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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 28.djvu/379

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Hyde
Hyde
373

(ib. vi. 79 n.) The House of Commons expelled him (11 Aug. 1642), and he was one of the eleven persons who were to be excepted from pardon (21 Sept.), an exception which was repeated in subsequent propositions for peace (Husbands, p.633).

During his stay at Oxford, from October 1642 to March 1645, Hyde lived in All Souls College. In the spring of 1643 he at last exchanged the position of secret adviser for that of an avowed and responsible servant of the crown. On 22 Feb. he was admitted to the privy council and knighted, and on 3 March appointed chancellor of the exchequer (Life, ii. 77; Black, Oxford Docquets, p.351). The king wished to raise him still higher. 'I must make Ned Hyde secretary of state, for the truth is I can trust nobody else,' said an intercepted letter from Charles to the queen. But Hyde was unwilling to supersede his friend Nicholas, and refused the offered post both now, and later after Falkland's death. Promotion so rapid for a man of his age and rank aroused general jealousy, especially among the members of his own profession. Courtiers considered him an upstart, and soldiers regarded him with the hostility which they felt for the privy council in general (cf. Rebellion, vii. 278-82; Life, ii. 73, iii. 37). As chancellor of the exchequer Hyde, in his endeavours to raise money for the support of the war, was concerned in procuring the loan known as 'the Oxford engagement,' and became personally bound for the repayment of some of the sums lent to the king (Cal. Committee for Advance of Money, p. 1002; Clarendon State Papers, ii. 154). His attempt to bring the Bristol custom-dues into the exchequer brought him into collision with Ashburnham, the treasurer of the army (Life, iii. 33).

In the autumn of 1643 the king created a secret committee, or 'junto,' who were consulted on all important matters before they were discussed in the privy council. It consisted of Hyde and five others, and met every Friday at Oriel College (Life, iii. 37, 58; Clarendon State Papers, ii. 286, 290). In the different conferences for peace Hyde was habitually employed in the most delicate personal negotiations, a duty for which his former intimacy with many of the parliament's commissioners specially qualified him. Over-estimating, as his history shows, the influence of personal causes in producing the civil war, he believed that judicious concessions to the leaders would suffice to end it. In the summer of 1642 he had made special efforts to win over the Earl of Pembroke (ib. ii. 144-8; Rebellion, vi. 401 n.) During the Oxford negotiations in March 1643 he intrigued to gain the Earl of Northumberland, and vainly strove to persuade the king to appoint him lord high admiral (Life, iii. 4-12). In the following summer, when Bedford, Clare, and Holland deserted the parliament, Hyde stood almost alone in recommending that the deserters should be well received by king, queen, and court, and held the failure to adopt this plan the greatest oversight committed by the king (Rebellion, vii. 185, 244). When it was too late, Hyde's policy was adopted. In February 1645, during the Uxbridge negotiations, he and three others were empowered to promise places of profit to repentant parliamentarians, but his conferences with Denbigh, Pembroke, Whitelocke, and Hollis led to no result (ib. viii. 243-8; Whitelocke, Memorials, f. 127; Harleian Miscellany, vii. 559).

Throughout these negotiations Hyde opposed any real concessions on the main questions at issue between king and parliament. At Uxbridge (January 1645) he was the principal figure among the king's commissioners, prepared all the papers, and took the lead in all the debates (Rebellion, vii. 252). He defended Ormonde's truce with the Irish rebels, and disputed with Whitelocke on the question of the king's right to the militia (ib. viii. 256). Already, in an earlier negotiation with the Scottish commissioners (February 1643), he had earned their detestation by opposing their demands for "ecclesiastical uniformity, and at Uxbridge he was as persistent in defending episcopacy. Nevertheless, he was prepared to accept a limited measure of toleration, but regarded the offers made at Uxbridge as the extreme limit of reasonable concessions (Clarendon State Papers, ii. 237).

The most characteristic, result of Hyde's influence during this period was the calling of the Oxford parliament (December 1643). He saw the strength which the name of a parliament gave the popular party, and was anxious to deprive them of that advantage. Some of the king's advisers urged him to dissolve the Long parliament by proclamation, and to declare the act for its continuance invalid from the beginning. Hyde opposed this course, arguing that it would alienate public opinion (Life, iii. 40). His hope was to deprive the Long parliament of all moral authority by showing that it was neither free nor representative (Rebellion, vii.326). With this object, when the Scots accepted the Long parliament's invitation to send an army into England, Hyde proposed the letter of the royalist peers to the Scottish privy council, and the summoning of the royalist members of parliament to meet at Oxford (ib. vii. 323).