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to grant the abolishing of episcopal, or the establishment of presbyterian, government.” I would demand now of the Scots and covenanters, (for so I call them, as misobservers of the covenant,) how they will reconcile" the preservation of religion and their liberties, and the bringing of delinquents to condign punishment,” with the freedom, honour, and safety of this avowed resolution here, that esteems all the zeal of their prostituted covenant no better than “ a noise and show of piety, a heat for reformation, filling them with prejudice, and obstructing all equality and clearness of judgment in them?”. With these principles who knows but that at length he might have come to take the covenant, as others, whom they brotherly admit, have done before him? And then all, no doubt, had gone well, and ended in a happy peace.
His prayer is most of it borrowed out of David; but what if it be answered him as the Jews, who trusted in Moses, were answered by our Saviour: “ There is one that accuseth you, even David, whom you misapply.” He tells God,
that his enemies are many;" but tells the people, when it serves his turn, they are but “
a faction of some few, prevailing over the major part of both houses." “ God knows he had no passion, design, or preparation to embroil his kingdom in a civil war.” True; for he thought his kingdom to be Issachar, a strong ass that would have couched down between two burdens,” the one of prelatical superstition, the other of civil tyranny: but what passion and design, what close and open preparation he had made, to subdue us to both these by terror and preventive force, all the nation knows.
“The confidence of some men had almost persuaded him to suspect his own innocence.”' As the words of Saint Paul had almost persuaded Agrippa to be a Christian. But almost, in the works of repentance, is as good as not at all.
God,” saith he,“ will find out bloody and deceitful men, many of whom have not lived out half their days.” It beloved him to have been more cautious how he tempted "God's finding out of blood and deceit, till his own years had been further spent, or that he had enjoyed longer the fruits of his own violent counsels.
But instead of weariness he adds another temptation, charging God“ to know, that the chief design of this war was either to destroy his person, or to force his judgment." And thus his prayer, from the evil practice of
unjust accusing men to God, arises to the hideous rashness of accusing God before men, to know that for truth which all men know to be most false. He prays “ that God would forgive the people, for they know not what they do.” It is an easy matter to say over what our Saviour said ; but how he loved the people other arguinents than affected sayings must demonstrate. He who so oft hath presumed rashly to appeal to the knowledge and testimony of God in things so evidently untrue, may be doubted what belief or esteem he had of his forgiveness, either to himself, or those for whom he would so feign that men should hear he prayed.
CHAPTER X. Upon their seizing the Magazines, Forts, fc. To put the matter soonest out of controversy who was the first beginner of this civil war, since the beginning of all war may be discerned not only by the first act of hostility, but by the counsels and preparations foregoing, it shall evidently appear that the king was still foremost in all these. No king had ever at his first coming to the crown more love and acclamation from a people;* never any people found worse requital of their loyalty and good affection : first, by his extraordinary fear and mistrust
, that their liberties and rights were the impairing and diminishing of his regal power, the true original of tyranny; next, by his hatred to all those who were esteemed religious ; doubting that their principles too much asserted liberty. This was quickly seen by the vehemence, and the causes alleged of his persecuting, the other by his frequent and opprobrious dissolution of parliaments; after he had demanded more money of them, and they to obtain their rights had granted him, than would have bought the Turk out of Morea, and set free all the Greeks.t
* But this is nothing remarkable. Nearly all princes are at first popular, because the people always hope the best from them, and are but slowly undeceived. No good king, however, has ever been known to lose the affections of his people and many bad ones have retained them, long after they had ceased to deserve either love or respect. --Ed.
+ See among the Familiar Letters those two (Nos. 12 and 15) addressed to Leonard Philaras, a noble Athenian, in which he gives vent to his en
But when he sought to extort from us, by way of tribute, that which had been offered to him conditionally in parliament, as by a free people, and that those extortions were now consumed and wasted by the luxury of his court, he began then, (for still the more he did wrong, the more he feared,) before any tumult or insurrection of the people, to take counsel how he might totally subdue them to his own will. Then was the design of German horse, while the duke reigned; and, which was worst of all, some thousands of the Irish papists were in several parts billetted upon us, while a parliament was then sitting. The pulpits resounded with no other doctrine than that which gave all property to the king, and passive obedience to the subject. After which, innumerable forms and
* shapes of new exactions and exactors overspread the land : nor was it enough to be impoverished, unless we were disarmed. Our trained bands, which are the trustiest and most proper strength of a free nation not at war with itself, had their arms in divers counties taken from them; other ammunition by design was ingrossed and kept in the Tower, not to be bought without a licence, and at a high rate.
Thus far and many other ways were his counsels and preparations beforehand with us, either to a civil war, if it should happen, or to subdue us without a war, which is all one,
until the raising of his two armies against the Scots, and the latter of them raised to the most perfidious breaking of a solemn pacification: the articles whereof though subscribed with his own hand, he commanded soon after to be burned openly by the hangman. What enemy durst have done him that dishonour and affront, which he did therein to himself?
