changing his counsellors. For a moment, indeed, towards the end of July, there were rumours that new ministers would be appointed, and Pym was again spoken of for the chancellorship of the exchequer (Nicholas to Pennington, 29 July, State Papers, Dom. cccclxxxii. 96). The rumour soon died away, and when, on 10 Aug., Charles set out for Scotland, there can be little doubt that Pym was aware of his intention to procure armed support to enable him to dictate terms to the English parliament.
To guard against this danger a committee of defence, of which Pym was a member, was appointed to consider in what hands should be placed the command ‘of the trained bands and ammunition of the kingdom’ (Commons' Journals, ii. 257). It was the first indication of the coming civil war.
When, on 21 Oct., Parliament reassembled after a short holiday, the news of the ‘incident’ caused fresh alarm. Pym, who had been chairman of a committee instructed to watch events during the recess, was now regarded by the growing royalist party as the chief in the fullest sense of those whom they were beginning to regard as revolutionists. On 25 Oct. some miscreant sent him a threatening letter, enclosing a plague rag. The policy which he now supported was to send up a second Bishops' Exclusion Bill. On the 26th he carried a vote asking the lords to suspend the bishops from voting in their own case. On the 30th he revealed his knowledge of the second army plot, and showed reasons for suspecting that other plots were under consideration at court. He lived in an atmosphere of suspicion, and in such a temper it might seem as if attack was the most prudent form of defence. On 1 Nov. the news of the Ulster insurrection made an immediate decision necessary. If, as all agreed, it was unavoidable that an army should be raised for its suppression, provision must be made that, after the suppression of the rebellion, this army should not be used by Charles for the suppression of parliament. On 5 Nov. Pym moved an additional instruction to the parliamentary committee with the king in Scotland, to announce that unless he changed his ministers parliament would not be bound to assist him in Ireland. So great, however, was the opposition to his proposal to desert the Irish protestants if the king proved obdurate, that on the 8th he modified it to a declaration that in that case ‘parliament would provide for Ireland without him.’ For the first time the suggestion was made that the executive government might be transferred to the house. Thus modified, the instruction was carried; but 110 votes were recorded against it and 151 in its favour. Parties were now divided on political as well as on ecclesiastical grounds. To give emphasis to this development of policy, the Grand Remonstrance, in the promotion of which Pym took a conspicuous part, was pushed on. After detailing at great length the king's misdeeds, it demanded the appointment of ministers in which parliament could confide, and the settlement of church affairs by an assembly of divines who were to be named by parliament. On 22 Nov., in his speech on the remonstrance, Pym referred to plots which had been ‘very near the king, all driven home to the court and popish party.’ The remonstrance was voted, but Charles was hardly likely to accept it.
On 25 Nov. Charles was enthusiastically received in the city on his return from Scotland. His first act on reaching Whitehall was to dismiss the guard which had been placed at Westminster for the protection of the houses, and to substitute for it a force from the trained bands under the command of one of his own partisans. Among Pym's followers a strong belief was entertained that violence was intended. Pym himself had spies at court, notably Lady Carlisle, and as early as 30 Nov. he had penetrated Charles's design. He told the house that ‘he was informed that there was a conspiracy by some member of this house to accuse other members of the same of treason’ (D'Ewes's ‘Diary,’ Harl. MS. 162, fol. 200). The guard appointed by the king having been withdrawn, Pym carried a motion that the house should be protected by a watch set by two of its own members in their character of justices of the peace in Westminster.
The mutual suspicion now prevailing between the king and the House of Commons was not allayed by subsequent events. On 1 Dec. the remonstrance was laid before Charles, who showed no readiness to accept it. A collision was probably unavoidable, but it was hastened by the necessity of providing an armed force for Ireland. On 6 Dec. an impressment bill, already passed through the commons, was before the lords, who took objection to a clause denying to the crown the right to impress men to service beyond their own county. The obvious intention was to prevent Charles from getting together an army without the consent of parliament. On 7 Dec., without taking heed of the lords' scruples, Hazlerigg brought in a militia bill, placing the militia under the command of a lord general, whose name was not as yet given. It can hardly be doubted that this extreme measure had the support of Pym.