IT was while events were ripening for the overthrow of the English throne and church, that the ten years had passed since the arrival of Winthrop's company in Massachusetts Bay. From the time of the dissolution of his third Parliament, King Charles had ruled with absolute authority. After reducing his expenses by a sudden and inglorious peace with both France and Spain, still he wanted money, which he proceeded to raise by illegal impositions. Duties on imported merchandise were exacted, in contempt of the denial of a Parliamentary grant; and customs were levied, unknown to former practice. Compositions with Papists for breaches of the laws became a permanent resource of the exchequer. Titles to crown lands anciently alienated by the crown were scrutinized, and, on pretence of some defect, fines were extorted from the possessors. A law, long obsolete, had required landholders to the amount of twenty pounds' yearly rent to receive knighthood when summoned for that purpose; Charles so far revived it as to oblige all persons with twice that rental to buy a release from the liability. The charter of London was declared forfeit, for some alleged irregularity of administration; and the city only saved its legal existence by the payment of a fine of seventy thousand pounds. In other quarters enormous mulcts were exacted by the Star-Chamber Court, on various pretexts. Monopolies were sold for the manufacture and vending of necessary articles.1 Custom-
Despotism of Charles the First.