors ; who, from a detestation of popery, had now overIhot the mark, and were become puritans. His first demand for the necessary supplies to carry on the war of the Palatinate, in Germany, though undertaken at their own request, was answered with a petition for punishing papists, and for an examination into she grievances of the nation. Buckingham , who had been the late king's favourite, and who was still more caressed by the present monarch , did not escape their censures; so that, instead of grants Ing the sums requisite, they employed the time in vain disputations and complaints, rill the season for prosecuting the intended campaign was elapsed. The king , at length , wearied -with their delays , and offended at the contempt of his demands , thought proper to dissolve a parliament which he could not bring to reason. In fact, the commons , at this time , complained of imaginary grievances ; but the time was approaching when their complaints were to be real.

The ministers of the king had not yet forgot that kind of tax which was called a benevolence, and which had been often exacted from the subject in former reigns. Charles thought to avail himself of this method of procuring money, but at the fame time coloured it over with a greater appearance of justice than any of his predecessors. He therefore determined to borrow money of such persons as were best able to lend, to whom, for this purpose, he directed letters mentioning the sum. With this the people re- lnctantly complied: it was , in fact , a grievance , though authorised by a thousand precedents ; but no precedent can give sanction to injustice. With this Hioneya fleet.was equipped and sent against Spain, but it returned without procuring either glory or advantage.

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