Hampden, John

Hampden, John hămp´dən, hăm´– [key], 1594–1643, English parliamentary leader; cousin of Oliver Cromwell. He entered Parliament in 1621, became closely associated with Sir John Eliot , and was imprisoned (1627) for refusing to pay the forced loan demanded by Charles I . With Viscount Saye and Sele , John Pym , and other parliamentary leaders, he involved himself in various colonization schemes. In 1637, Hampden challenged the king's right to raise revenue by the device of ship money, a tax originally levied on ports for defense purposes but extended by Charles to inland counties. He was convicted (1638) by a very narrow margin for his refusal to pay the tax, and the case inflamed popular resentment against the king. Conspicuous as a leader of both the Short and Long Parliaments, Hampden was one of the five members whose attempted arrest by Charles (1642) helped to precipitate the English civil war . He raised a regiment for the parliamentarians and was mortally wounded at Chalgrove Field, fighting Prince Rupert.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: British and Irish History: Biographies