members; and never was the successive predominance
of each of these sets of motives more clear than in the Long Parliament.
Its first acts were mainly for its constituents, whose rights it vindicated, and whose liberties it increased; its corporate ambition next prevailed, and it set itself against the throne and the peerage, both of which it was hurried forward to subvert; individual selfishness at last had its triumph, and there were not wanting men who sought lucrative jobs, and grasped at disproportioned emoluments.
Nothing could check the progress of degeneracy and corruption; the example, the ability, and the conscientious purity of Henry Vane
Had the life of Hampden
been spared, he could not have changed the course of events, for he could not have changed the laws of nature, and the principles of human action.
The majority in parliament was become the despot of England
; and after one hundred and eighteen
royalist members, obeying the summons of the king, had repaired to Oxford
, the cause of royalty was powerless in the legislature.
The party of the Church of England was prostrate; but religious and political parties were identified; and the new division conformed itself to the rising religious sects.
Now that the friends of the Church
had withdrawn, the commons were at once divided into two imposing parties—the Presbyterians and the Independents; the friends of a political revolution which should yet establish a nobility and a limited monarchy; and the friends of an entire revolution on the principle of equality.
The majority was with the Presbyterians, who were elated with the sure hope of a triumph.
They represented a powerful portion of the aristocracy of England