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“ These men," saith he, meaning his friends," knew not the just motives and pregnant grounds with which I thought myself furnished ;" to wit, against the five members, whom he came to drag out of the house. His best friends indeed knew not, nor could ever know, his motives to such a riotous act; and had he himself known any just grounds, he was not ignorant how much it might have tended to his justifying, had he named them in this place, and not concealed them. But
suppose them real, suppose them known, what was this to that violation and dishonour put upon the whole house, whose very door, forcibly kept open, and all the passages near it, he beset with swords and pistols cocked and menaced in the hands of about three hundred swaggerers and ruffians, who but expected, nay, audibly called for, the word of onset to begin a slaughter.*
“ He had discovered, as he thought, unlawful correspondences, which they had used, and engagements to embroil his kingdoms;” and remembers not his own unlawful correspondences and conspiracies with the Irish army of papists, with the French to land at Portsmouth, and his tampering both with the English and Scots army to come up against the parliament: the least of which attempts, by whomsoever, was no less than manifest treason against the. commonwealth.
If to demand justice on the five members were his plea, for that which they with more reason might have demanded justice upon him, (I use his own argument,) there needed not so rough assistance. If he had “ resolved to bear that repulse with patience,” which his queen + by her words to
Guizot describes in an admirable manner this “visit” of Charles I. to the house of commons, (Histoire, &c. t. i. p. 240—242) accompanied up to the door by three or four hundred men, guards, cavaliers, students, &c. armed to the teeth. In Clarendon's account, (vol. ii. p. 124, sqq.) everything offensive is softened down : “ the king, attended only by his own usual guard, and some few gentlemen, who put themselves into their company in the way! came to the house of commons,” &c. The whole narrative is full of palpable contradictions, and the most audacious disregard of truth; yet this is the writer that Warburton, after frequently, in his notes, accusing him of falsehood, ventures to set up before the greatest and most impartial historians of Greece and Rome !-ED.
+ " Le matin même au moment de son départ, Charles, en embrassant sa femme, lui avoit promis que, dans une heure, il reviendroit maitre enfin de son royaume, et la reine, sa montre à la main, avait compté les minutes en attendant son rétour.” (Mémoires de Madame de Motteville, i. 265.)—ED.
him at his return little thought he would have done, wherefore did he provide against it, with such an armed and unusual force? but his heart served him not to undergo the hazard that such a desperate scuffle would have brought him
But wherefore did he go at all, it behoving him to know there were two statutes, that declared he ought first to have acquainted the parliament, who were the accusers, which he refused to do, though still professing to govern by law, and still justifying his attempts against law? And when he saw it was not permitted him to attaint them but by a fair trial, as was offered him from time to time, for want of just matter which yet never came to light, he let the business fall of his own accord ; and all those pregnancies and just motives came to just nothing.
“He had no temptation of displeasure or revenge against those men :" none but what he thirsted to execute upon them, for the constant opposition which they made against his tyrannous proceedings, and the love and reputation which they therefore had among the people; but most immediately, for that they were supposed the chief, by whose activity those twelve protesting bishops were but a week before committed to the Tower.
“He missed but little to have produced writings under some men's own hands.” But yet he missed, though their chambers, trunks, and studies were sealed up and searched ; yet not found guilty. “ Providence would not have it so." Good Providence that curbs the raging of proud monarchs, as well as of mad multitudes. " Yet he wanted not such probabilities” (for his pregnant is come now to probable) “as were sufficient to raise jealousies in any king's heart." And thus his pregnant motives are at last proved nothing but a tympany, or a Queen Mary's cushion; for in any king's heart, as kings go now, what shadowy conceit or groundless toy will not create a jealousy?
“ That he had designed to insult the house of commons,' taking God to witness, he utterly denies; yet in his answer to the city, maintains that “ any course of violence had been very justifiable.” And we may then guess how far it was from his design: however, it discovered in him an excessive eagerness to be avenged on them that crossed him; and that to have his will, he stood not to do things never so much
below him. What a becoming sight it was, to see the king of England one while in the house of commons, and by and by in the Guildhall among the liveries and manufacturers, prosecuting so greedily the track of five or six fled subjects; himself not the solicitor only, but the pursuivant and the apparitor of his own partial cause !* And although in his answers to the parliament, he hath confessed, first that his manner of prosecution was illegal, next“ that as he once conceived he had ground enough to accuse them, so at length that he found as good cause to desert any prosecution of them;" yet here he seems to reverse all, and against promise takes up his old deserted accusation, that he might have something to excuse himself, instead of giving due reparation, which he always refused to give them whom he had so dishonoured.
“ That I went,” saith he of his going to the house of commons, “attended with some gentlemen;" gentlemen indeed!