After the beginning of this parliament, whom he saw so resolute and unanimous to relieve the commonwealth, and that the Earl of Strafford was condemned tu die, other of his evil counsellors impeached and imprisoned; to show there wanted not evil counsel within himself sufficient to begin a war upon his subjects, though no way by them provoked, he sends an agent with letters to the King of Denmark, requiring aid thusiastic admiration for Greece, and his hopes that she would one day be again independent.-Ed.
* Even the good and amiable Bishop Berkeley once preached a sermon inculcating passive obedience; and many, who have neither his learning nor his virtues, are still, in spite of the general intelligence of the age, im. bued with this barbarous opinion.--Ed.
against the parliament: and that aid was coming, when Divine Providence, to divert them, sent a sudden torrent of Swedes into the bowels of Denmark. He then endeavours to bring up both armies, first the English, with whom eight thousand Irish papists, raised by Strafford, and a French army were to join; then the Scots at Newcastle, whom he thought to have encouraged by telling them what money and horse he was to have from Denmark.
I mention not the Irish conspiracy till due place. These and inany others were his counsels toward a civil war. His preparations, after those two armies were dismissed, could not suddenly be too open: nevertheless there were eight thousand Irish papists, which he refused to disband, though entreated by both houses, first for reasons best known to himself, next under pretence of lending them to the Spaniard; and so kept them undisbanded till very near the month wherein that rebellion broke forth. He was also raising forces in London, pretendedly to serve the Portugal, but with intent to seize the Tower; into which divers cannoniers were by him sent with many fireworks and grenadoes; and many great battering pieces were mounted against the city. The court was fortified with ammunition, and soldiers new listed, who followed the king from London, and appeared at Kingston, some hundreds of horse, in a warlike manner, with waggons of ammunition after them; the queen in Holland was buying more; of which the parliament had certain knowledge, and had not yet so much as demanded the militia to be settled, till they knew both of her going over sea, and to what intent. For she had packed up the crown jewelst to have been going long before, had not the parliament, suspecting by the discoveries at Burrowbridge what was intended with the jewels, used means to stay her journey till the winter. Hull and the magazine there
* The Marquis of Montrose went for Charles II. both into Sweden and Denmark, to solicit men, money, and arms against his country ; but, after being for some time wheedled with specious promises, found that words were all he was likely to obtain. (Clarendon, vi. 409, 410.)- ED.
† Clarendon who relates with great reluctance whatever redounds to the credit of the parliament, admits that they were very successful in obtaining information of the king's designs, which, in many cases, they could have obtained only through the treachery of the cavaliers. “ Indeed their informations were wonderful particular, from all parts beyond sea, of whatsoever was agitated on the king's behalf; as well as from his court, of
had been secretly attempted under the king's hand; from whom (though in his declarations renouncing all thought of war) notes were sent oversea for the supply of arms; which were no sooner come, but the inhabitants of Yorkshire and other counties were called to arms, and actual forces raised, while the parliament were yet petitioning in peace, and had not one man listed.
As to the act of hostility, though not much material in whom first it began, or by whose commissions dated first, after such counsels and preparations discovered, and so far advanced by the king, yet in that act also he will be found to have had precedency, if not at London by the assault of his armed court upon the naked people, and his attempt upon the house of commons, yet certainly at Hull: first, by his close practices on that town; next, by his siege. Thus whether counsels, preparations, or acts of hostility be considered, it appears with evidence enough, though much more might be said, that the king is truly charged to be the first beginner of these civil wars. To which may be added as a close, that in the Isle of Wight he charged it upon himself at the public treaty, and acquitted the parliament.
But as for the securing of Hull and the public stores therein, and in other places, it was no “surprisal of his
, strength;" the custody whereof by authority of parliament was committed into hands most fit and most responsible for such a trust. It were a folly beyond ridiculous, to count ourselves a free nation, if the king, not in parliament, but in whatsoever was designed, or almost but thought of to himself.” (History, iii. 45.) Who, upon reading this, can fail to remember those remarkable lines of Shakspeare:
“ The providence that 's in a watchful state
Does even our thoughts unveil in their dumb cradles !” In this way the parliament learned to apprehend the pawning of the crown jewels in Holland, and issued an order declaring that “whosoever had been, or should be an actor in the selling or pawning of any jewels of the crown; or had, or should pay, lend, send, or bring any money in specie into this kingdom, for or upon any of those jewels; or whosoever had or should accept of any bill from beyond the seas, for the payment of any sum of money, for or upon any of those jewels, &c. should be held and accounted as an enemy of the state, &c.” (History, iii. 45, 46.)–Ev.