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English politics. In company with Hampden he rode through several of the English counties, as Anthony Wood states, “with a view of promoting elections of the puritanical brethren.” He urged the people to meet and send petitions to Parliament, and by him the custom of petitioning was first organized into a system. When the new House of Commons was called to order every one looked to Pym as by a common instinct for guidance.
The speech with which Pym responded to this expectation is doubtless one of the most remarkable in the history of British eloquence. It abounds in passages which, for weight of argument and closeness of reasoning, remind one of the compositions of Lord Bacon. Throughout the whole there is a precision of statement, and a gravity of manner that show plainly enough that he was not unconscious of the responsibility that rested upon him. The speech has been a matter of general comment with all the historians of the period, for there is abundant evidence of its extraordinary influence on Parliament and on the people of England. And yet, until within a few years, no complete copy of it was known to be in existence. Several mutilated versions were published in the seventeenth century, but these conveyed a very imperfect impression of its power. Mr. May, the historian of the Long Parliament says that “Mr. Pym, a grave and religious gentleman, in a long speech of almost two hours, recited a catalogue of grievances which at that time lay heavy on the commonwealth, of which many abbreviated copies, as extracting the heads only, were with great greediness taken by gentleman and others throughout the kingdom, for it was not then the fashion to print speeches in Parliament.” These “abbreviated copies ” “ of heads only," were until recently supposed to be the only reports of the speech in existence. But Mr. Forster, when writing his Life of Pym, was led to institute a careful search among the world of papers in the British Museum ; and his effort was rewarded with success.
of the speech with corrections by Pym's own hand. This version, corrected by the orator himself, is the one here reproduced. It is somewhat abridged by Mr. Forster; and the report given in the third person is preserved. In unabbreviated form it has never been published.
ON THE SUBJECT OF GRIEVANCES IN THE REIGN OF CHARLES I. HOUSE OF COMMONS.
APRIL 5, 1640.
After an interval of eleven years since the dissolution of the Third Parliament of Charles I., the Fourth or Short Parliament was opened by the King on the 3d of April, 1640. In his opening speech, Charles simply said : “My Lords and Gentlemen : There never was a king that had a more great and weighty cause to call his people together than myself: I will not trouble you with the particulars. I have informed my Lord Keeper, and command him to speak, and desire your attention.” After this short and ungracious declaration, the Lord Keeper proceeded to speak in a very lofty and absurd strain in regard to the Royal Prerogative, and ending with the admonition, “that his Majesty did not expect advice from them, much less that they should interfere in any office of mediation, which would no be grateful to him : but that they should, as soon as might be, give his Majesty a supply, and that he would give them time enough afterwards to represent grievances to him."
Two days later, as as Parliament assembled, a number of petitions were presented, “complaining of shipmoney projects and monopolies, the star-chamber and highcommission courts and other grievances.” Between the con
sideration of these petitions and deference to the King's request to grant supplies at once, there was a hesitation; and it was of this sense of “divided duty” that Pym determined to avail himself. Clarendon says: “Whilst men gazed upon each other, looking who should begin (much the greater part having never before sat in Parliament) Mr. Pym, a man of good reputation, but much better known afterwards, who had been as long in these assemblies as any man then living, broke the ice, and in a set discourse of about two hours," addressed the House.
Never Parliament had greater business to dispatch, nor more difficulties to encounter; therefore we have reason to take all advantages of order and address, and hereby we shall not only do our own work, but dispose and inable ourselves for the better satisfaction of his Majesty's desire of supply. The grievances being removed, our affections will carry us with speed and cheerfulness, to give his Majesty that which may be sufficient both for his honor and support. Those that in the very first place shall endeavor to redress the grievances, will be found not to hinder, but to be the best furtherers of his Majesty's service. He that takes away weights, doth as much advantage motion, as he that addeth wings. Divers pieces of this main work have been already propounded ; his endeavor should be to present to the House a model of the whole. In the crea