, the ragged infantry of stews and brothels; the spawn and shipwreck of taverns and dicing-houses: and then he pleads, “ it was no unwonted thing for the majesty and safety of a king to be so attended, especially in discontented times. An illustrious majesty no doubt, so attended ! a becoming safety for the king of England, placed in the fidelity of such guards and champions ! happy times, when braves and hacksters, the only contented members of his government, were thought the fittest and the faithfullest to defend his person against the discontents of a parliament and all good men! Were those the chosen ones to "
preserve reverence to him,” while he entered unassured,” and full of suspicions, into his great and faithful council! Let God then and the world judge, whether the cause were not in his own guilty and unwarrantable doings: the house of commons, upon several examinations of this
* Respecting the king's going into the city, to give the aldermen and common-council an account of his conduct towards the commons, there is some variation in the several historians. Clarendon says; through the city, the rude people flocked together, and cried out, · Privilege of parliament ! privilege of parliament !' some of them pressing very near his own coach, and amongst the rest one calling out with a very loud voice, * To your tents, O Israel!”” (History, ii. 131.) Rushworth, (Historical Collections, i. 479,) says that one Walker threw a pamphlet, entitled “ To your tents, O Israel ! ” into the king's coach. Be this as it may, his reception in the city was extremely cold and unsatisfactory, and he returned in anger and dejection to Whitehall.-ED.
“ In his passage
business, declared it sufficiently proved, that the coming o. those soldiers, papists and others, with the king, was to take away some of their members; and in case of opposition or denial, to have fallen upon the house in a hostile manner.
This the king here denies; adding a fearful imprecation against his own life, “ if he purposed any violence or oppression against the innocent, then,” saith he, “let the enemy prosecute my soul, and tread my life to the ground, and lay mine honour in the dust.” What need then more disputing? He appealed to God's tribunal, and behold! God hath judged and done to him in the sight of all men according to the verdict of his own mouth: to be a warning to all kings hereafter how they use presumptuously the words and protestations of David, without the spirit and conscience of David. And the king's admirers may here see their madness, to mistake this book for a monument of his worth and wisdom, whenas indeed it is his doomsday book; not like that of William the Norman, his predecessor, but the record and memorial of his condemnation; and discovers whatever hath befallen him to have been hastened on from divine justice by the rash and inconsiderate appeal of his own lips. But what evasions, what pretences, though never so unjust and empty, will he refuse in matters more unknown, and more involved in the mists and intricacies of state, who, rather than not justify himself in a thing so generally odious, can flatter his integrity with such frivolous excuses against the manifest dissent of all men, whether enemies, neuters, or friends ? But God and his judgments have not been mocked; and good men may well perceive what a distance there was ever like to be between him and his parliament, and perhaps between him and all amendment, who for one good deed, though but consented to, asks God forgiveness; and from his worst deeds done, takes occasion to insist upon his righteousness !
CHAPTER IV. Upon the Insolency of the Tumults. We have here, I must confess, a neat and well-couched invective against tumults, expressing a true fear of them in the author; but yet so handsomely composed, and withal so
feelingly, that, to make a royal comparison, I believe Rehoboam the son of Solomon could not have composed it better. Yet Rehoboam had more cause to inveigh against them; for they had stoned his tribute-gatherer, and perhaps had as little spared his own person, had he not with all speed betaken him to his chariot. But this king hath stood the worst of them in his own house without danger, when his coach and horses, in a panic fear, have been to seek: which argues, that the tumults at Whitehall were nothing so dangerous as those at Sechem.
But the matter here considerable,* is not whether the king or his household rhetorician have made a pithy declamation against tumults; but first, whether these were tumults or not; next, if they were, whether the king himself did not cause them. Let us examine therefore how things at that time stood. The king, as before hath been proved, having both called this parliament unwillingly, and as unwillingly from time to time condescended to their several acts, carrying on a disjoint and private interest of his own, and not enduring to be so crossed and overswayed, especially in the executing of his chief and boldest instrument, the deputy of Ireland, first tempts the English army, with no less reward than the spoil of London, to come up and destroy the parliament. That being discovered by some of the officers, who, though bad enough, yet abhorred só foul a deed; the king, hardened in his purpose, tempts them the second time at Burrowbridge, promises to pawn his jewels for them, and that they should be met and assisted (would they but march on) with a gross body of horse under the Earl of Newcastle. He tempts them yet the third time, though after discovery, and his own abjuration to have ever tempted them, as is affirmed in the declaration of “No more addresses." Neither this succeeding, he turns him next to the Scotch
army, and by his own credential letters given to O'Neal and Sir John Henderson, baits his temptation with a richer reward; not only to have the sacking of London, but four northern counties to be made Scottish, with jewels of great value to be given in pawn the while.
But neither would the Scots, for any promise of reward, be brought to such an execrable and odious treachery: but with much honesty gave notice of the king's design both to the par
* This is, “ to be considered.” —ED.